Drought Statement - Issued 3rd May 2005


drought_text.html

Statement on Drought for the 4 and 10-month period ending 30th April 2005
ISSUED 3rd May 2005 by the National Climate Centre

Rainfall deficiencies develop in eastern & southern Australia

The Bureau of Meteorology announced today that short-term rainfall deficiencies have developed in parts of eastern and southern Australia for the period from January to April (four months). April rainfall was below to very much below average across most of the country, with vast areas registering less than 20% of the long-term average. In many parts of northern and central Australia, no rain fell for the entire month of April, and the Australia-wide average for the first four months of the year was the second lowest on record. The dry conditions further aggravated rainfall deficiencies in central and northwestern parts of the country for the period dating from July 2004 (ten months).

The effects of rainfall deficits have been exacerbated by recent extreme high temperatures.

For the 4-month period from January to April, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies have developed in parts of Cape York, southern Queensland, northern NSW, parts of southern SA and northern Tasmania. Areas with lowest on record totals for this period are evident in southern Queensland and northern NSW. In central and northwestern Australia, deficiencies overlap with the 10-month period.

For the 10-month period from July to April, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies have consolidated in the centre and northwest of the country. A broad band of rainfall deficits now extends across the continent from Port Hedland/Broome in northwest WA, to Bourke in northwestern NSW. This broad region of deficiencies is largely the result of very low wet season rainfall for much of the northern half of the continent. This has been due to both the sporadic nature of the northern monsoon during the 2004-05 wet season, as well as its failure to penetrate far southward. Large areas of lowest on record falls for the 10-month period from July to April are evident in central Australia and near Port Hedland in northwest WA, while small pockets are analysed in northern SA, southwest Queensland and northern NSW.

Large regions in southern and eastern Australia continue to experience deficiencies for periods longer than two years indicating that there is still to be a full recovery from the very dry conditions experienced during the 2002-03 El Niņo event. Rainfall deficiency maps for longer periods can be found at http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/silo/rain_maps.cgi.


Rainfall deficiency maps for standard periods (3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24 and 36 months) are updated monthly on the Bureau's web site.

Note: The terms used to describe rainfall in these Drought Statements have the following meanings -

Serious deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 10% of historical totals, but not in the lowest 5%
Severe deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 5% of historical totals
Lowest on record - lowest since at least 1900 when the data analysed begin

Very much below average - rainfalls in the lowest 10% of historical totals
Below average - rainfalls in the lowest 30% of historical totals, but not in the lowest 10%
Average - rainfalls in the middle 40% of historical totals
Above average - rainfalls in the highest 30% of historical totals, but not in the highest 10%
Very much above average - rainfalls in the highest 10% of historical totals


For more information regarding this rainfall deficiencies statement, please contact the following climate meteorologists in the National Climate Centre:

Grant Beard on (03) 9669 4085
Andrew Watkins on (03) 9669 4360



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A black and white version is also available.