Statement on Drought for the 3, 5
and 11-month periods ending 31st May 2005
Rainfall deficiencies spread as autumn rains fail
The Bureau of Meteorology announced today that a failure of the autumn rains in southern Australia (except WA), has resulted in widespread short-term rainfall deficiencies over SA, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. In terms of state-wide averages dating from 1900, it was the driest autumn on record in Victoria and SA, the second driest over NSW and the fourth driest in Tasmania. For the period dating from 1st January, rainfall deficiencies are also evident over much of southern Queensland, the south of the NT and central and northern WA.
This most recent period of rainfall deficits is set against a backdrop of average to below average falls since the severe drought of 2002-03. There has been no prolonged period of widespread above average falls to fully remove rainfall deficiencies. As far as the Murray-Darling Basin is concerned, Bureau rainfall data indicate that this region is in the midst of its worst multi-year period of rainfall deficiencies since the 1940s. Furthermore, the effects of rainfall deficits have been exacerbated by some of the highest temperatures on record.
For the 3-month period from March to May, rainfall deficiencies cover most of SA, Victoria, and Tasmania, and much of NSW west of the Dividing Range. Lowest on record falls are widespread over Victoria and the southern fringes of SA, while large patches are evident in central and far western NSW.
For the 5-month period from January to May, additional areas of rainfall deficits are situated over southern parts of Queensland and the NT, as well as across central and northwest WA, including some large areas that have recorded their driest such period on record.
For the 11-month period dating from July 2004, rainfall deficiencies are widespread over central and northwestern Australia, with a large area covering the southern NT and far eastern WA having had its driest such period on record.
Rainfall deficiency maps for longer periods can be found at http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/silo/rain_maps.cgi.
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 -
- rainfalls in the lowest 10% of historical totals,
but not in the lowest 5%
Very much below average
- rainfalls in the lowest 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 4527
David Jones on (03) 9669 4085
External Sites Relating to Drought
The Bureau of Meteorology does not make formal drought declarations as these are done by the relevant State Government Departments. The Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS), a scientific agency within the Federal department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), administers the Drought Exceptional Circumstances program.