Drought Statement - Issued 1st July 2005


drought_text.html

Statement on Drought for the 4, 6 and 12-month periods ending 30th June 2005
ISSUED 1st July 2005 by the National Climate Centre

June drenching brings welcome relief

The Bureau of Meteorology announced today that heavy, and in some cases record June rainfall over eastern and southern coastal Australia, has largely removed serious to severe rainfall deficiencies that had developed during 2005. Most of the northern two-thirds of New South Wales and the southern half of Queensland recorded more than twice the long-term June average, with large areas having had more than four times the monthly average. It must be remembered though, that the climate is naturally rather dry in June over western NSW and Queensland, with monthly means below 25 mm in many instances.

However, despite the recent heavy rains, rainfall deficits extending back over three years and longer (affecting water storages and stream flows in particular) still remain across large parts of eastern Australia. Some areas missed out on significant June rainfall, most notably southern Victoria, northern Tasmania and parts of northwestern and central Australia.

For the 4-month period from March to June, notable rainfall deficiencies have contracted to southern Victoria, the far southeast of South Australia, northern Tasmania and isolated patches in New South Wales. An area extending from Melbourne to southwest Gippsland has recorded its driest March to June period on record, and this comes on top of record low 8-year rainfall totals in this same region.

The coverage of rainfall deficiencies for the 6-month and 12-month periods beginning in January 2005 and July 2004 respectively, are very similar with large areas affected from northwest WA to the east and south of the NT, as well as the far northwest of SA. Lowest on record totals are common. The heavy June rainfall removed or eased deficiencies in the far northeast of SA and the adjacent parts of western NSW, western Queensland and the southeast of the NT. Northern Tasmania is also affected over both time-spans, with an area to the east of Launceston having had its driest 12-month July to June period on record.

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 4527
Andrew Watkins on (03) 9669 4360
Blair Trewin on (03) 9669 4603

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.



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A black and white version is also available. Click on the map for full resolution.
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A black and white version is also available.