Drought Statement - Issued 5th January 2006


drought_text.html

Statement on Drought for the 10 and 12-month periods ending 31st December 2005
ISSUED 5th January 2006 by the National Climate Centre

Rainfall deficiencies persist in parts of eastern Australia

With generally below average rainfall across eastern Australia in December, there was a persistence, or in some cases a modest expansion, of areas experiencing rainfall deficiencies, the Bureau of Meteorology announced today.

For the 10-month period from March to December, serious rainfall deficiencies, with patches of severe deficiencies, affect much of southern Victoria between the SA border and southwest Gippsland. December rainfall was below the long-term mean in southwest Victoria resulting in a slight intensification of the deficits in comparison with the situation at the end of November. However, above average falls to the southeast of Melbourne resulted in a slight decrease in the coverage of rainfall deficits. This most recent period of deficient rainfall in southern Victoria is included within a period of below average to record low 9-year rainfall totals in the same area.

For the 12-month period from January to December, the most significant rainfall deficiencies are located between Bourke (NSW) and Charleville (Qld)), and over the southern and central parts of Cape York Peninsula in northern Queensland. Both these areas increased in intensity and spatial extent after December rainfall was less than half of the long-term average.

There are several other relatively small patches scattered about the country, which experienced rainfall deficiencies in the 2005 calendar year.

Rainfall deficiency maps for longer periods indicate that deficiencies at the three year timescale, which are particularly relevant to water supplies, remain prevalent in parts of eastern Australia, especially in Queensland.


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
David Jones on (03) 9669 4085
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.



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

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