Issued 12 December 2007

Deficiencies ease following a wet November

Above average November rainfall across much of Australia’s eastern half eased short-term rainfall deficiencies, with the notable exception of Tasmania which experienced its driest November on record (records date from 1900). South Australia and Western Australia continue have the most extensive rainfall deficits for periods starting at the end of autumn or start of winter.
See November rainfall pattern

6-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 6-month period from June to November 2007 an area of serious to severe rainfall deficiencies covered much of central and northeast SA, together with patches in the southern NT, southwest Queensland, southern NSW, Victoria, scattered parts of WA and an area in eastern Tasmania. Large areas of lowest on record covered South Australia which has experienced its sixth driest winter-spring on record with a state-average of only 56 mm. Above to very much above average November rainfall resulted in the easing or removal of deficits across large parts of northern Victoria, western NSW and southwest Queensland in comparison with the situation at the end of October.

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7-month rainfall deficiencies

Rainfall deficiencies for the 7-month period from May to November 2007 were widespread across the southern half of Western Australia as May rainfall was also below average in this region. SA was also affected, but to a lesser extent than for the six-month period. There were relatively small areas of lowest on record in both WA and SA.

The deficiencies discussed above have occurred against a backdrop of multi-year rainfall deficits and record high temperatures that have severely stressed water supplies in the east and southwest of the country. Several years of above average rainfall are required to remove the very long-term deficits. Furthermore, the combination of heat and drought during the past five to ten years over the MDB and southeastern Australia, is outside the typical range of variability experienced during the previous 100 years.

For more information go to a recent Special Climate Statement on the six years of widespread drought in southern and eastern Australia, November 2001 to October 2007.

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Definitions

Lowest on record - lowest in the historical analysis, which runs from 1900.
Severe deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 5% of historical totals.
Serious deficiency - 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.
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.

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