Issued 6 July 2009

Very dry first half of the year for parts of southeast Australia

While much of southern and eastern Australia recorded average or above average rainfall during June 2009, a substantial area of southeastern Australia, including southern and eastern Victoria, saw a continuation of dry conditions. Victoria has now experienced its fourth driest January to June on record.

Rainfall deficiency maps for standard periods out to three years are available.

6-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 6-month period from January to June 2009, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies are evident over most of central, southern and eastern Victoria as well as the Lower South East district in SA. A large area of lowest on record rainfall for the six months was recorded in Melbourne and adjacent parts of Gippsland. A few very isolated areas of serious to severe deficiencies are also evident across the far southeast of NSW, central Australia and southwest WA. When compared to a month ago, good rainfall over southwest WA during June has relieved most of the short-term rainfall deficits that existed in the 5-month period ending May 2009.

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Click on the map for larger view
Black and white | High resolution colour

24-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 24-month period from July 2007 to June 2009, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies are evident across much of southeast Australia and parts of central Australia. These deficiencies cover most of the agricultural areas of SA, much of Victoria, eastern and northern Tasmania and some southern border areas of NSW.

Very long-term rainfall deficiencies outside of the usual drought periods persist across parts of southern and eastern Australia. Most notably, rainfall has been below average across much of southwest and southeast Australia since 1997, while the Murray-Darling Basin has experienced below average rainfall since 2002.

Click on the map for larger view

Click on the map for larger view
Black and white | High resolution colour

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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