Drought Statement

For the 7 and 24-month periods ending 31st July 2009
Issued on 7th August 2009 by the National Climate Centre

Long-term rainfall deficiencies persist; some relief to short-term deficits over parts of southern Australia

LINKS:
Australian Monthly Summary for July 2009
Rainfall deficiencies definition
7-month rainfall deficiencies
24-month rainfall deficiencies

Parts of southern Australia recorded above average rainfall during July 2009, particularly near the coast. Elsewhere, rainfall was generally below the long-term mean, with large areas of Queensland experiencing very much below average rainfall. Average to above average July rainfall over western Victoria and southeast SA has relieved most of the short-term deficits that existed in the 6-month period ending June 2009. However, longer-term deficits remain in these regions.

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

For the 7-month period from January to July 2009, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies remain evident over most of central and eastern Victoria. A few very isolated areas of serious to severe deficiencies also remain evident across central Australia and along the far south coast of NSW. Victoria has now experienced its fourth direst January to July period on record, with several stations near Melbourne and in Gippsland recording lowest on record rainfall for the period. However, as mentioned in the introduction, good July rainfall over western Victoria and southeast SA has relieved most of the short-term rainfall deficits that existed in the 6-month period ending June 2009.

For the 24-month period from August 2007 to July 2009, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies remain evident across much of southeast Australia and parts of central Australia. These regions experienced some average to above average rainfall during the final months of both 2007 and 2008, as well as through the most recent autumn. However, most months through the period were drier than the long-term mean, especially during the growing seasons. Both 2007 and 2008 were classified as positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) years, which is likely to have contributed partly to the low winter and spring rainfall recorded across parts of southern Australia during both these years.

Very long-term rainfall deficiencies outside of the drought periods discussed above 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.


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:

Robyn Duell on (03) 9669 4671
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 either the relevant State Governments or by the Australian Government. The Australian Government Program is called Exceptional Circumstances and it is administered by the Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). General information about Australian Government drought assistance is available at http://www.daff.gov.au/droughtassist.

Archive of previous drought statements

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