Drought Statement Archive

For the 8 and 24-month periods ending 31st August 2009
Issued on 7th September 2009 by the National Climate Centre

Short-term deficits worsen over the south coast of NSW and over central and eastern Victoria

LINKS:
Rainfall deficiencies definition
7-month rainfall deficiencies
24-month rainfall deficiencies

August 2009 was generally a dry month over mainland Australia, particularly over NSW and Queensland. Conversely, it was a very wet month over Tasmania. More information about Australia’s rainfall in August is available here.

For the 8-month period from January to August 2009, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies remain evident over the south coast of NSW and over central and eastern Victoria. A few very isolated areas of serious to severe deficiencies also remain evident across central Australia and in parts of southwest WA, including an area of the Great Southern district centered on Lake Grace. Several stations near Melbourne and in Gippsland have recorded lowest on record rainfall for the period. Low August rainfall across all of these regions has resulted in a slight worsening of the short-term deficits compared with those that existed for the 7-month period ending July 2009.

For the 24-month period from September 2007 to August 2009, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies remain evident across large areas of mainland southeastern Australia (mainly in Victoria) and parts of central Australia. Given that August 2009 was much wetter than August 2007 in Tasmania, 24-month deficits that were apparent in that state at the end of July 2009 had almost disappeared by the end of August.

The regions affected by deficits experienced some average to above average rainfall during the final months of both 2007 and 2008, as well as during autumn and winter this year. However, most months through the period were drier than the long-term mean, especially during the growing seasons of 2007 and 2008. Both 2007 and 2008 were classified as positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) years, which is likely to have partly contributed to the low winter and spring rainfall recorded across parts of southern Australia during both these years.

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

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

Click on the map for full resolution.

Click on the map for full resolution.
Black and white version

Click on the map for full resolution.

Click on the map for full resolution.
Black and white version

© Australian Government, Bureau of Meteorology