Drought Statement Archive

For the 3 and 9-month periods ending 30th September 2009
Issued on 6th October 2009 by the National Climate Centre

Short-term rainfall deficits develop over eastern Australia and ease slightly over parts of southern and central Australia

LINKS:
Rainfall deficiencies definition
3-month rainfall deficiencies
9-month rainfall deficiencies

A wetter than usual September over much of southern and central Australia has partially eased some of the short-term rainfall deficits that have existed in these regions since the start of 2009. In contrast, after a particularly dry July and August in eastern Australia, another month of generally drier than normal conditions this September has seen short-term severe deficits emerge on the three month scale. More information about Australia’s rainfall in September, and any other month can be found here.

For the 3-month period from July to September 2009, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies are evident over large areas of Queensland and some parts of NSW. Some more areas of serious to severe rainfall deficits are evident in the NT and over northern WA. Although rainfall is climatologically low at this time of the year over northern Australia, Queensland was particularly dry during this period, experiencing its fifth driest July on record and fourth driest August. The NSW and Queensland cropping regions have suffered significant water and heat stress during this period.

For the 9-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 southwest WA, near Lake Grace. Several sites in East Gippsland, in Victoria have recorded lowest on record rainfall for the period. Apart from the south coast of NSW and a region of central Australia near the SA, NSW and Queensland border, good September rainfall over much of southern and central Australia has resulted in a partial easing of the short-term deficits compared with those that existed for the 8-month period ending August 2009.

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
Andrew Watkins on (03) 9669 4360
Karl Braganza on (03) 9669 4344


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