Issued 4 August 2016
Continued reduction in rainfall deficiencies following a wet July
Rainfall during July 2016 was above to very much above average for most of Australia. In the south rainfall was below average for much of the South West Land Division, but generally above average for the remainder of Western Australia, and also above average for much of southeast Australia. For Queensland and Tasmania it was the seventh-wettest July on record, while for Victoria it was the tenth-wettest July.
The July rainfall has removed deficiencies for the period starting in May 2015 over parts of southeastern South Australia and Victoria, although small areas of deficiencies remain, especially in central southern Victoria.
15-month rainfall deficiencies
Very high July rainfall over much of southeast Australia has removed or significantly reduced deficiencies in southeast South Australia and western to central southern Victoria. Patches of serious to locally severe rainfall deficiency remain in some areas along the South Australia–Victoria border and in central southern Victoria between the Goldfields and South Gippsland where conditions have not been quite so wet.
Deficiencies in some areas of coastal Western Australia have increased following below average July rainfall for areas centred on the western Kimberley and South West Land Division.
Areas of deficiencies also persist in the Top End and at the tip of Cape York Peninsula where winter rainfall is climatological light and makes up a small part of the annual total.
Longer-term deficits in many parts of the country
Since the most recent La Niña concluded in autumn 2012, rainfall was generally below average over large parts of Queensland and into northern New South Wales, and also over western Victoria, Tasmania and southwest Western Australia through to early 2016. Despite above average rainfall over large parts of eastern Australia in recent months, the accumulated rainfall deficits over the past four years are very large, and will require a great deal of rain to remove them. Seasonal conditions, such as temperature, may be more important as the limiting factor in the current winter–spring agricultural growing season.
Rainfall analyses for standard periods out to 48 months are available on our website.
Comprehensive reports on observed change in Australia's climate and regional climate change projections are available at the Climate Change in Australia website. The Bureau produces a number of long-term timeseries for monitoring Australia's climate, including rainfall and temperature.
Soil moisture in the lower layer (from 10 to 100 cm deep) has again increased over much of the country following widespread above average rainfall in July.
Soil moisture for July was above average over much of Australia, and very much above average for central Queensland to the western Cape York Peninsula, much of New South Wales and much of Tasmania. Soil moisture was also very much above average for large areas along a band from Western Australia's Pilbara, through central Australia, to smaller pockets across northern South Australia.
Below-average soil moisture is apparent in parts of southwest Western Australia and the Central Wheat Belt district, a small area of the western Kimberley near Derby, and parts of the central Top End. Generally average soil moisture surrounds these areas, extending across much of the South West Land Division and areas further inland in Western Australia, part of the Nullarbor, areas between the western Kimberley and northern Interior district, much of the north of the Northern Territory, southeast Queensland and coastal northeastern New South Wales, and western Tasmania.
Soil moisture information presented here is from the Bureau's operational Australian Water Resources Assessment Landscape (AWRA-L) model.