Drought

No Drought Statement issued for February

January rainfall was above to very much above average for Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia. Monthly rainfall was also above average for western Queensland and areas in a band across the south of the Cape York Peninsula, and for western Victoria and an adjacent area of southwestern New South Wales.

January rainfall was below average along and east of the Great Dividing Range in southeastern Australia, extending from areas north of Melbourne and across Gippsland in Victoria, through eastern New South Wales to the Hunter and Central Tablelands, and also below average for scattered areas of southeast Queensland and locations in the far southwest of Western Australia.

Rainfall has been below average in areas east of the Great Divide in recent months, accompanied by very much above average temperatures. As a result areas of serious to locally severe deficiency have emerged at three- to four-month timescales in southeast Queensland, and pockets of coastal New South Wales and east coastal Victoria. These areas of rainfall deficiencies will continue to be monitored for further developments. The latest Climate Outlook suggests that rainfall is likely to be below average in the next three months.

NULL

Soil moisture

Soil moisture in the lower layer (from 10 cm to 100 cm deep) has increased across northern and eastern Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia, and much of northern Queensland following very much above average rainfall during January. Lower layer soil moisture remains above average for most of Tasmania.

Soil moisture for the month was below average for southeastern Queensland, most of coastal New South Wales, and isolated pockets of Victoria's eastern coast.

  • January rainfall was very much above average for Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia
  • January rainfall was below average along east of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria and southeastern New South Wales, as well as other patches of New South Wales and southeastern Queensland
  • Areas of rainfall deficiencies persist at three-month and four-month timescales in southeast Queensland and pockets of coastal New South Wales.

Product code: IDCKGD0AR0


Soil moisture data is from the Bureau's Australian Water Resources Assessment Landscape (AWRA-L) model, developed through the Water Information Research and Development Alliance between the Bureau and CSIRO.
See: Australian Landscape Water Balance.

This section displays rainfall maps. Current drought status is described in the previous section. For historical drought status statements, go to archive of drought statements

Also available at Maps – recent conditions

What is drought?

Drought is a prolonged, abnormally dry period when the amount of available water is insufficient to meet our normal use. Drought is not simply low rainfall; if it was, much of inland Australia would be in almost perpetual drought. Because people use water in so many different ways, there is no universal definition of drought. Meteorologists monitor the extent and severity of drought in terms of rainfall deficiencies. Agriculturalists rate the impact on primary industries, hydrologists compare ground water levels, and sociologists define it by social expectations and perceptions.

It is generally difficult to compare one drought to another, since each drought differs in the seasonality, location, spatial extent and duration of the associated rainfall deficiencies. Additionally, each drought is accompanied by varying temperatures and soil moisture deficits.

Rainfall averages, variability and trends

Median rainfall map, links to climate average maps An area experiences a rainfall deficit when the total rain received is less than the average rainfall for that period.

Definitions

Lowest on record - lowest since at least 1900 when the data analysed begin.
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.