Drought

No Drought Statement issued for December

November rainfall was below average for large parts the south of Western Australia and most of South Australia away from the eastern and northern border, northern New South Wales and southern Queensland away from their western borders. Rainfall was also below average for the Cape York Peninsula, east coast New South Wales, and much of southwestern and central southern Victoria.

Rainfall was above average for most of Tasmania, large areas of the Northern Territory (mostly in the west and Top End), and across large parts of Western Australia north of Shark Bay. Rainfall was also above average for pockets of southwestern New South Wales and northeastern South Australia.

NULL

Soil moisture

Soil moisture in the lower layer (from 10 cm to 100 cm deep) remains above average for most of southeastern Australia and areas of the north. Compared to October, soil moisture has declined markedly and is now close to average across large areas of Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the northern half of Western Australia.

Soil moisture for the month was below average for Western Australia south of Shark Bay, and in areas along the east coast of Australia in southeast Queensland, the Cape York Peninsula and New South Wales.

  • November rainfall was below average for much of the southern and eastern mainland, and above average for much of Tasmania, areas of the Northern Territory, and central to northern Western Australia.
  • Dry, warm and windy conditions in the past month mean soil moisture has undergone a rapid change in many areas. Vigorous vegetation growth has also drawn moisture from soils.
  • Lower layer soil moisture for November was above average for most of southeastern Australia and parts of the north, but below average for the south of Western Australia and pockets of the east coast, particularly southeastern Queensland.

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.