Climatic contextual data

Australian rainfall deciles, July 2004  June 2005
Total rainfall for July 2004 – June 2005
Sourced from Bureau of Meterology

When assessing the water availability, water use and river and wetland health situation for AWR 2005 it is important to refer back to the climatic conditions prevailing at the time. Below is some contextual information that provides some background for the nation.

Apart from the heavy and, in some cases, record June 2005 rainfall over eastern and southern coastal Australia, the year July 2004 June 2005 was very dry, particularly in central and northwestern Australia and in far eastern Western Australia, where the driest period on record occurred. The 2004-05 period of rainfall deficits follows a series of average to below average rainfalls since the severe drought of 2002-03 ( Drought Statement archive, Bureau of Meteorology ).

Despite the heavy June 2005 rains in some regions, rainfall deficits from the previous three years and longer that have had major impacts on water storages and streamflows in particular still remain across large parts of eastern Australia. There were no prolonged periods of widespread above average falls over 2004-05 to fully remove rainfall deficiencies for the year, as shown in the maps below.

As far as the Murray-Darling Basin is concerned, rainfall data indicate that, at the end of June 2005, this region was in the midst of its worst multi-year period of rainfall deficiencies since the 1940s. Furthermore, the effects of rainfall deficits (lowest on record totals in many regions) have been exacerbated by some of the highest temperatures on record. The heavy June 2005 rainfall removed or eased deficiencies in the far northeast of South Australia and the adjacent parts of western New South Wales , western Queensland and the southeast of the Northern Territory. Northern Tasmania has also been severely affected, with an area to the east of Launceston having had its driest 12-month July to June period on record for the 2004-05 year.

Rainfall, temperature, and evapotranspiration are discussed further in the section covering “What is our total water resource?” .

Further information about climatic averages can be obtained from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Percentage of mean annual rainfall during July 2004  June 2005
Percentage of mean annual rainfall for July 2004 – June 2005
Sourced from Bureau of Meteorology


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This website was last updated in 2007. It is no longer being maintained but remains here as an archive for information.01/06/2007