Drought continues to break records – but is the end in sight?

Written by Ross Watson from Ross Watson Agriculture

This drought continues to break many long term rainfall records!

The last 6 months, April to September 2019, with ONLY 61 mm of rain, is now the driest 6 month period ever recorded and the driest April-September period in over 145 years (1874 to 2019) of climate records at Scone!

I have looked back through Scone’s climate records to find the TOP 20- Driest 6 month periods. They are presented and ranked in the Table below.

When you look at my table some interesting observations can be made.

  • Very dry 6 month periods are a relatively common event, which you need to consider in your planning.
  • These 6 month periods are just part of our natural climate cycle.
  • These dry 6 month periods are NOT some new “Climate Change” phenomena, as you will see many similar events have regularly occurred throughout the last 145 years.
  • The incidence of these dry 6 months is evenly divided over this period. In the first 72 years of this period there were 9 events, while in the last 73 years there were 11 events.
  • The combination of low April-Sept rainfall in 2017+2018+2019 has made this drought severe.
  • Interestingly, 80% of these extremely dry 6 month periods, occur in the autumn to early spring period eg March to August /April to Sept or May to October.
  • The highest risk period for low 6 month rainfall is in fact April to September, as has been the case in 2017+2018+2019. Low April-Sept rainfall is a common occurrence.
  • Only 10% of these TOP 20 driest 6 months occurred in January to June or June to November. Other 6 month period did not display consistently low rainfall.

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The good news out of all this is, maybe we might have gone through the worst with this very dry April-September. Based on previous events, the chances of moderate to good rainfall in late spring-summer, after a very dry April-Sept is reasonably good.

To try to end on a positive note, yes, this drought is breaking new records, and remember “all records are rarely broken by much”.

“In every perfectly sunny day, there is a storm hiding, and in every rain storm lies a drought waiting its turn. Up and down and the unexpected, are the norms of nature.” Dr Wayne Dyer.

*Ross Watson regularly shares valuable information on a range of topics including pastures, soils & the weather, be sure to check out his website www.pastureimprovement.com.au

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