Weekly update - 1 February 2018

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • During the week ending 31 January 2018 rainfall was received across every state and territory with the heaviest rainfall recorded across northern Australia.
  • Maximum and minimum temperatures were 2°C to 10°C above average across most of southern and eastern Australia during the week ending 30 January 2018. The highest anomalies (6°C to 10°C) were recorded in western New South Wales, south west Queensland, north east South Australia, western Victoria and Tasmania.
  • Relative upper layer soil moisture for January 2018 was well below average to extremely low across large areas of Queensland and adjacent parts of north east New South Wales, parts of western Victoria and Tasmania. In contrast, it was well above average across southern New South Wales, eastern Victoria and much of the western half of Australia.
  • During the next eight days, rainfall is expected mainly across western and northern Australia. A series of low pressure systems and troughs around northern Australia are forecast to bring further heavy rainfall.
  • A weak La Niña continues in the Pacific Ocean, but may have peaked in recent weeks, with most models now forecasting that La Niña will end in the southern autumn.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 1 February 2018 by 379 gigalitres (GL) to 13,717 GL and are at 61 per cent of total capacity. This is 17 percentage points or 3,784 GL less than at the same time last year.
  • Allocation prices in the southern Murray-Darling Basin increased in the week ending 1 February 2018 to $109 per ML. This is an increase of $3 from the same time last week.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 31 January 2018 rainfall was received across every state and territory with the heaviest rainfall recorded across northern Australia. An active monsoon trough with embedded tropical lows brought widespread heavy rainfall to northern Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Far North Queensland, with isolated totals exceeding 400 millimetres. Rainfall totals between 15 and 50 millimetres, were recorded in eastern New South Wales, eastern Victoria, central and northern Queensland, central South Australia, central Western Australia and Tasmania. In contrast, large areas of central Australia and south west Western Australia received little to no rain. The highest recorded weekly total was 800 millimetres at Darwin in the Northern Territory.

Rainfall - week ending 31 January 2018

Map showing weekly rainfall totals in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.  

©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 31/01/2018

Note: The rainfall analyses and associated maps utilise data contained in the Bureau of Meteorology climate database, the Australian Data Archive for Meteorology (ADAM). The analyses are initially produced automatically from real-time data with limited quality control. They are intended to provide a general overview of rainfall across Australia as quickly as possible after the observations are received. For further information go to Weekly Rainfall Update.

Temperature anomalies this week

For the week ending 30 January 2018, maximum and minimum temperatures were 2°C to 10°C above average across most of southern and eastern Australia, with the highest anomalies (6°C to 10°C) recorded in western New South Wales, south west Queensland, north east South Australia, western Victoria and Tasmania. In contrast, maximum temperatures were -2°C to -8°C below average in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, which is consistent with the heavy rainfall that was recorded across northern Australia this week.

Maximum temperature anomalies - week ending 30 January 2018

Map showing maximum temperature anomalies in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description. 

©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 30/01/2018

Minimum temperature anomalies - week ending 30 January 2018

Map showing minimum temperature anomalies in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.] 

©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 30/01/2018

Note: Spatial temperature analyses are based on historical weekly temperature data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. These temperature anomaly maps show the departure of the maximum and minimum temperatures from their long-term averages. Temperature anomalies are calculated using high-resolution gridded datasets from 1911 onwards. For further information go to Daily maximum temperature for Australia.

Monthly soil moisture

Relative upper layer soil moisture for January 2018 was well below average to extremely low across large areas of Queensland and adjacent parts of north east New South Wales, parts of western Victoria and Tasmania. In contrast, it was well above average across parts of southern New South Wales, eastern Victoria and much of the western half of Australia. It was close to average across the remainder of the country.

In summer cropping regions upper layer soil moisture was extremely low for southern Queensland, and below average to average in northern New South Wales. Meanwhile it was average or above in southern New South Wales.

Modelling upper layer soil moisture for January 2018

 

Source: Bureau of Meteorology (Australian Water Resources Assessment Landscape model)
Note: This map shows the levels of modelled upper layer soil moisture (0 to 10 centimetres) during December 2017. This map shows how modelled soil conditions during December 2017 compare with December conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2015). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in December 2017 than during the same period over the reference period. The dark red areas were much drier than during the reference period. The bulk of plant roots occur in the top 20 centimetres of the soil profile. Soil moisture in the upper layer of the soil profile is therefore the most appropriate indicator of the availability of water, particularly for germinating plants. The lower layer soil moisture is a larger, deeper store that is slower to respond to rainfall and tends to reflect accumulated rainfall events over longer time periods.

Relative lower layer soil moisture for January 2018 was extremely low to well below average across much of Queensland, northern New South Wales, western Victoria, parts of eastern South Australia and eastern Northern Territory and much of Tasmania. Lower layer soil moisture was average to extremely high across most of Western Australia and Northern Territory and much of South Australia.

In cropping regions, lower layer soil moisture was extremely low to well below average in Queensland and northern New South Wales, and below average in Victoria and eastern South Australia. It was average to well above average in southern New South Wales, western South Australian and Western Australian cropping regions.

Modelling lower layer soil moisture for January 2018

 

Source: Bureau of Meteorology (Australian Water Resources Assessment Landscape model)
Note: This map shows the levels of modelled lower layer soil moisture (10 centimetres to 1 metre) during December 2017. This map shows how modelled soil conditions during December 2017 compare with December conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2015). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in December 2017 than during the same period over the reference period. The dark red areas were much drier than during the reference period. The bulk of plant roots occur in the top 20 centimetres of the soil profile. Soil moisture in the upper layer of the soil profile is therefore the most appropriate indicator of the availability of water, particularly for germinating plants. The lower layer soil moisture is a larger, deeper store that is slower to respond to rainfall and tends to reflect accumulated rainfall events over longer time periods.

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

Rainfall is expected mainly in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, during the next eight days. A series of low pressure systems and troughs around northern Australia are forecast to bring further heavy rainfall, with totals forecast between 10 and 100 millimetres for most of Queensland, most of the Northern Territory and much of Western Australia and parts of western South Australia. Lower totals between 1 and 10 millimetres are predicted in north and coastal New South Wales, central South Australia and Tasmania.

This rainfall forecast is produced from computer models. As it contains no input from weather forecasters, it is important to check local forecasts and warnings issued by the Bureau of Meteorology.

Total forecast rainfall (mm) for the period 1 to 8 February 2018

Map of the total forecast rainfall for the next 8 days. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description. 

Source: ©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 1/02/2018

El Niño–Southern Oscillation Update

A weak La Niña continues in the Pacific Ocean, but may have peaked in recent weeks. Sea surface temperatures in the central tropical Pacific have warmed slightly since late December, with most models now forecasting that La Niña will end in the southern autumn.

During summer, La Niña normally brings above average rainfall to eastern Australia–particularly in northern New South Wales and Queensland. Rainfall outlooks for Australia suggest that the current La Niña is likely to have less influence on summer rainfall than previous stronger events. La Niña can also increase the likelihood of prolonged warm spells for south-eastern Australia (Bureau of Meteorology ‘ENSO Wrap-Up’, 30 January 2018).

Water

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Water availability

Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 1 February 2018 by 379 gigalitres (GL) to 13,717 GL and are at 61 per cent of total capacity. This is 17 percentage points or 3,784 GL less than at the same time last year.

Visit the interactive Tableau data dashboard

Water storages in the Murray-Darling Basin (NSW, Victoria and Queensland)

Line graph showing water storages in the Murray–Darling Basin (NSW, Victoria and Queensland) from 2001 to 2017, measured as a percentage of the total storage of 22,598 gigalitres. 

Information on water available in dams used for irrigation the Murray–Darling Basin from 1 January 2001 to 1 February 2018 is shown above. The top horizontal (short dash) line indicates the storage level during a similar time last year. The bottom horizontal (long dash) line indicates the amount of ‘dead’ or unusable storage.

Water allocations

On 31 January 2018 NSW Department of Primary Industries – Water announced allocation increases of:

  • 3.79 per cent for NSW Border Rivers General Security B to 19.62 per cent

The current water allocations for the 2017–18 water trading season for licence holders in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia water systems are summarised in the following table and charts.

Water allocations in the Murray–Darling Basin (NSW, Victoria and South Australia)

Allocations at

1 February 2018

15 January 2018

New South Wales

General security

High security

General security

High security

NSW Murray

49%

97%

49%

97%

NSW Murrumbidgee

33%

95%

33%

95%

NSW Lower Darling

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Macquarie and Cudgegong

38%

100%

38%

100%

NSW Hunter

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Lachlan

2%

100%

2%

100%

NSW Lower Namoi

7%

100%

7%

100%

NSW Upper Namoi

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Gwydir

17%

100%

17%

100%

NSW Border Rivers

100%(a)/19.62%(b)

100%

100%(a)/15.83%(b)

100%

NSW Peel

100%

100%

100%

100%

Victoria

Low reliability

High reliability

Low reliability

High reliability

Victoria Murray

0%

100%

0%

100%

Victoria Goulburn

0%

100%

0%

100%

Victoria Campaspe

52%

100%

52%

100%

Victoria Loddon

0%

100%

0%

100%

Victoria Bullarook

100%

100%

100%

100%

Victoria Broken

100%

100%

100%

100%

South Australia

 

Class 3a/3b

 

Class 3a/3b

South Australia Murray

 

100%

 

100%

Select water allocation percentages in the southern Murray-Darling Basin

 

 

 

 

Water markets

Allocation prices in the southern Murray–Darling Basin increased in the week ending 1 February 2018 to $109 per ML. This is an increase of $3 from the same time last week. This contrasts with an average price of $101 in January across the whole southern MDB, and $82 during the same time last year.

Allocation trade activity in the southern Murray–Darling Basin

Allocation trade activity in the southern Murray-Darling Basin. The trades shown reflect market activity and do not encompass all register trades. The price line reflects locally fitted price values for the entire southern Murray-Darling Basin.  

The trades shown reflect estimated market activity and do not encompass all register trades. The price line reflects locally fitted price values for the entire southern Murray–Darling Basin. Data shown is current until 1 February 2018. Trade activity is shown as colour density.

Allocation trade prices, southern Murray–Darling Basin trade zones

 

Southern MDB

Victoria Goulburn

SA Murray

NSW Murrumbidgee

Victoria Murray

NSW Murray

Current week: 26/01/18 – 01/02/18

$108.86

$81.58

$111.09

$122.88

$111.14

$115.96

Last week: 19/01/18 – 25/01/18

$106.25

$81.26

$108.44

$121.85

$112.07

$109.32

December 2017

$101.10

$77.92

$114.64

$120.50

$108.41

$110.06

December 2016

$82.09

$93.83

$108.50

$57.61

$95.63

$87.36

Commodities

Current indicators – 1 February 2018

IndicatorWeek endedUnitLatest pricePrice week priorWeekly changePrice 12 months priorYear on year changeChart

Selected world indicator prices

Australian Dollar – AUD/USD Exchange Rate31-JanUS$/A$0.810.81%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.0.767%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wheat – US no. 2 hard red winter wheat, fob Gulf30-JanUS$/t2322253%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.20513%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Coarse Grains – US no. 2 yellow corn, fob Gulf31-JanUS$/t1591562%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.161-1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Europe, fob Hamburga30-JanUS$/t4324222%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.457-5%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index31-JanUSc/lb91.393.6-1% This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.83.69%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Sugar – Intercontinental Exchange, nearby futures, no.11 contract31-JanUSc/lb13.413.22%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.20.5-35%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator25-JanAc/kg clean1,7441,801-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.1,41224%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wool – Western Market Indicator26-JanAc/kg clean1,8211,860-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.1,45725%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart

Selected domestic crop indicator prices

Milling Wheat – ASW1, track quote, Port Adelaide, SA23-JanA$/t224222<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.18422%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Wheat – General purpose, Sydney, NSW31-JanA$/t2532530%19927%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Barley – Sydney, NSW31-JanA$/t2622620%17847%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Canola – Portland, Vic.29-JanA$/t478482<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.532-10%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Grain Sorghum – Sydney, NSW31-JanA$/t2852850%23422%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart

Selected domestic livestock indicator prices

Beef – Eastern Young Cattle Indicator01-FebAc/kg cwt533546-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.655-19%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Mutton – Mutton indicator (18-24 kg fat score 2-3), Vic26-JanAc/kg cwt399408-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.403<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Lamb – Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator01-FebAc/kg cwt637633<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.645-1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Pig – Eastern Seaboard (60.1-75 kg), average of buyers & sellers19-JanAc/kg cwt274277-1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.371-26%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Goat – Eastern States (12.1-16 kg)29-JanAc/kg cwt4834830%620-22%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Live cattle – Light steers ex Darwin to Indonesia27-JanAc/kg lwt3203200%375-15%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Live sheep – Live wether (Muchea WA saleyard) to Middle East29-Jan$/head114122-7%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.10311%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart

Global Dairy Trade weighted average pricesa

Dairy – Whole milk powder16-JanUS$/t3,0102,8864%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.3,283-8%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder16-JanUS$/t1,8181,6997%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.2,612-30%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese16-JanUS$/t3,4863,3175%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.3,940-12%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat16-JanUS$/t6,5476,4052%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.5,52818%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart

a Global Dairy Trade prices are updated twice monthly on the first and third Tuesday of each month.

Movements in selected fruit and vegetable prices
Data attribution

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Last reviewed:
01 Feb 2018