Weekly update - 7 December 2017

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

Key issues

  • During the week ending 6 December 2017 rainfall totals above 25 millimetres were recorded across large areas of all states and territories.
  • Maximum temperatures were -2°C to -6°C below average during the week ending 5 December 2017 in southern Queensland, eastern Western Australia, southern parts of the Northern Territory and across most of New South Wales and South Australia.
  • Rainfall during November 2017 was well above average for most of the Northern Territory and South Australia. Rainfall was generally close to average for the remainder of the country, except Tasmania where rainfall was extremely low to severely deficient.
  • Rainfall during spring 2017 was generally average to above average for the season as a whole, although there was a mixture of very dry and very wet periods.
  • Spring 2017 was the sixth-warmest spring on record. All states and territories except South Australia and the Northern Territory observed mean temperatures for the season in the ten warmest on record.
  • Rainfall is mainly expected in isolated parts of eastern, south-eastern and northern Australia during the next eight days.
  • The Bureau of Meteorology has raised its ENSO Outlook to LA NIÑA, indicating that sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific have reached La Niña levels. Climate models suggest this La Niña will be weak and short-lived.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) increased during the week ending 7 December 2017 by 420 gigalitres (GL) to 15,985 GL and are at 71 per cent of total capacity. This is 16 percentage points or 3,511 GL less than at the same time last year.
  • Allocation prices in the southern Murray–Darling Basin declined in the week ending 7 December 2017 to $113 per ML. This is a decrease of $5 from the same time last week.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 6 December 2017 rainfall totals above 25 millimetres were recorded across large areas of all states and territories, although there was little to no rainfall in most of inland Western Australia. The combination of a low pressure system and upper level trough brought widespread thunderstorms extending from north-western to south-eastern Australia.

Totals in excess of 150 millimetres were recorded in parts of north-eastern Victoria, south-eastern New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland. Similar totals were observed in parts of far northern Queensland and northern parts of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Parts of southern New South Wales and northern Victoria have already recorded twice the average rainfall for the month of December. The highest recorded weekly total was 253 millimetres at Pacific Haven, near Bundaberg in Queensland.

Rainfall - week ending 6 December 2017

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 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 6/12/2017

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.

Rainfall percentages, 1 to 6 December 2017

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 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 6/12/2017

Note: This map compares the rainfall received since the start of the current month with the long-term average for the entire month.

Temperature anomalies this week

Following three weeks of unseasonal warmth across southern Australia, maximum temperatures were below average during the week ending 5 December 2017. They ranged from -2°C to -6°C below average in southern Queensland, eastern Western Australia, southern parts of the Northern Territory and across most of New South Wales and South Australia. For the reminder of Australia maximum temperatures were close to average. Minimum temperatures were generally close to average for most of the country, although they were above average (2°C to 4°C) in the southern half of New South Wales and all of Victoria and Tasmania.

Maximum temperature anomalies - week ending 5 December 2017

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 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 5/12/2017

Minimum temperature anomalies - week ending 5 December 2017

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 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 5/12/2017

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 rainfall

Rainfall during November 2017 was above average for Australia as a whole. Monthly totals were well above average for most of the Northern Territory and South Australia. Rainfall was also above average in adjacent parts of bordering states; in the Kimberley and south-eastern Western Australia, parts of the Gulf Country and western Queensland. Rainfall was generally close to average for the remainder of the country, except Tasmania where rainfall was extremely low to severely deficient.

In cropping regions, November 2017 rainfall was close to average in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. It was above average in Victoria and South Australia.

Rainfall percentiles for November 2017

Map showing chance of exceeding the median rainfall. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description. 

Source: Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 5/12/2017

Note: Rainfall for November 2017 is compared with rainfall recorded for that period during the historical record (1900 to present). For further information, go to Australian Water Availability Project

Monthly soil moisture

Relative upper layer soil moisture for November 2017 was extremely high in most of the Northern Territory and South Australia. Across the remainder of Australia it was close to average, except Tasmania where it was well below average to extremely low. The pattern of relative upper layer soil moisture reflects November 2017 rainfall.

In cropping regions upper layer soil moisture was close to average in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, eastern South Australia and Western Australia. It was well above average on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.

Modelling upper layer soil moisture for November 2017

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: 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 November 2017. This map shows how modelled soil conditions during November 2017 compare with November conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2015). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in November 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 November 2017 was extremely high in central, north-eastern and parts of eastern Australia. For the rest of the country it was close to average, except for isolated areas of extremely low lower layer soil moisture in south-eastern, southern and western Australia.

In cropping regions, lower layer soil moisture was generally close to average in all states, with the exception of well below average soil moisture in parts of the central and western regions of the South Australian cropping zone, and western parts of the Western Australian cropping zone.

Modelling lower layer soil moisture for November 2017

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: 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 November 2017. This map shows how modelled soil conditions during November 2017 compare with November conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2015). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in November 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.

Seasonal rainfall

Spring 2017 rainfall was generally average to above average for the season as a whole. However, there was a mixture of very dry and very wet periods. September was particularly dry in south-eastern Australia, while October was wetter than average in Queensland and northern New South Wales. November rainfall was close to average in eastern and western Australia but well above average across central Australia.

Spring rainfall in cropping regions was generally average in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, and above average in Queensland.

Rainfall percentiles for spring 2017 (1 September to 30 November 2017)

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: Bureau of Meteorology

Note: Rainfall for September to November 2017 is compared with rainfall recorded for that period during the historical record (1900 to present). For further information, go to Australian Water Availability Project

Seasonal temperature

Spring 2017 was the sixth-warmest spring on record. All states and territories except South Australia and the Northern Territory observed mean temperatures for the season in the ten warmest on record. Both maximum and minimum temperatures were above to very much above average over the majority of Australia (Bureau of Meteorology, ‘Australia in spring 2017’, 1 December 2017).

Several periods of heat during September and November contributed to the very warm spring. A series of persistent blocking high pressure systems and troughs were responsible for these extended periods of warm weather. These events are discussed in the Special Climate Statements ‘Exceptional September heat in eastern Australia’ (5 October 2017) and ‘A prolonged warm spell in Tasmania and Victoria’ (4 December 2017) issued by the Bureau of Meteorology.

Maximum temperature deciles for spring 2017

 

Source: ©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 3/12/2017

Minimum temperature deciles for spring 2017

 

Source: ©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 3/12/2017

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

Rainfall is mainly expected in isolated parts of eastern, south-eastern and northern Australia during the next eight days. Totals between 10 and 50 millimetres are forecast for north-eastern New South Wales, south-eastern, central and far northern Queensland, and eastern Victoria. Similar totals are predicted in the Kimberley and Pilbara in Western Australia, across the Top End in the Northern Territory, and for most of Tasmania except the north coast. Little to no rainfall is forecast for the rest of the country.

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 7 to 14 December 2017

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 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 7/12/2017

El Niño–Southern Oscillation Update

The Bureau of Meteorology has raised its ENSO Outlook to LA NIÑA, indicating that sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific have reached La Niña levels. Climate models suggest this La Niña will be weak and short-lived, persisting until early autumn 2018.

While La Niña typically brings above average rainfall to eastern Australia during late spring and summer, sea surface temperature patterns in the Indian Ocean and closer to Australia are not typical of a La Niña event, reducing the likelihood of widespread above average summer rainfall. This indicates that during the next three months, climatic conditions in Australia are expected to be largely driven by localised influences such as sea surface temperatures around the Australian coastline, rather than large-scale oceanic drivers such as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the Indian Ocean Dipole (Bureau of Meteorology ‘ENSO Wrap-Up’, 5 December 2017).

Water

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Water availability

Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) increased during the week ending 7 December 2017 by 420 gigalitres (GL) to 15,985 GL and are at 71 per cent of total capacity. This is 16 percentage points or 3,511 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 7 December 2017 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.

Changes in regional water storage for November 2017 and the previous 12 months are summarised in the table and graph below (current at 7 December 2017).

Region

Total capacity

Current volume

Current volume

Monthly change

Monthly change

Annual change

Annual change

 

(GL)

(GL)

(%)

(GL)

(%)

(GL)

(%)

Murray–Darling Basin (MDB)

22,559

15,985

71

–58

0

–3,511

–16

Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) controlled storages

9,352

6,892

74

–99

–1

–1,179

–13

Queensland MDB

186

132

71

–10

–5

–25

–13

Central Queensland

3,154

2,381

75

–38

–1

62

2

South–east Queensland

3,517

2,244

64

2

0

77

2

New South Wales MDB

13,884

8,865

64

–211

–2

–3,722

–27

Coastal New South Wales

1,074

880

82

–12

–1

–106

–10

Victoria MDB

8,488

6,988

82

163

2

236

3

State water storages in the Murray–Darling Basin (NSW, Victoria and Queensland)

 

Water allocations

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.

On  1 December 2017 NSW Department of Primary Industries – Water announced allocation increases of:

  • 4% for NSW Murray general security to 39%

On  1 December 2017 the Resource Manager for Northern Victoria announced seasonal determination increases of:

  • 43% for Victoria Broken low reliability to 63%
  • 13% for Victoria Campaspe low reliability to 46%
  • 6% for Victoria Goulburn high reliability to 100%

6% for Victoria Loddon high reliability to 100%

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

Allocations at

7 December 2017

24 November 2017

New South Wales

General security

High security

General security

High security

NSW Murray

39%

97%

35%

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

16%

100%

16%

100%

NSW Border Rivers

100%(a)/14.7%(b)

100%

100%(a)/14.7%(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%

94%

Victoria Campaspe

46%

100%

33%

100%

Victoria Loddon

0%

100%

0%

94%

Victoria Bullarook

100%

100%

100%

100%

Victoria Broken

63%

100%

20%

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 declined in the week ending 7 December 2017 to $113 per ML. This is a decrease of $5 from the same time last week. This contrasts with an average price of $120 in November across the whole southern MDB, and $93 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 7 December 2017. 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: 01/12/17 – 07/12/17

$113.31

$86.12

$130.42

$124.16

$107.43

$90.00

Last week: 24/11/17 – 30/11/17

$118.13

$88.55

$141.36

$135.59

$128.99

$128.86

November 2017

$119.89

$93.93

$138.96

$137.06

$130.84

$133.01

November 2016

$92.70

$100.58

$101.19

$66.25

$102.07

$84.84

Commodities

Current indicators – 30 December 2017

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

Selected world indicator prices

Australian Dollar – AUD/USD Exchange Rate06-DecUS$/A$0.760.760%0.743%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wheat – US no. 2 hard red winter wheat, fob Gulf05-DecUS$/t219218<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.18022%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 Gulf06-DecUS$/t1521483%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.1520% chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Europe, fob Hamburga05-DecUS$/t437434<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.441<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index06-DecUSc/lb83.382.02% This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.79.75%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 contract06-DecUSc/lb14.915.2-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.19.6-24%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator30-NovAc/kg clean1,6761,669<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.1,37822%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wool – Western Market Indicator01-DecAc/kg clean1,7251,717<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.1,43820%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, SA05-DecA$/t238240<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.19423%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Wheat – General purpose, Sydney, NSW06-DecA$/t2682584%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.22420%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Barley – Sydney, NSW06-DecA$/t250254-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.18337%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Canola – Portland, Vic.04-DecA$/t522525<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.523<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Grain Sorghum – Sydney, NSW06-DecA$/t3193190%24331%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 Indicator30-NovAc/kg cwt580577<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.645-10%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), Vic01-DecAc/kg cwt4764701%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.42313%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Lamb – Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator07-DecAc/kg cwt616613<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.51520%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Pig – Eastern Seaboard (60.1-75 kg), average of buyers & sellers24-NovAc/kg cwt277276<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.377-27%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)04-DecAc/kg cwt4904900%600-18%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 Indonesia02-DecAc/kg lwt3303203%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.370-11%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 East04-Dec$/head1131130%8631%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 powder05-DecUS$/t2,8302,7782%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.3,593-21%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder05-DecUS$/t1,7741,7014%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.2,570-31%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese05-DecUS$/t3,6963,831-4%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.3,752-1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat05-DecUS$/t6,8366,887<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.5,50024%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:
07 Dec 2017