Weekly update - 11 May 2017

​Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • During the week ending 10 May 2017 little to no rainfall was recorded across the majority of Australia. Rainfall totals in excess of 25 millimetres were recorded in parts of Queensland’s east coast, western Tasmania, and south-western Western Australia.
  • A series of high pressure systems have brought dry weather to much of Australia this month, with many weather stations recording less than twenty per cent of their monthly average rainfall during the first ten days of May.
  • During the week ending 9 May 2017 maximum temperatures were generally above average across much of the country, with much of Queensland and Western Australia recording temperatures between 4°C and 6°C above average. Minimum temperatures ranged from above average in the north-east and south-west of the country, to below average in the south-east.
  • The forecast for the next eight days indicates that dry conditions are expected to continue across much of western and central Australia. Rainfall totals exceeding 15 millimetres are expected in parts of Queensland, north-western New South Wales, eastern South Australia and parts of southern Western Australia and northern Tasmania.
  • Indicators in the tropical Pacific remain at neutral levels and international climate models have reduced the likelihood of El Niño this year.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 11 May 2017 by 170 gigalitres (GL) to 15,161 GL and are at 67 per cent of total capacity.
  • Year to date exports of major crops have increased substantially compared with the same period in 2015–16.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 10 May 2017 little to no rainfall was recorded across the majority of Australia. Rainfall totals in excess of 25 millimetres were recorded in parts of Queensland’s east coast, western Tasmania, and south-western Western Australia. The highest recorded weekly total was 155 millimetres at Sandy Cape Lighthouse on the northern end of Fraser Island, near Bundaberg in Queensland.

It has been a dry start to May across much of Australia with many weather stations recording less than twenty per cent of their monthly average rainfall during the first ten days of the month. A series of high pressure systems have brought the dry weather, blocking cold fronts and troughs that typically bring rainfall at this time of the year. These dry conditions have come after a particularly dry April in cropping regions of Western Australia and Queensland and have reportedly resulted in a halt in the planting of winter cereals and oilseed crops in these regions because of a lack of upper layer soil moisture.

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 - week ending 10 May 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: 10/05/2017

Temperature anomalies this week

During the week ending 9 May 2017 maximum temperatures were generally above average across much of the country, with much of inland Queensland and most of Western Australia recording temperatures between 4°C and 6°C above average. Minimum temperatures ranged from above average in the north-east and south-west of the country, to below average across the south-east.

Maximum temperature anomalies - week ending 9 May 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: 9/05/2017

Minimum temperature anomalies - week ending 9 May 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: 9/05/2017

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.

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

The forecast for the next eight days indicates that dry conditions are expected to continue across much of western and central Australia. Rainfall totals exceeding 15 millimetres are forecast for central and south-western Queensland, north-western New South Wales and eastern South Australia. Similar totals are forecast for parts of southern Western Australia and northern 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 11 to 18 May 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. 

©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 11/05/2017

El Niño–Southern Oscillation Update

Since last month, some international climate models have reduced the likelihood of El Niño. Five of eight models still indicate the tropical Pacific Ocean may exceed El Niño thresholds by September 2017. The Bureau of Meteorology’s ENSO Outlook remains at El Niño WATCH.

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) remains neutral and four out of six climate models suggest a positive IOD is likely to develop during winter. A positive IOD is often associated with below average winter–spring rainfall, and can reinforce the drying influence of an El Niño, particularly over south-eastern Australia.

Water

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Water availability

Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 11 May 2017 by 170 gigalitres (GL) to 15,161 GL and are at 67 per cent of total capacity. This is 37 percentage points or 8,400 GL more than at the same time last year.

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 2000 to 2017, measured as a percentage of the total storage of 22,598 gigalitres. 

Information on irrigation water available in the Murray–Darling Basin from 1 January 2001 to 4 May 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.

Water allocations

The current water allocations for the 2016–17 water trading season for licence holders in New South Wales, Victorian and South Australian water systems are summarised in the following table.

  • In New South Wales, Border Rivers General security B allocations have increased by 33 per cent to 113 per cent, and Gwydir General security allocations have increased by 3 per cent to 78 per cent.

Allocations at

11 May 2017

13 April 2017

New South Wales

General security

High security

General security

High security

NSW Murray Valley*

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Murrumbidgee Valley*

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Lower Darling*

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Macquarie and Cudgegong Valley*

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Hunter Valley

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Lachlan Valley*

129%

100%

129%

100%

NSW Lower Namoi*

125%

100%

125%

100%

NSW Upper Namoi*

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Gwydir Valley*

77.8%

100%

75%

100%

NSW Border Rivers*

100%(a) / 113%(b)

100%

100%(a) / 80%(b)

100%

NSW Peel Valley

100%

100%

100%

100%

Victoria

Low reliability*

High reliability*

Low reliability*

High reliability*

Victoria Murray Valley

5%

100%

5%

100%

Victoria Goulburn

0%

100%

0%

100%

Victoria Campaspe

100%

100%

100%

100%

Victoria Loddon

0%

100%

0%

100%

Victoria Bullarook

100%

100%

100%

100%

Victoria Broken

100%

100%

100%

100%

South Australia

 

High security

 

High security

South Australia Murray Valley*

 

100%

 

100%

*Carryover water may also be available
a General Security A class. b General Security B class

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. Data shown is current until Thursday 11 May, 2017. 

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. Data shown is current until Thursday 11 May, 2017.

 

Goulburn

South
Australia

Murrumbidgee

Victoria
Murray

NSW
Murray

Current week: 05/05/17 - 11/05/17

$30.14

$33.91

$5.13

$32.57

$25.24

Last week: 28/04/17 - 04/05/17

$37.62

$49.99

$6.26

$40.79

$28.69

April 2017

$42.14

$36.43

$10.93

$42.81

$35.65

April 2016

$248.09

$242.75

$207.77

$246.43

$237.31

Commodities

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Market focus

Crop exports

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released March 2017 Australian export data on 4 May 2017. Between July 2016 and March 2017, Australia exported:

  • 15 million tonnes of wheat valued at $4.2 billion. The largest markets were Indonesia (18 per cent in value terms), India (16 per cent) and China (10 per cent). While the volume exported increased by 28 per cent compared with the same 9 month period in 2015–16, the total value rose by only 8 per cent.
  • 6.8 million tonnes of barley valued at $1.7 billion. The volume and value of barley exports increased by 80 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively, compared with the same period in
    2015–16.
  • 2.7 million tonnes of canola valued at $1.6 billion. The largest markets were Germany (44 per cent in value terms), Belgium (26 per cent) and France (8 per cent). The volume and value of exports increased by 55 per cent and 74 per cent, respectively, when compared with the same period in 2015–16.
  • 1.7 million tonnes of chickpeas valued at $1.6 billion. The largest markets were India (60 per cent in value terms), Pakistan (23 per cent) and Bangladesh (9 per cent). The volume and value of exports increased by 62 per cent and 79 per cent, respectively, compared with the same period in 2015–16.

Monthly major crop exports, July 2015 to March 2017

Stacked bar chart showing monthly major crop exports (wheat, barley, canola, chickpeas), July 2015 to March 2017
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, Mar 2017 (cat. no. 5368.0)

Current indicators

Last reviewed:
14 Jun 2017