Weekly update - 27 April 2017

​​Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • During the week ending 26 April 2017 rainfall was predominantly recorded in southern and central Australia with weekly totals exceeding 50 millimetres in Victoria and adjacent parts of New South Wales, central South Australia and northern Tasmania.
  • These falls have provided a timely autumn break and boosted soil moisture levels in cropping areas in southern New South Wales, western Victoria and South Australia as these areas enter the optimal planting window for winter cereals and oilseeds.
  • During the week ending 25 April 2017 maximum temperatures were between 4°C and 6°C above average in parts of south-western Queensland and the Northern Territory. Minimum temperatures were generally above average across much of south-eastern and central Australia.
  • The rainfall outlook for May to July 2017 indicates that below average rainfall is more likely across most of Australia with the exception of Far North Queensland, the Top End in the Northern Territory and Tasmania, where there are roughly equal chances of above or below average rainfall.
  • The forecast for the next eight days indicates little to no rainfall is forecast for most of mainland Australia.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 27 April 2017 by 165 gigalitres (GL) to 15,064 GL and are at 67 per cent of total capacity.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 26 April 2017 rainfall was predominantly recorded across southern and central Australia. Weekly totals exceeding 50 millimetres were recorded across most of Victoria and adjacent parts of New South Wales, central South Australia, and northern Tasmania. Similar totals were recorded in parts of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and isolated parts of tropical northern Australia. The highest recorded weekly total was 350 millimetres at Horn Island, in the Torres Strait, north of Cape York in Queensland.

Timely rainfall has provided a good autumn break and boosted soil moisture levels in cropping areas in southern New South Wales, western Victoria and South Australia as these areas enter the optimal planting window for winter cereals and oilseeds.

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 26 April 2017

Map showing weekly rainfall totals in Australia for the week ending 26 April 2017. 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: 12/04/2017

Temperature anomalies this week

During the week ending 25 April 2017 maximum temperatures were between 4°C and 6°C above average in parts of south-western Queensland and the Northern Territory.  Isolated areas in Western Australia and South Australia recorded maximum temperatures between 2°C and 4°C below average.  Minimum temperatures were generally above average across much of south-eastern and central Australia. Parts of western New South Wales, south-western Queensland, South Australia and southern parts of the Northern Territory recorded minimum temperatures between 4°C and 6°C above average for this time of year.

Maximum temperature anomalies - week ending 25 April 2017

Map showing maximum temperature anomalies in Australia for the week ending 25 April 2017. 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: 25/04/2017

Minimum temperature anomalies - week ending 25 April 2017

Map showing minimum temperature anomalies in Australia for the week ending 25 April 2017. 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: 25/04/2017

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.

National Climate Outlook to the end of July

The rainfall and temperature outlooks presented below show the likelihood, represented as a percentage, of experiencing wetter or drier (and warmer or cooler) than median climatic conditions for the given outlook periods. Climate outlooks are generated by the Predictive Climate Ocean Atmosphere Model for Australia (POAMA), a dynamical (physics-based) climate model developed by the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric research division.

For further information, go to About the climate outlooks

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral, but tropical Pacific Ocean waters have been steadily warming since January. While the majority of international climate models still indicate El Niño may develop later this year, some caution should be exercised as models have lower accuracy at this time of year. El Niño typically biases Australia's climate towards a drier than average winter-spring, and warmer daytime temperatures in the south. Some El Niño-like effects may still be felt even if an event doesn't fully develop.

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is currently neutral. However, slightly cooler than average sea surface temperatures are forecast for the central parts of the tropical Indian Ocean, which may have some effect upon Australian rainfall.

It should be noted than northern Australia officially enters its dry season at the start of May. For the May to July period, large parts of northern Australia typically have a median rainfall that is less than 10 millimeters for this three month period.

Rainfall during May 2017 is likely to be below average across most of Australia.  Parts of central New South Wales, eastern South Australia and south-western Western Australia have the lowest chances of exceeding the median rainfall during this time (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 26 April 2017).

Chance of exceeding the median rainfall May 2017

Map showing chance of exceeding the median rainfall for May 2017. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.  

The rainfall outlook for May to July 2017 indicates that below average rainfall is more likely across most of Australia with the exception of Far North Queensland, the Top End in the Northern Territory and Tasmania, where there are roughly equal chances of above or below average rainfall (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 26 April 2017).

Chance of exceeding the median rainfall May to July 2017

Map showing chance of exceeding the median rainfall for May to July 2017. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.  

The temperature outlook for May to July 2017 indicates maximum temperatures are likely to be above median across most of Australia, with the exception of the Top End in the Northern Territory where maximum temperatures are more likely to be below median. Minimum temperatures are likely to be close to median for much of Australia, except for parts of south-eastern Australia, Tasmania, and far western Western Australia which have increased chances of exceeding the median minimum temperature (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 26 April 2017).

Chance of exceeding the median maximum temperature May to July 2017

Map showing chance of exceeding the median maximum temperature for May to July 2017. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.  

Chance of exceeding the median minimum temperature May to July 2017

Map showing chance of exceeding the median minimum temperature for May to July 2017. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description. 

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

The forecast for the next eight days indicates that little to no rainfall is forecast for most of mainland Australia. Rainfall totals exceeding 25 millimeters are expected in western Tasmania. In the far north, a tropical low developing over the Arafura Sea is forecast to strengthen and move south-west through the Timor Sea. Rainfall totals exceeding 50 millimeters are expected in northern parts of the Northern Territory (see map below). The Bureau of Meteorology report that the tropical low is unlikely to develop into a tropical cyclone, although there is still a slight risk.

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 27 to 4 May 2017

Map of the total forecast rainfall for the period 27 April to 4 May 2017. 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: 13/04/2017

Water

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Water availability

Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 27 April 2017 by 165 gigalitres (GL) to 15,064 GL and are at 67 per cent of total capacity. This is 37 percentage points or 8,421 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. 

Information on irrigation water available in the Murray–Darling Basin from 1 January 2001 to 27 April 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.

Commodities

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Market focus

Wheat

The European Commission released an update on crop conditions in the Monitoring Agricultural Resources Bulletin on the 24 April. Mild conditions and above average solar radiation have been favourable for winter cereal development and spring sowing in most regions. Some areas are currently rainfall deficient, including some parts of France, the south-eastern UK and north-west Spain. Rainfall in the coming weeks will be important for crop development in those regions. In Ukraine, recent dryness should have little impact on crop development with substantial rainfall forecast in the coming week.

Cotton

Data from Chinese Customs shows the country imported around 744,000 tonnes of raw cotton in the first eight months of 2016–17, 15 per cent higher than the same period last season. Increased world import demand for cotton in 2016–17, particularly from China, Vietnam and Bangladesh, has resulted in the world cotton price increasing to around US88 cents a pound in the week ending 26 April 2017, 24 per cent higher than the same time last year.

Current indicators

Last reviewed:
14 Jun 2017