The strange media statement by Queensland Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry – The Honourable John McVeigh – fits right into the rich tradition going back many years of strange statements on the subject of rain and drought made by Australian politicians and indeed water authorities who should know better. Some examples –
In 2008 – New South Wales Premier Rees says Tamworth was in drought but BoM maps say no drought near Tamworth
In 2007 – W.A. Govt propaganda takes water supply “post rain”
In 2007 – West Australian Premier talks utter nonsense about rainfall
BTW – note Queensland rain percentages of average for February 2014 – then ask yourself how The Honourable John McVeigh could sign off on his media release linked above.
In the BBC article – Australia’s Queensland hit by record drought – they say “Queensland received little rain in February, which is normally the wettest month of the year, local officials say.”
Mad – here is BoM map showing percentage of average rain that fell in February. Make various BoM maps yourself.
Here is media release from Queensland Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry The Honourable John McVeigh Friday, 7th March, 2014 – “The largest area of Queensland ever drought declared”
Not a reliable guide to the rain that fell over Queensland last month. I commented a few days ago on this issue.
ABARES is the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences – they are having their annual conference on 4 – 5 March.
The ABC has just posted this story – Drought takes its toll on the soil –
Featuring this map which compares the upper layer soil moisture from January 2014 with readings for the past 100 years.
Why not update the map following good rains in February in western Queensland and parts of New South Wales. Surely with the combined talents of ABARES – CSIRO – BoM they could have done that.
Would have changed their entire story – making the map compare late Feb 2014 soil moisture to the past 100 years would have resulted in smaller areas of scary brown patches.
Just think of the combined salaries.
The ABC page – Interactive: 100 years of drought in Australia – should open in a separate window.
Here is a chart of Australian rain anomalies 1900-2013 – it is obvious that the much ballyhooed Millenium Drought was a pussy of a drought Australia wide compared to the obviously dry years from 1910 right up to 1970.
Here is the ABC “drought bar” –
And you can see it must have been very subjectively constructed to show the Millenium Drought in such a bad light. I fully realize it is possible to argue about how bad some years were in various regions – there might be bad starts to the crop season. But the ABC map is of all Australia – so I am putting up a chart of all Australian rain to compare.
Leaky pipes are small beer compared to the ~Billion GL lost since late 1990’s by not managing catchment bush.
I have written often on this issue over many years – Update 39 years of Perth dam catchment rain index 1975-2013 – has links to my letter and reply from WA Water Minister – plus some other key links.
Drought-hit farmers get chance to show Tony Abbott parched communities first hand –
Lets review a decade of rain history – OK 2013 was a dry year – but 2012 was better than average for a majority of Qld – NSW ag regions but 2011 was even better and 2010 was tune up the outboard weather.
2009 looks below par – 2008 above par – 2007 above par – 2006 v dry in south east – 2005 mostly below par all over – 2004 a fair belt through Qld into NE NSW – 2003 mostly dry or average – 2002 start of worst drought in the history of history – 2001 dry or average – 2000 last good year before worst drought ever, or ten years of drought or whatever term the media wants to use. There, just walked through over a decade.
Downunder has been having droughts and floods long before the first settler nailed a jam tin on a fence to measure rain.
You can see the rain that has fallen in last 48 hour period –
Current month to date rainfall totals for Australia – you can adjust parameters.
Or did this pattern arise by chance.
There have been various papers over decades claiming rain can be enhanced by urban areas.
I drew attention to a similar pattern for Melbourne Christmas 2011.
BoM Australia Rainfall and River Conditions page where you can drill down for rain over the last 48hrs.
Even the next hour 5 to 6am kept the pattern alive.
Much of our national infrastructure that we all take for granted – could never be built today against Green opposition.
I was reminded of this when reading the Mighty River Power www site with illustration of the hydro-electric dams on the Waikato River – the majority built more than 50 years ago.
And built in the main
- by people with lower life expectancies than us -
- by people whose earnings had less purchasing power than us -
- working hours were often greater and many conditions & entitlements we enjoy were not thought of.
Imagine the green screams today if this chain of dams was proposed. In Australia we could never build the Murray Darling Basin dams today – to propose anything resembling the Snowy Mountains Scheme would be a waste of time – utilities have a struggle against green dogmas to augment city water supplies.
My eye was caught by this media today in the SMH –
Drought relief: $7.6m for Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett – 21 Nov 13
Quote – Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner said producers were dealing with “extraordinarily difficult circumstances” which had left farmers and rural townships “very stressed”.
“North-west of our state is undergoing a very serious drought. The producers in those areas are talking about the lowest rainfall …in more than 100 years,” he said.
We know the last few months have not seen much rain up there – checking out the BoM Drought maps.
3 months 1 Aug 2013 – 31 Oct 2013 – large areas not in drought
6 months 1 May 2013 – 31 Oct 2013 – most areas not in drought
9 months 1 Feb 2013 – 31 Oct 2013 – vast areas not in drought
12 months 1 Nov 2012 – 31 Oct 2013 – minor areas in drought
18 months 1 May 2012 – 31 Oct 2013 – a few areas in drought
24 months 1 Nov 2011 – 31 Oct 2013 – no areas in drought
Switching to the rain decile maps now
36 months 1 Nov 2010 – 31 Oct 2013 – above average rain
36 months 1 Nov 2007 – 31 Oct 2010 – above average rain
I wonder if a few patchy areas of short term drought should qualify as – “…a very serious drought”.
Particularly when considering that averaged over six years they have had above average rain. Whatever happened to putting feed aside in good times to get through the bad.