Weekly update - 1 March 2018

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

Key issues

  • During the week ending 28 February 2018 rainfall was mainly recorded in western, northern and eastern Australia and isolated parts of southern Australia.
  • Maximum and minimum temperatures were generally average across most of Australia during the week ending 27 February 2018. The highest maximum anomalies (2°C to 6°C) were recorded in central Australia.
  • Rainfall during February 2018 was below average through large areas of central and south-eastern Australia, and above average in south-eastern Queensland and northern and southern Western Australia.
  • Summer 2017-2018 rainfall was severely deficient to extremely low through large areas of central and western Queensland and adjacent areas of South Australia, the Northern Territory, and northern New South Wales.
  • Relative upper layer soil moisture for February 2018 was well above average across large areas of south-east Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia and adjacent parts of the Northern Territory and South Australia.
  • The climate outlook for March to May 2018 indicates that there are higher chances of drier conditions for large parts of central Australia, including northern and eastern Western Australia, the southern and central Northern Territory, South Australia and western parts of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
  • During the next eight days, rainfall is expected mainly in north-eastern Australia, and in some areas of western and eastern Australia. A series of troughs and low pressure systems will bring rainfall exceeding 400 millimetres for northern Queensland.
  • La Niña continues its decline, with the central tropical Pacific Ocean warming over the past fortnight. Most models indicate a return to neutral conditions is likely early in the southern autumn.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 1 March 2018 by 203 gigalitres (GL) to 12,670 GL and are at 56 per cent of total capacity. This is 16 percentage points or 3,534 GL less than at the same time last year.
  • Allocation prices in the southern Murray-Darling Basin increased in the week ending 1 March 2018 to $107 per ML. This is an increase of $4 from the same time last week.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 28 February 2018 rainfall was mainly recorded in western, northern and eastern Australia and isolated parts of southern Australia. Widespread thunderstorms brought rainfall totals exceeding 150 millimetres to the Kimberley region of Western Australia, the Top End of the Northern Territory and northern and south-eastern Queensland. Rainfall totals exceeding 50 millimetres were recorded in eastern New South Wales and Victoria, much of Queensland, western Tasmania, and parts of southern and central Western Australia. Through central Australia little to no rainfall was received. The highest recorded weekly total was 454 millimetres at Townsville in north Queensland.

Rainfall - week ending 28 February 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: 28/02/2018

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 27 February 2018, maximum and minimum temperatures were generally average across most of Australia. Maximum temperatures were slightly above average (2°C to 6°C) around central Australia, and below average (-2°C to -6°C) in southern Western Australia. Minimum temperatures were slightly above average (2°C to 4°C) across some parts of the Northern Territory and south-eastern Australia.

Maximum temperature anomalies - week ending 27 February 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: 27/02/2018

Minimum temperature anomalies - week ending 27 February 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: 27/02/2018

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 rainfall

Rainfall during February 2018 was below average through large areas of central and south-eastern Australia. Monthly totals were extremely low to below average for most of western Queensland and adjacent areas of South Australia and the Northern Territory, and western New South Wales and Victoria. In contrast, rainfall was above average in parts of south-eastern Queensland and New South Wales. Much of northern and southern Western Australia recorded extremely high rainfall in February 2018.

In cropping regions, February 2018 rainfall was extremely high in Queensland and eastern Western Australia. Rainfall was average in northern New South Wales, central South Australia, and western parts of Western Australia. It was well below average in southern New South Wales, Victoria, and eastern South Australia.

Rainfall percentiles for February 2018

 

Source: Bureau of Meteorology

Note: Rainfall for February 2018 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 rainfall

Summer 2017–2018 rainfall was severely deficient to extremely low through large areas of central and western Queensland and adjacent areas of South Australia, the Northern Territory, and northern New South Wales. South-east South Australia and western Victoria also recorded below average rainfall. In contrast, rainfall was well above average to extremely high in southern New South Wales and eastern Victoria, the Top End of the Northern Territory and large areas of Western Australia and western South Australia.

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

Rainfall percentiles for summer 2017-2018 (1 December 2017 to 28 February 2018)

 

Source: Bureau of Meteorology

Note: Rainfall for December 2017 to February 2018 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 February 2018 was well above average across large areas of south-east Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia and adjacent parts of the Northern Territory and South Australia. In contrast, it was below average in New South Wales, Victoria, and western and northern Queensland. It was close to average across the remainder of the country. The pattern of relative upper layer soil moisture reflects February 2018 rainfall.

In cropping regions, upper layer soil moisture was above average in most of Queensland, South Australia and eastern Western Australia. It was average or below average in New South Wales, Victoria and the western half of Western Australia.

Modelled upper layer soil moisture for February 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 February 2018. This map shows how modelled soil conditions during February 2018 compare with February conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2015). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in February 2018 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 February 2018 was well above average in the western half of Australia, while the eastern half of Australia was generally below average.

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

Modelled lower layer soil moisture for February 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 February 2018. This map shows how modelled soil conditions during February 2018 compare with February conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2015). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in February 2018 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.

National Climate Outlook

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

A weak and short-lived La Niña continues its decline, with a return to neutral conditions expected in autumn. In the past, the breakdown of weak La Niña events has seen drier conditions during autumn.

Rainfall during March 2018 is more likely to be below the median across most of Australia, with the highest chances in Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory, and the western parts of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. North-eastern New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland is more likely to record above the median rainfall during this time (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 28 February 2018).

Chance of exceeding the median rainfall March 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. 

The rainfall outlook for March to May 2018 indicates that there are higher chances of drier conditions for large parts of central Australia, including northern and eastern Western Australia,  southern and central Northern Territory, South Australia and western parts of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The rest of Australia has roughly equal chances of a wetter or drier than normal three months (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 28 February 2018).

Chance of exceeding the median rainfall March to May 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. 

The temperature outlook for March to May 2018 indicates that maximum temperatures are likely to be warmer than average for most of Australia, with the exception of eastern New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland which have roughly equal chances of a warmer or cooler than average three months. Minimum temperatures are likely to be warmer than average for the north-eastern, central and southern parts of Australia. The north-west and parts of the east have roughly equal chances of warmer or cooler than average nights. (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 28 February 2018).

Chance of exceeding the median maximum temperature March to May 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. 

Chance of exceeding the median minimum temperature March to May 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. 

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

Rainfall is expected in north-eastern Australia, and in some areas of western and eastern Australia, during the next eight days. A series of troughs and low pressure systems will bring rainfall exceeding 400 millimetres for northern Queensland and totals between 50 and 200 millimetres for most of Queensland. Rainfall totals between 10 and 50 millimetres are predicted for north-eastern New South Wales, north-eastern South Australia, eastern and northern parts of the Northern Territory and western and northern Western Australia.

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 March 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: 1/03/2018

El Niño–Southern Oscillation Update

La Niña continues its decline, with the central tropical Pacific Ocean warming over the past fortnight. Most models indicate a return to neutral conditions is likely early in the southern autumn.

The decline of this La Niña is evident in oceanic and atmospheric patterns, with several indicators recently returning to levels more consistent with a neutral ENSO phase. Sea surface temperatures are very close to neutral levels, cloudiness near the Date Line has increased, and trade winds are generally near normal across the equatorial Pacific. However, the current pulse of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) has been strong, and the effects of wind variations associated with it are likely to have amplified the decline. As the MJO progresses east, its effect will reverse, meaning some La Niña indicators are likely to strengthen briefly.

Four of eight international climate models surveyed by the Bureau maintain La Niña values through March. By May, only one model still exceeds La Niña thresholds. For July, all eight are within the neutral range. This ENSO event has had relatively little effect on Australian rainfall patterns over the 2017–18 summer.

Water

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Water availability

Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 1 March 2018 by 203 gigalitres (GL) to 12,670 GL and are at 56 per cent of total capacity. This is 16 percentage points or 3,534 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 2018, 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 March 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

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 March 2018

15 February 2018

New South Wales

General security

High security

General security

High security

NSW Murray

49%

97%

49%

97%

NSW Murrumbidgee

34%

95%

34%

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

18%

100%

18%

100%

NSW Border Rivers

100%(a)/19.62%(b)

100%

100%(a)/19.62%(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

55%

100%

55%

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 March 2018 to $107 per ML. This is an increase of $4 from the same time last week. This contrasts with an average price of $105 in February across the whole southern MDB, and $42 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 March 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:
23/02/18 – 01/03/18

$107.29

$88.01

$106.57

$142.05

$107.55

$106.69

Last week:
16/02/18 – 22/02/18

$103.10

$81.91

$109.54

$140.08

$106.78

$109.13

February 2018

$105.14

$82.04

$112.90

$130.85

$108.25

$108.52

February 2017

$41.86

$50.76

$54.28

$21.49

$49.71

$43.83

Commodities

Current indicators – 1 March 2018

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

Selected world indicator prices

Australian Dollar – AUD/USD Exchange Rate28-FebUS$/A$0.780.79-1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.0.771%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wheat – US no. 2 hard red winter wheat, fob Gulf27-FebUS$/t2422391%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.21214%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 Gulf28-FebUS$/t1691634%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.1624%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Europe, fob Hamburga27-FebUS$/t436434<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.439-1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index28-FebUSc/lb90.686.84% This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.84.87%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 contract28-FebUSc/lb13.513.4<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.19.6-31%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator22-FebAc/kg clean1,8201,812<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.1,44926%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wool – Western Market Indicator23-FebAc/kg clean1,8951,879<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.1,48228%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, SA27-FebA$/t241240<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.18034%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Wheat – General purpose, Sydney, NSW28-FebA$/t2752702%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.21130%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Barley – Sydney, NSW28-FebA$/t2792742%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.18749%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Canola – Portland, Vic.26-FebA$/t493501-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.524-6%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Grain Sorghum – Sydney, NSW28-FebA$/t34530015%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.24441%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 Indicator22-FebAc/kg cwt521525<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.622-16%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), Vic23-FebAc/kg cwt3873685%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.445-13%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Lamb – Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator22-FebAc/kg cwt6196013%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.641-3%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 & sellers16-FebAc/kg cwt2772770%355-22%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)26-FebAc/kg cwt4664660%651-28%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 Indonesia24-FebAc/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 East26-Feb$/head1259729%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.10420%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 powder20-FebUS$/t3,2463,226<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.3,1892%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder20-FebUS$/t1,8321,932-5%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.2,574-29%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese20-FebUS$/t3,6863,739-1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.3,5903%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat20-FebUS$/t6,4586,581-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.5,69313%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 Mar 2018