Weekly update - 11 January 2018

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

Key issues

  • During the week ending 10 January 2018 rainfall was restricted to northern Australia and isolated parts of south-eastern Australia.
  • Maximum temperatures were 2°C to 6°C above average across most of mainland Australia during the week ending 9 January 2018. The highest anomalies (4°C to 6°C) were recorded in New South Wales, southern Queensland, eastern South Australia and central Western Australia.
  • The Bureau of Meteorology report that 2017 was Australia’s third-warmest year on record (national mean temperature 0.95°C above the 1961–1990 average).
  • Rainfall during December 2017 was below average in northern and north-eastern Australia and above average in parts of western, southern and south-eastern Australia.
  • Relative upper layer soil moisture for December 2017 was well below average across large areas of Queensland and adjacent parts of the Northern Territory. It was well above average across southern Australia and parts of Western Australia.
  • The mid-month climate outlook for February to April 2018 indicates that there are higher chances of exceeding the median rainfall in Western Australia, eastern parts of the Top End, northern and south-eastern Queensland, and north-eastern Tasmania.
  • During the next eight days, rainfall is expected mainly in northern, western and central Australia, and in some areas of south-eastern Australia.
  • A weak La Niña persists in the tropical Pacific although most climate models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology expect the current event to be short-lived, lasting through summer and decaying in mid-autumn 2018.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 11 January 2018 by 356 gigalitres (GL) to 14,748 GL and are at 65 per cent of total capacity. This is 17 percentage points or 3,875 GL less than at the same time last year.
  • Allocation prices in the southern Murray–Darling Basin increased in the week ending 11 January 2018 to $104 per ML. This is an increase of $3 from the same time last week.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 10 January 2018 rainfall was mainly restricted to northern Australia and isolated parts of south-eastern Australia. An active surface trough and weak monsoon trough brought widespread rainfall to the western Top End of the Northern Territory and the Kimberley region of Western Australia, with isolated totals exceeding 200 millimetres. Rainfall totals exceeding 100 millimetres were recorded in areas of the Cape York Peninsula. Totals between 25 and 50 millimetres were observed in isolated parts of eastern New South Wales, western Tasmania and eastern South Australia. There were similar totals in north-eastern Queensland, and western parts of the Pilbara in Western Australia. The highest recorded weekly total was 306 millimetres at Kangaroo Flats in the western Top End.

Rainfall - week ending 10 January 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: 10/01/2018

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 9 January 2018, maximum temperatures were 2°C to 6°C above average across most of mainland Australia, with the highest anomalies (4°C to 6°C) recorded in New South Wales, southern Queensland, eastern South Australia and central Western Australia. Maximum temperatures were -2°C to -4°C below average around Wyndham in northern Western Australia. Minimum temperatures were generally close to average for most of the country, although they were above average (2°C to 6°C) across New South Wales, inland parts of Queensland and central Western Australia. Minimum temperatures were -2°C to -4°C below average in parts of south-western Western Australia.

Maximum temperature anomalies - week ending 9 January 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: 9/01/2018

Minimum temperature anomalies - week ending 9 January 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: 9/01/2018

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.

Annual climate statement 2017

The annual climate statement, released by the Bureau of Meteorology on 10 January 2018, reports that 2017 was Australia’s third-warmest year on record (national mean temperature 0.95°C above the 1961–1990 average). Annual mean temperatures for 2017 were above to very much above average for the majority of Australia. They were warmest on record for much of central and southern Queensland, adjacent parts of northern New South Wales and around the central coast of New South Wales.

Rainfall during 2017 was above average at the start and end of the year, but below average during the middle of the year. Annual rainfall was above average for most of central, eastern and northern Western Australia, western South Australia and most of the Northern Territory. Rainfall was below average for inland Queensland, most of New South Wales, eastern Victoria and most of Tasmania.

The Bureau of Meteorology report that the main natural climate drivers for Australia, the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and Indian Ocean Dipole, were in a neutral phase for most of the year. In their absence, rainfall and temperature were affected by more localised drivers. A positive Southern Annual Mode and strong sub-tropical ridge contributed to below average winter rainfall across southern Australia. Following steady cooling in the central to eastern tropical Pacific Ocean from mid-winter, La Niña thresholds were reached at the end of November–unusually late for an ENSO event to develop. Further information at Annual climate statement 2017

Mean temperature deciles, January to December 2017

 

©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 03/01/2018

Rainfall percentiles, January to December 2017

 

©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 03/01/2018

Monthly rainfall

For Australia as a whole, rainfall during December 2017 was below average. Monthly totals were well below average for most of Queensland, with areas of severe deficiency in inland areas around Longreach and Hughenden. Rainfall was well below average in northern and eastern parts of the Northern Territory, and across the Top End. Isolated parts of Western Australia also recorded well below average rainfall for December 2017. In contrast, rainfall was above average in parts of western, southern and south-eastern Australia. Monthly totals were well above average in southern New South Wales and eastern Victoria due to a significant rainfall event in early December. Rainfall was also well above average across southern parts of South Australia, central and western parts of Western Australia, and in the Kimberley.

In cropping regions, December 2017 rainfall was above average in southern New South Wales, eastern Victoria, South Australia, and western parts of Western Australia. It was close to average in northern New South Wales, western Victoria, and most of Queensland and Western Australia.

Rainfall percentiles for December 2017

 

Source: Bureau of Meteorology
Note: Rainfall for December 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 December 2017 was well below average across large areas of Queensland and adjacent parts of the Northern Territory. In contrast, it was well above average across southern Australia and parts of Western Australia. It was close to average across the remainder of the country. The pattern of relative upper layer soil moisture reflects December 2017 rainfall.

In cropping regions upper layer soil moisture was close to average in most of Queensland and Western Australia. It was above average in southern New South Wales, eastern Victoria, South Australia, and western parts of Western Australia.

Modelled upper layer soil moisture for December 2017

 

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 December 2017. This map shows how modelled soil conditions during December 2017 compare with December conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2015). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in December 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 December 2017 was well above average in southern New South Wales, northern Victoria, parts of southern South Australia, south-eastern Tasmania, and isolated areas in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. Lower layer soil moisture was below average in isolated areas of Queensland, eastern New South Wales, north-western Tasmania and Western Australia.

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

Modelled lower layer soil moisture for December 2017

 

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

Mid-month 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

The current outlook is being influenced by weak La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean, reflected by the weak wet signal for eastern Queensland. In addition, waters have warmed to the north-west of Australia, encouraging lower pressure and increasing the likelihood of above average rainfall for much of Western Australia over the next three months.

Rainfall during February 2018 is more likely to be above the median across most of Australia, with the highest chances in Western Australia and western South Australia. Central Queensland, south-eastern New South Wales, eastern Victoria and northern parts of the Northern Territory have roughly equal chances of above or below median rainfall during this time (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 11 January 2018).

Chance of exceeding the median rainfall February 2018

 

The rainfall outlook for February to April 2018 indicates that there are higher chances of exceeding the median in Western Australia, eastern parts of the Top End, northern and south-eastern Queensland, and north-eastern Tasmania. The rest of Australia has roughly equal chances of a wetter or drier than normal three months (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 11 January 2018).

Chance of exceeding the median rainfall February to April 2018

 

The temperature outlook for February to April 2018 indicates that maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to be cooler than average in western and northern Australia, and parts of south-eastern Australia. Tasmania and parts of coastal Queensland have higher chances of exceeding the maximum and minimum temperature. The remainder of the country has roughly equal chances of exceeding the maximum or minimum temperature (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 11 January 2018).

Chance of exceeding the median maximum temperature February to April 2018

 

Chance of exceeding the median minimum temperature February to April 2018

 

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

Rainfall is expected mainly in northern, western and central Australia, and in some areas of south-eastern Australia, during the next eight days. Totals between 10 and 50 millimetres are forecast for northern Queensland, most of the Northern Territory and Western Australia, western South Australia, eastern Victoria and all of Tasmania. Higher totals between 50 and 100 millimetres are predicted in isolated areas of north-eastern coastal Queensland, western parts of the Top End and across much of coastal and inland Western Australia. A tropical low off the north-western Kimberley coast is expected to develop into a tropical cyclone and is forecast to bring widespread rainfall, with totals exceeding 200 millimetres.

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 January 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: 11/01/2018

El Niño–Southern Oscillation Update

Climate patterns in the Pacific Ocean indicate a weak La Niña persists in the tropical Pacific. While ocean and atmospheric indicators remain typical of La Niña, a build-up of warmer waters beneath the surface of the western Pacific may signal the end of this event in the coming months. Most climate models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology expect the current La Niña to be short-lived, lasting through summer and decaying in mid-autumn 2018. ENSO events typically peak in strength in December or January.

During summer, La Niña normally brings above average rainfall to eastern Australia–particularly in northern New South Wales and Queensland. Rainfall outlooks for Australia suggest that the current La Niña is likely to have less influence on summer rainfall than previous stronger events. La Niña can also increase the likelihood of prolonged warm spells for south-eastern Australia (Bureau of Meteorology ‘ENSO Wrap-Up’, 3 January 2018).

Water

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Water availability

Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 11 January 2018 by 356 gigalitres (GL) to 14,748 GL and are at 65 per cent of total capacity. This is 17 percentage points or 3,875 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 11 January 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

On 10 January 2018 NSW Department of Primary Industries – Water announced allocation increases of:

  • 1.13% for NSW Border Rivers general security B to 15.83%
  • 0.23% for NSW Gwydir general security to 17.4%

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

11 January 2018

15 December 2017

New South Wales

General security

High security

General security

High security

NSW Murray

46%

97%

46%

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

17%

100%

17%

100%

NSW Border Rivers

100%(a)/15.83%(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%

100%

Victoria Campaspe

49%

100%

49%

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 11 January 2018 to $104 per ML. This is an increase of $3 from the same time last week. This contrasts with an average price of $101 in December across the whole southern MDB, and $82 during the same time last year.

As trade restrictions continue, prices in Goulburn remain lower while prices in the Murrumbidgee remain slightly higher than the rest of the connected system.

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 11 January 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: 05/01/18 – 11/01/18

$103.89

$78.50

$112.40

$124.98

$112.10

$112.38

Last week: 29/12/17 – 04/01/18

$100.53

$77.16

$100.00

$125.73

$111.25

$111.56

December 2017

$101.11

$77.51

$114.64

$120.50

$108.68

$111.61

December 2016

$82.09

$93.83

$108.50

$57.61

$95.63

$87.36

Commodities

Current indicators – 11 January 2018

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

Selected world indicator prices

Australian Dollar – AUD/USD Exchange Rate10-JanUS$/A$0.780.780%0.737%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wheat – US no. 2 hard red winter wheat, fob Gulf09-JanUS$/t229228<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.19617%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 Gulf10-JanUS$/t155154<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.159-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Europe, fob Hamburga09-JanUS$/t4264201%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.452-6%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index10-JanUSc/lb89.189.2<1% This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.82.58%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 contract10-JanUSc/lb14.915.2-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.20.6-28%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator07-DecAc/kg clean1,6991,6761%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.1,34926%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wool – Western Market Indicator08-DecAc/kg clean1,7621,7252%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.1,44422%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, SA09-JanA$/t223224<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.18918%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Wheat – General purpose, Sydney, NSW03-JanA$/t249258-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.21914%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Barley – Sydney, NSW03-JanA$/t28024514%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.18056%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Canola – Portland, Vic.01-JanA$/t484520-7%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.523-7%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Grain Sorghum – Sydney, NSW03-JanA$/t3043040%25320%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 Indicator11-JanAc/kg cwt561571-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.641-12%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), Vic08-DecAc/kg cwt4874762%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.41617%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Lamb – Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator14-DecAc/kg cwt6596354%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.49832%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 & sellers01-DecAc/kg cwt2822772%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.378-25%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)08-JanAc/kg cwt490492<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.608-19%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 Indonesia06-JanAc/kg lwt330340-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.nana chart
Live sheep – Live wether (Muchea WA saleyard) to Middle East04-Dec$/head1211137%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.8641%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 powder02-JanUS$/t2,8862,8860%3,294-12%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder02-JanUS$/t1,6991,6990%2,660-36%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese02-JanUS$/t3,3173,3170%3,894-15%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat02-JanUS$/t6,4056,4050%5,35220%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:
11 Jan 2018