Sunday, March 31, 2013

The big dry?

Easter Sunday brings the month to an end so I have updated the rainfall graph for Cairns Airport previously posted back in February.

The graph here shows the variation from the monthly average. The black line is a 6 month moving average and the red an annual 12 month moving average. These are now at their most negative levels since 2007.

The 6 month average reflects the relatively dry wet season and there hasn't been an above average month in that period. The 12 month has fallen sharply as the 907 mm March rainfall in 2012 falls out of the range. It may be more appropriate to use medians perhaps but the pattern would remain.

Monthly averages at Cairns Aero vary from 455mm in February to 27mm in August. The April average is still a respectable 196mm. The Weekly Tropical Climate Note is due to be updated tomorrow but recent crisp sunny mornings don't feel particularly monsoonal.

The drier wet season has been strongly felt by graziers across the north as reported by ABC Rural: The rain that never came
In Queensland's Gulf country, almost every conversation starts and finishes with two topics - the parlous state of the cattle markets and a season shaping up to be the worst in a generation.
Politics of a northern food bowl may have a different context come September?

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