The forecast through October 2016, as seen in the composite 12-month map (below), indicates water surpluses in Northern Territory and the presence of persistent deficits in Victoria and Tasmania.

Dry weather in the usually wet farming regions of southwest Victoria, Australia has left livestock producers in the country's major red-meat producing region waiting for water from community boreholes and wondering what the future holds. "Hairy panic," a perennial tumbleweed native to Australia's interior, has been mobilized by the unusually dry conditions and has invaded a rural Victorian town, reaching roof-height, hiding cars, and forcing residents to leaf-blow their way to their doors. Drought sparked forest fires in Tasmania that destroyed part of the Tasmanian Wilderness, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to unique alpine ecosystems.

The 3-month composite (below) for the same 12-month period shows the evolving conditions in more detail. Deficits across much of Australia are forecast to diminish, with the exceptions mentioned above. Water surpluses in the north, as well as the persistence of deficits in the Murray-Darling Basin and from Perth southward, are evident in the February through April map. Surpluses in the north are forecast to continue through October, with exceptional surpluses in central Northern Territory. Deficits are forecast to emerge in the northernmost regions from July through October, with some northern regions experiencing both surpluses and deficits. A transition from deficits to surpluses in the Murray-Darling Basin can be seen in the May through October maps. Moderate deficits are forecast to continue in North Island, New Zealand through June and emerge on South Island from April onward.

(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)

Comment

Many analyses reported in ISciences-authored blog posts are based on data generated by the ISciences Water Security Indicator Model (WSIM). Other sources, if used, are referenced in footnotes accompanying individual posts. WSIM is a validated capability that produces monthly reports on current and forecast global freshwater surpluses and deficits with lead times of 1-9 months at 0.5°x0.5° resolution. This capability has been in continuous operation since April 2011 and has proven to provide reliable forecasts of emerging water security concerns in that time-frame. WSIM has the ability to assess the impacts of water anomalies on people, agriculture, and electricity generation. Detailed data, customized visualizations, and reports are available for purchase.

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