Australia & New Zealand: Water deficits persist across northern Australia & in New Caledonia

The Big Picture
Water deficits are forecast to persist across parts of northern Australia – particularly northernmost regions of the Northern Territory and the southern shore of the Gulf of Carpentaria – and also in the southwest tip of Western Australia, in Tasmania, and in New Caledonia

Impacts
Unlike many of its major agricultural competitors, the Australia government has rejected the possibility of government subsidized drought insurance for farmers after a report concluded it was uneconomical. The report was commissioned by the state government of New South Wales in the wake of a three-year drought across Australia's east coast.

The government of New Zealand has extended the drought classification for eastern South Island, releasing an additional NZ $88,000 (US $61,577) in drought relief, bringing the total to NZ $538,000 (US $376,460) since February. Dry conditions in eastern North Island are being monitored for potential drought relief funding as well.

Forecast Breakdown
The 3-month composite (below) for the same 12-month period shows the evolving conditions in more detail. The July through September forecast shows a return to near-normal water conditions in central Australia. However, exceptional deficits are forecast to persist in the northern region of the Northern Territory and around the southern shore of the Gulf of Carpentaria, and to emerge in Far North Queensland. Exceptional deficits may persist also in the southwest tip of Western Australia during this period, but deficits are expected to diminish in Tasmania and North Island, New Zealand.

From July through September surpluses are forecast to persist near the Barcoo and Fitzroy Rivers in Queensland, and emerge west of Brisbane. Surpluses will continue to emerge north of Adelaide east of Spencer Gulf in South Australia, and will emerge in the center of New South Wales.

The aforementioned surpluses in South Australia, New South Wales, and Queensland are forecast to persist from October through December, and surpluses may continue to emerge in the Murray Basin. Deficits in the north, the southwest, and New Caledonia are expected to diminish during this period, and deficits in North Island, New Zealand are forecast to transition to normal conditions.

(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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