The Big Picture
The forecast through November 2016, as seen in the composite 12-month map (below), indicates the presence of persistent deficits across the north and in Victoria, Tasmania, and North Island, New Zealand.

Based on significant changes in rainfall and climate patterns over the last decade and a half, Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre has created a map of the country's agricultural regions that reflects shifts being described as the "new normal." Unusually high heat has triggered massive coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of northern Australia, the worst in 15 years, according to researchers. Low dam levels have prompted state-owned energy company Hydro Tasmania to schedule cloud-seeding a month early this year in an attempt to alleviate Tasmania's energy crisis. In New Zealand, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research reports that much of North Island has "below to much below soil moisture for this time of year."

Forecast Breakdown
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. A transition from moderate deficits to moderate surpluses in the Murray-Darling Basin is evident in the September through November map, as are surpluses farther north in central Queensland along Coopers Creek, the Barcoo River, and other rivers. Pockets of moderate to severe deficits will continue to emerge on South Island, New Zealand, particularly in September and October. Deficits in New Caledonia are forecast to diminish by May but reemerge in October.

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


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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