MJO delivers some relief Dave McRae Qld Climate Change Centre of Excellence
The generally useful rainfall that was recorded throughout much of Queensland during the last week coincided with the passage of the MJO. While welcome in most areas it has caused some challenges to the sugar harvest. Based on its current timing the MJO is next expected around the end of July.
The MJO is a band of low air pressure originating off the east coast of central Africa travelling eastward across the Indian Ocean and northern Australia roughly every 30 to 60 days. Research has shown the MJO to be a useful indicator of the timing of potential rainfall events (but not amounts). For more information try www.apsru.gov.au/mjo/
The 30day average of the SOI has climbed over the last few weeks to plus 10.4 as of the Monday 25th June. If these values persist there would be an expected improvement in the seasonal outlook. The last time the SOI remained in a "Consistently Positive" SOI phase for more than one month was from September 2000 through to March 2001.
As of the 24th June there are 85 shires and 2 part shires drought declared under State processes. There are also 15 Individually Droughted Properties (IDPs) in a further 7 shires. Drought declarations in Queensland are made following recommendations from the local drought committees to the minister. Individually Droughted Property status is granted when criteria related to rainfall, pasture and stock conditions are met. The local drought committees also make the recommendations to the minister for drought declarations to be revoked. This occurs when in their opinion there has been sufficient rainfall to promote enough pasture growth to permit stocking at 'near-normal' carrying capacities for the given time of year. For a full list of drought declared shires and a seasonal conditions report go the Long Paddock internet site www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au Other information on the current drought situation and available financial assistance, drought planning advice, social, and community counselling services can be found at www.dpi.qld.gov.au/drought or through the DPI Call Centre on 132523.