Seasonal Climate Outlook Message for January to April 2009

The bottom line

Drought declarations stable Dave McRae, Qld Climate Change Centre of Excellence 27th January 2009

As at the 7 January 2009, 54.3 percent of the land area of Queensland was drought declared under state government processes. Drought declarations in Queensland are made following recommendations from the local drought committees to the minister. 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.

There will be a review of the drought declaration status of all regional councils/shires at the end of the 2008/2009 summer rainfall season.

For a full list of drought declared shires and a seasonal conditions report go the Long Paddock internet site Other information on the current drought situation and available financial assistance, drought planning advice, social, and community counselling services can be found at or through the DPI Call Centre on 132523.

The Madden-Julian Oscillation or MJO last crossed northern Australia during late December/early January. The next passage of the MJO is likely to occur during early to mid February. Interestingly a key time to watch for the potential development of cyclones is after summer passages of the MJO.

The MJO is a band of low air pressure which originates off the east coast of central Africa. It travels eastward across the Indian Ocean and northern Australia roughly every 30 to 60 days. Because of the timing of the MJO the phenomenon is also known as the forty day wave. It can be used as an indicator for the timing of potential rainfall events.

The impact of the MJO on rainfall varies between the different seasons and location. For example the MJO has a greater influence on rainfall throughout northern Australia during summer and southern Australia during winter. For more information try

The 30 day average of the SOI as of the 26th January is plus 9.4. If the SOI remains consistently positive through to the end of January (as expected) this would be for the fifth month in a row. You can receive a text message with the latest SOI values sent to your mobile phone. To subscribe to this free service, call (07) 4688 1459. For more information on the seasonal outlook, go to

Last updated: 26 January 2009