Rainfall of Australia (1989 [Annual total]) Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology (Australia), cartographer

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Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology (Australia), cartographer
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Rainfall of Australia
Thematic maps.; Rain and rainfall--Australia--Maps.; Australia--Maps.
RAIN MAP OF AUSTRALIA FOR THE YEAR 1921. Approximate Average Rainfall over each District during 1921 Compared with the Normal. 100 Points = 1 Inch. (DAILY REPORTING STATIONS ONLY.) Reduced Maps are for comparison showing areas above average in blue tint. NOTES ON THE JJ2I MAP. This map, being compiled from the records of some 1,250 welldistributed distributed stations, may be considered to indicate with considerable able accuracy the general for the year. The variations of the total rainfall are shpwn by the isohyetal lines, and the tinted portion represents the region where the rainfall was above the normal amount. The rainfall distribution in the separate months is shown in the series of charts printed on the iiteverse side of the map. From the rainfall stand-point, 1921 will rank as a good year, for 63 per cent, of the total area of the Commonwealth registered more than the average fall —which has only twice been exceeded in the past thirteen years, viz., in 1910 and 1917, when the area above the normal reached 75 per cent. >’ This was undoubtedly due to sustained tropical influences, for atmospheric drifts from the tropics were very noticeable on the daily charts—not only during the first quarter (the wet season of tropical Australia), hut right through th*r*year—and were particularly marked over the eastern side of the continent during the winter and spring. Southern “lows,” on \the other hand, were weak at the beginning and in the closing months of the year, but were of marked intensity in the wihter. The most noteworthy meteorological items of the first part of the year were:—The development of a ‘‘willy willy ” storm with some record rainfalls on the Western Australian coast, between the 16th and 21st February—marked tropical activity and a great rain wave at the? close of that month through the central interior and northern portion of South Australia, and across the south-west side of .New South Wales, over most of Victoria, which resulted in phenomenal rains and widespread floods in South Australia —and a cyclonic storm at the beginning of April, which worked its way from the Gulf of Carpentaria, through Western Queensland, tip New South Wales, whence it passed to the Tasman Sea, and merged m a Targe southern storm system, some record falls being registered in north-eastern New South Wales. Tropical activity ceased temporarily with this cyclone, and a west to east atmospheric drift made April a dry month (except over the area crossed by the cyclone), but it revived in May, when tropical “ lows ” invaded the western side of the mainland, and gradually extended to the east, carrying copious rains throughout the whole of sub-tropical Australia. All through Western Australia and at places in South Australia and New South Wales record falls were registered, and, as the area of these rains included the whole wheat belt, they gave a splendid start to the agricultural tural season. Pronounced tropical activity continued at intervals during the next two months, and effectively combined with vigorous southern “lows,” causing cyclonic developments and very disturbed stormy conditions in the mid-winter all along the south-eastern and eastern coasts of the continent, with heavy rains throughout Eastern Australia, and phenomenal falls over the border districts of New South W T ales and Queensland. Big floods occurred in the Darling and its tributaries, which approximated mated to the great flood of 1890. During the rest of the year further good rains fell, especially on the eastern side of the continent, the southern “ lows ” being well sustained along the Southern Ocean, and “ tropicals” well maintained in Eastern and North-Easttern Australia, until December, when the latter took entire control of the mainland, and the former replaced by anti-cyclonic pressures over the southern waters. One noteworthy feature of September and October was the marked tendency of tha southern to become cyclonic. Local flooding of the rivers occurred in South-West Queensland and in Victoria in September, and the year closed with a large tropical rainjwave over Eastern Australia, which was in South-Eastern Queensland and the adjacent New South Wales, and caused floods over a witjji area:. ollowing briefly summarizes the rain distribution in each State : \ Western Australia. \ Four cardinal features stand out in connexion with the 1921 rainfall distribution :—(1) the total failure of tropical rains in January, (2) the heavy ” Willy Willy” downpour of the third week in February, (3) the phenomenally heavy rains of early winter, which made May, 1921, the wettest May on record, at least since 1877, and (4) the occurrence of good agricultural rains toward the close of the wheat-growing season. The rain map for the year shows deficiencies in the Kimberley divisions, and Northern Murchison, together with a few other localities, and excesses over the remainder of the State. The defect in the Kimberley was mainly due to the dry JaWary, good February and March falls failing to make up the leeway. The concluding months of the year w’ere also disappointing. I - - - - . ■ ■ Jkmmmm ■ Heavy totals in the North-West and West Gascoyne were explained by the February “ Willy Willy” 4nd the heavy May rains, which extended to Northern areas in the latter half of the month, and lasted into early June. March was also a fairly g|x>d month over these regions, and some useful rains occurred in late July and early August. Another important outcome of the May rains was the breaking of the drought in the Murchison, which, for practical purposes, had lasted, in many districts, since February, 1918. A good downpour on the 12th May reached the greater part of the division, and was followed by frequent quent showers during the ensuing four weeks. The remainder of year was, however, very dry, save for two moderately good falls in August. From Nannine northward deficiencies were noted on the annual totals; elsewhere the averages were surpassed by fairlt substantial amounts. Over the Coolgardie gold-fields from 50 to 75 per cent, of the year’s rain fell between 7th May and 14th June. Apart from this period some partial monthly excesses were noted, but no general rains of importance occurred. Taking the year as a whole, tbe^agri cultural areas several localities recorded deficiencies, tha year’s totals were nowhere inadequate. The rainfall distribution w r as not ideal, but, on the other hand, it was in no particular seriously defective. The early months were too dry, and involved water supply difficulties. The heavy MAy rainfall caught farmers unprepared. Ploughing and cropping operations were not completed, and their resumption, tion, when the rains eased off, in mid-June, was not everywhere opportune, with the result that the acreage sown was not up to expectation. On the other hand, the downpour gave the season an excellent start, and the relative warmth of the winter months favoured vigorous plant growth. The dry spells of late winter and autumn occasioned much anxietw, and no doubt somewhat reduced the yield, but probably also checked a possible tendency for tne development of rust and other diseases. The importance of the rains of 7th and 17th September and 13th October rested in their opportune occurrence rather than in the volume of the actual falls. Hail in December was destructive in a few isolated localities, but, taking the wliole harvest into consideration, the damage was almost negligible. At Perth the total for the year was 4,1C9 points, or 734 points above the normal of the previous 45 years. Northern Territory. The total rain for 1921 was for the most part above the average, with an excess of 7 to 8 inches at some stations, while at Alice Springs the year’s aggregate was 1,018 points above normal. Except in parts of the south in January and March the first three months were wet, the heaviest monthly amount having been 1,715 points at Brock’s Creek, in March. Exceptionally ally heavy rains fell at Alice Springs between 26th February and 6th March, and in this period of nine days 1,042 points were registered—within nearly half an inch of the yearly average. The rains ceased abruptly in April, for that month was rainless, apart from a few moderate falls at first on and near the coast. May was also dry until the close, when light to heavy amounts occurred in the south, and which continued during the early part of June. Elsewhere there was little or no rain in Junp, while the next couple of practically rainless. Some scattered light to moderate falls occurred in September. In the two subsequent months very little rain fell in the south, but moderate to heavy north from Daly Waters. December showed an improvement ment generally, but the totals were chiefly under average. At Darwin the total for the year was 5,685 points, or 497 points below the normal for 51 years. South Australia. The year’s rainfall over the pastoral country was again above the average, due to the splendid rains during the first six months, when in almost every instance from 70 to 85 per cent, of the year’s totals were registered, while at Coward Springs the last six months yielded only 6 per cent, of the 1921 aggregate. January opened with moderate to very heavy rain in parts of the north-west interior, and light to moderate elsewhere. Then followed a practically rainless period until the second half of February, when, under monsoonal influences, rain fell generally, and during the ten days (21st February-2nd March) many stations in the north-west and north-east recorded over 5 inches, while some received between 7 and 8 inches, with a maximum of 809 points at Wynbring. Further light to heavy falls were registered about the middle of March, and again three weeks later. Then followed an almost rainless period until the second half of May, when conditions were unsettled, with light to heavy rain, which extended over the first part of June. Another dry period then ensued, for, apart from some moderate falls in the north-west and Gawler Ranges, in October and November, only light showers were registered until the second half of December, when thunderstorms and light to heavy but patchy rains took place. The settled areas experienced another good year of rainfall in 1921, for with few exceptions the aggregates were above the average. The greatest surplus occurred in the Upper North, where the excess at some stations exceeded 8 inches, while Johnburg and Gordon recorded 1,383 points and 1,318 points respectively above normal. At a few stations in this district it was the wettest year on record. Light to very heavy monsoonal rains occurred on Ist January, then followed a dry period until the second half of February, when monsoonal activity again brought thunderstorms and rain and the month closed with very heavy and flood falls, chiefly in the Upper North, where in three days many stations received between 3 and 6 inches, with a maximum of 1,109 points at Wilmington. Some heavy rains were registered in the Upper North during March and early in April, but elsewhere there was little rain until the second half of May, when the dry spell gave place to widespread and copious rains. The precipitation during the next three months was mainly below normal, but the shortage was not serious. September was a favorable month, with rains chiefly above the average. October falls were mainly deficient, but monsoonal activity-fn the following month accounted for above average amounts. December was, on the whole, dry, but. towards the close some heavy falls, associated with thunderstorms, took place, but chiefly in the Upper North. At Adelaide the total for the year was 2,264 points, or 159 points above the normal for 83 years. Queensland. The rain shortage, which characterized the la&t six weeks of 1920. continued during the earlier months of 1921, February being especially dry. In the first half of March, however, torrential rainfall in Northern and Central Queensland flooded the Bar Coo and BuJloo rivers* damaging railway lines in the Johnstone and Mulgrave country. In the first week in April great rains occurred over most of the country west from a line joining Normanton and Hebei, and on the seaboard south from Gladstone, the Mary, Burnett, and Brisbane rivers rising sharply, in May the. drought ended in the southern border districts, but the shortage in the other divisions continued until June and July, when remarkably widespread spread rains occurred. The June rainfall caused floods in the Warrego, Condamine, and Macintvre catchment areas, and the July downpours resulted in two floods in the south-eastern rivers, and in the streams flowing towards Lake Eyre and the Darling ; at Goondiwindi the Macintyre River twice approximated to the record Rood height reached in 1890. Good rains in August and September were followed by another rain shortage, but bountiful general rainfall occurred in the middle of December, ber, all the rivers in the south-east quadrant of the State being flooded, while most of Chinchilla Township and the wharfs at Maryborough, Bundaberg, daberg, and Rockhampton were submerged. The year's aggregate ratfifatf was above the Leverage almost generally, except between Georgetown town and Townsville, the excess amounting to 5,259 points at Tallebudgera, and 4,759 points at Innisfail, where 192-48 inches were recorded, whilst at Harley Creek the unprecedented total of 254-77 inches was registered, or 86-30 above the normal. Much heavy rain was attributable to extra-season cyclones, but the only dangerous storms were a cyclone on Cape York Peninsula on Ist April, and another, which traversed Hervev Bay and the South Coast division, on the sth and 6tii April. The winter was the mildest on record. At BrisbantMffie total for the year was 5,431 points, or 879 points above the normal for 69 y€«*rs. J New South Wales. Except for a few and mostly very small areas the rainfall exceeded the average over the whole State, and, even where negative departures did occur, the totals represented, in all cases, more than 75 per cent, of the normal. There were, however, some markedly dry periods in the year, the months of January, February, August, October, and November showing very considerable able areas with under-average amounts. July pre*rnt» d a contrast in abnormal falls over the n**rth-castern half, and appreciable deficiencies elsewhere. April, May, and June were the months in which the rainfall was most uniformly .above the average, May in particular disclosing only a small patch of the far west and the southern half of the Southern Tablelands with totals little less than normal. The factors mainly vH&pmsibtaif for the dry periods were the persistence of heat wave conditions ditions in January ; the prevalence of westerly gales in August, from a phenomenally intense form of southern disturbance, and the frequency of short-lived southerly changes in November. On the other hand cyclones were more frequent than usual, two of which in July were accountable able for such heavy downpours in Southern Queensland and the north-eastern quarter of this State that serious floods occurred in the northern Rivers, especially the Darling and tributaries and the Clarence. Prior to this in the last week of June, the Central and North Coast experienced severe conditions from a similar disturbance, two coastal steamers foundering, with the loss of nearly all lives. May and December were marked by the prevalence valence of tropical conditions. In the former month the abnormally heavy amount of 29-64 inches was recorded at Clarence Heads, on the North Coast, though even this total was exceeded in July, at Dorrigo, where 29-73 inches was recorded, Dorrigo coming within the area affected by the two cyclones above referred to. Although generally well above normal, December was not marked by falls of such excessive character, though tiie average was exceeded by from 4 to 8 inches on the North Coast and Northern Tablelands. lands. The total at Sydney was 43*34 points, or 4 -78 points below the normal for 62 years. Both from an agricultural and pastoral point of view, this must rank among the very good years. Except in the South- East, where there has been a decided shortage, the rains have generally been ample, and very opportune. Temperature and other conditions have also been favorable. The influences most marked in rain production seem to have been mainly of direct tropical origin, this being most obviously true of the first two and the last two months. During the winter half of the year the southern disturbances seemed rather weaker than usual, but cyclonic disturbances were fairly frequent and very rain productive. The first three months, especially January and March in the Mallee, w T ere wetter than normal over most of the State. April was very dry throughout. On the 19th May began a series of abundant rains of tropical origin, which lasted well into June. Moderately dry and frosty weather then set in, broken towards the end of July by intense southern disturbances, one of which, on the 3rd August, brought a very cold snap, with snow and hail. August proved a fairly rainy month, and September one of exceptionally good rainfall, Gippsiand still excepted. This secured splendid prospects for the wheat harvest. The remaining months were not exceptional over the north, except for a very hot spell in the middle of November, which the crops were sufficiently vigorous to endure successfully. In Gippsiand a good October rainfall greatly improved the outlook. At Melbourne the total for the year was 2,976 points, or 416 points above the normal for 65 years. Tasmania. The rainfall for 1921 was under average fairly generally, deficiencies amounting to 25 per cent, of the normal fall in the south-east. The late summer and autumn months were dry, and the outlook for the wintering of stock was not bright. Pressure in January and February was considerably above normal, owing to the persistence of intense “ highs.” The first vigorous depression sion of the year passed over the State on the 15th March, with northerly gales. Squally changeable weather followed till the end of April, the first heavy snow of the year falling on the highlands on thd 9th of this month, with rough southerly weather. Heavy frosts occurred in the second week in May, and about this time there were some very fine auroral displays. The winter months had an abundant rainfall, and"the weather was mild till the middle of July, so that the gloomy anticipations of the earlier months were not realized. Severe northerly gales occurred in the middle of July, with the lowest barometer of the year, and** 0 ' unusually high tides. Cold weather ensued, and at the close of the month one of the biggest snow-falls on record occurred over the State. The mean monthly temperature fell below normal for the first time in the year in August. The last four months of the year were, unfortunately, very dry over the southern half of the State, and October and December were dry fairly generally. A very mild September was favorable for vigorous growth in early crops and pastures. A vigorous disturbance brought damage-causing gales on the 9th and 10th. October was cool, but November mean temperatures were practically the highest for 50 years, due to a hot spell about the middle of the month. December was cool and cloudy, and the driest month of the year. At Hobart the rainfall was 1,804 points, or 562 points below the normal for 78 years. During the last four months only 281 points fell. This constitutes a record for these months. Average 1 Normal Average Normal Average Normal District for ' District District. for District District. for District 1921. 1 Fall. 1921. Fall. 1921. Fall. Points. 1 Points. Points. Points Points. Points. No. Western Australia. No. New South Wales. No. Tasmania. 1 North Kimberley .. 2495 2704 46 Trans-Darling North 964 916 91 Northern .. .. 3649 4115 2 East Kimberley .. 2264 2570 47 Trans-Darling South 1543 1018 92 East Coast .. 2775 3226 3 West Kimberley .. 1921 2326 48 Cis-Dariing North .. 2087 1384 93 Midland .. .. 1967 2163 4 De Grey .. .. 1767 1359 49 Cis-Dariing South .. J443 1254 94 South-Eastern .. 2175 2798 5 Fortescue .. .. 2048 944 50 Upper Bogan .. 2035! 1764 95 Derwent .. .. 2269 2551 6 West Gascoyne .. 1654 912 51 Lower Macquarie .. 2539! 1794 96 Central Plateau .. 2831 3154 7 East Gascoyne .. 992 939 52 West Gwvdir .. 3113 2020 97 West Coast—Mountain 8 North Coastal 1 South- 2081 1831 53 East Gwvdir .. 3656 1 2356 Regions .. 8670 8512 9 South Coastal > West 4056 3627 54 Nandewars .. 4097 ! g-46 10 Centra! J 1823 1761 55 Liverpool Plains .. 3762 j 2709 King Island 3337 3717 11 Euela .. .. 1386 1435 56 West New England 4775 j 0 33 Flinders Island .. 2692 2769 12 South-East .. 1046 996 57 East New England .. 1 5486 3754 Maria Island .. 1658 2493 13 North-East .. 729 1023 58 Clarence .. .. j 8483 5373 Northern Territory. 59 Orara .. 10318 1 .>17< 14 Northern Rivers .. 1 4714 \ 4442 60 •• •• j 6688 4909 15 Northern Plateau I 1821 | 1238 “on« ' 2 3525 ! Reduced Maps are fol South Australia. 63 Central Plateau .. 4258 3475 16 North-West Interior 1375 j 845 54 Warrumbungles-lligh- romnaricon chA\A/ino 17 Far North Interior 927 1 718 lands .. ?. 3448 2750 Comparison SHOWing 18 Western .. .. 1658 1 1317 65 Warrumbungles-Low- in H pp^ r n 01 i th •• ‘{[ill IttUds • •• 2620 2202 areas above average 20 North-East . . 1533 1 848 f,6 Sydney .. .. 4334 4812 & 21 Lower North .. 2185 1753 67 Nepean .. .. 3706 3187 . , , ... 22 Central West .. 2154 1 1707 68 Ilia warm .. 4599 3,989 in DlUe tint. 23 Central East .. 2569 | 2377 (59 South Coast . . 3888 3590 24 Murray Valley .. 1616 ; 1308 70 Upper Mumimbidgee 2951 2531 25 South-East—Upper.. 1868; 1661 71 Snowv Mountains .. 4190 4060 26 South-East —Lower 2523 1 2551 72 Jugiong .. . 3296 ! 3031 Queensland. 73 Tumut . 2249 2169 27 Peninsula North .. 6]73 5780 « J « ver !."“ " ?'',7 i 28 Peninsula South .. 5041 3040 10 Kneuna .. 1010 1 1..79 29 Carpentaria—Lower 3009 276 < r „. . 30 Carpentaria—Upper 2685 ; 2626 Victoria. 31 Pa iron .. . 9290 6371 76 Malice North .. 1596 1275 Oi 32 Herbert .. . . | 818.3 7701 77 Mallee South .. 1675 1385 *- K 33 East Central Coast . 5080 4195 78 Wimmera North .. 1790 1626 34 West Central Coast 2966 2433 79 Wimmera South .. 2151 1986 35 Central Highlands .. 3166 ! 2519 80 Lower North .. 2207 1697 36 Central Lowlands .. 2434 1974 81 Upper North .. 2504 1996 „ 37 Upper Western .. 1639 1546 82 Lower North-East .. 3705 2866 f r~ T 38 Lower Western .. 1746 1346 83 Upper North-East .. 4691 4329 /.Q _ 39 Port Curtis .. 4826 3699 84 East Gippsland .. 2487 3021 — 40 Moreton .. .. 6165 4969 85 West Gippsland .. 3298 3415 f 41 East Darling Downs 3413 2835 86 East Central .. 3391 3392 J 42 West Darling Downs 2706 ; 348* 87 West Centra! .. 2667 2536 yf 43 Maranoa .. .. 2963 e s North Centn! .. 3158 2615 /X* 44 Wart ego . , 2784 1T98 s9 Volcanic Plains .. 2418 2381 • v 1 45 Far South-West .. i 2149 > 1402 60 V. ' ;t ('oast . 2853 2957 j i i /Jqq MAPS showing the Rainfall for each Month during 1921. (The figures are based on the daily reporting stations, and are therefore only approximate.) JANUARY. FEBRUARY. Some record rainfalls on the North- West and South-West Coasts of Western Australia. Phenomenal rains and extensive disastrous floods over the upper North of South Australia at close of February and beginning of March. MARCH. March totals heaviest on record in all Northern South Australia and at places west of Darling in New South Wales; also at few isolated Queensland land stations. APRIL. Record falls in Hunter division of New South Wales. MAY. Wettest May on record all through sub tropical Western Australia, inland land on West side of Lake Eyre, and in North-East corner of New South Wales. JUNE. Some record rainfalls from Western Queensland across the Upper Darling tributaries. JULY. Record rainfalls in South-Eastern Queensland and North-Eastern New South Wales. These rains, following on the heavy June falls, caused & big flood on the Darling and its tributaries, taries, which approximated to the great flood of 1890. Heaviest wind storms for many years in Southern Victoria in latter part of month. AUGUST. Extensive snowfalls in Victor!* atid Tasmania at beginning of month, and record rain totals for month in parts of Southern Victoria. Local floods in Northern Victoria. SEPTEMBER. Some record rainfalls in North- Eastern Victoria, and at few places in South-West Queensland. Some floods in rivers in South-West Queensland, land, and in the Murray tributaries o£ Victoria and New South Wales. OCTOBER. Record falls in Central Queensland ; Flood waters down to junction of Darling and Murray. NOVEMBER. DECEMBER. Record rains over South-Eastern Queensland and North-Eastern New South Wales, and floods over a considerable siderable area. Note. —ln the Areas tinted Blue the Rainfall was above the average- The Blue ruled portions indicate no rainfall or less than 10 points of Rain. Scales differ (E 105°--E 160°/S 160°--S 45°)
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