Evaporation Rate

N.B. you are viewing the archived 2015 report.

Return to the current 2017 report.

Key finding

In Queensland, potential evaporation is much higher than mean annual rainfall in semi-arid inland locations.

Filter this information

Evaporation weather stations (select locations to filter information)

Queensland

The evaporation observations used in this report are based on the amount of water that evaporates from a Class A open evaporation pan. Evaporation data, along with rainfall information, can be used to calculate water requirements for crops. High evaporation rates reduce soil moisture, impacting pasture growth and crop development. This can be critical in hot dry periods when water demand from plants is high, especially if there is already reduced water supply.

Evaporation is dependent on many factors (i.e. air temperature, humidity, wind speed and cloud cover). It is typically at its highest during hot, dry and windy conditions, and lowest in cold and wet conditions. Assessment of long-term pan evaporation trends is difficult due to high year-to-year variability, incomplete data sets, site changes and relatively short periods of record.

In Queensland, mean annual pan evaporation equals or exceeds 3,000mm in semi-arid inland locations like Mount Isa and Longreach, which is well in excess of the mean annual rainfall (less than 500mm) in those areas.

Mean annual pan evaporation is lowest along the east coast (2,000mm or less).

Mount Isa

The 1976-2010 mean annual pan evaporation is 3,058mm.

Totals for 2013 and 2014 (3,347mm and 2,111mm respectively) were above average. This period followed four years with below average pan evaporation (2009-2012).

Cairns Airport

The 1970-2010 mean annual pan evaporation is 2,226mm.

Totals for 2012, 2013 and 2014 (2,230mm, 2,225mm and 2,262mm respectively) were close to average. This period followed two years with below average pan evaporation (2010-2011).

Townsville Airport

The 1970-2010 mean annual pan evaporation is 2,577mm.

Totals for 2013, 2014 and 2015 (2,676mm, 2,693mm and 3,089mm respectively) were above average. This period followed three years with below average pan evaporation (2010-2012).

Longreach Airport

The 1970-2010 mean annual pan evaporation is 2,997mm.

The 2012 total of 2,989mm was close to average. This period followed two years with below average pan evaporation (2010-2011). In 2013, the total of 3,585mm was the highest at that time, in reliable records since 1970.

In 2014 and 2015, pan evaporation was even higher at 3,711mm and 3,777mm respectively.

Rockhampton Airport

The 1970-2010 mean annual pan evaporation is 2,121mm.

The 2012 total of 2,106mm was close to average. This period followed two years with below average pan evaporation (2010-2011). Totals for 2013, 2014 and 2015 (2,233mm, 2,206mm and 2,294mm respectively) were all above average.

Brian Pastures

The 1975-2007 mean annual pan evaporation is 2,052mm.

No recent data is available for this site.

Charleville Airport

The 1971-2010 mean annual pan evaporation is 2,652mm.

Pan evaporation was much lower than normal in 2012: the total of 2,147mm was 505mm below average. This period followed five years with below average pan evaporation (2007-2011). In 2013, the total of 2,646mm was close to average. Totals for 2014 and 2015 (2,524mm and 2,530mm) were below average.

More information:

Indicator: Evaporation rate

Mean annual pan evaporation based on the amount of water that evaporates from a Class A open evaporation pan, for specific sites with Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) High-Quality pan evaporation data available for varying periods between 1970-2010.

Download data from Queensland Government data