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Annual rainfall

Key finding

Rainfall was extremely low across large parts of Queensland in 3 of the last 5 years with many areas experiencing drought.

Queensland

Drier than normal conditions prevailed across large parts of Queensland in 2013, 2015, and 2017.

While Queensland’s rainfall is highly variable (on an annual and decadal basis), the long-term (1900 to 2015) state-wide average annual rainfall is 628mm. Queensland’s total rainfall for 2013 to 2015 was 17% below this long-term  average, and the lowest for a 3-year period since 2002 to 2004 (19% below average). The drier than average conditions over the 2013 to 2015 period began in the second half of 2012 during a neutral phase of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

An El Niño prevailed for most of 2015. Rainfall for 2015 was 21% below the state-wide long-term average: by that year’s end, 86% of Queensland was drought declared, under state government processes.

ENSO-neutral conditions returned in 2016, a year with annual rainfall that was well-above average in parts of western Queensland and average to below average in most coastal and sub-coastal parts of the state. As at December 2017, 66% of Queensland remained drought declared.

In 2017, while northern and eastern areas received near, or above, the long-term average annual rainfall, inland Queensland remained drier—rainfall in some areas being as much as 40% to 60% below average.

Palmerville

The long-term 1900 to 2015 average annual rainfall is 1,033mm. Recent (2014 to 2017) annual rainfall has been below the long-term average.

Burketown Post Office

The long-term 1900 to 2015 average annual rainfall is 786mm. Rainfall was above the long-term average in 2017, following a drier than average year in 2016.

Cairns Airport

The long-term 1910 to 2015 average annual rainfall is 2,009mm. Recent (2012 to 2017) annual rainfall has been below the long-term average.

Townsville Airport

The long-term 1900 to 2015 average annual rainfall is 1,173mm. Recent (2013 to 2017) annual rainfall has been below the long-term average. Rainfall for 2015 (398mm) was the lowest since 187mm was recorded in 1902.

Kalamia Estate

The long-term 1900 to 2015 average annual rainfall is 1,019mm. Recent (2014 to 2016) annual rainfall has been below the long-term average.

Data for 2017 are not available.

Pleystowe Sugar Mill

The long-term 1900 to 2015 average annual rainfall is 1,645mm. 2010 was the wettest year on record, with 3,648mm. Annual rainfall for 2015 (951mm) was the lowest since 2004 when 882mm was recorded.

Barcaldine Post Office

The long-term 1900 to 2015 average annual rainfall is 498mm. 2010 was the wettest year on record, with 1,334mm. Annual rainfall for 2013 (187mm) was the lowest since 2002. Rainfall for 2016 (625mm) was above the long-term average.

Data for 2017 is not available.

Westland

The long-term 1900 to 2005 average annual rainfall is 380mm.

No data is available for 2006 to 2017.

Camooweal

The long-term 1900 to 2015 average annual rainfall is 400mm. Annual rainfall for 2017 was below the long-term average, following 2 wetter than average years. Annual rainfall for 2016 (668mm) was the highest since 2009.

Birdsville Police Station

The long-term 1900 to 2005 average annual rainfall is 170mm.

No data is available for the years 2006 to 2017.

Fairymead Sugar Mill

The long-term 1900 to 2013 average annual rainfall is 1,065mm. Annual rainfall of 1,734mm in 2013 was the 6th highest total since records began in 1881.

No data is available for the years 2014 to 2017.

University of Queensland Gatton

The long-term 1900 to 2010 average annual rainfall is 773mm. Rainfall for 2017 was near the long-term average, following 3 drier than average years.

Brian Pastures

The long-term 1900 to 2012 average annual rainfall is 721mm. 2010 was the wettest year on record, with 1,338mm.

Data for 2013 to 2017 is not available.

Pittsworth Yandilla

The long-term 1900 to 2015 average annual rainfall is 693mm. 2010 was the wettest year on record, with an annual total of 1,252mm. Annual rainfall for 2016 (548mm) was the lowest since 2009 (456mm).

Augathella

The long-term 1900 to 2015 average annual rainfall is 527mm. Annual rainfall for 2015 (285mm) was well-below the long-term average. Rainfall for 2016 (658mm) was above long-term average.

No data is available for 2017.

Cunnamulla Post Office

The long-term 1900 to 2015 average annual rainfall is 369mm. Rainfall was below the long-term average in 4 of the last 5 years (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017).

More information:

Indicator: Annual rainfall

Queensland’s state-wide rainfall has been calculated from gridded Australian Water Availability Project (AWAP) data, current as at February 2018. Subsequent updates to data may result in minor changes to some values.

Download data from Queensland Government data

Last updated 26 October 2018