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Evaporation rate

Key Finding

Annual evaporation is typically much higher in inland parts of Queensland than in coastal and sub-coastal areas.

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Evaporation weather stations (select locations to filter information)

Queensland

The evaporation observations used in this report are based on the amount of water that has evaporated 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 a reduced water supply (i.e. due to low rainfall).

Evaporation is dependent on many factors—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.

Average annual pan evaporation equals or exceeds 3,000mm in inland Queensland locations, such as Longreach and Mt Isa, where average annual rainfall is typically 500mm or less.

Average annual pan evaporation is less than 2,400mm in many coastal and sub-coastal areas.

  • Townsville is the exception. It has a drier climate despite being on the coast, and an average annual pan evaporation of 2,588mm.

Mount Isa

The 1976 to 2014 average annual pan evaporation is 3,042mm.

Annual pan evaporation was above average over the 2013 to 2014 period.

Data for 2015 to 2019 was not available.

Cairns Airport

The 1970 to 2014 average annual pan evaporation is 2,223mm.

Data for 2015 to 2019 was not available.

Townsville Airport

The 1970 to 2016 average annual pan evaporation is 2,588mm.

Annual pan evaporation was above average over the 2013 to 2016 period.

Data for 2017 to 2019 was not available.

Longreach Airport

The 1970 to 2016 average annual pan evaporation was 3,038mm.

Annual pan evaporation was well-above average over the 2013 to 2015 period and close to average in 2016.

Pan evaporation for 2015 (3,777mm) was the highest in reliable records since 1970.

Data for 2017 to 2019 was not available.

Rockhampton Airport

The 1970 to 2016 average annual pan evaporation is 2,130mm.

Annual pan evaporation was above average from 2013 to 2016.

Data for 2017 to 2019 was not available.

Brian Pastures

The 1975 to 2007 average annual pan evaporation is 2,049mm.

No data was available for the period 2008 to 2019.

Charleville Airport

The 1971 to 2015 average annual pan evaporation is 2,621mm.

Annual pan evaporation was close to average in 2013 and below average in 2014 and 2015.

Data for 2016 to 2019 was not available.

Relevant Sustainable Development Goals’ targets

  • GOAL 13: CLIMATE ACTION

Download data from Queensland Government data

Metadata

For each location, annual pan evaporation totals are plotted for the extent of the High-Quality Dataset records. Rolling 10-year averages are plotted only if there are 10 consecutive years of annual data.

At some locations there were insufficient data to present information for recent years. While observational data may be available at those stations, High Quality records were not available at the time of publication.