Skip links and keyboard navigation

Evaporation rate

Key finding

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

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

Mount Isa

The 1976 to 2014 average annual pan evaporation is 3,042mm. Annual evaporation was above average over the 2013 to 2014 period.

Data for 2015 to 2017 is not available.

Cairns Airport

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

Data for 2015 to 2017 is not available.

Townsville Airport

The 1970 to 2015 average annual pan evaporation is 2,586mm. Annual evaporation was above average over the 2013 to 2016 period.

Longreach Airport

The 1970 to 2015 average annual pan evaporation was 3,038mm. Annual evaporation was well-above average over the 2013 to 2015 period and close to average in 2016.  Evaporation for 2013 (3,777mm) was the highest in reliable records since 1970.

Data for 2017 is not available.

Rockhampton Airport

The 1970 to 2015 average annual pan evaporation is 2,127mm. Annual evaporation was above average from 2013 to 2016.

Data for 2017 is not available.

Brian Pastures

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

No data is available for the period  2008 to 2017.

Charleville Airport

The 1971 to 2015 average annual pan evaporation is 2,621mm. Annual evaporation was close to average in 2013 and below average in 2014 and 2015.

Data for 2016 and 2017 is not available.

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 1970-2016.

Download data from Queensland Government data

Last updated 26 October 2018