Australia may have experienced its third wettest year on record in 2011, but parts of the country are in need of a drink again after a dry end to the year and a sweltering start to 2012.
Maps recording the amount of rainfall received across Australia in December relative to historic records shows that drier areas included north and north west Queensland, southern parts of the Northern Territory, the Pilbara and Kimberley region of WA, southern Victoria and Tasmania.
While those areas missed out, most of the country received average rainfall for December, while several large areas also benefitted from well above average rainfall due to the current La Nina pattern in the Pacific.
They included parts of southern inland Queensland and northern NSW, south west WA and the northern coastal strip of the Northern Territory and Cape York Peninsula.
Updated satellite maps of pasture densities in December show that large areas of South Australia’s mid north, south western Western Australia and the Southern Northern Territory are carrying less than 250kg of total standing dry matter per hectare.
The bureau of meteorology’s national outlook for January to March 2012 suggests that southeast Queensland, eastern NSW and western WA are more likely to experience a wetter season in the next three month period, while parts of central and southern Australia more likely to have drier season.
The national temperature outlook for the same period suggests that warmer days are more likely over south eastern Australia, cooler temperatures are more likely over western WA, and warmer nights are more likely over northern and western Australia.