February 2020: one drought record left

Rainfall status Manilla Jan-Feb 2020

Changing shortages

Very high February rainfall of 165.4 mm further reduced nearly all rainfall shortages, especially short-term ones. The 12-month rainfall total (432 mm) now just qualifies as a “serious shortage” below the 10th percentile.
Despite the general improvement, 10 of the longer-term totals are still extreme shortages, below the 1st percentile. However, only one breaks a record.

One record low rainfall

Only one rainfall total was a new record low value: the 96-month (8-year) total of 4104 mm. This record, having stood at 4405 mm since November 1919, was broken successively in November and December 2019 and January and February 2020.

Record-breaking low rainfall totals from 2018

Until 2018, no new records for low rainfall had been set since 1971. Most records had stood since the droughts of the 1940’s, more than 70 years ago.
In September 2018, a new record was set for the 15-month total (400 mm).
Since then (to include February 2020), new records have been set for 12-, 15-, 18-, 24-, 30-, 36-, 42-, 48-, 60-, 72-, 84-, and 96-months. That is, at 12 of the 25 selected durations. Some records have been broken repeatedly; five times in the case of the 15-month duration.
To judge by records broken, this drought is by far the worst at Manilla since readings began (1883).

How to read the graph

This graph shows all the present rainfall shortages at Manilla, short term and long term, as percentile values. The latest values, as at the end of February 2020, are shown by a thick black line with large circles. Those from one month earlier are shown by a thinner line with small diamonds. [The method is described in “Further Explanation” below.]


Further Explanation

The following notes explain aspects of this work under these listed headings:

Data analysis

Cumulative rainfall totals
Percentile values
Severity of rainfall shortages

Limitations of this analysis

Monthly rainfalls form a single population
Observations are not retrospective
The rain gauge failed

Data analysis

Continue reading

January 2020: still 5 drought records

Rainfall status Dec-19, Jan-20

Changing shortages

January rainfall of 46.8 mm further reduced short-term shortages, bringing the 9-month total (212 mm) out of the “extreme shortage” class. Most longer-duration totals remained in that class, however.

Fewer record low rainfalls

By December 2019, there had been 10 new record low rainfalls. Records were set not only for 12-months duration, but for every one of the 9 chosen durations from 24-months to 96-months. In January 2020 there were only 5 new records, although there were 4 2nd-lowest values that also plotted on the 0.1th percentile line. The 5 new records were:

36-months duration: 1098 mm;
48-months duration: 11775 mm;
60-months duration: 2384 mm;
84-months duration: 3419 mm;
96-months duration: 4132 mm.

How to read the graph

This graph shows all the present rainfall shortages at Manilla, short term and long term, as percentile values. The latest values, as at the end of January 2020, are shown by a thick black line with large circles. Those from one month earlier are shown by a thinner line with small diamonds. [The method is described in “Further Explanation” below.]


Further Explanation

The following notes explain aspects of this work under these listed headings:

Data analysis

Cumulative rainfall totals
Percentile values
Severity of rainfall shortages

Limitations of this analysis

Monthly rainfalls form a single population
Observations are not retrospective
The rain gauge failed

Data analysis

Continue reading

December 2019: 10 new drought records

Rainfall status Nov-Dec 2019

Changing shortages

December rainfall of 19.6 mm, added to November rainfall of 40.2 mm, reduced the shortages for durations up to six months, but it did not prevent the drought becoming worse at nearly all longer durations. The shortage was extreme (1st percentile) at every duration beyond 6-months, except at 120-, and 144-months (severe shortage) and at 360-months (serious shortage).Although the 360-month total of 18,596 mm, being at the 10th percentile, is merely a “serious” shortage, this is the lowest 360-month rainfall total since 1952!

Record low rainfalls

New record low rainfall totals were set in December 2019 as follows:

12-months duration: 255 mm;
24-months duration: 582 mm;
30-months duration: 791 mm;
36-months duration: 1099 mm;
42-months duration: 1477 mm;
48-months duration: 1833 mm;
60-months duration: 2455 mm;
72-months duration: 2901 mm;
84-months duration: 3477 mm;
96-months duration: 4146 mm.

For most of these durations, the record had already been broken several times in this drought. However, three of these records had stood for over a century:

42-month duration: 1477 mm beats (by 43 mm) the record of 1520 mm set in September 1914;
48-month duration: 1833 mm beats (by 3 mm) the record of 1836 mm set in February 1915;
60-month duration: 2455 mm beats (by 11 mm) the record of 2466 mm set in February 1916.

How to read the graph

This graph shows all the present rainfall shortages at Manilla, short term and long term, as percentile values. The latest values, as at the end of November 2019, are shown by a thick black line with large circles. Those from one month earlier are shown by a thinner line with small diamonds. [The method is described in “Further Explanation” below.]


Further Explanation

The following notes explain aspects of this work under these listed headings:

Data analysis

Cumulative rainfall totals
Percentile values
Severity of rainfall shortages

Limitations of this analysis

Monthly rainfalls form a single population
Observations are not retrospective
The rain gauge failed

Data analysis

Continue reading

Rainfalls: 8 in the 0.1th percentile

Rainfall status October November 2019

Normal rainfall in November

Rainfall in November 2019 (40.2 mm) was near normal. That reduced shortages at durations from 2-months to 5-months. Otherwise it had little effect: fifteen of twenty longer durations remained extreme shortages.

Values plotted in the 0.1th percentile

For simplicity, the bottom line is labelled with the 0.1th percentile value, and percentile values below 0.1% are plotted on the line. As there are 1600 months of record, both the 2nd-driest month (percentile value 0.063%) and the driest month, (percentile value 0.000%, by convention), which would plot below the line, are plotted on it.
Driest records have again been broken at durations of 12-months (270 mm), 24-months (611 mm), 30-months (834 mm), 72-months (2927 mm), and 96-months (4205 mm). The 96-month record had stood at 4405 mm since November 1919.
A value that equals an earlier record occurs at 84-months (3555 mm).
Values that are 2nd-driest occur at 36-months (1129 mm) and at 240-months (11816 mm). The 240-month (20-year) total is now only 50 mm more than the lowest-ever value of 11766 mm set in February 1931.

How to read the graph

This graph shows all the present rainfall shortages at Manilla, short term and long term, as percentile values. The latest values, as at the end of October 2019, are shown by a thick black line with large circles. Those from one month earlier are shown by a thinner line with small diamonds. [The method is described in “Further Explanation” below.]


Further Explanation

The following notes explain aspects of this work under these listed headings:

Data analysis

Cumulative rainfall totals
Percentile values
Severity of rainfall shortages

Limitations of this analysis

Monthly rainfalls form a single population
Observations are not retrospective
The rain gauge failed

Data analysis

Continue reading

21stC Rain Shortage Oct ’19

Record of rainfall shortages Jan 2000 Oct 2019

Since the graph for May, the drought at Manilla has become more severe at all durations, from two months up to 240 months.

[For explanation of this graph, see below: “About drought duration graphs”.]

Shortages Jan 2000 to Oct 2019

Seasonal rain shortages recorded to October 2019 are extreme (1st percentile) in the winters of both 2018 and 2019.
For durations of 9 months up to 96 months, extreme shortages now occur at all of the durations shown . This is much worse than in May. At that time, shortages had not been “extreme” (red), but merely “severe” (grey) at the durations of 36-, 42-, 48-, 60-, and 96-months.
By May, “severe” shortages had already appeared at the very long durations of 120-, 150-, and 240-months. Now, there are also severe shortages at 108-months and 180-months.
The shortage at 240-months has now also become extreme (red). Very low rainfalls since May have dragged down the 240-month total to make it the sixth driest on record at Manilla. This links the short extreme drought of 2002  to become a part of the current drought. That would have seemed unlikely during later deluges, as in summer 2011-12.

Complete Manilla drought record to Oct 2019

Compete record updated to October

When the graph of the complete record of months of rainfall shortage at Manilla is updated to October 2019 it is clear that the current drought is one of the greatest droughts in history.
Now that an extreme rainfall shortage has appeared at 240-month (20-year) duration, along with a complete suite of extreme shortages from 2-months to 96-months, only the droughts of 1912 and 1946 are comparable. The Federation drought of 1902 may also have had a 20-year extreme shortage, but data for that duration are incomplete.


About drought duration graphs

These graphs show the onset, persistence, and breaking of episodes of extreme and severe rainfall shortage (droughts) at Manilla. The Continue reading

October: 20-year extreme shortage

Rainfall status Manilla Sep-Oct 2019

Most rainfall shortages are now extreme

The Rainfall Status graph for October 2019 at Manilla shows extreme rainfall shortages (below the 1st percentile) at most durations.
Of the 25 durations shown, 16 are now extreme shortages, and 7 are severe shortages (below the 5th percentile).
That leaves only 2 that are not far below normal: the October 1-month rainfall (21.4 mm) at the 16th percentile, and the 360-month (30-year) total (18696 mm) at the 14th percentile. Even this 30-year total is lower than any seen here since 1952.

A long-duration extreme shortage

An extreme shortage has now appeared at the very long duration of 240 months (20 years). In the 20 years since November 1999 the total rainfall was only 11893 mm – the 6th driest in history. Drier 20-year periods occurred only in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
Given that the median 20-year rainfall at Manilla is 13010 mm, this is a shortfall of 1117 mm, which is nearly two years of rainfall lost.

Only three new records this month

In this drought, rainfall totals in the 1- to 7-year range have broken records for low rainfall repeatedly. This month only three records have been broken: 24-months (615 mm), 30 months (850 mm), and 36-months (1111 mm).

How to read the graph

This graph shows all the present rainfall shortages at Manilla, short term and long term, as percentile values. The latest values, as at the end of October 2019, are shown by a thick black line with large circles. Those from one month earlier are shown by a thinner line with small diamonds. [The method is described in “Further Explanation” below.]


Further Explanation

The following notes explain aspects of this work under these listed headings:

Data analysis

Cumulative rainfall totals
Percentile values
Severity of rainfall shortages

Limitations of this analysis

Monthly rainfalls form a single population
Observations are not retrospective
The rain gauge failed

Data analysis

Continue reading

More drought records in September 2019

Rainfall status Aug-Sep 2019 Manilla

Graph of Rainfall Shortages

This graph shows all the present rainfall shortages at Manilla, short term and long term, as percentile values. The latest values, as at the end of September, are shown by a thick black line with large circles. Those from one month earlier are shown by a thinner line with small diamonds. [The method is described in “Further Explanation” below.]

Record low rainfalls for 15-months to 36-months

With only 1.2 mm of rain falling in September 2019, most of the rainfall totals that had been record low values in August fell further to become new records. Some of these rainfall totals had been getting lower in each of the last four months. Until 2019, these records for low rainfall had not been broken in half a century, some having been set in the great drought of 1966.
Some of the current rainfall totals are very much lower than the previous long-standing records. For example:

  • 18-month total to Sep 2019: 384 mm; to Apr 1966: 514 mm; now lower by 130 mm.
  • 30-month total to Sep 2019: 853 mm; to Oct 1966: 1078 mm; now lower by 225 mm.
  • 36-month total to Sep 2019: 1161 mm; to Jan 1947: 1333 mm; lower by 172 mm.

Record low rainfalls for 72-months and 84-months

Record low rainfalls for 72-months and 84-months, which had appeared during 2019, got steadily lower. The earlier records had stood for more than a century, (Feb, Mar 1903) but are now beaten by about 100 mm.

The latest four months

September’s low rainfall has dragged down the totals for 2-, 3-, and 4-months. The 4-month total of 22 mm is the 2nd lowest ever.

The pattern of this drought

Two features of this drought are now clear from this data:

  • It is an extreme drought of two to three-year duration: one of Manilla’s six great droughts.
  • Record-breaking rainfall shortages at 72-month and 84-month duration show that the summer droughts of 2012-13 and 2013-14 still have an effect, not compensated by the wet winter of 2016.

Table of lowest-ever rainfalls

In a post of July 2018, I tabulated the lowest-ever rainfall for selected durations up to 360 months.

I commented that such records are rarely broken, and all had stood for at least forty-six years at that date.
The current drought has now broken most of those records for durations between 12-months and 84-months


Further Explanation

The following notes explain aspects of this work under these listed headings:

Data analysis

Cumulative rainfall totals
Percentile values
Severity of rainfall shortages

Limitations of this analysis

Monthly rainfalls form a single population
Observations are not retrospective
The rain gauge failed

Data analysis

Continue reading