June 2018 in drought

An ornamental stone bridge

Grantham’s Stone Bridge

As in the month before, temperatures remained near normal. The second week was warm. There were 13 frosts: the usual number. The early morning dew point on the 25th was a new low record for June.
There were only two rain days. The wetter registered 4.4 mm (estimated) on the 28th.

Weather log June 2018

Comparing June months

In recent June months, the mean temperature has hardly changed from 11°. However, moisture has varied a lot. June 2013 was very cloudy, and June 2016 very rainy. This month was very dry, not only with little rain, but also with the lowest June early morning dew point (-0.9°). Warm days (18.8°) and cool nights (3.1°) made for a wide daily temperature range (15.7°).

The rainfall total of 5.2 mm was at the 9th percentile. This very low value has carried rainfall totals for two months, three months, and four months down to become extreme shortages. Such shortages have not been seen here since 2002.

Climate in June months

Developing Drought

The rainfall shortages that have now become extreme are covered in other posts, such as “Rainfall Shortages up to June 2018”.


Data. A Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge operates in the museum yard. From 17 March 2017, 9 am daily readings are published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.  These reports use that rainfall data when it is available.  The gauge, which had last reported on 24 September 2017, came on line again on the 16th of March. During the month of June three daily readings were blank, including that on the wettest day. I have substituted my own gauge readings for those days.

All other data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

Rainfall Shortages up to May 2018

Rainfall shortage Manilla May 2018

Rainfall shortages now

On this graph the black line with black squares shows Manilla rainfall shortages at the end of May 2018. Shortages are shown for short terms down to one month, and for long terms up to 360 months (30 years).

Extreme shortages

There were no extreme rainfall shortages at this date.

Severe shortages

There were severe shortages in rainfall totals as follows:
Total for one month (May): 1.2 mm, at the 2nd percentile;
Total for two months (April and May): 19 mm, at the 3rd percentile;
Total for three months (March, April and May): 45 mm, at the 4th percentile.

Serious shortages

Some other rainfall shortages were not severe, but serious:
Total for five months: 136 mm, at the 9th percentile;
Total for twelve months: 408 mm, at the 6th percentile;
Total for sixty months: 2765 mm, at the 8th percentile;
Total for seventy-two months: 3358 mm, at the 6th percentile.

General shortage

The first comment and reply below notes the fact that no rainfall total for any period reaches the 50th percentile. This has not happened for seventy years (1947).

Comparing May 2018 with September 2017

The graph also has a grey line showing similar rainfall shortages at September 2017 (See the earlier post “A drought has begun”.). In the following month, October, there were no rainfall shortages, because the rainfall, 84 mm, was far above average. November, December and February also had rainfalls above average.
Since March 2018, shortages have appeared again. By comparing the black line (May 2018) with the grey line (September 2017), you can see that the rainfall totals are now lower for nearly all periods of time. Only four totals are now higher, including the 4-month total.

What are the classes of rainfall shortage?

We need to compare rainfall shortages. The best way is not by how far below normal the rainfall is, but by how rare it is. That is, not by the percentage of normal rainfall, but by the percentile value. As an example, when the rainfall is at the fifth percentile, that means that only five percent of all such rainfall measurements were lower than that.
Once the percentile values have been worked out for the rainfall record, each new reading can be given its percentile value. Percentile values of low rainfall are classed as extreme, severe, or serious.
For a rainfall shortage to be classed as extreme, its value must be at or below the 1st percentile.
A severe rainfall shortage is one that is below the 5th percentile.
A serious rainfall shortage is one that is below the 10th percentile.
A rainfall shortage that is above the 10th percentile is not counted as serious.

Long-lasting rainfall shortages

Rainfall shortages sometimes last a long time. The same classes of shortage are used for long periods, such as a year, as for short periods, such as a month. They depend on how rare such a shortage is on the average, and they all use the same percentile values to separate extreme, severe, and serious rainfall shortages.

Autumn 2018 dry and very warm

Gum nuts and blossoms

Gumnut and Gum-Blossum

The air became four degrees warmer than normal by day and by night in mid-March and continued warm until late in April. As normal temperatures returned the climate became dry, with no rain for thirty-nine days.

Graphical weather log for autumn 2018

Both autumn 2016 and autumn 2018 had record high average temperatures. This season had the highest mean daily maximum (27.7°), but 2016 had the highest mean daily minimum (12.1°). In the combined average, 2016, with 19.9°, was warmer than 2018, with 19.7°.

All four indicators of moisture (rainfall, dew point, cloud, and daily temperature range) agree in showing this autumn to be drier than last autumn, and even than the three autumns before that.
The total rainfall of 45 mm was the 12th driest on record, but it was not the driest in the 21st century. Similarly dry autumns occurred in 2002 (60 mm), 2005 (35 mm), 2006 (53 mm), and 2008 (37 mm). That is about twice as many as history would suggest.

Climate for autumn 2018


Data. A Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge operates in the museum yard. From 17 March 2017, 9 am daily readings are published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.  These reports use that rainfall data when it is available. During this autumn season 30 daily readings were missed, and I replaced them with my own readings.

All other data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

May 2018 third driest

Sunset clouds

the heavens’ embroidered cloths

Temperatures did not stray far from normal. The first (black) frost that I observed was on the 15th, near the normal date for it (13th May). That began a week of sunny skies and very dry air.
There was only one rain day. An early morning shower gave a reading of 1.2 mm on the 30th.

May 2018 weather log

Comparing May months

The May months in 2018, 2017, and 2016, as well as in 2014, were all warm. The average temperature was more than half a degree above the normal value of 13.3°. While May 2017 was warm, wet, and humid, May 2018 was warm, dry, and arid. The air was exceptionally dry, with the mean early morning dew point (0.0°) the lowest for May, and the relative humidity at that time 68% instead of the usual 80% to 90%.
The rainfall total of 1.2 mm was third driest for May, equal with May 2002, but not as dry as May 2006 ( 0.2 mm). Only May 1927 was drier, with zero. May rainfall values have been low in the 21st century, with an average of 23 mm, compared to the long-term average of 41 mm.

Climate in May months

Rainfall Shortages

Last month, April 2018, had only two rainfall shortages classed as “serious” (below the 10th percentile): those for durations of five years and six years. Since then, more shortages have appeared. Those five-year and six-year shortages remain, but there are now serious shortages for durations of five months and twelve months, and severe shortages (below the 5th percentile) for one month, two months and three months. The current three-month total (45 mm) is at the 4th percentile.


Data. A Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge operates in the museum yard. From 17 March 2017, 9 am daily readings are published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.  These reports use that rainfall data when it is available.  The gauge, which had last reported on 24 September 2017, came on line again on the 16th of March. However, during the month of May eleven daily readings were blank. I have substituted my own gauge readings, which were all zero.

All data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

April 2018 very warm and sunny

Gum tree

Schoolyard Lemon-scented Gum

Warm spells several degrees above normal persisted until late in the month. Then normal temperature returned.
While no day went over 35°, thirteen days went over 30°, which was a record. ANZAC Day, at 27.3°, was 3° warmer than usual. That was much the same as last year, but not nearly as warm as in 2002 (28.7°).
A record 25 nights were warmer than 10°. There were no frosts, the coldest night (the 29th) being 5.2°.
There were only three rain days, with the highest reading of 10.2 mm on the 20th. The number of cloudless mornings (16) was a new record, beating April 2001 (15).

Weather log for April 2018

Comparing April months

As in March, so in April, this very warm dry month matched the same month in 2016. The three highest mean temperatures for April months were: in 2018, 20.7°; in 2005, 20.6°; and in 2016, 20.5°. For mean daily maximum temperatures, however, 2005 was the warmest, at 29.5°. April 2018 claims the record highest mean minimum temperature of 12.5°, beating April 2014, which had 12.2°.
The rainfall total of 17.8 mm was at the 31st percentile, well below the average (40 mm). In 2018, rainfall has been below normal in January, March and April. However, serious rainfall shortages below the 10th percentile are still seen only in the medium term: the 60-month total of 2780 mm is at the 8th percentile, and the 72-month total of 3370 mm is at the 6th percentile.

Climate in April months


Data. A Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge operates in the museum yard. From 17 March 2017, 9 am daily readings are published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.  These reports use that rainfall data when it is available.  The gauge, which had last reported on 24 September 2017, came on line again on the 16th of March.

All data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

March 2018 very warm indeed

Acacia salicina

Young Cooba

Eight days went over 35° this March, beaten only by nine days in March 2016. The 19th (38.6°) was the fifth hottest March day of the new century. Weekly mean temperatures rose to 4.6° above normal by the 18th, and remained almost as high beyond the end of the month.
There were seven rain days, with the highest reading of 16.5 mm (est.) coming early in the month.

Weather log for March 2018

Comparing March months

Average temperatures this month very nearly match those of the record-breaking March 2016. They are only 0.1° lower! Moisture variables are also similar: rather dry, in stark contrast to the sogginess of March 2017.

The rainfall total of 25.6 mm (est.) was at the 40th percentile, well below the average (53 mm). Serious rainfall shortages are seen only in the medium term: the 60-month total of 2770 mm (8th percentile) and the 72-month total of 3410 mm (9th percentile).

Climate in March months


Data. A Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge operates in the museum yard. From 17 March 2017, 9 am daily readings are published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.  These reports use that rainfall data when it is available.  The gauge, which had last reported on 24 September 2017, came on line again on the 16th of March. However, not all later days have readings reported.

All data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

Summer 2017-18 very warm

Many cockatoos in a tree

Noisy Cockatoos

The heat waves of this summer were several degrees cooler than those of last summer. Also, unlike last summer, there were several cool spells between them. Arid spells with extremely low dew points came in mid-January and mid-February.
While last summer had 12 very hot days (over 40°), this summer had only 4; not as many as in the summers of 2013-14 (5), 2003-04 (6) or 2002-03 (5).
For most of the season, as falls of rain were light, and came at increasingly long intervals, the soil became very dry. That changed on 25 February, which had rainfall of 54 mm.

Graphical weather log for summer 2017-18

While this summer is the second-hottest of the new century in Manilla, its mean temperature (26.6°) is a degree below last summer’s 27.6°, and close to that of 2005-06 (26.3°). The subsoil temperature has been low (24.6°) in each of the last three summers. Two other measures have held steady, but a little high: cloudiness at 38%, and daily temperature range at 16°.
While the mean dew point is lower (less humid) than in last summer, the total rainfall is higher. At 140 mm (estimated), the rainfall is still well below the summer mean of 227 mm. It is at the 20th percentile, perhaps the 25th driest summer from 1883.

Climate for summer 2017-18


Data. A Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge operates in the museum yard. From 17 March 2017, 9 am daily readings are published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.  These reports use that rainfall data when it is available. That gauge failed (again) on the 25th of September 2017, and later readings are from my non-standard gauge.

All other data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.