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.

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.

Annual Rainfall Extremes at Manilla NSW: V

V. Extremes marked by high kurtosis

Manilla annual rainfall kurtosis

This graph shows how the extreme values of annual rainfall at Manilla, NSW have varied, becoming rarer or more frequent with passing time.
The graph quantifies the occurrence of extreme values by the kurtosis of 21-year samples centred on successive years.

The main features of the pattern are:
* Two highly leptokurtic peaks, showing times with strong extremes in annual rainfall values. One is very early (1897) and one very late (1998).
* One broad mesokurtic peak, in 1938, showing a time with somewhat weaker extremes.
* Broad platykurtic troughs through the 1910’s, 1920’s, 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s, decades in which extremes were rare.
All these features were evident in the cruder attempts to recognise times of more and less occurrence of extremes in Parts I, II, III and IV of this series of posts. This graph is more precise, both in quantity and in timing.

Superseded

The results shown in this post are based on sparse data. They are superseded by results based on much more detailed data in the post “Relations Among Rainfall Moments”.

However, kurtosis (the fourth moment of the distribution) does not distinguish extremes above normal from those below normal. It is known that some early dates at Manilla had extremes that were above normal, and some late dates had extremes that were below normal.

Use of skewness

Extremes above normal are distinguished from those below normal by the third moment of the distribution, that is, the skewness.
Manilla Annual rainfall history: SkewnessThe post “Moments of Manilla’s Yearly Rainfall History” shows graphs of the time sequence of each of the four moments, including the skewness (copied here) and the kurtosis ( the main graph, copied above). The skewness function, like the kurtosis function, relates to the most extreme values of the frequency distribution, but to a lesser extent (by the third power, not the fourth).

I have shown the combined effect of kurtosis and skewness on the occurrence of positive and negative extremes in this data set in the connected scatterplot below.

Manilla rain skew vs.kurt

The early and late times of strong extremes were times of strongly positive and strongly negative skewness respectively. As kurtosis fell rapidly from the initial peak (+0.9) in 1897 to slightly platykurtic (-0.4) in 1902, the skewness also fell rapidly, from +0.7 to +0.3.
Much later, in mirror image, values were almost the same in 1983 as in 1902, then kurtosis rapidly rose while skewness rapidly fell, until kurtosis reached +0.9 and skewness -0.3 by 1998.
Between 1902 and 1983, while kurtosis remained below -0.2, the pattern was complex. In the decades of strong platykurtosis (below -0.9) there were extremes of skewness: +0.7 in 1919 and -0.3 in 1968.
Note that the skewness range was as high in times of low kurtosis as in times of high kurtosis, and the same applies to kurtosis range in relation to skewness. Conversely, when either moment was near its mean, the range of the other was not high.


See also:
“Rainfall kurtosis matches HadCRUT4” and “Rainfall kurtosis vs. HadCRUT4 Scatterplots”.

February 2018 had heavy rain at last

Wave cloud photo

Lenticular over Warrabah

Although there were eleven hot days over 35° this month, no days went over 40°. On the average, the second week was just 3.4° above normal, but the first week had been 3.5° below. Through most of the month, the weather was sunny with little rain, making the soil extremely dry. A drought seemed likely.
A violent front on the 25th brought an estimated 54 mm of rain: the heaviest fall in years. There is no official record of this rain event. Nor is there an official record of the only recent events of such a large amount: 47.0 mm on 4 February 2016, and 54.5 mm on 17 June 2015. The latest official readings that were higher were more than five years ago. They were in the record-breaking month of November 2011: 60.8 mm on the 14th, and 62.9 mm on the 27th.

[See note below on “Very wet days at Manilla”.]

Weather log for February 2018

Comparing February months

Compared to last February, this one was not nearly so hot and not so dry. Nights were near normal and days, at 33.9°, only one degree above normal (32.9°). Despite other signs of high moisture, the early morning dew point of 9.9° was very low.
Thanks to the one day of heavy rain, the estimated monthly rainfall total (71 mm) was above the average (67 mm) and at the 65th percentile. Among totals for more than one month, there is just one serious shortage. The 72-month (6-yr) total of 3400 mm is at the 8th percentile (450 mm low).

Climate in February months

Note.
Very wet days at Manilla

Log of decade totals of rainfall excess, Manilla, NSWDaily rainfall amounts of over 50 mm (“flooding rains”) are extreme events that feature in several posts on this blog. A graph in the first post on the topic is a log of every very wet day in the 130-year record. In a second post, I graph the pattern of how the total rainfall in very wet days changes decade by decade (Graph copied here.). Very wet days have a curious relation to drought that is analysed in “More Droughts After Heavier Rains”, Parts I, II, and III.


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, but it is not.  The gauge last reported on 24 September 2017.

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