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‘Drought condition across Murray-Darling Basin most severe in 120 years record’

CANBERRA:  The Australian Bureau of Metrology says that the drought condition across the Murray-Darling Basin is the most severe in 120 years records.

Climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, Dr David Jones, said that the Federation drought (1891-1903) and the World War II drought were similar to this one.

He said that the generally drought last in Murray-Darling Basin for two-to-three years.  “This is the most severe we’ve now seen in terms of the rainfall totals and probably also in terms of the general runoff into dams,” he said.

The variable nature of droughts makes them hard to compare as everyone experiences drought differently, and not everywhere is currently experiencing its worst drought.

He added that the drought conditions in the southern basin were significantly less severe than in the north.

“If you look in southern Victoria, for example, the stand-out drought is clearly still the Millennium drought,” Dr Jones said.

Going back further into the paleo record there have been bad droughts, but Dr Jones said you could not really compare those prehistorical droughts.

“Certainly this is about as bad as it has got in our records. It is pretty severe,” he said.

Both the Pacific and Indian Oceans have been unhelpful to our rainfall, according to Dr Jones.