A dry year.

While the El Nino weather system is apparently breaking up, perhaps facilitating more rain, it’s been an incredibly dry year.

How dry? February rainfall has been about 4mm. When you get a millimetre or two in summer, it evaporates as fast as it falls, so it may as well have been nothing.

Dry and dusty. Time to get out the banjo and play the blues.

DSC_0028
Only the toughest survive (and sometimes not even them): Creeping saltbush Atriplex semibaccata, and the ubiquitous carpetweed, Galenia pubescens.

Following a very dry winter and spring, summer rainfall (Dec-Feb) has been only about 45mm total, the driest summer in recent years by a long way. The next driest was 2013, with 60mm. Winter and spring were the driest since 2008.

2015 vs average rainfall

Note: As previously discussed, the last decade’s figures are taken as an average of the Darley weather station (on the north edge of town) and the Parwan creek weather station (just south of town, near the aerodrome). 1880-1962 figures are from a discontinued Bacchus Marsh weather station.

Over the last ten years, average rainfall has been 407mm at the Parwan station, and 480mm at the Darley station – for an average figure of 444mm.

Decade rainfall

Lastly, the preceding decade seems to indicate a shift from winter-spring wet weather (peaking in Aug-Sep) to spring-summer wet weather (peaking in Nov-Dec). Not only does this suggest it may remain pretty dry through autumn, it’s changing the growing seasons, potentially shifting vegetation patterns.

Seasonal rainfall change

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