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Australia's driest month in 116 years

Ben Domensino, Tuesday October 2, 2018 - 11:33 AEST

Australia just experienced its driest calendar month in more than a century as the nation continues a prolonged spell of below-average rainfall that is defining 2018.

September is typically Australia's driest month of the year, as rain-bearing cold fronts lose their strength over southern Australia and the northern Australia's dry season nears its end.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Australia's long-term average rainfall during September is 16.6mm. Last month, Australia registered an area-averaged rainfall total of just 5.2mm, according to the Bureau's monthly climate summary. This paltry amount makes it Australia's driest September in 119 years of records and the nation's second driest calendar month on record, behind April 1902.

Last month wasn't a standalone feat of 2018 either. This year has featured two other months (April and May) in the bottom five percent of historical records for the nation as a whole.

September is the latest in a string of dry months in Australia during 2018. Ater a relatively wet start to the year, every month since April has been drier than average for the nation as a whole.

Quite amazingly, this spate of dry weather has occurred in the absence of fully developed El Nino and positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) events. These two climate drivers, which occur in the Pacific and Indian Ocean respectively, typically cause below average rainfall in Australia and are often behind records relating to dryness.

Unfortunately, the early stages of a positive IOD event are underway and there's a chance that a weak El Nino may develop in the coming months.

Off the back of Australia's second driest calendar month in more than a century, the outlook is for more drier-than-usual weather in the months ahead for much of the country.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2018

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