Well that explains everything I guess. Not.
Here is the reply to my query to the Bureau regarding the claim that 2014 saw “the worst drought in 80 years.”
Thank you for your email.
The Bureau’s official publicly available Drought Statement is online at http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/
Climate Analysis Section
National Climate Centre – Bureau of Meteorology
Short, sharp, but not exactly to the point.
The relevant paragraphs from the Drought Statement read as follows (my bolding):
It is generally difficult to compare one drought to another, since each drought differs in the seasonality, location, spatial extent and duration of the associated rainfall deficiencies. Additionally, each drought is accompanied by varying temperatures and soil moisture deficits.
The current drought in Queensland is comparable to the 2002–2003 drought, which was perhaps more severe in terms of rainfall deficiencies that occurred at times over a very large area. Historical data shows that the current drought is perhaps a one in ten or twenty year event over a significant part of inland eastern Australia (see for example the 24-month deciles map for 2013–2014), but very severe in some places. For example, some location in central Queensland the present deficiencies are the most severe on record, and in addition have been accompanied by record high temperatures. See: 24-month maximum temperature deciles map for 2013–2014.
Nowhere can I find any reference to “the worst drought in 80 years” or rainfall deficiencies not seen “across Queensland at least since the 1927- 1929 depression drought” or “37.3% of the state… covered by the lowest rainfall on record”. Also included in the Drought Statement is this map showing 27 month rainfall deficiencies:
Perhaps 37% is covered by serious deficiency, but not the lowest on record.So are they admitting the reports were wrong? I don’t think so.
I will email them again asking for a specific reply, preferably Yes or No, to the questions:
Was Mr Jeff Sabburg correct in saying “In terms of rainfall deficiencies the comparison is we haven’t seen this across Queensland at least since the 1927- 1929 depression drought”?
Was Mr Sabburg correct in saying “37.3% of the state was covered by the lowest rainfall on record”?
If the answer to either of these is “No”, will the Bureau immediately issue a correction in a media release?
I live in hope.