June is turning out to be a month of extremes in Australia, even by the standards of a country well used to harsh and unforgiving weather conditions.
The Bureau of Meteorology has reported that the Upper North of South Australia has had its wettest June on record with up to 130mm of rain being reported at Booleroo Centre.
Farmers in the region were reportedly delighted at the excellent prospects for crops in the coming season. Some of their colleagues over in southern parts of Western Australia must be looking on in envy. Here, they have had an almost dry June and crops are beginning to suffer.
In the Central Wheatbelt, Beverley and Northam have each received just 6mm of rain so far, and are on course for their driest June in 105 years. It is a similar story in the Great Southern region, where Narrogin is also expecting its driest June in more than a century.
Farmers’ Federation President, Dale Park, said, ‘So really it's desperation stages now for some crops out there.’
In the state capital, Perth, it will need at least 7mm of rain before the month’s end to prevent this becoming the fifth driest June since 1876.
Yet not all of Western Australia is in such a parched state. As early as June 21, Port Hedland in the Pilbara region was reporting its wettest June in 68 years as the rain gauge tally reached 253mm.
Meanwhile, a new study from the University of Melbourne claims to show that the country’s recent run of hot summers is attributable to human factors.
The study involved almost 100 computer model simulations of the last century of Australian summers. Its authors concluded that last year’s hot summer was five times more likely to have been the result of the contribution of human factors than natural climatic variability alone.