Nature and causes of protracted droughts in southeast Australia: Comparison between the Federation, WWII, and Big Dry droughts
Article first published online: 26 NOV 2009
Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 36, Issue 22, November 2009
How to Cite
2009), Nature and causes of protracted droughts in southeast Australia: Comparison between the Federation, WWII, and Big Dry droughts, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L22707, doi:10.1029/2009GL041067., and (
- Issue published online: 26 NOV 2009
- Article first published online: 26 NOV 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 30 OCT 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 25 OCT 2009
- Manuscript Received: 22 SEP 2009
- southeast Australia;
- climate variability
 Three protracted droughts have occurred during the instrumental history of Southeast Australia (SEA) – the “Federation” (∼1895–1902), “World War II” (∼1937–1945) and the “Big Dry” (∼1997–present). This paper compares the nature and causes of these droughts in order to better inform drought management strategies in SEA. It is shown that the three droughts differ in terms of severity, spatial footprint, seasonality and seasonal rainfall make-up. This diversity arises due to the fact that the droughts are driven by different climatic teleconnections with the Pacific, Indian and Southern Oceans. Importantly, this study highlights potential flaws with drought forecasting and management in SEA and emphasises the need for further research into understanding and representing hydroclimatic drivers of drought.