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Queensland Lake Eyre and Bulloo Freshwater Biogeographic Province

Queensland Lake Eyre and Bulloo Freshwater Biogeographic Province – Climate

Wet season (Jan-Apr) Average temperature (23°) Temperature varies along a NW-SE gradient Evaporation exceeds rainfall Width of riparian zone (36m) Small trees Grasses Low relief ratio Cracking clays Percentage of water which is base flow (9%) Annual spate duration (2 months) Annual no-flow duration (6 months) Sand Clay Low macroinvertebrate richness High turbidity Large woody debris cover (8%) Submerged macrophyte growth forms dominant Concave bank shape category Convex bank shape category Dominant bank slope (10°-60°) Fauna Specific example – Life cycle of Hyrtl's catfish

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Winter drought Photo by Water Planning Ecology Group, DSITIA

Rainfall in the FBP is influenced by the northern Australia summer monsoon and linked with the El Nino and La Nina climate patterns.  Summer rainfall (and consequent winter drought) is associated with the northern regions of the Lake Eyre Basin and heavy rains produce flooding which flows downstream into arid areas.

The areas of the FBP in central Australia are arid desert systems.  Rainfall is more variable along the northern and eastern boundaries, though conditions are still primarily dry.  Areas located in the north-east of the FBP receive the highest annual mean precipitation.  This is demonstrated by the Bulloo catchment, in the south-east of the FBP, which is categorised as hot and persistently dry with grasslands to its north and arid desert at its southern end[1].

A central-west to north-east gradient exists for annual mean precipitation, ranging from dry to moderate.  The driest quarter mean precipitation forms three bands, ranging from dry to moist in an easterly direction.

As expected with the scarcity of widespread rainfall, the potential for rainfall induced soil loss[2] is very low throughout the FBP.


Information about Rainfall

Information about methods


After the rain Photo by Water Planning Ecology Group, DSITIA

  Mean SE Min Max
Annual mean precipitation (mm) 304.4 0.036 135 687
Driest quarter precipitation (mm) 20.02 0.0069 0 75
Rainfall erosivity  (MJ mm ha -1 hr -1 yr -1) 1104.86 0.19 279 3303


State Rainfall Map


Example of hot, arid desert Photo by Water Planning Ecology Group, DSITIA

The central zone of the FBP is hot, arid desert with temperatures more variable along the northern and eastern margins of the FBP.  Three broad bands of differing temperatures are represented amongst the annual mean averages.  These divisions are roughly influenced by dry grassland areas to the east of the FBP and the hot deserts of the interior.  Warmer temperatures occur in the north-west in contrast to the cooler temperatures toward the south-east of the FBP.  The highest weekly mean maximum temperatures show that hot temperatures are widespread, the hottest temperatures occurring in the arid inland northern and western regions of the FBP.  Temperatures become cooler towards the east, especially along the north-eastern margins of the FBP.  The lowest temperatures in the FBP are experienced at the eastern most point, just below latitude 24o S.  This same location contains the largest temperature differences for the FBP.  There is likely to be more pronounced seasonality in the south-east area where there are larger temperature differentials.

Information about temperature

Information about methods


Highest Weekly Mean TemperatureRatio Hottest Weekly max to cold

Lowest Weekly Mean TemperatureAnnual Mean Temperature


Cloudy days cooler temperatures Photo by Water Planning Ecology Group, DSITIA

  Mean SE Min Max
Mean annual temperature (°C) 22.6 0.0004 18.8 24.8
Highest weekly mean maximum temperature (°C) 37.39 0.0003 32.9 38.9
Lowest weekly mean maximum temperature (°C) 5.98 0.0004 2.6 9.0
Ratio hottest weekly maximum to coldest weekly minimum 6.45 0.0004 4.08 12.81


State Temperature Map

Water balance

Mean annual run-off in the FBP is negligible (0.07 mm) and the lowest amongst Queensland’s FBPs.  Historically most rainfall which occurred across the FBP was lost as evaporation.

Information about climate

Information about methods

Desert landscape Photo by Water Planning Ecology Group, DSITIA

  Mean SE Min Max
Annual mean "run-off" (mm) 0.07 0.0002 0 0.46


Annual mean run-off (mm)



  1. ^ NAMS (2007), National Agriculture Monitoring System. [online] Available at:
  2. ^ Stein, JL (2005), Landscape characteristics of Queensland Freshwater Biogeographical Provinces, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Australian National University.

Last updated: 22 March 2013

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (2013) Queensland Lake Eyre and Bulloo Freshwater Biogeographic Province – Climate, WetlandInfo website, accessed 18 March 2024. Available at:

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment, Science and Innovation