Accurate prediction of Australia’s drought seven years ago

Climate scientists have been criticised for inaccurate decadal forecasts, which may have led to doubts about the accuracy of their longer-term forecasts.

Australia is currently handing out $5 billion in drought relief to farmers.  It would have been better to have planned for this drought, but could it have been predicted?

It was, over seven years ago, by me.  The letter below, from Victoria’s then Minister for Water acknowledges that I predicted another severe drought for Victoria over the period 2017 to 2022.  I made that prediction in July 2011, in the midst of a very wet two year period.  The Minister for Water replied in September 2011, noting that mainstream climate scientists knew of no mechanism for such a prediction.


My prediction was for Victoria and also the Murray Darling Basin.

I have since developed the outlines of that mechanism.  But just the fact that the current drought was predicted so long in advance shows that a mechanism exists!

I can, of course, predict when the next wet period will be.

In early 2010, I accurately predicted that the long millennial drought (1997 to 2009) was about to break – see my March 2010 letter to the Murray Darling Basin Authority predicting that 2010 and 2011 would be wet years.


It is well past time for climate scientists to open their minds to the two decadal cycles I have identified and to gain more credibility as a result of more accurate near term climate predictions.

The benefits for farmers, water supply authorities, emergency management agencies, and insurance companies would be immense.

Charlie Nelson