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The Desert Channels Queensland region has a climate ranging from dry monsoonal in the north to temperate arid in the south. The region typically has a hot, dry climate with highly variable rainfall.
Temperatures in the region are amongst the highest recorded in Australia. Most centres in the catchment have recorded maxima in excess of 45°C, with Birdsville recording maxima in excess of 49°C. Although frost is comparatively rare centres have recorded minima as low as –2°C (BOM data).
Annual rainfall in the Cooper catchment varies from around 550 mm at Torrens Creek in the north east of the region to 172 mm at Innamincka just over the border in SA. The Georgina/Diamantina catchment is drier with Camooweal in the north having an average of 394 mm and Birdsville 165 mm (Australian Rainman).
This highly variable climate is reflected in an environment where the flora and fauna are adapted to irregular rainfall and flooding events. The floodplains of the lower parts of the catchments are uniquely adapted to having much of the moisture provided by stream flows from further up the catchment rather than local rain.
Living with a highly variable climate is one of the major challenges for both the pastoral industry and urban communities in the catchment. DCQ aims to improve the capacity of the community to better manage our natural resources in this changing climate.
DCQ has developed a Community Information Paper which provides more information on our climate.