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Table 1 Drought categories based on cumulative annual rainfall

From: The impact of drought on the association between food security and mental health in a nationally representative Australian sample

Drought category General description Cumulative drought over 5 years Cumulative drought over 7 years
Zero-to-moderate drought Not exposed to extreme drought - -
Very dry drought During drought the relative level of dryness is intensely dry Population in top 19.8% of dryness Population in top 15.9% of dryness
Recent long period In relative dryness for long unbroken period in the last two years (five months of relative dryness elapse before Hutchinson count method begins) In relative dryness for 14-to-27 months between 2003-2005/6 In relative dryness for 15-to-21 months between 2005-2007/8
Constant drought In drought for an extreme number of months In drought for 12-to-32 months between 2001-2005/6 In drought for 21-to-32 months between 2001-2007/8
Constant drought with a recent long period Experienced both constant drought (i.e. many months) and a recent long period of relative dryness (i.e. unbroken dryness that developed into drought) - -
  1. Note. The total number of months spent in drought was similar across the ‘constant’ drought and the ‘constant drought with recent long period’ categories.