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Wednesday 3 January 2007


2006 Hottest year on record in Canberra

Annual 2006 - Main Points:

  • Record mean daily and mean maximum temperatures during 2006 in Canberra.
  • Both October and November had record number of consecutive days of above 30°C.
  • Fifth driest year on record.
  • Record amount of sunshine.

Annual 2006

Rainfall: Canberra Airport experienced its fifth lowest annual rainfall on record with a total of 360.6 mm (average 622.3 mm).  The driest year was in 1982 when 261.6 mm was recorded. There were 69 rain days during 2006, which was well below the historic average of 103 rain days. Rainfall across the A.C.T. varied from a high of 414.8 mm at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve to a low of 316.6 mm at Kambah.

Temperatures:   The trend of above average temperatures continued during 2006. The mean daily temperature (the average of daytime and night-time temperatures) was 14.4 °C, well above the long term average of 13.0°C. This makes 2006the hottest year on record (previous record was in 2005 with a temperature of 14.2°C ).

Day-time temperatures were particularly hot with the average maximum temperature of  21.7°C (long term average 19.5°C) the highest ever recorded (previous record was 21.2°C in 1982). Night time temperatures (average minimum) were above average at 7.0°C (historic average 6.4°C).  There were 13 days equal to or greater than 35°C, which is equal fifth highest with 1979 and 1981 (the record is 14 days in 2004, 1998, 1983 and 1982). There were also 64 days equal to or greater than 30°C, which is a new record (previous record 59 days in 1940). The highest temperature at Canberra Airport during 2006 was 39.9°C on 1st January.  This is the equal fourth highest temperature recorded in Canberra, the highest being 42.2°C on the 1st February 1968.  The coldest night (lowest temperature) was −6.0 °C on 8th August.

Other phenomena:   Canberra had a record amount of sunshine during 2006, averaging 8.5 hours per day (previous record 8.4 hours per day in 2004) and well above the historic average of 7.6 hours per day. There were 117 frosts in 2006, well above the  average of 96 frosts, and 26 fogs, well below the average of 41 fogs. It was also less windy with an average wind run of 183.2 km/day compared to the long term average of 189.6 km/day. However, there were significantly more strong wind days with 32 days recorded (average 22 days). The average pressure of 1019.0 hPa was substantially above the average of 1016.7 hPa, indicating the persistence of  high pressure systems over the ACT during 2006.  Evaporation was significantly higher with 1990.0 mm (average 1693.1 mm) further evidence of the hot dry conditions persisting during what has been a record breaking year.



Climate summary for Canberra Airport, Annual 2006


Canberra Airport  (Elev 578 m)





Historic average


Average maximum
temperature (°C)




Average minimum
temperature (°C)




temperature (°C)




Annual rainfall (mm)




Number of
rain days




Average daily
sunshine (hours)




Average relative humidity at 3pm (%)




Number of thunderstorms




Number of windy days




# Median December rainfall is 59.9 mm.

Climate averages for Canberra are available, here.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 4pm on 02/01/07. Although every effort has been made to check them, it is possible that results in December and Annual may change as new information becomes available.

A note about deciles: Deciles are used to give an element (in this case rainfall or temperature) a ranking. Deciles are calculated by arranging the totals in ascending order (from lowest to highest) then splitting them into 10 equal groups (thus the groups are called deciles). The first group would be in decile range one, the second group in decile range two, etc up to the highest annual totals (highest 10 per cent) being in decile range 10.

Averages: Historic average temperatures are based on the period 1961 to 1990 which is a convention of the World Meteorological Organisation. Historic rainfall averages and extremes based on the period 1939 to 2005.

Further information: Contact: Owen Offler on 02 62470411 or email: climate.act@bom.gov.au

A directory of Bureau services is available on poll fax: 1800 630 100

The latest rainfall and temperature maps are available here
Climate averages for New South Wales localities are available here
Daily Weather Observations for selected Australian Capital Territory localities are available here