Monday, 5 January 2009 - Annual Climate Summary for Canberra rainfall extremes - Product code IDCKGC25x0

Canberra 2008: 12th consecutive year with above average temperatures

Summary

An archive of previous annual summaries for Canberra rainfall extremes is also available, as are summaries for other states and many other climate summaries and diagnostics.

  • Above average annual maximum temperatures; ranks 17th warmest
  • 12th consecutive year with above average annual maximum temperatures
  • Above average annual minimum temperatures; ranks 13th warmest
  • 9th consecutive year with above average annual minimum temperatures
  • Below average annual rainfall but a wet end to the year
  • 4th consecutive year with below average rainfall
  • Another sunny year with above average annual sunshine (8.1 hours per day)
  • 8th consecutive year with above average annual sunshine

Rainfall

The total rainfall at Canberra Airport during 2008 was 530.4 mm, below the historical annual average of 616.8 mm and the 4th consecutive year with below average rainfall. However, the year ended with wet, stormy conditions with above average rainfall in November and December. The total rainfall of 117 mm in December was the wettest since 1999. There were 95 rain days during 2008, which was below the historical average of 103 rain days.

The wettest day of the year in Canberra was on 13 December when a deep low pressure system passed over southern NSW. A 24-hour total of 53 mm was recorded at the airport with the highest recorded suburban fall of 67 mm at Curtin. The wettest day in the ACT during 2008 was 83 mm from a thunderstorm at Bendora Dam on 4 February.

Maximum temperatures

Day-time (maximum) temperatures were above average at Canberra Airport during 2008, the 12th consecutive year with above average temperatures. The average annual maximum temperature of 20.4°C was 0.8°C above the historical annual average. This ranks as 17th warmest year since records commenced in 1939. The hottest day of the year in Canberra was 35.8°C at Canberra Airport on 11 January and also 35.8°C at Tuggeranong AWS on 15 March.

Minimum temperatures

Canberra also experienced another year of above average annual minimum temperatures during 2008. The average minimum temperature of 7.1°C was 0.6°C above the historical average, ranking 13th warmest out of 69 years of record. Annual minimum temperatures have been above the historical average continuously at Canberra Airport since 1999. The highest minimum temperature during the year was 20.9°C at both Canberra Airport and at Tuggeranong AWS on 12 January. The coldest Canberra night was −5.3°C at Tuggeranong AWS on 25 July, although at the higher elevation site at Mount Ginini AWS (elev 1760 metres) outside of Canberra, the coldest night was −7.3°C on 22 July.

Wind

There were 26 strong wind days* recorded at Canberra Airport during 2008 compared to the historical annual average of 30 days. This includes one gale on 15 September when winds gusted to 98 km/hr, the strongest winds for nearly 3 years. There were numerous reports of trees falling onto houses and injuring several people.

Other phenomena

Thunderstorms: Canberra recorded 22 thunderstorms during 2008 compared to the historical average of 26. The most significant months for thunderstorms were January and December with 4 storms each. One of the more severe storms was on 13 October when hail and strong winds brought downs trees in northern Canberra and caused minor damage to houses in nearby Queanbeyan.

Sunshine: The amount of sunshine for Canberra during 2008 averaged 8.1 hours per day which is slightly above the historical average of 7.7 hours per day. Monthly averages varied considerably from only 5.2 hours per day in June to 9.9 hours per day in October and December.

Frosts and Fogs: There was a total of 85 frosts during 2008, below the annual average of 100. Only 28 fogs occurred at the airport, below the annual average of 44. The foggiest month was May when 12 fogs were reported at Canberra Airport, the highest number for May since 1985.

Further information

NSW Climate Services Centre
NSW Regional Office
Bureau of Meteorology
Phone (02) 9296 1555
Email reqnsw@bom.gov.au

* string wind day defined as average wind speed of 40 km/hr or more over a 10 minute period.


Extremes

Hottest day
Highest temperature
35.8°C at Canberra Airport on 11 Jan
35.8°C at Tuggeranong AWS on 15 Mar
Warmest days on average
Highest mean daily maximum temperature
20.4°C at Canberra Airport and at Tuggeranong AWS
Coolest days on average
Lowest mean daily maximum temperature
10.9°C at Mount Ginini AWS
20.4°C at Canberra Airport and at Tuggeranong AWS
Coldest day
Lowest daily maximum temperature

7.6°C at Canberra Airport and −3.5°C at Mount Ginini AWS both on 10 Aug

Coldest night
Lowest temperature
−7.3°C at Mount Ginini AWS on 22 Jul
−5.3°C at Tuggeranong AWS on 25 Jul
Coolest nights on average
Lowest mean daily minimum temperature
2.8°C at Mount Ginini AWS
6.4°C at Tuggeranong AWS
Warmest nights on average
Highest mean daily minimum temperature
7.1°C at Canberra Airport
Warmest night
Highest daily minimum temperature
20.9°C at Canberra Airport and at Tuggeranong AWS on 12 Jan
Wettest overall
Highest total rainfall
1011.2 at Mount Ginini AWS
577.4 mm at Tharwa
Driest overall
Lowest total rainfall
514.6 mm at Nicholls (Gungahlin Lakes)
Wettest day
Highest daily rainfall
83.0 mm at Bendora Dam on 4 Feb
67.2 mm at Curtin (Deakin West) on 13 Dec
Highest wind gust
98 km/h at Canberra Airport on 15 Sep

Records

Nil.


Summaries

This table is very wide and may not fit if printed.

Summary statistics for 2008
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean
for
2008
Diff
from
average
Highest
for
2008
Mean
for
2008
Diff
from
average
Lowest
for
2008
Total
for
2008
Average
annual
total
Rank
of
2008
Fraction
of annual
average
Canberra Airport 20.4 +0.8 35.8 11 Jan 7.1 +0.6 −5.3 19 Aug 530.4 616.8 average 86%
Tuggeranong 20.4 −0.5 35.8 15 Mar 6.4 −0.4 −5.3 25 Jul 534.6 568.5 average 94%
Mount Ginini AWS 10.9   26.0 2 Jan 2.8   −7.3 22 Jul 1011.2

Notes

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 9 am on Monday 5 January 2009. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

Averages are long-term means based on observations from all available years of record, which vary widely from site to site. They are not shown for sites with less than 10 years of record, as they cannot then be calculated reliably.
The median is sometimes more representative than the mean of long-term average rain.

The Rank indicates how rainfall this time compares with the climate record for the site, based on the decile ranking (very low rainfall is in decile 1, low in decile 2 or 3, average in decile 4 to 7, high in decile 8 or 9 and very high is in decile 10).
The Fraction of average shows how much rain has fallen this time as a percentage of the long-term mean.

Further information

NSW Climate Services Centre
NSW Regional Office
Bureau of Meteorology
Phone (02) 9296 1555
Email reqnsw@bom.gov.au