Australian Capital Territory in 2018: dry with record warm days

The Australian Capital Territory had another warm and dry year in 2018. It was Canberra Airport's warmest year on record for mean maximum temperature and third-warmest year on record for mean temperature. Mean minimum temperature was also warmer than average. Rainfall was below average for the ACT.

The Australian annual climate statement provides a comprehensive summary of Australia's climate during 2018. Information about changes and long-term trends in Australia's climate can be found in State of the Climate 2018.

Dry year overall

  • Overall rainfall was very much below average across most of the ACT
  • Total rainfall for Canberra Airport was 472.0 mm, which is 76% of the long term average of 617.4 mm
  • It was the driest autumn since 2004, and driest winter since 1994 at Canberra Airport which contributed to a very dry year overall
  • February, November and December were wetter than average months
  • The wettest day for the ACT was 26 February, when a cold front brought heavy rain; Mitchell (Exhibition Park) reported its highest daily rainfall on record in the 24 hours to 9am on the 26th
  • There were 86 rain days recorded at Canberra Airport, below the average of 105 days, and the least number of wet days since 2006 (which experienced 65 days)

Third-warmest year on record

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Extremes in 2018
Hottest day 40.6 °C at Canberra Airport on 7 Jan
Warmest days on average 22.0 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest days on average 12.2 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Coldest day -3.2 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on 19 Aug
Coldest night -8.0 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on 20 Aug
Coolest nights on average 3.7 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Warmest nights on average 7.0 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Warmest night 22.6 °C at Canberra Airport on 8 Jan
Warmest on average overall 14.5 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest on average overall 7.9 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest overall 921.2 mm at Mount Ginini AWS
Driest overall 403.4 mm at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Wettest day 107.2 mm at Mitchell (Exhibition Park) on 26 Feb
Strongest wind gust 113 km/h at Mount Ginini AWS on 12 May

Record highest daily rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Mitchell (Exhibition Park) 107.2 on 26 Feb 102.6 on 5 Feb 2002 48



Record highest annual mean daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 21.8 21.7 in 2006 21 20.8



Summary statistics for 2018
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean
for
2018
Diff
from
average
Highest
for
2018
Mean
for
2018
Diff
from
average
Lowest
for
2018
Total
for
2018
Average
annual
total
Rank
of
2018
Fraction
of annual
average
Canberra Airport 22.0   40.6 7 Jan 6.9   -7.4 23 Jul 472.0 605.7 low 78%
Mount Ginini AWS 12.2 +0.4 30.3 7 Jan 3.7 +0.2 -8.0 20 Aug 921.2 1041.9 low 88%
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 21.8 +1.0 39.4 7 Jan 7.0 0.0 -7.9 23 Jul 403.4 620.0 v low 65%
Note: Observations for “Canberra Airport” are taken from the current site (Bureau number 070351), which opened in late 2008.
Comparisons are made against data from the previous site Canberra Airport Comparison (070014), which ran from 1939 to 2010,
combined with the current site from March 2010 onwards.

Notes

The annual climate summary lists the main features of the weather in the Australian Capital Territory using the most timely and accurate information available on the date of publication; it will generally not be updated. More extensive discussion of significant weather events, along with later information and data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.
The Australian annual climate statement provides a comprehensive summary of Australia's climate during 2018. Information about changes and long-term trends in Australia's climate can be found in State of the Climate 2018.

This summary includes data from observing sites in or near the Australian Capital Territory “Greater Capital City Statistical Area” (GCCSA). The Australian Bureau of Statistics designed the GCCSAs to “include the population within the urban area of the city, as well as people who regularly socialise, shop or work within the city, and live in small towns and rural areas surrounding the city. It is important to note that GCCSAs do not define the built up edge of the city. They provide a stable definition for these cities and are designed for the output of a range of social and economic survey data.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 1 pm on Wednesday 9 January 2019. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

In some situations, some or all of the rainfall is in the form of hail or snow. In these cases the totals given are for the water equivalent: the depth of liquid water that results from melting any frozen precipitation. There can be significant 'undercatch' of snow in strong winds, meaning the true precipitation can be higher than that reported.

Averages for individual sites 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.

Where temperature area averages are mentioned, they are derived from the ACORN-SAT dataset.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
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