Canberra in 2015: A year of contrasts with frosty nights and spring heat

2015 was the equal seventh-warmest year on record for mean daytime temperatures in Canberra. While both rainfall and minimum temperatures were close to average for the year, there was large variability from month to month.

  • Equal seventh-warmest mean maximum temperatures on record
  • Persistent warmth, but average number of days above 35 °C
  • Average nights, but cool March and September
  • Close to average rainfall

Daytime temperatures were well above average in the ACT during 2015, with Canberra Airport recording mean maximum temperatures 1.4 °C above average, the equal seventh-warmest year on record. Daytime temperatures were particularly warm during spring, which was the third-warmest on record, with several significant heatwaves and the warmest October on record. There were 122 days that reached at least 25 °C during the year, well above the average of 89 days. Two days exceeded 31 °C during early October, the earliest days that warm on record. However, only five days reached at least 35 °C (the average is six days), with very few hot days in summer 2014-15.

In contrast, the mean minimum temperature in Canberra for 2015 was equal to the historical average. Several months recorded well below average minimum temperatures, including the coldest March nights since 1984 and the coldest September nights since 1994. Temperatures dropped below -5 °C on nine nights (the average is seven nights), reaching -7.0 °C on 2 June, the coldest June night since 2000. However, some months recorded well above average minimum temperatures, particularly during late spring. The mean temperature for Canberra was consequently 0.7 °C above the historical average.

Rainfall was slightly below average during 2015. Canberra Airport recorded more than 10 mm of rain on 17 days, close to the historical average of 19 days. There were three days with more than 25 mm recorded at the Airport, with heavy rainfall associated with an East Coast Low on 8 April bringing 53.2 mm. Elsewhere in the ACT, Tuggeranong recorded 51 mm on 11 January and Torrens recorded an August record of 40 mm on 2 August, while a storm on 5 November caused up to 40 mm at the Botanical Gardens and localised flash flooding. However, there were also several very dry months, including the eighth-driest September on record.

Notable events in 2015

This is a brief list of major weather events; for more information see the appropriate Monthly Climate Summaries.

  • An East Coast Low caused heavy rain in the ACT on 8 April, which was the wettest April day since 1988 at the airport (53.2 mm) and the wettest April day on record at Tharwa (90.2 mm).
  • Mt Ginini recorded 15 cm of snow on 12 July, while light snowfall was reported in Canberra city on 12 August.
  • A minimum temperature of -7.0 °C on 2 June was the coldest June night since 2000.
  • A significant heatwave broke records with two consecutive days above 31 °C on 5-6 October and 21 consecutive nights above 5 °C on 4-24 October.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries

Extremes in 2015
Hottest day 37.0 °C at Canberra Airport on 20 Dec
Warmest days on average 21.1 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest days on average 11.7 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Coldest day -3.2 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on 27 Jul
Coldest night -8.2 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on 4 Aug
Coolest nights on average 3.5 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Warmest nights on average 7.1 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Warmest night 20.0 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS on 21 Dec
Warmest on average overall 13.8 °C at Canberra Airport
13.8 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Coolest on average overall 7.6 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest overall 830.2 mm at Mount Ginini AWS
Driest overall 545.4 mm at Canberra Airport
Wettest day 90.2 mm at Tharwa General Store on 8 Apr
Strongest wind gust 102 km/h at Mount Ginini AWS on 11 May

Summary statistics for 2015
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean
for
2015
Diff
from
average
Highest
for
2015
Mean
for
2015
Diff
from
average
Lowest
for
2015
Total
for
2015
Average
annual
total
Rank
of
2015
Fraction
of annual
average
Canberra Airport 21.1 +1.4 37.0 20 Dec 6.5 +0.0 -7.0 2 Jun 545.4 616.4 average 88%
Mount Ginini AWS 11.7 -0.1 26.6 20 Dec 3.5 0.0 -8.2 4 Aug 830.2 1021.4 low 81%
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 20.6 -0.2 36.6 20 Dec 7.1 +0.2 -6.5 3 Jul 720.8 617.9 high 117%
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.

Notes

The Annual climate summary lists the main features of the weather in Canberra using the most timely and accurate information available on the date of publication; it will generally not be updated. Later information, including data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

A climate summary is generally published on the first working day of each month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 8 am on Wednesday 6 January 2016. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

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.

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.

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.

The ACORN-SAT dataset is used for temperature area averages.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries