Sydney in 2010: 18th consecutive warm year

  • Near average rainfall, wettest since 2007.
  • 18th consecutive year with above average maximum temperatures.
  • 4th warmest year on record for minimum temperature.

Rainfall

Sydney recorded a total annual rainfall of 1153.8mm during 2010, slightly below the historical average of 1214mm and the wettest year since 2007 (1499.2mm). This occurred over 146 rain days, close to the historical average of 144 rain days, with the maximum daily rainfall of 77.4mm recorded on February 7th associated with a low pressure trough. Berowra, in the northern suburbs, recorded 209mm on this day, the highest total anywhere in Sydney during 2010, with 207mm recorded on the same day at nearby Mt Kuring-gai. Twelve days during 2010 had rainfall exceeding 25mm at Observatory Hill during 2010, of which three exceeded 50mm, close to the historical averages of 13 and 4 days respectively.

Rainfall was highest during February, with above average rainfall of 239.4mm including two events exceeding 50mm. High rainfall was also recorded during winter, with above average rainfall for three consecutive months May-July including the highest number of rain days in fifty years in July. This was followed by dry conditions in August and September, with rainfall increasing towards the end of the year. Totals were generally lower in western regions than along the coast, with Richmond recording 704mm, below the historical average of 809.6mm. The highest annual rainfall anywhere in Sydney was 1424.8mm at Turramurra (Kissing Point Road).

Sydney's Warragamba Dam catchment received above average rainfall during 2010, with totals ranging from around 1100mm in the lower catchment to 889.2mm at Goulburn TAFE in the upper catchment, the wettest year since 1984. Water levels increased from 53% in early January to 72% at the end of December, with largest inflows during December. Current water storage information can be found on the new Bureau of Meteorology Water Storage web site.

Temperature

2010 was the 18th consecutive year with above average maximum temperatures in Sydney, with an average maximum of 22.6°C, which was 0.9°C above the historical average. Similar conditions prevailed in western Sydney, with temperatures 0.1°C above average at Parramatta North and 0.3°C above average at Bankstown. Although all seasons experienced above average temperatures, the La Niña conditions during spring resulted in only 2 days exceeding 30°C, well below the average of 4 days and the lowest frequency since 2003 (2 days).

Minimum temperatures were also above average, with 15.0°C during 2010 compared to a historical average of 13.9°C. This is the equal 4th warmest year on record for Sydney, although lower than the 15.1°C in 2009 and 15.2°C in 2007. Interestingly, seven of the ten warmest years on record (151 years) for Sydney have occurred in the ten years between 2001 and 2010, with this decade the warmest on record for minimum temperatures. January 23 was particularly warm, with minimums up to 26.0°C at Observatory Hill and Sydney Airport recording its warmest night on record (25.8°C). Observatory Hill recorded 114 warm nights during the year (minimum temperature greater than 18°C), well above the average of 76 warm nights. However, some very cold conditions occurred during late June, with Prospect Reservoir recording its coldest night on record on June 30th (-0.8 °C) and temperatures reaching -4.8°C at Richmond on the same night.

Some sites had their lowest temperature on record.
Some sites had their warmest night (highest daily minimum temperature) on record.

Wind

Prevailing wind directions at Sydney Airport were W-NW in the mornings (43%) and NE-S in the afternoons (67%), similar to the average distributions. Only 47 strong wind days were recorded at Sydney Airport, well below the historical average of 63 strong wind days. Only three days had maximum wind gusts exceeding 90km/hr at any metropolitan station, with 91km/hr at Sydney Aiport on September 5, 93km/hr at Sydney Airport on October 16, and a maximum wind gust of 107km/hr at Sydney Airport on August 3.

Other phenomena

Humidity: Dew point temperatures, a measure of humidity, were above average during 2010, with average dewpoints at 9am and 3pm of 12.1°C and 12.0°C respectively, above the historical averages and the highest since 2007. This is due to the La Niña event during the year and warm coastal sea surface temperatures.

Thunderstorms: 22 thunderstorms were observed at Sydney Airport during 2010, slightly below the historical average of 27 days. Hail was observed in the Sydney metropolitan area on four occasions, with 2cm hail at Mona Vale on January 17, 15mm hail near Turramurra on May 21, small hail in the northern suburbs on August 15, hail reaching golf ball size in Leppington and Cabramatta on November 8, and hail up to 2cm at Avalon and Blacktown on December 16.

Sunshine: The amount of sunshine at Sydney Airport averaged 6.9 hours per day during 2010, slightly below the historical average of 7.2 hours per day. However, sunshine varied considerably between months, with the sunniest August since 1997 but the third cloudiest July and cloudiest October on record.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries

Extremes in 2010
Hottest day 43.3 °C at Richmond RAAF on 23 Jan
Warmest days on average 23.8 °C at Campbelltown (Mount Annan)
23.8 °C at Liverpool (Michael Wenden Centre)
Coolest days on average 21.5 °C at Terrey Hills AWS
Coldest day 10.8 °C at Richmond RAAF on 2 Jul
Coldest night -4.8 °C at Richmond RAAF on 30 Jun
Coolest nights on average 10.8 °C at Camden Airport AWS
Warmest nights on average 15.0 °C at Sydney (Observatory Hill)
Warmest night 26.0 °C at Sydney (Observatory Hill) on 23 Feb
Warmest on average overall 18.9 °C at Sydney Airport AMO
18.9 °C at Sydney Olympic Park (Sydney Olympic Pk A
Coolest on average overall 17.1 °C at Springwood (Valley Heights)
Wettest overall 1424.8 mm at Turramurra (Kissing Point Road)
1400.4 mm at Valley Heights (Sun Valley Rd)
1352.0 mm at Rose Bay (Royal Sydney Golf Club)
1339.0 mm at Belrose (Evelyn Place)
1289.0 mm at Springwood (Valley Heights)
1286.8 mm at Mona Vale Golf Club
1284.0 mm at Collaroy (Long Reef Golf Club)
1238.8 mm at St Ives (Richmond Avenue)
1215.0 mm at Castle Cove (Rosebridge Ave)
1194.0 mm at Manley / Warringah (Allambie)
Wettest day 209.0 mm at Berowra (Goodwyn Road) on 7 Feb
Highest wind gust 107 km/h at Sydney Airport AMO on 3 Aug

Record highest annual daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in 2010 (°C)
Previous annual
warmest
Years of
record
Annual
average
Sydney Airport AMO 25.8 on 23 Jan 25.7 on 15 Jan 1978 72 13.4



Record lowest annual temperature
Lowest temperature
in 2010 (°C)
Previous annual
coolest
Years of
record
Annual
average
Prospect Reservoir -0.8 on 30 Jun -0.6 on 17 Jul 2007 46 12.2



Summary statistics for 2010
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean
for
2010
Diff
from
average
Highest
for
2010
Mean
for
2010
Diff
from
average
Lowest
for
2010
Total
for
2010
Average
annual
total
Rank
of
2010
Fraction
of annual
average
Badgerys Creek AWS 23.4   43.0 23 Jan 11.3   -3.0 30 Jun 829.2
Bankstown Airport AWS 23.4 +0.3 42.8 23 Jan 12.6 +0.6 -0.7 30 Jun 802.0 874.1 average 92%
Camden Airport AWS 23.7 +0.1 42.6 23 Jan 10.8 +0.6 -3.9 30 Jun
Campbelltown (Mount Annan) 23.8   42.8 23 Jan 11.0   -3.0 30 Jun
Canterbury Racecourse AWS 22.9   42.3 23 Jan 12.6   -0.9 30 Jun 903.6
Holsworthy Control Range 23.4   42.7 23 Jan 11.7   -2.6 30 Jun 836.4
Horsley Park Equestrian Centre AWS 23.3   42.5 23 Jan 12.2   -1.8 30 Jun 713.6
Liverpool (Michael Wenden Centre) 23.8   42.6 23 Jan 11.7   -2.4 30 Jun 865.8
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 23.4 +0.1 42.3 23 Jan 12.6 +0.4 1.0 30 Jun 932.1 962.1 average 97%
Prospect Reservoir 23.7 +0.6 42.5 23 Jan 12.7 +0.5 -0.8 30 Jun 866.8 870.9 average 100%
Richmond RAAF 23.7   43.3 23 Jan 11.4   -4.8 30 Jun 714.0
Springwood (Valley Heights) 21.9   40.3 23 Jan 12.1   0.0 30 Jun 1289.0 1091.3 high 118%
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 22.6 +0.9 41.3 23 Jan 15.0 +1.2 4.3 30 Jun 1153.8 1214.0 average 95%
Sydney Airport AMO 22.9 +0.7 42.5 23 Jan 14.9 +1.5 3.2 30 Jun 1040.2 1082.1 average 96%
Sydney Olympic Park (Sydney Olympic Pk A 23.6   42.9 23 Jan 14.3   2.0 30 Jun 956.8
Terrey Hills AWS 21.5   40.3 23 Jan 13.3   0.9 30 Jun

Notes

A Annual Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in Sydney - Greater Sydney 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, usually published in the fourth week of the month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 12 pm on Tuesday 4 January 2011. 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 20 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

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries