Sydney in 2014: a very warm, dry year

Sydney experienced its second-warmest year on record in 2014, following its warmest year in 2013, with well below average rainfall but some heavy rain events in southern Sydney.

  • Equal-warmest year on record for minimum temperatures (with 2007 and 2009)
  • Second-warmest year on record for mean and maximum temperatures, behind 2013
  • Second-fewest number of cool days on record
  • Driest year since 2005

Both maximum and minimum temperatures were well above average across Sydney during 2014, with a mean temperature at Sydney Observatory Hill of 19.3 °C, 1.6 °C above the historical average. This is the second-warmest year on record for Sydney, only slightly cooler than the record 19.4 °C set in 2013, with both maximum and minimum temperatures falling in the three warmest years on record. Temperatures were warm throughout the year but particularly during autumn, which was the warmest on record for Sydney. The persistently warm temperatures were a result of several heatwaves and a lack of cold days; only 81 days failed to reach 20 °C, the second-fewest on record following 66 days in 2013. Notably, temperatures reached 45.3 °C at Richmond on 23 November, one of only three days so warm on record for any month and almost 2 °C above the previous November record.

Rainfall was average to below average during 2014, with 893.8 mm at Observatory Hill, 26% below its historical average and the driest year since 2005. The rain fell over 145 days, which is close to normal for Sydney, although only 6 recorded at least 25 mm (average 12 days), with most months recording below-average rainfall totals. However, totals of over 100 mm were recorded in southern Sydney associated with thunderstorms on 25 March and an East Coast Low on 15 October. August was the wettest since 1998 with several rainfall events contributing to the wet conditions, while persistent thunderstorm activity resulted in well above rainfall during December.

Notable events in 2014

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

  • Record-breaking warm spells on 3–23 March, 10–28 May, 29–30 September, and 20–24 November
  • A large grassfire in Kingswood on 1 August
  • Heavy rain and flash flooding in southern Sydney on 24 March and 14 October
  • Severe thunderstorms and large hail caused damage in western Sydney on 30 March
  • A prolonged spell of thunderstorms between 2–8 December, including heavy rain, hail, and numerous lightning strikes.
  • Late cold snap with snow in the Blue Mountains on 14–15 October

Further information

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Extremes in 2014
Hottest day 45.3 °C at Richmond RAAF on 23 Nov
Warmest days on average 25.2 °C at Penrith Lakes AWS
Coolest days on average 22.0 °C at Terrey Hills AWS
Coldest day 12.0 °C at Terrey Hills AWS on 11 Aug
Coldest night -3.4 °C at Camden Airport AWS on 9 Jul
-3.4 °C at Camden Airport AWS on 12 Jul
Coolest nights on average 10.7 °C at Camden Airport AWS
Warmest nights on average 15.2 °C at Sydney (Observatory Hill)
Warmest night 22.3 °C at Sydney (Observatory Hill) on 2 Jan
22.3 °C at Sydney Airport AMO on 2 Jan
22.3 °C at Sydney (Observatory Hill) on 2 Feb
22.3 °C at Sydney Airport AMO on 16 Feb
Warmest on average overall 19.4 °C at Sydney Airport AMO
Coolest on average overall 17.6 °C at Campbelltown (Mount Annan)
Wettest overall 1171.0 mm at Turramurra (Kissing Point Road)
Driest overall 571.0 mm at Milperra Bridge (Georges River)
Wettest day 143.0 mm at Sans Souci (Public School) on 15 Oct
Strongest wind gust 115 km/h at Kurnell AWS on 14 Oct

Record highest annual mean daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 15.2 = 15.2 in 2007 155 13.8
Sydney Airport AMO 15.1 15.0 in 2007 74 13.4


Record highest annual mean temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Prospect Reservoir 18.5 = 18.5 in 2013 45 17.7
Bankstown Airport AWS 18.5 = 18.5 in 2013 44 17.6
Camden Airport AWS 17.7 = 17.7 in 2009 35 16.9


Summary statistics for 2014
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean
for
2014
Diff
from
average
Highest
for
2014
Mean
for
2014
Diff
from
average
Lowest
for
2014
Total
for
2014
Average
annual
total
Rank
of
2014
Fraction
of annual
average
Badgerys Creek AWS 24.3 +0.5 41.6 23 Nov 11.6 +0.9 -1.5 9 Jul 692.6 676.4 average 102%
Bankstown Airport AWS 24.4 +1.2 40.4 21 Nov 12.6 +0.6 -1.1 9 Jul 782.4 873.3 low 90%
Camden Airport AWS 24.7 +1.0 40.7 23 Nov 10.7 +0.5 -3.4 9 Jul
Campbelltown (Mount Annan) 24.3   40.3 23 Nov 10.9   -2.2 9 Jul 608.0
Canterbury Racecourse AWS 23.3 +0.3 38.6 21 Nov 12.6 +0.3 0.0 12 Jul 982.6 958.6 average 103%
Holsworthy Aerodrome AWS 23.9   39.9 14 Nov 12.2   -1.4 9 Jul 613.0
Horsley Park Equestrian Centre AWS 24.2 +0.5 40.2 14 Nov 12.4 +0.4 0.4 12 Jul 715.8 750.3 average 95%
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 24.0 +0.7 40.0 23 Nov 12.6 +0.4 1.3 9 Jul 892.4 967.1 average 92%
Penrith Lakes AWS 25.2 +0.7 44.9 23 Nov 12.8 +0.5 0.1 9 Jul 693.6 714.9 average 97%
Prospect Reservoir 24.3 +1.1 39.9 14 Nov 12.7 +0.5 2.5 6 Aug 883.8 871.9 average 101%
Richmond RAAF 24.9 +0.8 45.3 23 Nov 11.5 +0.5 -3.3 4 Jul 683.6 721.7 average 95%
Springwood (Valley Heights) 22.9   43.5 23 Nov     3.2 7 Aug 840.2 1087.1 low 77%
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 23.5 +1.8 36.5 1 Nov 15.2 +1.4 5.5 3 Aug 893.8 1213.8 low 74%
Sydney Airport AMO 23.6 +1.4 38.0 14 Nov 15.1 +1.7 4.9 3 Aug 989.8 1083.7 average 91%
Terrey Hills AWS 22.0   38.9 21 Nov 13.4   4.0 12 Jul 998.0

Notes

The annual climate summary lists the main features of the weather in 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.

A Climate Summary is generally published on the first working day of each month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 9 am on Tuesday 6 January 2015. 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.

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
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