Sydney in 2016: Warmest year on record

2016 was the warmest year on record for Sydney, with both daytime and overnight temperatures persistently warm throughout the year. Rainfall was above average and the wettest for Observatory Hill since 2007, with particularly heavy rain during January and a severe East Coast Low in early June.

Warmest year on record

  • 2016 was the warmest year on record for mean temperatures at all Sydney stations, and the 24th consecutive above-average year at Observatory Hill
  • At several stations including Observatory Hill it was also the warmest year on record for daytime and overnight temperatures
  • Mean maximum temperatures were at least one degree above average at Observatory Hill during every month in 2016, with autumn daytime temperatures the warmest on record across Sydney and notable heatwaves during December
  • Temperatures were persistently warm, with only 50 nights below 10 °C, the equal second-fewest on record (average 88)
  • 197 nights remained above 15 °C, the second-most on record (average 158 nights), with a record 70 nights above 20 °C (average 26 nights) and the second-warmest night on record on 14 December (27.1 °C)
  • 151 days reached at least 25 °C, the most warm days on record (average 89 days), and 28 days reached 30 °C, the equal third-highest number on record and most hot days since 1940 (average 15 days)
  • Only 79 days failed to reach 20 °C, the second-fewest on record behind 2013 (average 138 days)
  • Sydney Airport recorded a daily average of 7.6 hours of sunshine during 2016, above the historical average of 7.2 hours

Wettest year since 2007

  • Rainfall was average to above average across Sydney during 2016; the wettest year at Observatory Hill since 2007
  • It was particularly wet during January and June, but relatively dry during May and spring
  • There were 129 rain days, below the average of 144 days, but 8 days recorded more than 50 mm at Observatory Hill, twice the historical average
  • East Coast Lows caused heavy rain across the city from 4 to 7 January and again from 4 to 6 June, with the latter storm also causing large waves and coastal erosion
  • Heavy rain was also recorded from severe thunderstorms in January, as well as when the city was affected by low pressure systems during August
  • Thunder was heard at Sydney Airport on 16 days, the fewest stormy days since 2011

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries

Extremes in 2016
Hottest day 42.2 °C at Penrith Lakes AWS on 25 Feb
Warmest days on average 25.4 °C at Penrith Lakes AWS
25.4 °C at Richmond RAAF
Coolest days on average 22.6 °C at Terrey Hills AWS
Coldest day 10.8 °C at Terrey Hills AWS on 27 Jun
10.8 °C at Springwood (Valley Heights) on 24 Aug
Coldest night -2.1 °C at Richmond RAAF on 30 May
-2.1 °C at Camden Airport AWS on 30 Jun
Coolest nights on average 11.0 °C at Camden Airport AWS
Warmest nights on average 15.4 °C at Sydney (Observatory Hill)
Warmest night 27.5 °C at Parramatta North (Masons Drive) on 14 Dec
27.5 °C at Springwood (Valley Heights) on 14 Dec
27.5 °C at Sydney Airport AMO on 14 Dec
Warmest on average overall 19.7 °C at Sydney Airport AMO
Coolest on average overall 17.9 °C at Camden Airport AWS
17.9 °C at Springwood (Valley Heights)
Wettest overall 1545.6 mm at Castle Cove (Rosebridge Ave)
Driest overall 796.4 mm at Penrith Lakes AWS
Wettest day 170.0 mm at Turramurra (Kissing Point Road) on 5 Jun
Strongest wind gust 120 km/h at Sydney Airport AMO on 14 Jan

Record highest daily rainfall

New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Campbelltown (Kentlyn (Georges River Roa 154.0 on 5 Jun 143.0 on 16 Apr 1969 40
Ingleburn (Sackville Street) 140.0 on 5 Jun 123.4 on 25 Sep 1995 25

Record highest annual mean daily maximum temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 23.9 23.7 in 2013 157 21.7
Sydney Airport AMO 24.1 = 24.1 in 2013 76 22.3
Prospect Reservoir 24.6 = 24.6 in 2013 47 23.2
Bankstown Airport AWS 24.9 24.6 in 2013 46 23.2
Richmond RAAF 25.4 25.3 in 2013 22 24.1
Penrith Lakes AWS 25.4 = 25.4 in 2002 20 24.6

Highest annual mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years

Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Annual
average
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 24.4 24.5 in 1980 23.3
Camden Airport AWS 24.8 25.1 in 1980* 23.7

* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a higher value has gone unreported


Record highest daily minimum temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Sydney Airport AMO 27.5 on 14 Dec 26.4 on 6 Feb 2011 78 13.5

Record highest annual mean daily minimum temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 15.4 15.2 in 2007 157 13.8
Sydney Airport AMO 15.3 15.1 in 2014 76 13.5
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 13.1 13.0 in 1973 46 12.2
Penrith Lakes AWS 13.2 12.9 in 1998 20 12.3

Record highest annual mean temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 19.6 19.4 in 2013 157 17.8
Sydney Airport AMO 19.7 19.5 in 2013 76 17.9
Prospect Reservoir 18.8 18.5 in 2013 47 17.7
Bankstown Airport AWS 18.9 18.5 in 2014 46 17.6
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 18.8 18.6 in 2009 45 17.8
Camden Airport AWS 17.9 17.7 in 2014 37 16.9
Richmond RAAF 18.6 18.2 in 2014 21 17.6
Penrith Lakes AWS 19.3 19.0 in 2014 20 18.4

Summary statistics for 2016

Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean
for
2016
Diff
from
average
Highest
for
2016
Mean
for
2016
Diff
from
average
Lowest
for
2016
Total
for
2016
Average
annual
total
Rank
of
2016
Fraction
of annual
average
Bankstown Airport AWS 24.9 +1.7 40.7 25 Feb 12.9 +0.9 0.5 30 Jun 973.8 876.6 high 111%
Camden Airport AWS 24.8 +1.1 40.2 14 Jan 11.0 +0.8 -2.1 30 Jun 921.4 792.4 high 116%
Campbelltown (Mount Annan) 24.7   39.5 25 Feb 11.3   -1.0 4 Jul 869.0


Canterbury Racecourse AWS 23.9 +0.9 39.3 14 Jan 12.8 +0.5 0.7 30 Jun 1155.2 970.9 high 119%
Holsworthy Aerodrome AWS 24.2   40.6 14 Jan 11.9   -0.6 30 Jun 988.8


Horsley Park Equestrian Centre AWS 24.6 +0.9 39.8 25 Feb 12.6 +0.6 -0.3 26 Jun 892.4 769.2 average 116%
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 24.4 +1.1 40.0 25 Feb 13.1 +0.9 1.5 30 Jun 1115.6 973.5 high 115%
Penrith Lakes AWS 25.4 +0.8 42.2 25 Feb 13.2 +0.9 1.0 15 Jul 796.4 731.4 average 109%
Prospect Reservoir 24.6 +1.4 41.0 25 Feb 12.9 +0.6 0.4 26 Jun 1052.5 875.4 high 120%
Richmond RAAF 25.4 +1.3 40.0 14 Jan 11.8 +0.8 -2.1 30 May 802.2 740.5 high 108%
Springwood (Valley Heights) 23.2   39.5 25 Feb 12.6   2.1 14 Jul 942.1 1086.3 average 87%
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 23.9 +2.2 39.2 14 Jan 15.4 +1.6 5.4 30 Jun 1385.6 1215.7 high 114%
Sydney Airport AMO 24.1 +1.8 40.6 14 Jan 15.3 +1.8 5.4 26 Jun 1266.4 1085.9 high 117%
Terrey Hills AWS 22.6 +0.9 38.9 14 Jan 13.8 +0.6 3.1 29 Jul 929.8 1089.9 low 85%

Notes

The Annual climate summary, generally published on the second working day of the year, 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. 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.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 8 am on Tuesday 3 January 2017. 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.

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

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries