Wednesday, 6 January 2016 - Annual Climate Summary for Sydney - Product code IDCKGC55L0
Sydney in 2015: A wet autumn, chilly winter, and hot spring
Sydney experienced its equal third-warmest year on record during 2015. Rainfall was close to average, with a severe East Coast Low in April resulting in the wettest single month since June 2007.
- Equal third-warmest year for average mean temperatures
- Fifth-warmest year for average maximum temperatures
- Equal sixth-warmest year for average minimum temperatures
- Close to average rainfall
- Most severe East Coast Low since June 2007
- Cold July including snow in the Blue Mountains
- Record warmth in October and November
- Tornado broke NSW wind gust record in December
The mean temperature in Sydney during 2015 was 19.1 °C, just behind the record warm years of 2013 (19.4 °C) and 2014 (19.3 °C). Minimum temperatures were well above average across the city, with nights 1.2 °C above average at Observatory Hill, the equal sixth-warmest year on record. Nights were warmer than average in most months, associated with very warm local sea surface temperatures during the year; 64 nights exceeded 20 °C, the equal second-highest number on record (average 27 nights). The exception was during July, which was the coolest for minimum temperatures in Sydney since 2002. Two cold outbreaks during the month contributed to the longest spell of nights below 8 °C since 1989, with snowfalls of up to 20 cm in the Blue Mountains.
Maximum temperatures were 1.5 °C above average at Observatory Hill, the fifth-warmest year on record, but closer to average elsewhere in the city. Temperatures reached at least 35 °C on seven days, the highest number since 2004 (average two days), with several notable heatwaves during spring. This included a temperature of 40.9 °C at Observatory Hill on 20 November, the second-warmest spring day on record.
Sydney Observatory Hill recorded 1337.2 mm of rainfall during 2015, slightly above the historical average, with average to above average rainfall across the city. The rain fell over 166 days, above the historical average of 144 rain days, with five days recording at least 50 mm (average four days). A severe East Coast Low caused a 48-hour total of 225.2 mm to 9 am on 22 April and substantial flooding. Wind gusts of up to 135 km/h and wave heights of 14.9 m were recorded during the event, as well as a record 44 consecutive hours with wind speeds greater than 50 km/h at Sydney Airport. This was the most severe East Coast Low since the "Pasha Bulker" storm of June 2007, with April consequently the wettest single month for Sydney since June 2007. At 30 December, Sydney's total water storage was at 93.1% of capacity, higher than at the end of 2014 (85.4%).
Notable events in 2015
This is a brief list of major weather events; for more information see the appropriate Monthly Climate Summaries.
- Heavy rain on 26-27 January caused flash flooding in the city and along the Parramatta River.
- Severe thunderstorms caused strong winds and roof damage in western Sydney on 11-12 March, large amounts of hail on 25 April, hail and flash flooding on 24 August, and two lightning-related injuries on 20 October.
- A severe East Coast Low on 20-22 April produced very heavy rain, large waves, cool days and almost 48 hours of consecutive strong winds. This caused downed trees, widespread power outages, and coastal erosion.
- Two cold outbreaks during July caused the longest spell of nights below 8 °C since 1989, as well as snow in the Blue Mountains on the 12th and 17th.
- Heavy rainfall to the southeast of the city caused the Warragamba dam to spill on 26 August, leading to minor flooding in the Hawkesbury-Nepean River.
- Spring heatwaves broke several early season records for warm temperatures, including three days above 32 °C on 4-6 October, 19 nights of 15 °C or higher on 4-22 October, and a maximum temperature of 40.9 °C on 20 November.
- Severe thunderstorms across the city on 16 December produced heavy rain, large hail, flash flooding and strong winds. A wind gust of 213 km/h was reported from a category F2 tornado which damaged several houses and the desalination plant in Kurnell. This was the strongest wind gust ever recorded in New South Wales.
|Extremes in 2015|
|Hottest day||42.8 °C at Sydney Airport AMO on 20 Nov|
|Warmest days on average||24.3 °C at Penrith Lakes AWS|
|Coolest days on average||21.7 °C at Terrey Hills AWS|
|Coldest day||10.2 °C at Campbelltown (Mount Annan) on 16 Jul|
|Coldest night||-2.6 °C at Camden Airport AWS on 6 Jul|
|Coolest nights on average||10.5 °C at Camden Airport AWS|
|Warmest nights on average||15.0 °C at Sydney (Observatory Hill)|
|Warmest night||24.3 °C at Parramatta North (Masons Drive) on 21 Dec|
|Warmest on average overall||19.2 °C at Sydney Airport AMO|
|Coolest on average overall||17.1 °C at Camden Airport AWS|
|Wettest overall||1586.0 mm at Frenchs Forest (Frenchs Forest Rd)|
|Driest overall||784.0 mm at Milperra Bridge (Georges River)|
|Wettest day||180.0 mm at Duffys Forest (Namba Rd) on 21 Apr|
|Strongest wind gust||213 km/h at Kurnell AWS on 16 Dec|
|Record highest daily rainfall|
|Richmond RAAF||113.4||on 21 Apr||112.8||on 12 Feb 1997||22|
|Highest annual total rainfall for at least 20 years|
|Prospect Reservoir||1139.0||1388.9||in 1990*||874.0|
* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a higher value has gone unreported.
|Summary statistics for 2015|
|Badgerys Creek AWS||23.7||-0.1||41.8||20 Dec||11.4||+0.7||-1.3||6 Jul||819.6||684.0||average||120%|
|Bankstown Airport AWS||23.9||+0.7||40.7||20 Nov||12.5||+0.5||0.6||4 Jul||931.2||874.6||average||106%|
|Camden Airport AWS||23.8||+0.1||40.9||20 Dec||10.5||+0.3||-2.6||6 Jul||813.6||788.8||average||103%|
|Campbelltown (Mount Annan)||23.6||40.4||20 Nov||10.8||-1.6||4 Jul||788.4|
|Canterbury Racecourse AWS||22.7||-0.3||40.6||20 Nov||12.1||-0.2||0.2||15 Jul|
|Holsworthy Aerodrome AWS||23.4||41.5||20 Nov||12.0||-0.5||4 Jul||823.4|
|Horsley Park Equestrian Centre AWS||23.5||-0.2||40.0||20 Dec||12.1||+0.1||-0.2||5 Aug||966.8||762.3||high||127%|
|Parramatta North (Masons Drive)||23.5||+0.2||41.0||20 Nov||12.6||+0.4||1.8||4 Jul||1132.5||970.6||high||117%|
|Penrith Lakes AWS||24.3||-0.3||41.9||20 Nov||12.7||+0.4||0.0||5 Aug||979.0||728.1||v high||134%|
|Prospect Reservoir||23.9||+0.7||40.4||20 Dec||12.6||+0.3||1.3||4 Jul||1139.0||874.0||high||130%|
|Richmond RAAF||24.1||0.0||39.7||20 Dec||11.6||+0.6||-2.5||6 Jul||1017.8||737.2||v high||138%|
|Sydney (Observatory Hill)||23.2||+1.5||40.9||20 Nov||15.0||+1.2||5.0||5 Aug||1337.2||1214.6||average||110%|
|Sydney Airport AMO||23.4||+1.1||42.8||20 Nov||14.9||+1.5||5.0||4 Jul|
|Terrey Hills AWS||21.7||-0.1||39.5||20 Nov||13.2||0.0||1.5||5 Aug||1183.6|
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.
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.
The Rank indicates how rainfall this time compares with the climate record for the site,
based on the
(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.