Greater Brisbane in 2020: average rainfall; warmer than usual

Rainfall was slightly above average for Greater Brisbane in 2020. Thunderstorms and showers generated the bulk of the annual rainfall, with severe thunderstorms at the end of October.

Both mean maximum and mean minimum temperatures were above average across Greater Brisbane.

Close to average rainfall

  • Below average annual rainfall was reported across Greater Brisbane. Bursts of thunderstorm activity throughout the start and end of the year brought locally heavy, intense rainfall totals.
  • In January, severe thunderstorms produced heavy rainfall and flash flooding in Brisbane. More than 140 mm was recorded from 16 to 19 January at Brisbane, accounting for around 13% of the annual rainfall total for the site in 2020.
  • A near-stationary coastal trough over the south-east from 6 February generated persistent showers and thunderstorms until the middle of that month, with nearly one-third of Brisbane's annual total falling in the nine days from 6 to 14 February.
  • Moist onshore flow brought showers and moderate falls to Brisbane on from 4 to 13 March, with close to average March rainfall reported across most of Greater Brisbane.
  • April and May were both dry months in terms of absolute values and compared to the long-term average. Brisbane reported less than 20 mm (5.2 mm in April and 12.2 mm in May), compared to the long-term average of 120 mm. 100 mm was reported in Brisbane for June and July (close to average), with persistent showers and periods of rain through the two months.
  • August and September were also drier than usual, but these are the two driest months of the year in Brisbane.
  • October was particularly active in terms of severe thunderstorms, with heavy rainfall reported across Greater Brisbane between 25 to 31 October. 167.6 mm was recorded at Brisbane from 25 to 29 October, and accounted for around 16% of the annual rainfall total in 2020. 
  • November was much drier than usual, with very little rain falling in Brisbane.
  • It was a dry start to December, but moist onshore flow associated with a trough off the south-east coast brought showers and storms, and moderate falls to Greater Brisbane in the middle of the month. 114 mm was recorded from 12 to 18 December, and accounted for around 11% of the annual rainfall total in 2020.

Warmer than usual

  • Both mean maximum and mean minimum temperatures were warmer than usual across Greater Brisbane for 2020.
  • Warm days and nights occurred in January across Greater Brisbane.
  • February was wetter than usual, and the thick cloud cover throughout the month resulted in warmer than usual minimum temperatures.
  • March temperatures were close to average, but April had warmer than usual daytime temperatures (due to a lack of notable rainfall).
  • May was a cooler than usual month for both maximum and minimum temperatures.
  • Winter mean maximum and mean minimum temperatures were warmer than usual.
  • By late September, maximum temperature were close to, or over, 30 °C at some sites. This led to warmer than usual spring mean maximum temperatures, particularly at inland sites.
  • December temperatures were generally warmer than usual. A severe heatwave across the south-east at the end of November and beginning of December saw very warm days and nights.

Brisbane

  • An equipment outage in March means the exact total for Brisbane is not known, but comparison with neighbouring sites suggests annual rainfall of around 1045 mm, which is 103% of the long-term average of 1011.5 mm.
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Brisbane was 26.9 °C, which is 0.3 °C above the long-term average of 26.6 °C. The warmest day was 34.5 °C on 3 Feb, and the coolest day was on 23 May when the temperature reached 15.1 °C.
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Brisbane was 17.2 °C, which is 0.8 °C above the long-term average of 16.4 °C. The coldest morning was 7.6 °C on 5 Jul, and the warmest morning was on 23 Jan when the minimum temperature was 26.7 °C.

Further information

Media
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Extremes in 2020
Hottest day 43.5 °C at University of Queensland Gatton on 6 Dec
Warmest days on average 28.5 °C at University of Queensland Gatton
Coolest days on average 24.6 °C at Cape Moreton Lighthouse
Coldest day 13.5 °C at Cape Moreton Lighthouse on 23 May
Coldest night -2.2 °C at Beaudesert Drumley Street on 5 Jul
-2.2 °C at Canungra (Defence) on 5 Jul
Coolest nights on average 12.2 °C at Canungra (Defence)
Warmest nights on average 19.0 °C at Cape Moreton Lighthouse
Warmest night 26.7 °C at Brisbane on 23 Jan
Warmest on average overall 22.0 °C at Brisbane
Coolest on average overall 19.2 °C at Canungra (Defence)
Wettest overall 2162.0 mm at Dunwich
Wettest day 210.0 mm at Coomera Foxwell Road on 18 Jan
Strongest wind gust 115 km/h at Cape Moreton Lighthouse on 31 Oct

Record highest annual mean daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Logan City Water Treatment Plant 16.0 = 16.0 in 2017 27 15.2
Brisbane 17.2 17.1 in 2019 20 16.4



Summary statistics for 2020
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean
for
2020
Diff
from
average
Highest
for
2020
Mean
for
2020
Diff
from
average
Lowest
for
2020
Total
for
2020
Average
annual
total
Rank
of
2020
Fraction
of annual
average
Amberley AMO 28.1 +1.3 39.9 6 Dec 13.5 +0.4 -2.0 5 Jul 658.4 852.6 low 77%
Archerfield Airport 27.3 +0.9 35.6 6 Dec 15.2 +0.7 3.7 6 Jul 913.2 1051.2 average 87%
Beaudesert Drumley Street 27.8 +0.7 39.0 6 Dec 13.7 +0.6 -2.2 5 Jul
Beerburrum Forest Station 26.7 +0.1 38.5 6 Dec 15.1 +0.3 4.8 24 Aug 1267.0 1408.6 average 90%
Brisbane 26.9 +0.3 34.5 3 Feb 17.2 +0.8 7.6 5 Jul
Brisbane Aero 25.8 +0.4 33.2 8 Dec 16.4 +0.6 3.8 5 Jul 1150.8 1021.9 average 113%
Canungra (Defence) 26.3   37.1 6 Dec 12.2   -2.2 5 Jul 1345.0
Cape Moreton Lighthouse 24.6 +1.2 31.6 18 Feb 19.0 +0.9 9.7 5 Jul 1351.8 1478.5 average 91%
Greenbank (Defence) 27.5   38.6 3 Feb 13.3   0.0 5 Jul 934.6
Logan City Water Treatment Plant 26.5 +0.4 35.8 3 Feb 16.0 +0.8 4.8 5 Jul 1238.2 1074.6 average 115%
Redcliffe     33.6 7 Dec 17.5 +0.4 6.7 5 Jul 1218.8 1047.7 average 116%
Redland (Alexandra Hills) 25.4   32.7 3 Feb 16.4   6.6 5 Jul 1467.2
University of Queensland Gatton 28.5 +1.6 43.5 6 Dec 13.7 +0.7 1.7 20 Jul

Notes

The Annual climate summary lists the main features of the weather in Greater Brisbane 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 summary includes data from observing sites in or near the Greater Brisbane “Greater Capital City Statistical Area” (GCCSA). The Australian Bureau of Statistics designed the GCCSAs to “include the population within the urban area of the city, as well as people who regularly socialise, shop or work within the city, and live in small towns and rural areas surrounding the city. It is important to note that GCCSAs do not define the built up edge of the city. They provide a stable definition for these cities and are designed for the output of a range of social and economic survey data.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 9am on Friday 8 January 2021. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

In some situations, some or all of the rainfall is in the form of hail or snow. In these cases the totals given are for the water equivalent: the depth of liquid water that results from melting any frozen precipitation. There can be significant 'undercatch' of snow in strong winds, meaning the true precipitation can be higher than that reported.

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

Climate