Tasmania in 2010: another warm year

2010 was warmer than usual across Tasmania, especially by day and especially from January to July. Several heavy rain events gave the north a wetter than usual year, but the south was drier than usual overall. Significant weather events included huge waves and snow in September.

  • Warmer than average, especially early in the year
  • Wet in the north
  • Dry in the south
  • Huge waves and snow in September
  • Record warm days for Hobart

Warm overall

2010 was a warm year across Tasmania, with higher than normal temperatures in most months. Mean daytime maximum and overnight minimum temperatures were both around half a degree warmer than the long-term average, and Hobart and Eddystone Point had their highest mean daily maximum temperature on record.

January had several hot days, including 40.7 C at Ouse on 11 January, one of only four days when temperatures this high have ever been measured in Tasmania. More hot weather included 9 January in the northwest when Devonport reached 33.2 C, its hottest temperature on record by several degrees. The warm conditions continued from February to April, with Hobart having a record long run of mild days and a handful of sites having their warmest night (highest daily minimum temperature) on record. March and April were particularly warm. There was a cool period at the end of April and in mid-May, but milder than usual conditions returned in June and July. The seven months from January to July gave the warmest such period on record for Tasmania. Cooler than normal temperatures became more common from August, especially in September and December, but it was still a warm year overall.

Daytime temperatures were more anomalous than overnight temperatures: while days were warmer than usual in nearly every month of the year, cold nights became common from May. The coldest night was -10.2 C at Liawenee on 22 May. Unusually, the coldest days for the year occurred in September, with Mount Wellington reaching only -2.2 C on the 28th and -2.1 C on the 29th. On these days, snow settled to around 200 metres in the south. The first morning of the year was the warmest, with a very mild minimum temperature of 22.0 C at Friendly Beaches.

Unusually wet in the north, but a dry year in the south

Overall, 2010 was wetter than usual in the north but drier than usual in the south. Several months between August and December were much wetter than usual, but failed to fully compensate for the record dry conditions that developed in the southeast during January to July. The driest sites were in the southeast, with just 409 mm falling at Hobart Airport and 420 mm at Campania. Parts of the Derwent Valley were also very dry, with Ouse having only 418 mm. In contrast, Mount Read was the wettest site with a total of 3955 mm. Most of the state was drier than in 2009, but a few sites in the north were their wettest for quite a few years, and Launceston had its wettest year since records began at the current site in 1980. A few sites had their highest daily rainfall on record during one of the heavy rain events through the year.

Little rain fell in January, with several sites having their lowest January rainfall on record. There were average to above-average falls in the north between February and April, but drier than usual conditions persisted in the south. May was again drier than usual in most areas, except for a small part of the east coast that had record heavy falls on 28-29 May. Gray received 203 mm in one day, the highest daily total for the year. After record low rainfall in the southeast during June and July, several sites, including Hobart, had their driest January-to-July on record.

Weather patterns changed in August, and statewide rain became more common. The 11th of August was especially wet, with daily totals reaching 199 mm on Mount Wellington (Tasmania's second-wettest August day on record) and 182 mm at Gray. Major flooding developed in the South Esk River with moderate flooding in several other rivers. September, November and December were also wetter than usual over large areas of the state.

A very warm year for Hobart

The first seven months were record warm and record dry for Hobart, but there was a prevalence of cooler and wetter weather after that. Averaged over the whole year, the mean daily maximum temperature for Hobart was a record high 18.2 C, 1.3 C above the long-term average and fully 0.2 C clear of the previous record from 1988. The mean overnight minimum temperature was 9.0 C, 0.7 C above the long-term average. Taken together these gave Hobart a mean annual temperature of 13.6 C, just below the record 13.7 C recorded in 1988.

Rainfall was very low in Hobart until August, but some wetter weather during spring meant the total for the year was 524 mm, below the long-term average of 616 mm. This is well below the 2009 total of 865 mm but well above the record dry 347 mm that occurred in 2006.

Some significant events in Tasmania in 2010

Huge waves: Near-record waves around Tasmania were generated by a deep low pressure system on 16 September. At the waverider buoy off the west coast, waves averaged over 8 metres for most of the day and peaked at 18.4 metres, approaching the record wave of 19.8 metres measured by a similar buoy operated by CSIRO in July 1985. Both Maatsuyker Island and Cape Bruny reported swells of at least 10 metres on this day.

Snow: Most of the significant snow for the year fell in spring with falls to low levels on 15-16 September, 27-29 September and 15-16 October. There were also several snow days in August, but prior to that it was a mild autumn and winter with little snow except on the highest peaks.

Tsunami: A tsunami was generated by an earthquake off the coast of Central Chile on 27 February. After moving through the Pacific Ocean, it reached the east coast of Tasmania the next morning and caused tidal fluctuations of 17 cm at Maria Island and Southport.

Strong winds: Usually Tasmania experiences strong winds in autumn, winter and spring. This year, however, it was calmer than usual during these seasons. The strongest winds occurred on 10 December, with gusts reaching 157 km/h at Maatsuyker Island.

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Extremes in 2010
Hottest day 40.7 C at Ouse Fire Station on 11 Jan
Warmest days on average 19.0 C at Campania (Kincora) and Launceston (Ti Tree Bend)
Coolest days on average 8.3 C at Mount Wellington
Coldest day -2.2 C at Mount Wellington on 28 Sep
Coldest night -10.2 C at Liawenee on 22 May
Coolest nights on average 1.7 C at Mount Wellington
Warmest nights on average 12.0 C at Hogan Island
Warmest night 22.0 C at Friendly Beaches on 1 Jan
Warmest on average overall 14.8 C at Eddystone Point
Coolest on average overall 5.0 C at Mount Wellington
Wettest overall 3955.4 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall 408.6 mm at Hobart Airport
Wettest day 202.6 mm at Gray (Blueberry Cottage) on 29 May
Highest wind gust 157 km/h at Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse on 10 Dec


Maps

Observed Anomaly Decile rank
Total
rainfall
Map of Rainfall totals Map of Percentage of normal rainfall Map of Rainfall deciles
Mean
daily
maximum
temperatures
Map of Mean maximum temperature for all of Australia Map of Anomaly in mean maximum temperature for all of Australia Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature
Mean
daily
minimum
temperatures
Map of Mean minimum temperature for all of Australia Map of Anomaly in mean minimum temperature for all of Australia Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature

Click on a map to show it full size in a pop-up window


Record highest daily rainfall

Highest daily rainfall
in 2010 (mm)
Previous
wettest
Years of
record
Fern Tree (Grays Road) 156.0 on 12 Aug 117.3 on 3 Jan 1970 44
Swansea (Belmont) 138.2 on 29 May 108.0 on 4 May 1978 32
Campbell Town (Elizabeth R) 80.2 on 12 Feb 60.8 on 19 Feb 1977 27
Hobart (Strickland Reserve) 101.6 on 12 Aug 84.0 on 31 Dec 2001 25



Record highest total rainfall
Total rainfall
for 2010 (mm)
Previous annual
wettest
Years of
record
Annual
average
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 850.7 829.6 in 1992 28 673.8
Campbell Town (Elizabeth R) 697.4 695.6 in 1970 20 516.9



Record highest temperature

Highest temperature
in 2010 (C)
Previous
warmest
Years of
record
Annual
average
Devonport Airport 33.2 on 9 Jan 30.9 on 12 Dec 1998 20 16.8



Record highest annual mean daily maximum temperature

Mean daily maximum
temperature
for 2010 (C)
Previous
warmest
Years of
record
Annual
average
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 18.2 18.0 in 1988 126 16.9
Eddystone Point 18.8 18.6 in 2007 50 17.1



Record highest daily minimum temperature

Highest daily minimum
temperature
in 2010 (C)
Previous
warmest
Years of
record
Annual
average
Bicheno (Council Depot) 20.0 on 26 Mar 19.1 on 10 Mar 2001 37 9.4
Dover 20.2 on 4 Feb 19.7 on 30 Dec 2002 21 6.8
Bull Bay (Lauriston) 21.0 on 12 Jan = 21.0 on 14 Jan 1998 20 8.8
Devonport Airport 20.0 on 4 Feb = 20.0 on 16 Feb 1995 20 8.2



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
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 17.6 +0.2 28.0 20 Feb 9.3 +0.2 0.5 27 Jun 808.5 728.7 high 111%
Burnie (Round Hill) 17.4 +0.5 32.7 9 Jan 10.1 +0.9 1.9 26 Aug 956.5 955.5 average 100%
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 15.9 +0.3 26.7 16 Mar 10.7 +0.1 3.7 16 Oct 940.0 757.6 v high 124%
Cressy Research Station 18.2 0.0 35.6 9 Jan 6.0 +0.4 -5.1 23 May 766.2
Devonport Airport 17.5 +0.7 33.2 9 Jan 8.8 +0.6 -0.8 13 Jun 815.4 767.5 average 106%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 19.0 +0.6 33.3 9 Feb 8.0 +0.8 -2.4 13 Jun 850.7 673.8 highest 126%
Launceston Airport 18.0   33.1 9 Jan 6.6   -3.7 27 Jun 700.2
Low Head 16.8 +0.3 25.0 27 Feb 10.8 +0.3 2.3 30 Sep 754.2 654.6 high 115%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 15.6 +0.1 30.0 9 Feb 7.7 +0.2 0.3 16 Oct 1625.6 1523.6 high 107%
Marrawah     28.8 31 Jan 9.7 +0.4 2.5 7 Aug 1282.4 1068.7 high 120%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 17.4 +0.1 31.9 9 Jan 7.7 +0.6 -2.2 30 Sep 1020.2 985.8 average 103%
Sheffield School Farm 16.2 +0.1 31.3 9 Jan 6.9 +0.1 -2.1 27 Jun 1327.0
Smithton Aerodrome 17.2 0.0 27.8 9 Feb 7.6 -0.1 -2.4 22 May 968.6 892.4 high 109%
Wynyard Airport 17.6 +0.8 33.6 9 Jan 7.6 +0.6 -2.0 22 May 1098.5 977.2 high 112%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 18.4 +0.6 32.5 23 Nov 9.9 +0.5 1.7 8 Sep 641.3 680.5 average 94%
Eddystone Point 18.8 +1.7 31.8 9 Jan 10.8 +0.4 1.7 28 Aug 643.4 764.2 low 84%
Fingal (Legge Street) 17.9 +0.1 33.4 9 Jan 5.5 +0.2 -6.4 22 May 689.6 607.0 high 114%
Friendly Beaches 18.4 +0.1 33.9 23 Nov 9.4 0.0 0.3 23 May 562.2
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 14.1 +0.2 28.3 31 Jan 4.1 +0.1 -5.8 27 Jun 853.4 830.5 average 103%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 17.2   30.0 12 Jan 10.5   2.5 16 Oct 478.8
Orford (Aubin Court) 17.5 -0.1 34.3 12 Jan 8.1 +0.3 -1.0 23 Jun 622.7 673.3 average 92%
Scamander 18.3 +0.3 33.5 12 Jan 9.3 +0.5 1.0 22 May 615.3 673.5 average 91%
St Helens Aerodrome 18.3   33.2 12 Jan 9.2   -0.3 17 Aug 625.8
Swan Island 17.2   28.2 12 Jan 11.7   2.8 27 Jun 627.8
Swansea Post Office 18.3 +0.4 33.3 23 Nov 7.4 -0.4 -2.5 3 Jul 670.7 593.7 high 113%
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 17.9 +0.3 33.7 12 Jan 5.5 -0.1 -6.5 23 May 593.6 490.6 high 121%
Southeast (district 94)
Campania (Kincora) 19.0   35.8 11 Jan 6.9   -2.7 15 Jun 420.0
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 16.3 +0.4 32.2 31 Jan 9.3 +0.1 2.2 16 Oct 796.6 768.8 average 104%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 15.7 +0.9 31.3 23 Nov 9.4 +0.6 1.2 17 Oct 976.6 945.8 average 103%
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 17.3 +0.5 37.4 11 Jan 6.2 +0.1 -3.3 24 May 833.4 877.5 average 95%
Grove (Research Station) 17.9   37.4 11 Jan 5.3   -4.1 27 Jun 755.8
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 18.2 +1.3 36.5 11 Jan 9.0 +0.7 1.1 23 May 524.0 616.2 low 85%
Hobart Airport 18.3 +0.8 36.0 11 Jan 8.4 +0.3 -0.8 10 Jul 408.6 495.8 low 82%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 14.2 +0.3 31.4 4 Feb 9.3 +0.7 2.6 14 Sep 1079.8 1231.1 average 88%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 17.6 +0.3 35.2 11 Jan 5.8 -0.2 -6.0 27 Jun 460.8 443.6 average 104%
Mount Wellington 8.3 +0.6 27.9 11 Jan 1.7 +0.4 -6.1 16 Oct
Tasman Island 14.4   31.7 23 Nov 9.1   0.8 17 Sep 760.4
Tunnack Fire Station 15.4 +0.1 31.2 12 Jan 4.8 -0.3 -6.8 22 May
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 18.9 +1.2 39.0 11 Jan 5.6 -0.3 -4.9 23 May 482.4 574.1 low 84%
Maydena Post Office 16.2 +0.1 37.2 11 Jan 5.4 +0.1 -3.4 22 May 1012.2 1178.7 low 86%
Ouse Fire Station 18.5 +0.1 40.7 11 Jan 5.3 -0.1 -4.4 9 Jul 418.4 511.1 low 82%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 13.3 +0.5 33.0 11 Jan 3.1 +0.2 -6.2 2 Jul 1506.2 1681.9 low 90%
Lake St Clair National Park 13.4 +0.3 31.0 11 Jan 2.9 +0.2 -4.9 24 May 1686.2 1875.2 low 90%
Liawenee 12.1   27.8 11 Jan 1.8   -10.2 22 May 1034.8
West Coast (district 97)
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 11.5 0.0 34.4 11 Jan 4.0 0.0 -3.2 16 Oct 916.0
Mount Read 8.5 -0.2 25.5 11 Jan 2.8 +0.1 -4.7 16 Oct 3955.4
Scotts Peak Dam 15.4 +0.7 35.8 11 Jan 6.3 +0.2 -1.6 8 Sep 1870.6
Strahan Aerodrome 16.7 +0.3 35.6 11 Jan 8.0 +0.2 -0.6 3 Sep 1716.4 1428.1 high 120%
Strathgordon Village 14.5 +0.4 31.0 31 Jan 6.4 +0.1 -0.5 7 Aug 2403.6 2522.7 low 95%
Warra 14.0   34.8 11 Jan 5.3   -3.3 7 Aug 1581.4
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 17.2 +0.4 32.5 20 Feb 10.0 +0.2 1.2 22 May 967.6 863.7 high 112%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 18.3 +0.6 35.6 12 Jan 10.1 +0.4 -1.7 27 Jun
Hogan Island 17.3   31.7 22 Jan 12.0   2.6 20 Aug 734.6
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 6.9 +0.4 11.9 19 Jan 3.4 +0.4 -6.8 25 Sep 1106.0 969.3 v high 114%

Notes

A Annual Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in Tasmania 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 9 am on Wednesday 5 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 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.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
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