Tasmania in 2012: Warmer than average and mostly dry

2012 was warmer than average, with fewer very cold days and nights than usual. Most months were drier than average, but a few wet months brought annual totals to near normal. Significant weather events included tornadoes in Hobart, and record waves off the west coast.

  • Warm days and nights overall
  • Only a few very cold nights
  • More dry months than wet
  • Tornadoes and record waves

The Australian Annual Climate Statement 2012 contains information about the whole country.

Some very hot days; warmer than average overall

There were some very hot days in 2012, notably over the last weekend of February when temperatures reached into the mid to high 30s. Hobart Airport reached 39.4 °C that weekend, the warmest day of the year.

There were also a few very cold days in winter, the coldest being on 25 June when Mount Wellington recorded a maximum of only -2.9 °C, the coldest day of the year.

Overall, mean daily maximum temperatures were above average, by up to half a degree. Almost all sites were warmer than 2011, and for several sites mean maximum temperatures were among the warmest on record.

Cold nights, mild nights; warm overall

There were a few very cold nights, but less than usual in most places. The coldest were between 20 and 28 June, Liawenee observing the lowest temperature of the year with -10.6 °C on the 27th.

There were some very warm nights in 2012, especially around 26 February when the temperature only dropped to 23.6 °C at Tasman Island, and Maatsuyker Island, Geeveston, Devonport and Bull Bay all recorded their warmest night on record.

Overall, mean minimum temperatures were a little above average, especially in the south and west but less so in the north. At some inland sites the mean daily minimum was the warmest it had been for many years.

More dry months than wet

There were more dry months than wet in 2012, most of those in the second half of the year. There were a number of wet events, but not as many as 2011 and none were as significant.

Rainfall totals were generally average to below average across the state, with some sites particularly dry. Tunbridge had only 370 mm for the whole year, whilst Lake Margaret Power Station was the wettest location with 2930 mm (the rain gauge on Mount Read registered 3859 mm but was affected by snow on some days and the full total there is not known).

Tornadoes and big waves

As is typical with Tasmania's weather, there were several significant events through the year.

On 6 August the waverider buoy at Cape Sorell reported a wave height of 20.0 m when a deep low pressure system passed to the south of Tasmania. This is a new record wave for Cape Sorell, eclipsing both the 18.68 m reported there in July 2011 and the 19.83 m reported from the old CSIRO buoy in July 1985.

Three weak tornadoes were observed with thunderstorms in Hobart on 9 November, which is an extremely rare event.

Hobart: Very warm and often dry

Hobart was warmer than usual in 2012, with both maximum and minimum temperatures at least a degree warmer than average. The mean daily maximum of 18.1 °C was second only to 2010, and the mean daily minimum of 9.3 °C was the 4th-warmest on record. Combined, these gave Hobart a mean temperature of 13.7 °C, equalling the record from 1988. The last weekend of February was exceptionally warm, the temperature reaching above 36 °C during the day and remaining above 22 °C over two consecutive days.

Hobart's annual total rainfall of 477 mm was below the annual average of 617 mm, due to persistently dry conditions. The exception was May, which was the wettest May since 1986.

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Extremes in 2012
Hottest day 39.4 °C at Hobart Airport on 25 Feb
Warmest days on average 18.9 °C at Launceston (Ti Tree Bend)
Coolest days on average8.3 °C at Mount Wellington
Coldest day -2.9 °C at Mount Wellington on 25 Jun
Coldest night -10.6 °C at Liawenee on 27 Jun
Coolest nights on average 1.7 °C at Mount Wellington
Warmest nights on average 11.6 °C at Swan Island
Warmest night 23.6 °C at Tasman Island on 26 Feb
Warmest on average overall 14.6 °C at Larapuna (Eddystone Point)
Coolest on average overall5.0 °C at Mount Wellington
Wettest overall 3858.6 mm at Mount Read*
2929.6 mm at Lake Margaret Power Station
Driest overall 370.2 mm at Tunbridge (Austin-Vale)
Wettest day 115.2 mm at St Helens (Kellraine) on 26 May
Highest wind gust 159 km/h at Hogan Island on 7 Sep
156 km/h at Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) on 5 Feb and at Mount Wellington on 9 Sep

* The true total at Mount Read is higher, as it is likely some snow was lost.


Maps
ObservedAnomalyDecile 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 Map of Anomaly in mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature
Mean
daily
minimum
temperatures
Map of Mean minimum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean minimum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature

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


Month by month
January had both record warm and record cold temperatures. Overall the month was warmer than average. Rainfall was near average in most areas, mostly due to a wet burst on the 30th, and in the north and west mid-month.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
Rainfall rank Maximum temperature rank Minimum temperature rank
February had an exceptionally hot final weekend, with maximum and minimum temperatures records set at some sites. Rainfall was below average in the south and on King Island, but a couple of bursts of heavy rain saw above average rainfall in parts of the north.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
March brought a cold snap around the 23rd which saw some record low temperatures and highland snow, but temperatures across the month were near average overall. Most of the state was wetter than usual after several low pressure systems moved near Tasmania bringing moderate to heavy falls. Only a section of the east had below average rainfall.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
April was much warmer than usual despite a couple of cold periods around the 9th and 29th. Several sites had their warmest start to April on record during the first six days. Most areas had near average rainfall, although the southeast was drier than usual with less than 30 mm falling at many locations.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
May was wetter than usual across almost all of Tasmania after two bursts of heavy rain and several cold fronts. Some areas, mainly in the east and on King Island, had their wettest May on record. Days were cool while nights were mostly mild.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
June had some wintery weather. Overall, daytime temperatures were slightly cooler than usual while nights were slightly cooler than usual in the north and warmer than usual in the south. Rainfall was near average in most areas.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
July ended cold and wet, but overall was drier and had milder days than usual.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
August had temperatures and rainfall generally close to average. The northeast was much drier than normal and the northwest was wetter than normal.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
September was a classic Tasmanian spring month: a cold burst at the end, several warm days but a few cold nights, rain and showers, and destructive winds. Overall it was warmer than usual, with rain above average in most areas.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
October saw some wet days, but rainfall was below average in most of the state and especially so in the central north. There were some warm days, but also plenty of cool weather.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
November had a very warm last two days, reaching into the mid-thirties in the east during the day and not dropping below 20 °C at night at some sites. It was drier than average in most areas, particularly in the west. Three tornadoes were observed in the Hobart area on the 9th, though no damage was reported.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
December was wet in the north but dry in the east. Daytime temperatures were warmer than average in most areas, reaching up to 2 °C above average in the east. Minimum temperatures were generally within 1 °C of average.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
Rainfall rank Maximum temperature rank Minimum temperature rank

Record highest daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in 2012 (mm)
Previous annual
wettest
Years of
record
Longford (Denton Close) 77.2 on 26 May 70.0 on 24 Mar 2011 110



Record highest annual mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for 2012 (°C)
Previous annual
warmest
Years of
record
Annual
average
Burnie (Round Hill) 17.8 17.7 in 1972 54 16.9



Record highest daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in 2012 (°C)
Previous annual
warmest
Years of
record
Annual
average
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 23.5 on 26 Feb 20.6 on 27 Mar 1990 56 8.6
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 21.0 on 27 Feb 19.4 on 25 Mar 1971 28 6.1
Bull Bay (Lauriston) 21.8 on 27 Feb 21.0 on 12 Jan 2010 22 8.8
Devonport Airport 20.0 on 27 Feb = 20.0 on 4 Feb 2010 22 8.2



Highest annual mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for 2012 (°C)
Most recent annual
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Annual
average
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 6.2 6.7 in 1988 24 5.9



Record highest annual mean temperature
Mean daily
temperature
for 2012 (°C)
Previous annual
warmest
Years of
record
Annual
average
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 13.7 = 13.7 in 1988 128 12.6




Summary statistics for 2012
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean
for
2012
Diff
from
average
Highest
for
2012
Mean
for
2012
Diff
from
average
Lowest
for
2012
Total
for
2012
Average
annual
total
Rank
of
2012
Fraction
of annual
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 17.5 +0.1 27.9 27 Feb 8.9 -0.2 0.1 26 Jun 685.1 736.7 low 93%
Burnie (Round Hill) 17.8 +0.9 28.8 26 Jan     1.8 31 Aug 916.8 956.0 average 96%
Cape Grim 15.6   26.5 26 Feb 10.8   4.4 9 Aug 958.8
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 16.0 +0.4 27.1 26 Feb 10.7 +0.1 4.7 29 Sep 1011.0 769.7 v high 131%
Cressy Research Station 18.3 +0.1 34.1 25 Feb 5.8 +0.1 -5.2 27 Jun
Devonport Airport 17.4 +0.5 28.0 18 Jan 8.2 0.0 -1.7 27 Jun 714.5 769.1 average 93%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 18.9 +0.4 31.4 25 Feb 7.5 +0.2 -3.5 27 Jun 652.1 675.5 average 97%
Launceston Airport 18.3   33.0 25 Feb 6.1   -5.6 27 Jun 594.0
Low Head 16.8 +0.2 26.0 26 Feb 10.6 +0.1 1.7 27 Jun 637.8 669.8 average 95%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 15.6 +0.1 31.1 25 Feb 7.6 +0.1 0.2 31 Aug 1558.8 1520.1 average 103%
Marrawah 16.4 +0.3 31.0 26 Feb 9.9 +0.6 3.4 31 Jul 1123.0 1069.9 average 105%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 17.4 +0.1 31.5 25 Feb 7.1 -0.1 -2.8 26 Jun 841.2 982.3 low 86%
Sheffield School Farm 16.5 +0.4 29.0 25 Feb 6.5 -0.3 -1.6 20 Jun
Smithton Aerodrome 17.2 0.0 28.0 26 Feb 7.7 0.0 -1.4 26 Jun 905.2 893.4 average 101%
East Coast (district 92)
Fingal (Legge Street) 18.2 +0.4 35.9 25 Feb 5.2 -0.1 -6.9 27 Jun
Friendly Beaches 18.7 +0.4 38.6 25 Feb 9.3 -0.1 -0.6 27 Jun 656.0
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 14.1 +0.2 30.7 25 Feb 4.3 +0.3 -6.8 27 Jun 592.5 829.4 low 71%
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 18.7 +1.6 33.0 25 Feb 10.5 +0.1 2.5 29 Jul
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 17.1   32.6 25 Feb 10.6   3.9 26 Aug 512.8
Orford (Aubin Court) 17.8 +0.2 38.2 25 Feb 8.2 +0.4 -1.5 28 Jun 565.3 671.3 average 84%
Scamander 18.2 +0.2 37.2 3 Jan 8.9 +0.1 0.4 28 Jun 541.1 688.6 low 79%
St Helens Aerodrome 18.3 +0.4 35.1 3 Jan 8.8 -0.1 -0.8 27 Jun 678.2 688.9 average 98%
Swan Island 17.3 +0.3 30.2 25 Feb 11.6 +0.1 3.2 29 Jul
Swansea (Francis Street) 18.3   37.7 25 Feb 8.1   -2.1 28 Jun 471.6
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 17.9 +0.3 35.0 25 Feb 5.7 +0.1 -6.5 27 Jun 464.8 492.9 average 94%
Southeast (district 94)
Campania (Kincora) 18.8 +0.2 39.3 25 Feb 7.4 +0.2 -2.9 28 Jun 478.4
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 16.3 +0.4 37.3 26 Feb     2.7 28 Jun
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 15.7 +0.8 36.0 26 Feb 9.6 +0.8 0.7 25 Jun 914.8 945.3 average 97%
Dover 16.7 +0.3 37.4 25 Feb 7.1 +0.3 -1.3 28 Jun 823.6 878.6 average 94%
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 17.1 +0.3 36.9 25 Feb 6.8 +0.7 -3.2 28 Jun 871.8 882.0 average 99%
Grove (Research Station) 17.6   37.2 25 Feb 5.7   -4.1 27 Jun
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 18.1 +1.2 38.8 25 Feb 9.3 +1.0 0.9 28 Jun 476.6 615.7 low 77%
Hobart Airport 18.2 +0.7 39.4 25 Feb 8.6 +0.5 -0.6 28 Jun 457.6 497.1 average 92%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 14.3 +0.4 30.9 26 Feb 9.3 +0.7 2.9 24 Sep 1295.3 1230.3 average 105%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 17.3 0.0 37.6 25 Feb 6.2 +0.2 -4.2 20 Jun 436.2 449.4 average 97%
Mount Wellington 8.3 +0.6 28.3 25 Feb 1.7 +0.4 -5.5 26 Aug
Tasman Island 14.6 +0.3 35.1 25 Feb 9.1 +0.3 2.1 26 Aug 908.6
Tunnack Fire Station 15.3 +0.1 33.5 25 Feb 5.1 0.0 -4.1 23 Jul
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 18.7 +1.0 39.1 25 Feb 6.2 +0.3 -2.7 20 Jun 483.8 573.4 low 84%
Maydena Post Office 16.1 0.0 35.9 25 Feb 6.0 +0.7 -1.4 1 Sep 1044.1 1168.8 low 89%
Ouse Fire Station 18.5 +0.1 38.4 25 Feb 5.9 +0.4 -4.8 8 Jul
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 13.3 +0.5 31.6 25 Feb 3.7 +0.8 -6.7 8 Jul 1491.8 1678.6 low 89%
Lake St Clair National Park 13.1 0.0 32.0 25 Feb 3.4 +0.6 -4.6 8 Jul 1797.1 1872.9 average 96%
Liawenee 11.9 -0.1 28.9 29 Jan 1.9 +0.4 -10.6 27 Jun 923.6
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 16.3 +1.4 27.8 14 Mar 10.3 +0.9 3.7 31 Aug 1173.4 1325.4 average 89%
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 11.2 -0.3 32.0 25 Feb 4.1 +0.1 -2.8 26 Aug
Scotts Peak Dam 15.4 +0.6 34.4 29 Jan 6.5 +0.4 0.1 28 Jun 2052.8
Strahan Aerodrome 16.9 +0.5 34.9 26 Feb 8.3 +0.4 -0.5 1 Aug 1626.8 1532.0 average 106%
Strathgordon Village 14.4 +0.3 33.2 25 Feb 6.6 +0.3 0.0 28 Jun 2393.4 2518.3 low 95%
Warra 13.9   34.0 25 Feb 5.3   -2.6 20 Jun 1724.4
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 17.2 +0.3 36.1 25 Feb 10.2 +0.3 2.5 1 Aug 877.6 866.7 average 101%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 18.2 +0.5 34.7 25 Feb 9.9 +0.1 -1.7 26 Jun
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 6.9 +0.3 10.9 6 Feb 3.3 +0.3 -4.4 5 Jun 1070.0 970.8 high 110%

Notes

An 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 2 January 2013. 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
Enquiries