Tuesday 1 April 2008 - Monthly Climate Summary for Canberra rainfall extremes - Product code IDCKGC1xx0

Warm and sunny in Canberra during March

Details

  • Well above average maximum temperatures, 12th warmest on record
  • Below average rainfall
  • Sunniest March on record averaging 9.5 hrs/day

Rainfall

Canberra Airport recorded a total rainfall of only 31.2 mm during March, which is below the historical average1 of 51.0 mm, but still falls within the normal variability of all totals. There were only 5 rain days during the month, compared to the historic average of 7 days. Monthly totals around the ACT ranged from a high of 84.6 mm at Bendora Dam to a low of 23.6 mm at Kingston.

Rainfall was below average over the whole ACT region during March. The dry conditions were caused by a very slow moving high pressure system which brought stable conditions to much of NSW for most of the month. Nearly all Canberra's rainfall during March occurred on the 25th and was associated with a significant low pressure trough.

Temperatures

Well above average temperatures prevailed over the ACT during March. The mean maximum temperature for Canberra Airport was 26.0ºC, which is 1.5°C above the historical average of 24.5 ºC. This is the 12th warmest March on record and contrasts sharply with last month when Canberra recorded the 4th coolest February on record.

The above average temperatures in March were mainly due to the sunny, clear skies and a prevailing NW wind during the afternoons. Much of southern NSW experienced heatwave conditions during the first 3 weeks of March and the ACT was on the edge of this region of persistent high temperatures.

The average minimum temperature was 10.9ºC, very close to the historical average of 10.8ºC. A cool spell early in the month saw temperatures fall as low as 4.4°C at Canberra Airport on the 1st.

The highest temperature in the ACT was 35.8°C at Tuggeranong AWS on the 15th and the lowest was 4.2°C at Canberra Airport on the 30th and −1.0°C at Mt Ginini (elev 1760 m) on 1st and 29th.

Some sites had their coldest March day (lowest maximum temperature) on record. Canberra Airport recorded a maximum temperature of 14.8°C on the 21st, the lowest for March since 1994.

Wind

The prevailing direction over the ACT during the mornings was SE - NE for about 70% of the time. However, during the afternoon the prevailing direction was N to W for 70% of the time, both considerably higher than the normal frequency from these directions at these times. The highest wind gust recorded was 57 km/hr at Canberra Airport on the 29th associated with the passage of a weak cold front.

Other phenomena

Canberra recorded its sunniest March on record. Sunshine averaged 9.5 hours per day, well above the historical average of 8.1 hours per day. The previous sunniest March was recorded in 2004 with an average of 9.3 hours per day. There were 2 thunderstorms at Canberra Airport during March (historical average 2) which were recorded on the 6th and 11th.

Further information

Mike De Salis
Climate Information Officer
NSW Climate Services Centre
Bureau of Meteorology
Phone (02) 9296 1555
Email mikede@bom.gov.au

Extremes for the ACT

Hottest day
Highest temperature
35.8°C at Tuggeranong AWS on the 15th
Warmest days on average
Highest mean daily maximum temperature
26.0°C at Canberra Airport and at Tuggeranong AWS
Coolest days on average
Lowest mean daily maximum temperature

26.0°C at Canberra Airport and at Tuggeranong and 16.5°C at Mount Ginini AWS

Coldest day
Lowest daily maximum temperature

14.8°C at Canberra Airport on the 21st and 7.0°C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 21st and 31st

Coldest night
Lowest temperature

4.2°C at Canberra Airport on the 30th and −1.0°C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 1st and 29th

Coolest nights on average
Lowest mean daily minimum temperature

10.1°C at Tuggeranong AWS and 7.6°C at Mount Ginini AWS

Warmest nights on average
Highest mean daily minimum temperature
10.9°C at Canberra Airport
Warmest night
Highest daily minimum temperature
15.7°C at Tuggeranong AWS on the 24th
Wettest overall
Highest total rainfall
84.6 mm at Bendora Dam
66.6 mm at Watson (Racecourse)
Driest overall
Lowest total rainfall
23.6 mm at Kingston
Wettest day
Highest daily rainfall
64.8 mm at Bendora Dam on the 26th
40.8 mm at Watson (Racecourse) on the 20th
Highest wind gust
57 km/hr at Canberra Airport on the 29th and 31st

Records for the ACT

Record lowest March daily maximum temperature
Lowest daily maximum
temperature
in March 2008 (°C)
Previous lowest
for March
Years of
record
Normal for
March
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve 13.5 on the 21st 14.0 on the 8th in 2003 and 23rd in 1983
24
23.6



Summaries for the ACT

This table is very wide and may not fit if printed.

Summary statistics for March 2008
Maximum temperatures
for March
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for March
(°C)
Rainfall
for March
(millimetres)
Mean for
March
2008
Diff
from
normal
Highest for
March
2008
Mean for
March
2008
Diff
from
normal
Lowest for
March
2008
Total for
March
2008
Normal
for
March
Rank of
March
2008
Fraction of
March
normal
Canberra Airport 26.0 +1.5 35.2 15th 10.9 +0.1 4.2 30th 31.2 50.8 normal 61%
Tuggeranong* 26.0 +0.5 35.8 15th 10.1 −1.1 3.1 27th 36.4 32.0 normal 112%

* historic averages for Tuggeranong based on short period 1996−2007.


Notes

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 11am on Tuesday 1 April 2008. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

Normals 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 "normal" 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, normal in decile 4 to 7, high in decile 8 or 9 and very high is in decile 10).
The Fraction of normal shows how much rain has fallen this time as a percentage of the long-term mean.

Further information

NSW Climate Services Centre
Bureau of Meteorology
Phone (02) 9296 1555
Email mikede@bom.gov.au