Canberra area in January 2010: 2nd warmest January on record

  • Very much above average temperatures
  • Very much below average rainfall
  • 2nd warmest January on record for average maximum temperatures
  • 2nd warmest January on record for average minimum temperatures
  • Hot night on 13th (24.4°C), highest since 9 March 1983
  • 6th driest January on record
  • Above average sunshine

Rainfall

Canberra Airport recorded a total rainfall of 7.4 mm which is very much below the historical average of 59.2 mm. There were only 3 rain days recorded with the highest total of 5.6 mm recorded on 28th of the month. This is the equal 6th driest January on record (the other was in 1942) since records began in 1939 and the driest since 1985 (January total 2.8 mm). The dry conditions were associated with the generally clear sky conditions and dominant dry west to northwesterly flow. Mount Ginini recorded significantly higher falls of 37 mm which is mostly due to a cold front which moved across on the 1st of the month with Mount Ginini AWS recording 20.4 mm.

Temperature

Average maximum and minimum temperatures were very much above average with Canberra Airport recording it's 2nd warmest January on record for both average maximum and minimum temperatures. This was partly due to the generally clear conditions and warm dry westerly flow associated with the passage of several low pressure troughs and cold fronts with the more pronounced events occurring on the 12th-13th and 22nd-23rd of the month.

Maximum temperature

Canberra Airport recorded an average maximum temperature of 31.6°C which is very much above the historical average of 27.9°C. This is the equal second warmest January on record (the other was in 1981). The highest temperature recorded during January was 39.1°C on the 12th of the month and was due to the passage of a low pressure trough and cold front which directed hot northwesterly air over Canberra.

Minimum temperature

Night time temperatures were also very much above average with Canberra Airport recording an average of 15.9°C compared to the historical average of 13.1°C. This is the warmest January for minimum temperatures since 2006 (average of 16.5°C). The highest daily minimum temperature was 24.4°C on the 13th of the month and this was also due to the passage of a low pressure trough and cold front which directed warm northwesterly flow over Canberra. This was Canberra's hottest night (for any month) since 9th March 1983 (when 26.0°C). It is also the 4th highest on record for any month.

Wind

Westerly winds dominated both observations at 9am with 42%, and especially at 3pm with 61% of wind originating from the west. Northwesterly flow was significantly below average with 16% observed at 3pm compared to the historical averages of 59%. The dominant westerly flow contributed to drier, sunnier and generally warmer conditions throughout January.

Canberra Airport recorded stronger than average winds at both 9am and 3pm. In the morning the winds averaged at 10.4 km/hr (January average 7.4 km/hr) with afternoon winds averaging at 23.4 km/hr (January average 16.8 km/hr). The highest wind gust in Canberra suburbs was 67 km/h at Tuggeranong AWS on the 2nd.

Other phenomena

Sunshine was above average during January with Canberra Airport recording an average of 10.8 hours of bright sunshine (January average 9.9 hours). This is the equal 5th sunniest January (the other in 1983) since records began in 1978. Cloudiness was only slightly below average with just under 1/2 the sky obscured by cloud during January (average is 1/2 of the sky).

There were 4 days with lightning reported in the ACT, on the 2nd, 13th, 16th and 27th of the month.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries

Extremes in January 2010
Hottest day 39.1 °C at Canberra Airport on the 12th
Warmest days on average 31.6 °C at Canberra Airport and at Tuggeranong AWS
Coolest days on average 31.6 °C at Canberra Airport and at Tuggeranong AWS
21.8 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Coldest day 19.8 °C at Tuggeranong AWS on the 18th
7.6 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 18th
Coldest night 4.2 °C at Canberra Airport on the 19th
-0.6 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 19th
Coolest nights on average 15.9 °C at Canberra Airport
10.1 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Warmest nights on average 16.0 °C at Tuggeranong AWS
10.1 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Warmest night 24.4 °C at Canberra Airport on the 13th
Wettest overall 37.0 mm at Mount Ginini AWS
7.4 mm at Canberra Airport
6.6 mm at Tuggeranong AWS
Wettest day 20.4 mm at Mount Ginini AWS on the 1st
5.6 mm at Canberra Airport on the 28th
Highest wind gust 67 km/h at Tuggeranong AWS on the 2nd

Summary statistics for January 2010
Maximum temperatures
for January
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for January
(°C)
Rainfall
for January
(millimetres)
Mean for
January
2010
Diff
from
average
Highest for
January
2010
Mean for
January
2010
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
January
2010
Total for
January
2010
Average
for
January
Rank of
January
2010
Fraction of
January
average
Southern Tablelands (Goulburn-Monaro) (district 70)
Canberra Airport 31.6 +3.6 39.1 12th 15.9 +2.7 4.2 19th 7.4 58.5 v low 13%
Mount Ginini AWS 21.8   27.9 12th 10.1   -0.6 19th 37.0
Tuggeranong AWS 31.6   38.6 12th 16.0   4.3 19th 6.6

Notes

The Monthly Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in the ACT 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 2 pm on Monday 1 February 2010. 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 20 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