ACT in February 2010: A wet end to Summer

  • Second warmest February for minimum temperatures
  • Wettest February since 2002
  • 6th wettest February on record

Rainfall

Canberra had significantly above average rainfall in February, with a maximum monthly rainfall of 194.4mm at Tidbinbilla. 125.4mm was recorded at Canberra Airport, well above the February average of 56.4. This was the 6th wettest February on record and the wettest February since 211mm fell in 2002.

The majority of the rainfall was associated with a low pressure trough and upper level low between the 13th and 15th of the month, with 104.2mm recorded over three days. The highest daily rainfall at Canberra Airport was 56.2 on the 14th, close to the average monthly total, with the highest daily rainfall recorded anywhere in Canberra being 70mm at Nicholls (Gungahlin Lakes) on the same day. Some minor flooding was associated with this event, although no significant damage occurred.

The rain fell over 7 rain days, which is average for February. Five of these were associated with the aforementioned trough, with the only other rainfall occurring between the 5th and 6th. This was also associated with an active low pressure trough.

Temperature

Average maximum temperatures at Canberra Airport in February were 27.3°C, only 0.2°C above the historical average of 27.1°C. No days occurred above 35°C, with the highest daily maximum 33.7°C at Canberra Airport on the 11th. The coldest day recorded anywhere in Canberra was 13.3°C at Mt Ginini AWS on the 6th, with a low of 19.5°C recorded at Canberra Airport on the 13th associated with the passage of a trough system.

However, minimum temperatures were very high, averaging 16.1°C at Tuggeranong and 15.7°C at Canberra Airport. This was 2.6°C above the historical average at Canberra, the highest since 16.1°C in February 1983 and the second highest on record. Ten of the last eleven Februaries have now had above average minimum temperatures in Canberra. The warmest night recorded at Canberra Airport was 20.7°C on the 12th, while the coolest night was 3.8°C at Mt Ginini on the 26th. The coldest night at Canberra Airport was 9.8°C on the same day.

Some sites had their highest February mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years.

Wind

There was no dominant wind direction in Canberra during February, with the highest frequency approximately 20% for north easterlies. However, 71% of days had S-E winds at 9am, well above the average for February. No days had calm conditions at 9am, compared to 43% of days on average. Only one strong wind day was recorded at Canberra Airport on the 3rd; however, four days had maximum wind gusts of 54km/h. The highest wind gusts recorded during the month were at Mt Ginini, with 69km/h recorded on both the 12th and 23rd.

Other phenomena

4 days with thunderstorms were reported at Canberra Airport on the 5th, 10th, 15th and 28th, equal to the long-term average. Average daily sunshine was below average, with 8.3 hours compared to the historical average of 9.0 hours/day. Average relative humidity was 71.2% at 9am and 48.0% at 3pm, slightly above the average for February. This was the highest average 3pm humidity since 2002. Two days in February had relative humidites of at least 95% at 3pm, which is unprecedented in the 58 years of humidity records.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries

Extremes in February 2010
Hottest day 33.7 °C at Canberra Airport on the 11th
Warmest days on average 27.3 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest days on average 18.3 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
25.9 °C at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Coldest day

13.3 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 6th
19.5 °C at Canberra Airport on the 13th

Coldest night 3.8 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 26th
Coolest nights on average 9.4 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
14.7 °C at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Warmest nights on average 16.1 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
15.7 °C at Canberra Airport
Warmest night 20.7 °C at Canberra Airport on the 12th
Wettest overall 194.4 mm at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
148.7 mm at Nicholls (Gungahlin Lakes)
Wettest day 70.0 mm at Nicholls (Gungahlin Lakes) on the 14th
56.2 mm at Canberra Airport on the 14th
Highest wind gust 69 km/h at Mount Ginini AWS on the 12th
69 km/h at Mount Ginini AWS on the 23rd


Highest February mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for February 2010 (°C)
Most recent higher
for February
Years since
higher
Average for
February
Canberra Airport 15.7 16.1 in 1983 27 13.1



Summary statistics for February 2010
Maximum temperatures
for February
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for February
(°C)
Rainfall
for February
(millimetres)
Mean for
February
2010
Diff
from
average
Highest for
February
2010
Mean for
February
2010
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
February
2010
Total for
February
2010
Average
for
February
Rank of
February
2010
Fraction of
February
average
Canberra Airport 27.3 +0.2 33.7 11th 15.7 +2.6 9.8 26th 125.4 56.4 v high 222%
Mount Ginini AWS 18.3   23.4 10th 9.4   3.8 26th 112.0
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve 25.9 -0.4 32.5 1st 14.7 +2.4 9.5 26th 194.4 71.3 v high 273%
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS     33.4 10th 16.1   10.0 19th 126.2

Notes

A Monthly Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in ACT Monthly Summary 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 10 am on Monday 1 March 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