ACT in January 2012: Coldest January since 2000

  • Below average rain.
  • Below average maximum and minimum temperatures, coolest since 2000.
  • Coldest January night on record.

Rainfall

Canberra Airport recorded 46.8 mm of rain during January 2012, below the historical average of 58.5 mm. The rain fell over 8 rain days, normal for January, with most of the rain during the month associated with thunderstorms on the 21st, with further moderate falls on the 30th. Across the ACT, rainfall was highest at Tidbinbilla with 131.4 mm, while the wettest day reached 50 mm at Tharwa on the 21st.

Temperature

The average maximum temperature at Canberra Airport was 27.5 °C during January, 0.5 °C below the historical average. This is the coolest January in Canberra since 2000, when the average maximum temperature was just 24.5 °C. There were ten days above 30 °C during the month, close to the historical average of eleven days, with a maximum temperature of 34.7 °C recorded on the 3rd. This was the first January since 2002 with no days in Canberra reaching 35 °C. The coolest day was on the 11th when temperatures reached just 18.6 °C, the coldest January day since 2006.

Minimum temperatures were also slightly below average during January, with 12.6 °C at the Airport, 0.6 °C below average, the coolest January since 2000. Temperatures were particularly cold on the 12th and 13th, with two consecutive nights below 5 °C. This is the first such event since 2000, and only the 6th time on record for Canberra. The coldest night was the 12th at just 1.6 °C, the coldest January night on record for Canberra, following lows of 1.8 °C and 2 °C on the 1st and 2nd of January in 1956.

Other Phenomena

The prevailing wind at Canberra Airport during January was easterly, forming 50% of 3pm winds, while 43% were northwesterly. This was a much larger proportion of easterly winds than typical for January (~15%), with a relative absence of the westerly winds that typically occur on more than 20% of January afternoons. The strongest wind gust was on the 11th, reaching 72 km/hr at Canberra Airport and 80 km/hr at Mt Ginini, while gusts on the 30th reached 70 km/hr at the Airport and 81 km/hr at Mt Ginini.

There were ten thunderstorms reported across the ACT during January.

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Extremes in January 2012
Hottest day 34.7 °C at Canberra Airport on the 3rd
Warmest days on average 27.5 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest days on average 17.7 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Coldest day 3.8 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 11th
Coldest night -1.3 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 12th
Coolest nights on average 8.0 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Warmest nights on average 13.2 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Warmest night 18.8 °C at Canberra Airport on the 30th
Warmest on average overall 20.1 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest on average overall 12.9 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest overall 131.4 mm at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Wettest day 50.0 mm at Tharwa General Store on the 21st
Highest wind gust 81 km/h at Mount Ginini AWS on the 30th

Summary statistics for January 2012
Maximum temperatures
for January
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for January
(°C)
Rainfall
for January
(millimetres)
Mean for
January
2012
Diff
from
average
Highest for
January
2012
Mean for
January
2012
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
January
2012
Total for
January
2012
Average
for
January
Rank of
January
2012
Fraction of
January
average
Canberra Airport 27.5 -0.5 34.7 3rd 12.6 -0.6 1.6 12th 46.8 58.5 average 80%
Mount Ginini AWS 17.7   25.0 3rd 8.0   -1.3 12th 115.2
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve 25.9 -1.3 32.2 3rd 12.4 0.0 2.8 13th 131.4 81.8 high 161%
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 26.8   33.9 3rd 13.2   3.8 12th 85.0

Notes

As of March 2010, the official station for Canberra is 70351 'Canberra Airport'. Averages from the previous site, 70014 Canberra Airport Comparison, are used for comparisons (all years of record).

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 9 am on Wednesday 1 February 2012. 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