Canberra in December 2016: Second-warmest December on record

December was the warmest for Canberra since 1997, with few cool nights and the most days above 30 °C on record. A cool spell mid-month brought the coldest December day in twenty years, but the month ended with the longest December warm spell since 1975. Rainfall was slightly above average, with a thunderstorm causing heavy rain on the 25th.

Below average rainfall

  • Rainfall was slightly above average during December
  • The rain fell over 11 days, above the December average of 8 days, with totals above 10 mm recorded on the 6th, 17th, and 25th
  • A thunderstorm on the 24th produced heavy rain and lightning, with small hail and minor flooding reported in parts of the ACT

Record numbers of warm days

  • Mean temperatures in December were the second-warmest on record for Canberra Airport behind 1997
  • Both maximum and minimum temperatures were more than 2 °C above average at Canberra Airport, with average overnight temperatures the third-warmest on record
  • 16 days reached 30 °C, the highest number on record for December and twice the average of seven warm days
  • Five nights had temperatures below 10 °C, half the December average of ten nights and the fewest since 2007
  • The month ended with nine consecutive days above 29 °C, the longest December warm spell since 1975 and equal third-longest spell on record for December
  • The minimum temperature was 21.6 °C on the 14th, the warmest December night since 21.8 °C on 1 December 2004
  • The maximum temperature at Canberra Airport was just 14.8 °C on the 15th, the coldest December day since 14.6 °C was recorded on 6 December 1995

Further information

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Extremes in December 2016
Hottest day 33.9 °C at Canberra Airport on the 13th
Warmest days on average 28.7 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest days on average 18.6 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Coldest day 8.8 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 15th
Coldest night 1.1 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 9th
Coolest nights on average 8.7 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Warmest nights on average 14.0 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Warmest night 22.0 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS on the 29th
Warmest on average overall 21.1 °C at Canberra Airport
21.1 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Coolest on average overall 13.6 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest overall 93.4 mm at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Driest overall 52.3 mm at Nicholls (Gungahlin Lakes)
Wettest day 34.0 mm at Mount Ginini AWS on the 6th
Strongest wind gust 72 km/h at Mount Ginini AWS on the 20th
72 km/h at Mount Ginini AWS on the 30th

Record lowest December daily maximum temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 14.6 on the 15th 16.1 on the 3rd in 2005 21 27.1

Record highest December daily minimum temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 22.0 on the 29th 20.6 on the 23rd in 2013 21 12.1

Record highest December mean daily minimum temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 14.0 13.7 in 2014 20 12.1

Summary statistics for December 2016

Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
December
2016
Diff
from
average
Highest for
December
2016
Mean for
December
2016
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
December
2016
Total for
December
2016
Average
for
December
Rank of
December
2016
Fraction of
December
average
Canberra Airport 28.7 +2.6 33.9 13th 13.5 +2.1 7.3 10th 64.6 53.8 average 120%
Mount Ginini AWS 18.6 +0.9 23.2 4th 8.7 +1.6 1.1 9th 92.0 102.1 average 90%
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 28.1 +1.0 33.2 13th 14.0 +1.9 9.4 8th 93.4 66.9 average 140%
Note: Observations for “Canberra Airport” are taken from the current site (Bureau number 070351), which opened in late 2008.
Comparisons are made against data from the previous site Canberra Airport Comparison (070014), which ran from 1939 to 2010.

Daily maximum temperatures for December 2016

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Canberra Airport 28.8 30.3 30.9 32.8 31.4 23.1 26.9 31.3 21.6 25.2 28.0 31.2 33.9 28.6 14.8 20.1 27.9 24.9 26.5 30.8 28.7 26.6 31.8 32.5 30.9 31.5 31.9 31.9 29.9 32.8 31.5
Mount Ginini AWS 18.9 20.2 20.5 23.2 22.9 14.2 17.0 19.2 11.4 16.3 18.8 20.6 22.5 15.9 8.8 12.0 16.3 15.5 16.9 18.5 19.6 19.3 22.5 22.4 21.2 21.3 21.8 20.4 17.9 18.5 21.2
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 28.3 30.1 30.6 32.3 31.4 22.9 26.3 30.3 21.5 25.0 27.2 30.5 33.2 26.6 14.6 19.8 27.3 24.1 25.7 29.4 28.2 26.2 31.2 32.3 31.1 31.0 30.9 31.7 29.3 32.2 31.0
Values are the maximum temperature, usually in the 24 hours from 9 am on the day indicated,
and typically occurred in the afternoon of that day.
Temperatures coloured according to their difference
from the long-term average for the period
-10.0 -9.0 -8.0 -7.0 -6.0 -5.0 -4.0 -3.0 -2.0 -1.0 0.0 +1.0 +2.0 +3.0 +4.0 +5.0 +6.0 +7.0 +8.0 +9.0 +10.0 °C Grey outline marks highest
and lowest for the period


Daily minimum temperatures for December 2016

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Canberra Airport 12.1 8.5 11.7 10.6 17.7 16.9 8.9 10.1 11.0 7.3 12.8 15.3 10.6 21.6 12.8 12.3 13.5 11.4 11.1 9.7 8.9 14.6 14.6 14.1 11.3 14.0 18.4 16.3 21.8 20.3 18.9
Mount Ginini AWS 7.7 10.2 9.9 11.8 12.8 11.0 5.3 9.4 1.1 2.6 4.4 7.5 12.5 13.5 7.3 5.8 7.0 2.2 2.3 6.9 6.3 7.3 7.0 11.8 10.3 11.5 12.7 12.9 12.8 14.0 11.4
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 14.1 10.1 12.2 11.4 18.1 17.3 9.6 9.4 12.7 9.5 12.3 16.3 11.2 20.5 11.7 11.8 13.2 11.0 11.9 9.7 10.5 15.0 16.3 15.9 11.5 15.0 19.6 15.8 22.0 20.5 18.3
Values are the minimum temperature, usually in the 24 hours to 9 am on the day indicated,
and typically occurred that morning.
Temperatures coloured according to their difference
from the long-term average for the period
-10.0 -9.0 -8.0 -7.0 -6.0 -5.0 -4.0 -3.0 -2.0 -1.0 0.0 +1.0 +2.0 +3.0 +4.0 +5.0 +6.0 +7.0 +8.0 +9.0 +10.0 °C Grey outline marks highest
and lowest for the period


Daily rainfall for December 2016

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Canberra (Australian National Botanic Ga - - - - 1.3 10.4 0.4 - 2.4 - - - - - 2.4 7.0 11.1 - - - - - - - 44.2 - - -

Canberra Airport - - - - 1.0 13.4 0.2 - 2.0 - - - - - 3.0 5.8 11.4 - - - - - - - 22.4 - - 0.2 - 2.2 3.0
Mount Ginini AWS - - - - 1.0 34.0 0.2 - 3.4 - - - - - 4.6 4.2 7.2 - - - - - - - 3.6 - - - 0.8 15.0 18.0
Nicholls (Gungahlin Lakes) - - - - 1.2 7.4 0.5 - 2.4 - - - - - 4.0 10.0 11.8 - - - - - - - 11.2 - - - - 3.8
Torrens (Darke St) - - - - 1.4 24.8 - - 0.4 - - - - - 2.6 8.6 12.0 - - - - - - - 2.8 - - - - 3.6 16.0
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS - - - - 1.6 29.6 - - 0.2 - - - - - 6.0 7.0 12.0 - - - - - - - 3.0 - - - - 4.4 29.6
Most values are the precipitation in the 24 hours to 9 am on the day indicated. Days marked with → are part of a longer accumulation, which is shown on the final day.
Values over 100 mm have been rounded to the nearest whole millimetre.
Days marked with - have a rainfall report of zero; days left blank have no rainfall report (which often indicates no rain fell).
Rainfalls coloured
according to the amount
0 1.0 5.0 10.0 15.0 25.0 50.0 100 150 200 300 400 600 millimetres

Notes

The Monthly climate summary, generally published on the first working day of each month, lists the main features of the weather in Canberra using the most timely and accurate information available on the date of publication; it will generally not be updated. More extensive discussion of significant weather events, along with later information and data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 8 am on Tuesday 3 January 2017. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

Averages for individual sites 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.

Observations for “Canberra Airport” are taken from the current site (Bureau number 070351), which opened in late 2008.
Comparisons are made against data from the previous site Canberra Airport Comparison (070014), which ran from 1939 to 2010.

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.

Where temperature area averages are mentioned, they are derived from the ACORN-SAT dataset.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries