Australian Monthly Climate Summary: August 2006

Tuesday 5 September, 2006

In Brief

August 2006 was very warm and dry through most of Australia. The continent had its driest August on record, and mean daytime maximum temperatures averaged nationally were also the highest on record. This exacerbated rainfall deficits which exist in many parts of Australia, particularly outside the tropics.



Daytime maximum temperatures were 2.06°C above normal, a new August record (0.01°C above the previous record set in 1977). They were above normal almost everywhere south of latitude 18°S, and in the warmest 10% of all years through most of the extratropics, where anomalies widely exceeded +2°C. It was the warmest August on record over nearly all of the southern half of Western Australia (where anomalies locally exceeded +5°C around Kalgoorlie), as well as in parts of south-eastern Queensland. The only areas which were significantly cooler than normal were Cape York Peninsula, and parts of the far north of Western Australia and the north-western Northern Territory.

Western Australia (state anomaly +3.00°C) broke its August record by more than a degree. There was a particularly notable warm spell in the last week of the month, with 30°C being exceeded in August in south-west Western Australia for the first time ever (reaching 31.2°C at Hyden), and a Tasmanian state record for August of 25.0°C at Campania.

Overnight minimum temperatures averaged across Australia were near-normal (anomaly +0.07°C). Minimum temperatures were above normal through most of the southern half of Western Australia (although not to the same extreme extent as maxima), as well as in parts of east-central Australia, Tasmania and near the east coast. Conversely, minimum temperatures were well below normal in northern Australia (anomalies widely below −1°C, and locally reaching −4°C in the inland Northern Territory), as well as most of inland New South Wales and northern Victoria. Record lows were set on Cape York Peninsula, and around Albury on the New South Wales/Victoria border.

Table 1: Spatial Temperature Summary

Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature
(out of 57)
Anomaly *
Comment Rank
(out of 57)
Anomaly *
Australia57+2.06previous record +2.05 in 1977 30+0.07 
NSW53+2.155th highest 12−0.63 
NT46+0.88  21−0.73 
Qld53+1.055th highest 20−0.75 
SA55+3.053rd highest 40+0.86 
Tas54+1.254th highest 45+0.47 
Vic54+1.734th highest 3−1.303rd lowest
WA57+3.00previous record +1.88 in 1982 52+1.10highest since 1998

* Anomaly is the difference from the long-term average

Maximum Temperature Maps
Mean (Average) | Departures from Long-Term Average (Anomalies) | Deciles (Historical Ranking)

Minimum Temperature Maps
Mean (Average) | Departures from Long-Term Average (Anomalies) | Deciles (Historical Ranking)


The national average rainfall was 6.9 mm (63% below normal), breaking the previous August record of 7.1 mm set in 1914. Monthly rainfall was below normal almost throughout the country. Apart from seasonally dry tropical regions, the only areas where rainfall was near or above normal were the southwest of Western Australia (after an extremely dry June and July), and the eastern coastal fringe between Sydney and Brisbane. No rain fell over most of the northwestern two-thirds of the continent, whilst in the south, most of South Australia, Victoria (except the far east), Tasmania (except the southwest) and inland New South Wales were in the driest 10% of all Augusts.

It was the driest August on record over the northern Eyre Peninsula and parts of eastern Tasmania, including Hobart. South Australia had its driest August on record (86% below normal), and Victoria (66% below normal) its fifth-driest.

Table 2: Spatial Rainfall Summary

(out of 107)
Average (mm)Comment
Australia27.32nd lowest, record 7.1 in 1914
New South Wales1516.7 
Northern Territory260.2 
South Australia12.6previous record 2.8 in 1982
Tasmania1471.9lowest since 1998
Victoria826.2lowest since 1982
Western Australia148.8 

Rainfall Maps
Totals | Deciles (Historical Ranking) | Percentages | Departures from Long-Term Average (Anomalies)