Product Code: IDCKGC1A00

Australian Monthly Climate Summary: October 2006

Thursday 9 November, 2006

In Brief

The severe drought which has been affecting large parts of Australia continued in October. The all-Australian average rainfall was 52% below normal for October, the 11th lowest on record. Only widespread rain in the last week through the largely unpopulated interior of Western Australia prevented October from being Australia’s driest on record.



It was a warm October through most of Australia, with both daytime maximum temperatures (anomaly +1.80°C) and minima (+1.07°C) the sixth-highest on record. Maximum temperatures were especially high in much of the south-east, with anomalies exceeding 2°C over most of Victoria, inland New South Wales, eastern South Australia and southern inland Queensland, and reaching 5°C in parts of southern inland New South Wales between Wagga Wagga and Canberra. It was the warmest October on record over an area extending through central New South Wales from the northern to southern border, north-east and western Victoria, and south-eastern South Australia.

The southern two-thirds of Western Australia was also very warm, with anomalies widely in the +2 to +3°C range and a few records in the area east of Perth. Below-normal maxima were largely restricted to the area north of 20°S and the Queensland coast, and were only significantly below normal in northern Queensland, reaching −2°C around Burketown.

As in the last two months, the warmest minima occurred in the belt between 20 and 30°S. Except on the east coast, minima were generally 1−3°C above normal in this region, and up to 4°C in the Uluru region of the southwestern Northern Territory. Record high values were scattered through this area. It was cool in the north and south-east. Northern Queensland and the Northern Territory were particularly cool, with anomalies near −2°C in places, and record low values around Darwin and on the Cape York Peninsula.

The other notably cool region was southern New South Wales and Victoria, with anomalies widely between −1 and −2°C. Record low values occurred east and north-east of Melbourne, and over the state as a whole mean minimum temperatures were the second lowest on record (at the same time as maxima were the highest on record). There were numerous severe late-season frost events in this region, and a provisional Australia record low for October (−12.0°C) was set at Charlotte Pass on 30 October.

Table 1: Spatial Temperature Summary

Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature
(out of 57)
Anomaly *
Comment Rank
(out of 57)
Anomaly *
Australia52+1.80  52+1.07 
NSW57+3.28highest, previous record +2.86 in 1988 46+0.68 
NT49+1.44  44+0.79 
Qld43+1.00  39+0.61 
SA54+2.474th highest 53+1.46 
Tas36+0.34  12−0.65 
Vic57+2.61highest, previous record +2.49 in 19612−1.452nd lowest, record −1.73 in 2003
WA51+1.76  56+1.782nd highest, record +1.85 in 2004

* 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)


Eastern Australia was especially dry, with New South Wales recording its driest October on record (86% below normal), Victoria its second driest (−87%), and South Australia and Queensland both in the bottom 10 years, 70−80% below normal. The vast majority of this region had less than 20% of normal October rainfall, except for a relatively small part of northern Queensland around and inland from Cairns, which approached or exceeded normal October rainfall.

It was the driest October on record in most of the southern half of South Australia, much of southern inland New South Wales, and the south coast of New South Wales, as well as a few scattered locations in south-eastern Queensland, and around Kalbarri and Esperance in Western Australia. October was in the driest 10% of recorded years in these areas, as well as almost all of Victoria, northern Tasmania, most of New South Wales except the north-east corner and south-eastern Queensland, and also the Top End of the Northern Territory and parts of the south-west of Western Australia.

Rainfall was well above normal in most of the northern half of Western Australia, although most of this region is climatologically dry in October, and monthly totals only exceeded 50 mm in a relatively small area centred on Meekatharra and Wiluna in the central part of the State. A few locations in this area had their wettest October on record.

Table 2: Spatial Rainfall Summary

(out of 107)
Average (mm) % Departure
from mean
Australia1111.3−52%lowest since 2002
New South Wales16.9−86% lowest, previous record 7.0 in 1900
Northern Territory164.6−76%lowest since 2002
Queensland85.9−78%lowest since 2002
South Australia94.5−77%lowest since 2002
Tasmania1872.2−29%lowest since 1983
Victoria28.3−87%2nd lowest, record 5.2 in 1914
Western Australia10021.4+78%highest since 2001

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