Australia in November 2009

In Brief

November 2009 was an exceptionally warm month in south-eastern Australia. Records were broken throughout the region for both maximum and minimum temperature, and New South Wales and Victoria both broke the previous record for the largest mean temperature anomaly ever recorded for an Australian state, with anomalies of +4.61°C and +4.36°C respectively. While conditions were less extreme elsewhere, it was still Australia’s hottest November on record with a mean temperature anomaly of +1.87°C. Rainfall averaged over the continent was slightly below normal, with a major rain event late in the month in the southern inland offsetting dry conditions elsewhere, especially in the tropics.


Maximum temperatures averaged over Australia were 2.12°C above normal, ranking second behind the 2006 record of +2.17°C. They were at least 2°C above normal throughout New South Wales and Victoria, South Australia except for the far north, and Tasmania except for the east coast, with similar anomalies also occurring along the south coast of Western Australia east of Albany, and on the west coast near Carnarvon and Broome. In the south-east anomalies were much more extreme, and were mostly in the +5-7°C range in South Australia south of Port Pirie, Victoria away from the coast, and inland New South Wales except the far west. Statewide anomalies set records in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania, with the first two (+4.99 and +4.92°C respectively) exceeding the previous largest anomaly recorded for an Australian state. Station records were set over an area covering all of Victoria, inland New South Wales except the far north-west, the east coast south of Sydney, most agricultural areas of South Australia, and north-western Tasmania. Records were also set locally around Broome and east of Darwin.

Only a few areas had below-normal maximum temperatures, the most significant being on the Queensland coast between Mackay and Cooktown, with anomalies locally reaching −1°C around Townsville. They were also locally below normal near the Gulf of Carpentaria, and in the inland Pilbara in Western Australia.

Minimum temperatures averaged over Australia were the highest on record (1.61°C above normal). Again the abnormal warmth was concentrated in the south-east with state anomalies setting records in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia (for the first two states it was a record anomaly for any month). Mean minima were at least 2°C above normal throughout those three states (except for the far north of South Australia) and in Tasmania outside the far south, as well as in southern inland Queensland and locally in the southern Northern Territory and south-eastern Western Australia. Anomalies were in the +4-6°C range in most of inland New South Wales and northern Victoria, and adjacent areas of eastern South Australia. Records were set in most of Victoria except for west Gippsland, as well as in south-western New South Wales and most of the settled areas of South Australia.

Below-normal minimum temperatures, as for maxima, were confined to the tropics, most notably the Queensland coast and adjacent inland north of Rockhampton (except for parts of Cape York Peninsula); anomalies reached −1°C around Charters Towers. Minima were also below normal in the north-eastern Northern Territory, and in parts of the Kimberley.

Areal average temperatures
  Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature
(out of 60)
Comment Rank
(out of 60)
Australia 59 +2.12 2nd highest; record is +2.17 (2006) 60 +1.61 Highest on record; previous record +1.31 (1959)
Queensland 53 +1.28 53 +0.97
New South Wales 60 +4.99 Highest on record; previous record +4.03 (2002) 60 +4.22 Highest on record; previous record +2.73 (1959)
Victoria 60+4.92 Highest on record; previous record +3.82 (1982) 60 +3.81 Highest on record; previous record +2.69 (2000)
Tasmania 60 +3.18 Highest on record; previous record +2.45 (2007) 59 +1.68 2nd highest; record is +2.42 (2000)
South Australia 59 +3.05 2nd highest; record is +3.10 (1982) 60 +3.36 Highest on record; previous record +2.31 (2000)
Western Australia 57 +1.71 52 +0.85
Northern Territory 52 +0.99 46 +0.60

*Anomaly is the departure from the long-term (1961-1990) average.

Temperature maps
Map of mean daily maximum temperature Map of mean daily maximum temperature anomalies Map of mean daily maximum temperature deciles
Map of mean daily minimum temperature Map of mean daily minimum temperature anomalies Map of mean daily minimum temperature deciles


Australian average rainfall for November was 10% below normal (49th lowest of 110 years). The major rainfall feature of the month was a rain event in the last 10 days of the month, which affected most of South Australia, large parts of Victoria, and the far west of New South Wales and south-west of Queensland. This event was sufficient to lift South Australia’s November rainfall to the fifth-highest on record (176% above normal), with rainfall in the highest decile covering most of the state’s inland except the far west, as well as the Victorian Mallee and western border areas of New South Wales. Rainfall was also above normal in much of Western Australia except the eastern border (although totals were mostly modest), in eastern Tasmania, on the north coast of New South Wales (reaching the highest decile around Coffs Harbour), and on the north tropical coast of Queensland between Townsville and Cooktown.

Elsewhere rainfall was mostly below normal, particularly over the Northern Territory and much of eastern Queensland and New South Wales. There were areas in the lowest decile scattered throughout this region, with the largest and most coherent being in north-western parts of the Northern Territory.

Areal average rainfall
(out of 110)
from mean*
Australia 49 29.5 −10%
Queensland 33 29.1 −37%
New South Wales 43 35.5 −21%
Victoria 85 66.1 +27%
Tasmania 38 85.4 −19%
South Australia 106 43.8 +176%
Western Australia 84 23.8 +30%
Northern Territory 14 17.2 −59%
Murray-Darling Basin 44 32.9 −19%

*The mean is calculated for the 1961-1990 reference period.

Rainfall maps
Map of total rainfall Map of percentage of normal rain Map of rainfall deciles

Australian weather extremes in October 2009
Hottest day 47.4 °C at Marree (SA) on the 18th
Coldest day 3.0 °C at Mount Read (Tas) on the 4th
Coldest night −4.8 °C at Charlotte Pass (NSW) on the 5th
Warmest night 33.3 °C at White Cliffs Airport (NSW) on the 19th
Wettest day 360.2 mm at Coffs Harbour (NSW) on the 7th


The Monthly Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in Australia using the most timely and accurate information available on the date of publication; it will generally not be updated.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 12 pm on Tuesday 1 December 2009. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available, especially for rainfall where much more data becomes available as returns are received from volunteers.

Long-term averages in this statement and associated tables are for the period 1961 to 1990 unless otherwise specified.

In the tables, fractional ranks denote tied values.

A new area-averaging method was adopted for rainfall in May 2009. Current and historical totals for Tasmania are substantially higher than under the old scheme, but differences for other states, and nationally, are negligible. The rankings and departures from mean shown here use the new method.

Further information

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