Australia in August 2011

In Brief

A particularly warm August was recorded across southern parts of the country, with approximately half of Australia recording maximum temperatures very much above the long-term average. Rainfall across Australia was generally below average, with the exception of eastern coastal regions where rainfall was mostly above average.


Maximum temperatures averaged across Australia for August were 1.75 °C warmer than usual, the fifth highest on record. Daytime temperatures averaged across each state and territory all ranked in the top 10, with Tasmania recording its warmest August days on record and Victoria its third warmest.

Maximum temperatures across the southern half of Australia were generally 2-3 °C above average, with a large area up to 4 °C warmer than usual spanning most of inland New South Wales, southwest Queensland and northern parts of South Australia. The exceptionally warm daytime temperatures extended through central Australia to the Gascoyne district in Western Australia, where daytime temperatures were also up to 4 °C warmer than the long-term average for the month.

Southern parts of Australia enjoyed an early introduction to spring-like temperatures, with average to very much above average daytime and night-time temperatures recorded for August. The west coast of Tasmania and a small area of Western Australia near Broome recorded their highest August daytime temperatures on record.

Overnight temperatures were generally closer to the long-term average in the southern half of mainland Australia, although they were still mostly above normal. However, Tasmania recorded its warmest August nights on record with records set almost state-wide, and temperatures more than 2 °C above normal. Another area where records were set was on and near the west coast of Western Australia between Carnarvon and Onslow.

Most northern parts of the country experienced close to average August maximum temperatures, whilst minimum temperatures in this area were below average, particularly in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and adjacent parts of the Northern Territory. Throughout northern Australia night-time temperatures were well below average, with pockets of the Kimberley in Western Australia, the Victoria River region in the Northern Territory and Cape York Peninsula in Queensland recording average temperatures for August more than 3 °C cooler than normal.

Areal average temperatures
  Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature
(out of 62)
Comment Rank
(out of 62)
Australia 58 +1.75 37 +0.14
Queensland 58 +1.16 26 −0.55
New South Wales 57 +2.53 57 +1.09
Victoria 60 +2.07 3rd highest; record is +3.48 (1982) 54 +0.59
Tasmania 62 +2.22 Highest; previous record +1.90 (1982) 62 +2.63 Highest; previous record is +2.21 (2009)
South Australia 58 +2.74 58 +1.34
Western Australia 59 +1.82 4th highest; record is +3.00 (2006) 42 +0.44
Northern Territory 54 +1.07 14 −1.23

*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


Rainfall averaged over Australia was 18% below normal (49th driest in 112 years of record), with most of the country observing close to average conditions this month.

Much of the east coast of Australia, especially the Queensland coast from Mackay southwards, received above average falls this month. The Gippsland district in Victoria and northeast Tasmania were also wetter than normal, much of the month’s rain falling as a result of an east coast low between the 8th and the 11th. This event caused some flooding and was responsible for this month’s highest daily rainfall totals with over 130 mm recorded at stations in both states.

Rainfall in most remaining areas of southeastern and southwestern Australia was fairly close to normal, although there was an area of lower than average rainfall in southern Victoria centred on Melbourne. Most of tropical and central Australia was seasonally dry, with no rain recorded this month at most locations in the Northern Territory, the western half of Queensland, the northern half of Western Australia and northernmost parts of South Australia.

Areal average rainfall
(out of 112)
from mean*
Australia 49 15.3 −18%
Queensland 67 12.1 −11%
New South Wales 63 37.3 −1%
Victoria 40 60.7 −18%
Tasmania 72 163.2 +8%
South Australia 28 11.0 −39%
Western Australia 42.5 12.1 −20%
Northern Territory 24.5 0.1 −97%
Murray-Darling Basin 51 32.2 −15%

*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 August 2011
Hottest day 37.5 °C at Noonamah (NT) on the 30th
Coldest day −2.1 °C at Mount Hotham (VIC) on the 9th
Coldest night −11.0 °C at Charlotte Pass (NSW) on the 10th
Warmest night 25.1 °C at Lockhart River(QLD) on the 29th
Wettest day 141.4 mm at Mount Victoria (TAS) on the 9th


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 2pm EST on Thursday 1 September 2011. 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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