Australia in August 2013

In Brief

Averaged over Australia, maxima were 2.60 °C above average (second highest on record) during August. Mean temperatures also ranked at second-warmest (+1.60 °C) nationally. Minimum temperatures were closer to the median, with an anomaly of +0.59 °C. All States and the Northern Territory, except Victoria and Tasmania, placed eighth-highest or higher for maximum temperatures, and all States and the Northern Territory, except Tasmania, placed ninth-highest or higher for mean temperatures. Victoria also recorded its second-highest minimum temperature anomaly for the month.

Maxima were above to very much above average across most of Australia and near-average over the southeast. Minima were above to very much above average across southern Australia, inland Western Australia, a large area around Birdsville and northern Tasmania. Small areas of the southern coast recorded their warmest August nights on record. Areas of the east and north between northern New South Wales and the Kimberley recorded below-average minima.

August rainfall was very much below the long-term mean when averaged nationally (46% below the long-term average) although large areas of Tasmania, southern Victoria and southeastern South Australia recorded monthly totals in the highest 10% of records; indeed August was the fifth-wettest on record for Tasmania. Rainfall was near average for most of the tropical north, the greater southwest of Western Australia, southern and southeastern South Australia, and much of Victoria. Most of Australia south of a line from Port Hedland to Townsville, and excluding those areas mentioned above, recorded below-average rainfall.


The recent string of warmer-than-average months continued in August with the month coming in at second-warmest on record for maximum temperatures (+2.60 °C) and mean temperatures (+1.60 °C). Minimum temperatures were closer to the median, with an anomaly of +0.59 °C. August also contributed to Australia recording its warmest 12-month period on record; with the September 2012 to August 2013 mean temperature anomaly a record 1.11 °C above the long-term average. Mean temperature is the average of maximum and minimum temperature.

Victorian August minima were the second-warmest on record at +1.20 °C above average (the record is +1.25 °C, in 2009). South Australia also recorded minima more than one degree above average (+1.44 °C, sixth highest). Several States and the Northern Territory placed highly for maxima with anomalies in excess of two degrees in all except Victoria and Tasmania. Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory placed second-highest (+2.63 °C, +2.49 °C and +2.74 °C respectively), South Australia sixth (+3.27 °C) and New South Wales eighth (+2.47 °C). South Australia was the only State to record an August mean temperature anomaly in excess of two degrees (+2.36 °C, fourth-highest on record) although all other States and the Northern Territory, except Tasmania, topped one degree above average.

Maxima were in the highest 10% of records for the vast majority of Australia during August, with daytime temperatures more than 3 °C above average throughout much of the interior of the mainland. A number of locations, mostly across the north, set monthly or daily records. Maxima were within one degree of the long-term average across the southeast and across the southern Cape York Peninsula. Minima were in the highest 10% of records across much of the coastal southern mainland with areas of Western Australia along the south coast and along the coast of eastern South Australia and western Victoria recording minimum temperatures which were the highest on record for August. Minima were also above average across southern New South Wales, a large area around the intersection of the Northern Territory, Queensland and South Australian borders, much of the western half of Western Australia and northern Tasmania. Areas of below-average minima were recorded across the east and north in northern New South Wales, along the eastern coast of Queensland, in the Top End and western Victoria District of the Northern Territory and across the Kimberley in Western Australia. Small areas inland of Mackay in Queensland, in the Kimberley and in the Northern Territory near Elliott and the extreme east of the Top End recorded their coolest minima on record for the month.

Areal average temperatures
Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
Rank* Anomaly#
Comment Rank* Anomaly#
Comment Rank* Anomaly#
Australia 103 +2.60 second highest 81 +0.59 103 +1.60 second highest
Queensland 103 +2.63 second highest 62  0.00 99 +1.33 sixth highest
New South Wales 97 +2.47 eighth highest 85 +0.68 98 +1.58 seventh highest
Victoria 85 +1.02 103 +1.20 second highest 96 +1.11 ninth highest
Tasmania 62 +0.10 75 +0.45 67 +0.28
South Australia 99 +3.27 sixth highest 99 +1.44 sixth highest 101 +2.36 fourth highest
Western Australia 103 +2.49 second highest 83.5 +0.63 101 +1.56 fourth highest
Northern Territory 103 +2.74 second highest 73 +0.46 96 +1.60 ninth highest

*A fractional rank indicates that the value is tied for that rank, ranks range from 1 (low) to 104 (high). #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
Map of mean daily temperature Map of mean daily temperature anomalies Map of mean daily temperature deciles


August rainfall was 46% below the long-term average nationally (area-average rainfall of 10.1 mm). Much of the tropical north recorded near-average rainfall for this seasonally dry month, while light falls resulted in above-average totals along parts of the coast and Cape York Peninsula. Rainfall was also near average for the greater southwest of Western Australia and across the southern border region of New South Wales and the Eyre Peninsula and greater southeast of South Australia. Southern Gippsland and the Western District of Victoria, the Lower Southeast District of South Australia and most of Tasmania recorded monthly totals in the highest 10% of records.

Flooding was caused by heavy rain in both southwest Victoria and northern Tasmania around mid-month. This rain contributed to record August monthly totals at some locations in the northwest and west of Tasmania and the southwest of Victoria and also produced a number of record daily falls.

The Northern Territory and Queensland both recorded less than 5% of their long-term average rainfall for the month. Tasmania recorded the largest positive anomaly, at 80% above the long-term average for its fifth-highest August total on record. Victoria was the only other State to record above-average rainfall at 8% above the mean. Queensland's total was its fifth-lowest on record and New South Wales' its ninth-lowest and lowest since 1995.

Area-average rainfall
(out of 114)
from mean*
Australia 11 10.1 −46%
Queensland 5 0.9 −94% fifth lowest
New South Wales 9 10.7 −72% ninth lowest, lowest since 1995
Victoria 76.5 79.8 +8%
Tasmania 110 272.7 +80% fifth highest
South Australia 20 8.9 −51%
Western Australia 21 9.0 −41%
Northern Territory 27 0.1 −97%
Murray–Darling Basin 17 17.1 −55%

*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 during August 2013
Hottest day  39.7 °C at Timber Creek (NT) on 20 August
Coldest day  −5.2 °C at Mount Hotham (Vic.) on 19 August
Coldest night  −8.7 °C at Glen Innes Airport AWS (NSW) on 16 August
Warmest night  25.6 °C at Troughton Island (WA) on 23 August
Wettest day  80.2 mm at Bickley (WA) on 8 August


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 EST on Sunday 1 September 2013. 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.

The new ACORN-SAT temperature dataset has been used for calculation of State and national temperature area averages in summaries from December 2012 onwards. The major change from earlier datasets is that the ACORN-SAT dataset commences in 1910, rather than 1950, and hence rankings are calculated using a larger set of years.

Further information

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