Australia in February 2016

In brief

  • Ninth-warmest February on record for Australia
  • Cooler than normal only across southeast Western Australia and southern South Australia
  • Rainfall was below average for Australia as a whole, and for all States and territories
  • Very much below average rainfall for much of northern Australia and New South Wales
  • Wetter than normal to the north of the Great Australian Bight, and through central inland Queensland

February was warmer than average across the country, with no State or Territory recording a negative area-averaged temperature anomaly for either maximum or mean temperatures. The national mean temperature anomaly was +0.92 °C, with the monthly maximum temperature 1.43 °C above normal. The monthly minimum temperature was 0.42 °C above normal.

Rainfall across Australia was mostly below average throughout the country's north, northern South Australia and for much of New South Wales and eastern Victoria. Rainfall was very much above average for southwestern South Australia and southeastern Western Australia.


February was very warm across northern and eastern Australia. Queensland recorded its fifth-warmest February on record for mean temperatures and equal sixth-warmest for both maximum and minimum temperatures. Tasmania was sixth-warmest for minimum temperatures.

Parts of Cape York Peninsula the north tropical Queensland coast, the Kimberley and the northeast tip of Arnhem Land recorded highest on record monthly mean temperatures. Very much above average mean temperatures extend across northwest Western Australia, most of northern and inland Queensland and the associated border regions with Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales. The extent of very much above average temperatures were similar for maximum temperatures, but were slightly narrower for minimum temperatures. Below average mean, maximum and minimum temperatures were recorded across southeast Western Australia and throughout parts of southern coastal South Australia.

Areal average temperatures
Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
(of 107)
Comment Rank
(of 107)
Comment Rank
(of 107)
Australia 100 +1.43 8th highest = 85 +0.42 99 +0.92 9th highest
Queensland =101 +2.02 equal 6th highest = 101 +1.12 equal 6th highest 103 +1.57 5th highest
New South Wales 97 +1.91 77 +0.64 89 +1.28
Victoria 82 +0.70 = 73 +0.56 79 +0.63
Tasmania 88 +0.79 102 +1.97 6th highest 99 +1.38 9th highest
South Australia = 76 +0.74 57 −0.05 =65 +0.35
Western Australia 86 +0.96 = 64 −0.03 80 +0.47
Northern Territory 100 +1.93 8th highest; highest since 1989 84 +0.44 98 +1.18 10th highest; highest since 1998

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 107 (highest). A rank marked with = indicates the value is tied for that rank. Anomaly is the departure from the long-term (19611990) 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


February rainfall was below average for Australia and all States and Territories. New South Wales recorded its driest February since 1978, with statewide area average rainfall 69 per cent lower than the long term mean. Rainfall across the tropical north in the Northern Territory and Queensland was mostly below to very much below average, following similar low rainfall totals recorded in these regions during January 2016. Below average rainfall was recorded in the north and west of Western Australia. However the passage of ex-tropical cyclone Stan through Western Australia and and southern parts of South Australia contributed to very much above average rainfall in the southeast of Western Australia and border areas with South Australia. Above average rainfall was recorded along the South Australian coast and small pockets of central Queensland. Northern South Australia and eastern Victoria recorded below average rainfall.

Area-average rainfall
(of 117)
from mean
Australia 20 42.7 −44%
Queensland 29 78.4 −32%
New South Wales 12 15.7 −69%
Victoria 36 18.6 −42%
Tasmania 51 56.9 −14%
South Australia 63 15.0 −23%
Western Australia 34 32.3 −47%
Northern Territory 23 56.3 −53%
Murray-Darling Basin 21 19.5 −52%

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 116 (highest). A rank marked with ’=‘ indicates the value is tied for that rank. Departure from mean is relative to the long-term (1961–1990) average.

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

Australian weather extremes during February 2016
Hottest day   47.8 °C at Emu Creek Station (WA) on 13 February and  47.8 °C at Mardie (WA) on 12 February
Coldest day     2.6 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle, Tas.) on 16 February
Coldest night   −1.4 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle, Tas.) on 16 February
Warmest night   33.2 °C at Boulia Airport (Qld) on 4 February
Wettest day 252.0 mm at Mount Jukes (Qld) on 6 February


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. Later information, including data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review, usually published in the fourth week of the month.

Climate Summaries are usually published on the first working day of each month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 2 pm EST on Tuesday 1 February 2016. 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.

The system used for calculating areal averages of rainfall was changed in May 2009; the main effect was that current and historical values for Tasmania were increased. Since December 2012, ACORN-SAT has been used for calculating areal averages of temperature; the major change from earlier datasets is that the ACORN-SAT dataset commences in 1910, and hence rankings are calculated using a larger set of years.

Further information

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