Australia in July 2016

In brief

  • Warm nights, except in southwest Western Australia
  • Australia's fifth-warmest July mean minimum on record, all of the eastern States and Western Australia in the top ten
  • Days warmer than average around the northern and eastern coast and Tasmania; cooler than average for much of Western Australia, and central Queensland
  • Australia's warmest 12-month period for mean temperatures, for periods ending in any month
  • A very wet July for central Queensland, the tropics, parts of the west, and Tasmania
  • Queensland's and Tasmania's seventh-wettest July on record, Victoria's tenth-wettest July


Minimum temperatures for July were very much warmer than average, ranking as Australia's fifth-warmest July nationally (1.59 °C above average). Minima were warmer than average across most of Australia, and in the highest 10% of historical records (decile 10) for most of the eastern States, including a region of highest on record in southern New South Wales on the South West Slopes and inland of Great Dividing Range, much of the south of the Northern Territory, and across the northern Interior, far western Kimberley, Pilbara, and northern Gascoyne districts in Western Australia.

Minima were cooler than average for Southwest Western Australia, and near average for the remainder of the South West Land Division, the far northern Kimberley, much of the Top End, and south central parts of South Australia between Marree and the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas.

Maxima were near average nationally (0.38 °C above average), however, this concealed marked geographic differences. Daytime temperatures were warmer than average, tending to very much warmer than average around the northern coastline, east coast, and Tasmania. Large parts of the northern and eastern coast observed July maxima in the highest 10% of historical records (decile 10). They were cooler than average in much of the west, extending across Western Australia south of a line from Port Hedland in the Pilbara to Giles, and across the western half of South Australia. July maxima were in the lowest 10% of historical records (decile 1) for much of the Pilbara, Gascoyne, Central Wheat Belt, and Goldfields districts in Western Australia. An area of central inland Queensland also experienced cooler than average days.

This combination of generally very warm minima and warm-in-some-places, cool-in-others maxima yielded a national mean temperature for July 0.99 °C warmer than average (ninth-warmest July mean temperature on record for Australia). All of the eastern States, i.e. Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, placed within the top ten warmest Julys on record for mean temperatures, reflecting very warm minima and warm or near average maxima. Similarly, mean temperatures were above to very much above average in the north of Western Australia where both minima and maxima were above average.

Every month of 2016 has had mean temperatures well above average and the oceans around Australia have been running with record warmth for more than six months. The mean temperature for the year to date (i.e. January to July) has been 1.33 °C above average. The 12 months from August 2015 to July 2016 (1.33 °C above average) were also the warmest on record for any 12 month period (i.e. warmest mean temperature for a 12-month period ending in any month of the year). This value is higher than any previous 12-month period in records stretching back to 1910 and surpassed the record set by November 2012 to October 2013, which was +1.31 °C.

A significant cold outbreak brought widespread light snow to low levels over the southeast, from Canberra to Hobart and to higher areas of the Mount Lofty and Flinders Ranges of South Australia, on the night of the 12th and heavy snow in alpine areas. The cool period persisted around the middle of the month with thick cloud and widespread rainfall bringing days more than twelve degrees cooler than average in parts of northern Australia. A number of stations with greater than 30 years of observations set records for coolest July day in Queensland, and a smaller number in the Northern Territory.

From the 18th a very warm air mass crossing southern Australia resulted in a number of stations in eastern Victoria with greater than 20 years of observations setting records for warmest July on the 18th, and at a number of stations with greater than 30 years of observations in coastal southeast Queensland and eastern New South Wales as warm conditions continued across large areas of Australia through to the 22nd. A large number of stations in eastern Australia with greater than 30 years of observations also set records for warmest July night during this period, predominantly in New South Wales. Nights were more than twelve degrees warmer than average over parts of eastern Australia during this period.

Areal average temperatures
Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
(of 107)
Comment Rank
(of 107)
Comment Rank
(of 107)
Australia = 64 +0.38 103 +1.59 5th highest 99 +0.99 9th highest
Queensland = 58 +0.21 101 +2.58 7th highest 97 +1.40
New South Wales = 73 +0.56 104 +2.25 4th highest (record +2.85 °C in 1950) = 98 +1.41 equal 8th highest
Victoria 79 +0.49 106 +1.71 2nd highest (record +1.97 °C in 1975) = 100 +1.10 equal 7th highest
Tasmania 77 +0.36 105 +1.68 3rd highest (record +2.24 °C in 1930) 98 +1.02 10th highest
South Australia 58 +0.20 = 80 +0.81 77 +0.51
Western Australia 62 +0.31 98 +1.12 10th highest 84 +0.72
Northern Territory 77 +0.76 = 87 +1.37 89 +1.07

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 (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


July rainfall was above to very much above average over most of northern Australia, much of southern New South Wales and areas of the west, most of Victoria except the northwest, large parts of southeast and northwest South Australia, all of Tasmania, and large parts of Western Australia excluding the southwest and the western Kimberley, where rainfall was below average. Rainfall was also below average for smaller areas, mostly around Birdsville at the conjunction of the Northern Territory–Queensland–South Australia border, across northern New South Wales, and north of Port Augusta in South Australia.

Nationally, rainfall was 61% above average, 14th wettest out of 117 years of record. Queensland (188% above average) and Tasmania (50% above average) both had their seventh-wettest July on record, whilst Victoria (41% above average) came in at tenth-wettest for July. For Tasmania, this was the third top-ten wettest month in succession. Rainfall was in the highest 10% of historical records (decile 10) extending across large areas from the western Top End around the Gulf coast to Queensland's Central Coast and Capricornia districts. Decile 10 rainfall was also recorded in Western Australia in the eastern Kimberley and between Exmouth and parts of the Interior and Goldfields districts, large parts of Tasmania, parts of southern Victoria and pockets of southeast South Australia and the New South Wales highlands.

South Australia and New South Wales recorded state-average rainfall close to the long-term average, reflecting the large area of eastern South Australia, Central Australia, and parts of western and northern New South Wales where rainfall was generally close to average.

Much of the rain in Queensland fell around mid-month as an upper-level trough produced a cloudband that streamed moist tropical air from the Kimberley in Western Australia well into Queensland and then interacted with a low which developed off Queensland's central coast. Numerous locations in Queensland had their wettest July day on record between the 15th and the 20th and flooding resulted in several places. Totals across the rest of the north were generally not particularly high in and of themselves, but were high for the time of year and included some record daily totals for the month in the Northern Territory on the 13th (July is typically a dry-season month for much of northern and Central Australia).

In the southeast it was more a result of cold fronts throughout the month, some of which were associated with severe weather and damaging winds and flooding in parts of Tasmania, Gippsland in Victoria, and coastal areas of South Australia. A number of stations across the southeast observed record-high July daily rainfall during the month.

Area-average rainfall
(of 117)
from mean
Australia 104 35.6 +61%
Queensland 111 54.8 +188% 7th highest; highest since 1984
New South Wales 69 41.4 +5%
Victoria 108 98.7 +41% 10th highest; highest since 1986
Tasmania 111 238.6 +50% 7th highest; highest since 1975
South Australia = 66 17.8 −4%
Western Australia 102 30.7 +53%
Northern Territory 93 8.4 +22%
Murray-Darling Basin 88 44.8 +13%

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 117 (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 July 2016
Hottest day 38.3 °C at Kalumburu (WA) on the 24th
Coldest day −5.8 °C at Thredbo AWS (NSW) on the 13th
Coldest night −8.7 °C at Thredbo AWS (NSW) on the 14th
Warmest night 26.6 °C at Troughton Island (WA) on the 2nd
Wettest day 310.8 mm at Pacific Heights (Qld) on the 17th


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 1 pm EST on Monday 1 August 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.

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