Australia in November 2020

In brief

  • Temperatures during November were warmer than average for most of Australia, except southwest Western Australia
  • Both the national mean maximum and mean minimum temperature were the warmest on record for November
  • Rainfall was below average for Australia overall, despite above average rainfall in parts of northern, western, and southern Western Australia
  • Rainfall was well below average for southeastern Queensland, northeastern New South Wales, and Tasmania; for Tasmania it was the ninth-driest November on record

Temperatures

The national mean temperature for November was the highest on record for Australia as a whole, at 2.47 °C warmer than average (previous record was +2.07 °C in 2014).

Both mean maximum and mean minimum temperatures were above the highest on record for November at 2.90 °C and 2.04 °C above average, respectively. All states and the Northern Territory had both mean maximum and mean minimum temperatures amongst the top ten on record for November.

Maximum temperatures for November were above or very much above average across the majority of Australia, and warmest on record in a large area of the centre of the continent. The mean maximum temperature for the month was cooler than average for the southern half of the west coast of Western Australia.

The mean minimum temperature for the month was above or very much above average for most of Australia, although mean minimum temperatures were close to average for much of the west of Western Australia, and some pockets of south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales, and the Cape York Peninsula.

Heatwaves affected parts of Australia several times during the month.

A low- to severe-intensity heatwave affected much of north-west to south-east Queensland around the middle of the month. However, the most significant event came at the end of the month.

Very warm air was directed from the middle of the continent into south-eastern and eastern Australia as frontal systems combined with a heat trough over inland Australia. Large areas experienced daily maximum temperatures more than 10 degrees above average over a number of days. Heatwave conditions were accompanied by gusty winds and elevated fire danger for South Australia and the eastern states.

A large number of stations in New South Wales observed record high November daily maximum temperature or their warmest November night on record on the 28th or 29th. A few stations in the Northern Territory set records for their highest November maximum temperature or warmest November night during the month, as did a few in Tasmania and Western Australia, and several in Queensland for highest November daily maximum temperature.

Some stations in the Northern Territory had their highest November mean daily maximum temperature on record, or their highest mean daily minimum temperature for November, as did a few stations in Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia, and a few in Queensland for highest mean daily maximum temperature for November.

Areal average temperatures
Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
Rank
(of 111)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 111)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 111)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment
Australia 111 +2.90 highest (was +2.40 °C in 2014) 111 +2.04 highest (was +1.90 °C in 2015) 111 +2.47 highest (was +2.07 °C in 2014)
Queensland 110 +2.85 2nd highest (record +2.97 °C in 2014) 110 +2.17 2nd highest (record +2.61 °C in 2014) 110 +2.51 2nd highest (record +2.79 °C in 2014)
New South Wales 107 +3.86 5th highest 106 +2.43 6th highest; highest since 2009 107 +3.15 5th highest
Victoria 110 +3.85 2nd highest (record +5.11 °C in 2009) 107 +2.51 5th highest 110 +3.18 2nd highest (record +4.59 °C in 2009)
Tasmania 108 +2.52 4th highest (record +3.98 °C in 2017) 107 +1.32 5th highest 108 +1.92 4th highest (record +2.77 °C in 2017)
South Australia 111 +4.38 highest (was +3.62 °C in 2012) 108 +2.33 4th highest (record +4.18 °C in 1914) 111 +3.36 highest (was +3.01 °C in 2009 and 1914)
Western Australia 103 +1.79 9th highest 109 +1.36 3rd highest (record +1.87 °C in 2006) 108 +1.58 4th highest (record +2.20 °C in 2006)
Northern Territory 111 +3.25 highest (was +2.91 °C in 1990) 111 +2.66 highest (was +2.22 °C in 1990) 111 +2.96 highest (was +2.57 °C in 1990)

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 111 (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
MeanAnomalyDeciles
Mean
daily
maximum
temperatures
Map of mean daily maximum temperature Map of mean daily maximum temperature anomalies Map of mean daily maximum temperature deciles
Mean
daily
minimum
temperatures
Map of mean daily minimum temperature Map of mean daily minimum temperature anomalies Map of mean daily minimum temperature deciles
Mean
daily
temperatures
Map of mean daily temperature Map of mean daily temperature anomalies Map of mean daily temperature deciles

Rainfall

November rainfall was 41% below average for Australia as a whole.

Rainfall was below average for much of the eastern two thirds of Australia, and very much below average for large parts of Tasmania, north-east New South Wales, and greater south-east Queensland.

Rainfall for the month was above or very much above average across large parts of Western Australia, including in the Kimberley, Pilbara, and the South West Land Division.

A number of cold fronts and associated low pressure systems brought periods of rainfall to the South West Land Division in Western Australia during the first third of the month. A large number of stations in Western Australia, mostly in the south-west, had record high daily rainfall for November, as did a couple towards the end of the month. A large number also had record high November total rainfall for the month overall.

Victoria experienced storms or damaging winds both around the middle of the month, when strong northerly winds affected much of western and central Victoria, and on the 22nd and 23rd when locally severe thunderstorms affected southern parts of the state.

Typically La Niña would be associated with cooler, cloudier, and wetter than average conditions for Australia. During this November the La Niña currently active in the Pacific Ocean weakened temporarily, and the Southern Annual Mode also briefly returned to neutral. This contributed to a reduction in cloud cover over Australia during the month, higher air pressure, and less rainfall than typical for a La Niña. Both La Niña and the Southern Annual Mode are expected to return to their October levels soon, and the climate outlooks expect cooler temperatures and more rainfall for summer 2020–21.


Area-average rainfall
Rank
(of 121)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean
Comment
Australia 25 19.2 −41%
Queensland 16 17.4 −62%
New South Wales 23 20.4 −54%
Victoria 31 33.7 −35%
Tasmania 9 48.3 −52% 9th lowest; lowest since 2007
South Australia 13 4.4 −71%
Western Australia 94 24.1 +35%
Northern Territory 13 18.6 −55%
Murray-Darling Basin 15 15.9 −60%

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 121 (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
TotalsPercentagesDeciles
Total
rainfall
Map of total rainfall Map of percentage of normal rain Map of rainfall deciles


Australian weather extremes during November 2020
Hottest day 48.0 °C    at Andamooka (SA) on the 28th
Coldest day 3.3 °C    at Mount Read (Tas.) on the 5th
Coldest night −3.7 °C    at Mount Hotham (Vic.) on the 6th
Warmest night 33.8 °C    at Wanaaring (Delta AWS) (NSW) on the 29th
Wettest day 191.0 mm at Moruya (Plumwood) (NSW) on the 1st


Notes

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 following month.

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

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 1:30 pm EDST on Tuesday 1 December 2020. 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. Temperature area averages are derived from the ACORN-SAT version 2 dataset. Rainfall area averages, along with rainfall and temperature maps, are derived from the AWAP dataset.


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