Australia in August 2016

In brief

  • Very warm days for far northern Australia, cool days in Southwest Western Australia and central Queensland
  • Nights generally warm over the northern half of Australia, but cool for the southwest
  • A wet August for much of the country, especially northern and central Australia and parts of New South Wales


The national mean temperature was 0.44 °C above average for August. Maximum temperatures were 0.19 °C warmer than average, and minima 0.68 °C above average.

Daytime temperatures were above to very much above average for the Kimberley in Western Australia, the north of the Northern Territory, and the north of the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland. Maximum temperatures were also above average for southern South Australia and adjacent border areas of western Victoria, along the coast of Victoria, and in far southeastern New South Wales. Maxima were below to very much below average in South West Western Australia, extending into the Central Wheat Belt and Southeast Coast districts, areas of western and central northern New South Wales and southern Queensland inland of the ranges, and a very large area of Queensland away from the coast and border regions.

Overnight temperatures were above average for southern and eastern Victoria, coastal New South Wales, nearly all of Queensland, most of the Northern Territory, and large areas of Western Australia—mostly in the northwest and interior. Minima were below average in Western Australia across most of the South West Land Division and parts of Western Australia's southern coast. Very cold southerly winds produced sub-zero temperatures in Southwest Western Australia during early and late August, including a number of record low August temperatures; a number of stations went on to record their coldest August mean temperatures for the month. Nights were also cooler than average for the Flinders district in South Australia.

Every month of 2016 has had mean temperatures well above average. The mean temperature for the year to date (i.e. January to August) has been 1.22 °C above average. The 12 months from September 2015 to August 2016 have also been very much warmer than average or record warm across the vast majority of Australia. The oceans around Australia have also been much warmer than average, and in some areas record warm.

Areal average temperatures
Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
(of 107)
Comment Rank
(of 107)
Comment Rank
(of 107)
Australia 63 +0.19 = 90 +0.68 78 +0.44
Queensland 37 −0.42 98 +1.39 10th highest 80 +0.49
New South Wales 65 +0.35 87 +0.68 = 75 +0.52
Victoria 80 +0.72 = 72 +0.34 83 +0.53
Tasmania 77 +0.44 = 47 −0.07 = 63 +0.19
South Australia 72 +0.76 57 +0.24 68 +0.50
Western Australia = 64 +0.21 69 +0.35 71 +0.28
Northern Territory 72 +0.30 = 84 +0.77 81 +0.53

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


August rainfall was above to very much above average over most of northern Australia, much of northern and western New South Wales, the northern two thirds of South Australia, and along the southern coast of South West Western Australia and the South Coastal and Southeast Coastal districts. Rainfall for the month was below average for eastern Tasmania, southeastern New South Wales and across all of Gippsland in Victoria, pockets of the Western district in Victoria, areas of southern South Australia—particularly around the Eyre Peninsula—and parts of Western Australia's Interior district, although rainfall totals are generally low there during August.

Nationally, rainfall was 45% above average, the 14th wettest out of 117 years of record. The Northern Territory (226% above average) had its seventh-wettest August on record, whilst Queensland (90% above average), New South Wales (44% above average) and South Australia (56% above average) were in the top fifteen highest area averaged rainfalls for August. Area averaged rainfall was below average for both Tasmania and Victoria.

Rainfall was in decile 10 (the highest 10% of historical records) across the Kimberley in Western Australia, much of the Northern Territory and northern South Australia, western Queensland, and areas of southern Queensland and northwestern and northeastern New South Wales. Rainfall was also in decile 10 for some parts of the southern coast of Western Australia.

An East Coast Low produced heavy rain and strong winds in northeastern New South Wales during the first week of the month, with daily rainfall records for August set at some locations.

Most of the rain across the northern half of Australia fell between the 22nd and 25th, and between the 29th and the end of the month. Both periods of rainfall were associated with surface troughs over eastern Australia and cloudbands—extending from central Australia through southern Queensland and New South Wales in the first instance, and from northern Western Australia to eastern South Australia in the second instance. Some locations in the western Kimberley, Northern Territory, Queensland and South Australia received record-high August daily rainfall during the events.

Flooding occurred in Queensland during the month: along the Diamantina River throughout the month following heavy rainfall in the headwaters during July, and across the southern border country associated with heavy rainfall in the region during the third week of August.

Area-average rainfall
(of 117)
from mean
Australia 104 27.1 +45%
Queensland 104 25.9 +90%
New South Wales 103 54.5 +44%
Victoria 46 63.1 −15%
Tasmania 38 122.0 −19%
South Australia 102 28.2 +56%
Western Australia 90 19.4 +27%
Northern Territory 111 14.3 +226% 7th highest; highest since 1974
Murray-Darling Basin 101 51.0 +35%

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 August 2016
Hottest day 37.9 °C  at Middle Point (NT) on the 25th
Coldest day −3.8 °C  at Thredbo AWS (NSW) on the 2nd
Coldest night −10.4 °C  at Thredbo AWS (NSW) on the 7th
Warmest night 26.1 °C  at Troughton Island (WA) on the 29th and 28th
and at Wyndham Aero (WA) on the 31st
Wettest day 239.0 mm at Meldrum (Coolawarrah) (NSW) on the 4th


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 Thursday 1 September 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 August 2009; the main effect was that current and historical values for Tasmania were increased. Since August 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

(03) 9669 4057