Australia in February 2015

In Brief

February was a warm month for Australia as a whole, and for most areas of the country. Averaged nationally, maximum temperatures were the second-warmest on record for February (2.35 °C above average) and minimum temperatures were the fifth-warmest for February (1.00 °C above average). Maximum temperatures were above to very much above average everywhere except along parts of the east coast, the far northern tip of Queensland and an area around the central Northern Territory.

Minimum temperatures were above average for most of the country, and especially so in large parts of Western Australia. Minimum temperatures were below average for areas of the Northern Territory and the Kimberley, and also in parts of southeast Queensland.

February rainfall was below average for large parts of northern Australia, inland northeastern New South Wales, much of South Australia and adjacent border regions of New South Wales and Victoria, and for most of Tasmania. Some areas of coastal southeastern Queensland and northeastern New South Wales and parts of Western Australia on the central west coast and southeast coast recorded above-average rainfall for the month. Rainfall was 51% below average nationally.


Temperatures

The national February maximum temperature anomaly was +2.35 °C making it the second warmest February behind the 1983 record of +2.41 °C. All States and the Northern Territory recorded maximum temperature anomalies in excess of one degree, with South Australia and Western Australia both recording their second warmest February (behind 2007) with area-averaged anomalies in excess of three degrees.

Maximum temperatures were warmer than average across the majority of Australia and in the highest ten per cent of observations for February across most of Western Australia, South Australia, western Queensland, southwestern New South Wales and northwestern Victoria. A region of the central Northern Territory and adjacent southern Kimberley, the far northern tip of Cape York and a broad strip running along the east coast from around Mackay in Queensland to East Gippsland in Victoria recorded near-average maxima. A small area of coastal northeast New South Wales recorded below-average maximum temperatures, associated with above-average rainfall in this area. A number of particularly warm days were observed between the 6th and 25th, with pulses of heat travelling from the west of Western Australia into western Queensland and resulting in daily records for warmest February day at a number of locations. For further details see the individual regional summaries, or the Monthly Weather Review, which will be published towards the end of March.

The national February minimum temperature anomaly was +1.00 °C, Australia's fifth-warmest on record for February. All States and the Northern Territory recorded above-average minimum temperatures for the month, with Western Australia recording its second-warmest February minima (also behind 2007).

Minimum temperatures were very much above average (warmest ten per cent of records) across most of Western Australia except for the Kimberley, with above-average minima also covering central Australia and northern South Australia, western and inland Queensland extending to parts of the Cape York Peninsula, most of New South Wales except the northeast, Victoria and adjacent parts of southeastern South Australia, and nearly all of Tasmania. Minima were near average for the Kimberley and most of the Northern Territory except for the south, for the eastern half of Queensland from the Central Coast District south extending to about the Central Tablelands District of New South Wales, and also for an area of South Australia to the north of a line extending westward from the end of the New South Wales–Victoria border. Minimum temperatures were below average for a small area of the central Kimberley coast and a larger area crossing from the Kimberley into the Northern Territory, an area of the far eastern Top End, and an area around Taroom in the southeastern quadrant of Queensland.


Areal average temperatures
Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
Rank
(of 106)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 106)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 106)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment
Australia 105 +2.35 2nd highest (record +2.41 °C in 1983) 102 +1.00 5th highest 105 +1.67 2nd highest (record +1.93 °C in 1983)
Queensland 99 +1.74 8th highest 93 +0.71 100 +1.23 7th highest
New South Wales 94 +1.75 89 +1.23 = 92 +1.49
Victoria 99 +1.98 8th highest 91 +1.35 99 +1.66 8th highest
Tasmania 90 +1.09 89 +0.91 = 92 +1.00
South Australia 105 +3.12 2nd highest (record +3.16 °C in 2007) 91 +1.24 101 +2.18 6th highest
Western Australia 105 +3.05 2nd highest (record +3.14 °C in 2007) 105 +1.54 2nd highest (record +1.68 °C in 2007) 105 +2.30 2nd highest (record +2.41 °C in 2007)
Northern Territory = 94 +1.75 59 +0.00 = 90 +0.88

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 106 (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

Nationally-averaged rainfall during February was 51% below the long-term average. All States and the Northern Territory recorded area-averaged totals below the long-term mean.

February rainfall was below average for the Kimberley and adjacent parts of inland Western Australia, across large parts of the Northern Territory, most of Queensland except the east coast and parts of the south, a large part of inland northeastern New South Wales, much of South Australia extending into border regions of Victoria and southwestern New South Wales, and also across most of Tasmania except the east coast. February rainfall was in the lowest ten per cent of historical observations for large areas in inland northern and central Queensland, the western Top End and Kimberley, nearly all of western Tasmania and smaller areas in the other regions with below-average rainfall.

While two tropical cyclones, Marcia and Lam, brought heavy rainfall to parts of the east coast and across the Top End during the second half of the month, and heavy falls were recorded on the eastern coast of the Cape York Peninsula earlier in the month, only small areas recorded above-average monthly rainfall as a result, mostly along the coast between about Rockhampton in Queensland and Port Macquarie in New South Wales. Small parts of Victoria, inland southeastern New South Wales, and northeastern Tasmania recorded above-average monthly totals, mostly as a result of moderate falls associated with the passage of low pressure troughs in the middle of the month. Larger areas in Western Australia, on the central west coast and on the south coast near Balladonia also recorded above-average rainfall for February.


Area-average rainfall
Rank
(of 116)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean
Comment
Australia 11 37.6 −51%
Queensland 17 60.0 −48%
New South Wales 31 31.8 −37%
Victoria 49 27.0 −16%
Tasmania 15 34.5 −48%
South Australia 20 2.5 −87%
Western Australia 25 27.2 −55%
Northern Territory 27 59.9 −50%
Murray-Darling Basin 22 19.9 −51%

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
TotalsPercentagesDeciles
Total
rainfall
Map of total rainfall Map of percentage of normal rain Map of rainfall deciles


Australian weather extremes during February 2015
Hottest day   49.2 °C at Roebourne Aero (WA) on 21 February
Coldest day     5.9 °C at Mount Wellington (Tas.) on 1 February
Coldest night   −0.9 °C at Butlers Gorge (Tas.) on 5 February
Warmest night   35.1 °C at Wittenoom (WA) on 21 February
Wettest day 297.0 mm at Copperlode Dam Alert (Qld) on 8 February


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 month.

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

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 12 noon EST on Monday 2 March 2015. 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 February 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

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries