Australia in December 2014

In Brief

December was another warm month for Australia. Averaged nationally, maximum temperatures were 0.88 °C above average and minimum temperatures 0.93 °C above average. Minimum and mean temperatures were the sixth-warmest on record for December (mean temperature anomaly +0.90 °C). Maximum temperatures were warmer than average across most of the tropical north, but cooler than average in the central Northern Territory, and also warmer than average across most of Western Australia, South Australia, the west of the mainland eastern States, and Tasmania. Minimum temperatures were generally above average, but near average to below average for much of the Kimberley and central Northern Territory, western and southern Western Australia, and southern South Australia.

December rainfall was below average for the Cape York Peninsula, large parts of the west of Western Australia, southern South Australia and western to central Victoria. Rainfall was above average for the northeast of Western Australia, most of the Northern Territory, the southern half of Queensland and along the east coast. Rainfall was 24% above average nationally.


Temperatures

The national December maximum temperature anomaly was +0.88 °C and all regions except the Northern Territory anomalies of around one degree to one and a half degrees above average.

Maximum temperatures for December were above average across three main areas: the first covering much of the tropical northern coastal regions; the second over Tasmania; and the third extending through the Pilbara and northern Gascoyne districts in Western Australia, across central Australia and central South Australia, through to southwestern Queensland, western New South Wales and central Victoria. Maximum temperatures were also above average for small areas along the eastern coast of the mainland. Maxima were in the highest ten per cent of records (decile 10) for December for much of the Cape York Peninsula, the Top End, central Western Australia and central Australia.

The December minimum temperature anomaly was the sixth-highest on record for Australia nationally (+0.93 °C) with Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and the Northern Territory also placing within their ten warmest Decembers on record.

Minimum temperatures were above average for the majority of Australia and in the highest ten per cent of records for much of northern Queensland, the Top End, central Western Australia, the western Pilbara and central Australia, as well as in a strip along the east coast between southeastern Queensland and Victoria, and for nearly all of Tasmania. Minimum temperatures were near average for the central Northern Territory, the inland Kimberley, western and southern Western Australia, southern South Australia, and far western Victoria. Small areas in the central Northern Territory, Kimberley, South Coastal Western Australia and around the Spencer Gulf in South Australia recorded cooler than average December minima.


Areal average temperatures
Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
Rank
(of 105)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 105)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 105)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment
Australia = 93 +0.88 100 +0.93 6th highest; highest since 2003 100 +0.90 6th highest
Queensland 85 +1.00 101 +1.47 5th highest = 96 +1.24 equal 9th highest
New South Wales 85 +1.53 96 +1.53 10th highest; highest since 2003 = 93 +1.53
Victoria = 73 +0.97 87 +0.91 81 +0.94
Tasmania 89 +1.25 99 +1.05 7th highest 96 +1.15 10th highest
South Australia 84 +1.19 77 +0.76 = 85 +0.98
Western Australia 94 +0.99 = 87 +0.41 = 93 +0.70
Northern Territory 61 −0.14 100 +0.99 6th highest 83 +0.43

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 105 (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 December was 24% above the long-term average. Rainfall was below to very much below average across the Cape York Peninsula in northern Queensland and also below average for large areas along and inland of the western coast of Western Australia, in West Coast South Australia, southeastern South Australia and western to central Victoria and smaller areas in the western Top End in the Northern Territory and southwest Tasmania. Monthly rainfall was in the lowest ten per cent of records (decile 1) for much of the Cape York Peninsula, and in pockets along the western coastline of Western Australia (however rainfall is typically low in in this region at this time of year).

In contrast to recent months, December rainfall was in the highest ten per cent of records for large areas of the east coast in southern Queensland, New South Wales and East Gippsland in Victoria. Much of this rain fell early in the month in widespread storms associated with surface troughs between 1 and 11 December. A handful of daily records were set during this period, many on the 7th; see individual regional summaries for details.


Area-average rainfall
Rank
(of 115)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean
Comment
Australia 82 64.8 +24%
Queensland 72 86.5 +5%
New South Wales 89 72.9 +36%
Victoria 59 43.2 −9%
Tasmania 49 88.4 −15%
South Australia 54 13.2 −28%
Western Australia 63 37.8 +19%
Northern Territory 96 123.8 +66%
Murray-Darling Basin 81 62.0 +28%

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 115 (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 December 2014
Hottest day   48.0 °C at Pardoo Station on 6 December (WA)
Coldest day     4.7 °C at Mount Wellington (Tas.) on 30 December
Coldest night   −1.7 °C at Perisher Valley AWS (NSW) on 19 December
Warmest night   32.8 °C at Wittenoom (WA) on 6 December
Wettest day 292.0 mm at Tweed Heads Golf Club (NSW) on 28 December


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 5 pm EST on Friday 2 January 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 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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