Australia in January 2016

In brief

  • National mean temperature above average for January
  • Maximum and minimum temperatures both above average
  • Cooler than normal in the far west and central areas of the country
  • Rainfall near average for Australia as a whole
  • Generally drier and warmer than normal in the north
  • Wetter than normal across much of southern Australia

January mean temperatures were warmer than average for Australia as a whole (an anomaly of +0.52 °C), with all States and the Northern Territory recording warmer than average mean temperatures. Tasmania recorded its second-warmest January on record. The Australian maximum temperature was 0.21 °C above average and the Australian minimum temperatures was 0.82 °C above average.

Both maximum and minimum temperatures were warmer than average across the northern tropics, extending down most of the Queensland coast, across most of south east Australia, and for the far west of South West Australia. All of Tasmania also reported above average daytime and nighttime monthly mean temperatures. Above average minimum temperatures were also recorded across the remaining southern areas of Australia, and the interior regions of Queensland and Western Australia.

Maximum and minimum temperatures were below average for the western Pilbara and a small region of Central Australia. A broad region of below average maximum temperatures was recorded across most of the western part of Western Australia, Central Australia and a region across northern New South Wales and southern Queensland.

For Australia as a whole, January rainfall was slightly below average. However, there was a marked contrast between the north and the south, with much of the northern tropics recording below average rainfall, but rainfall was above average across much of southern Australia. Parts of northern and eastern Tasmania, far southwest of Western Australia and small regions within eastern New South Wales recorded their highest January rainfall on record. Parts of the Top End and Cape York Peninsula recorded their lowest January totals on record.


Temperatures

The national January maximum temperature anomaly was +0.21 °C, with only Western Australia and Northern Territory being cooler than average for the month. For Tasmania, January maximum temperatures were the seventh-warmest on record.

Maximum temperatures were very much above average for most of northern tropical Australia north of 15°S, with northern Cape York Peninsula and the region from Darwin into Arnhem Land recording highest on record daytime temperatures. Temperatures very much above average were also recorded across northern Tasmania and the far southwest of Western Australia. Above average temperatures were recorded in areas bordering these regions. Above average temperatures were also recorded across eastern Queensland north of Bundaberg and a narrow region of western Queensland, throughout western Victoria and South Gippsland, southern Tasmania, south east South Australia and the associated border regions with southwest New South Wales.

Very much below maximum temperatures were experienced across the western Pilbara and parts of the western Gascoyne Districts. Below average maximum temperatures were recorded across a large area of west Western Australia, as well as much of southern Northern Territory and border regions with Western Australia and South Australia, and near the border between inland Queensland and northern New South Wales.

For Australia as a whole, the January minimum temperature anomaly was +0.82 °C, with all States and Territories recording above average night time temperatures. Tasmania had its third-warmest January mean minimum temperature on record with an anomaly of +1.69  °C and Victoria its seventh-warmest (+2.01  °C).

Minimum temperatures were very much above average for most of the northern part of Northern Territory, into border regions with Western Australia and eastern Kimberley, coastal Queensland Gulf Country and through most of northern Cape York Peninsula. A narrow part also extended through inland Queensland to the southern part of the Central West District. Across southern Australia, very much above average minimum temperatures were recorded for western Tasmania, south west New South Wales, for Victoria, except for both the inland western region bordering South Australia and much of northeast Victoria. Further west, very much above average temperatures were recorded across southern South Australia west of Woomera and throughout most of southern Western Australia and inland regions as far north as the central Interior District. Eastern Tasmania recorded record warm minimum temperatures, and small regions of highest on record occurred for parts of southern Western Australia, a border region between East Kimberley and Victoria River Districts and the far north of Cape York Peninsula.

Below average minimum temperatures were recorded across the western Pilbara and northern Gascoyne Districts, the inner region of Central Australia, eastern Wide Bay and Burnett and northern South East Coast Districts of Queensland, and small regions of the New South Wales Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands Districts.


Areal average temperatures
Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
Rank
(of 107)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 107)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 107)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment
Australia = 65 +0.21 94 +0.82 = 83 +0.52
Queensland 78 +0.82 92 +0.86 = 87 +0.84
New South Wales 57 +0.38 87 +1.29 71 +0.84
Victoria 80 +1.04 101 +2.01 7th highest 90 +1.53
Tasmania 101 +1.89 7th highest 105 +1.69 3rd highest (record +1.80 °C in 1981) 106 +1.79 2nd highest (record +2.12 °C in 1961)
South Australia 70 +0.38 89 +1.28 = 80 +0.83
Western Australia = 36 −0.29 95 +0.62 64 +0.17
Northern Territory 59 −0.11 72 +0.26 66 +0.07

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 (19611990) 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

January rainfall was 16% below average for Australia as a whole. Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory recorded below average rainfall, whereas all the other States recorded rainfall above average.

Much of Australia north of 17°S recorded below or very much below average rainfall in January, including areas of driest on record in the Top End of Northern Territory and northern Cape York Peninsula. Regions of very much below average rainfall extended along the Northern Territory border with Queensland, from the Gulf coast south to the Barkley District, and along the Queensland north tropical coast north of Ingham. For northern Australia, only the interior border region between the east Kimberley and Victoria River Districts recorded very much above average rainfall, and a region inland from Cooktown with above average rainfall.

Most of southern Australia recorded above average rainfall, with only small areas across southwest Victoria, neighbouring southeast South Australia, all of western Tasmania and some inland parts of South Australia's Pastoral Districts recording below average rainfall. Small areas of highest rainfall on record were recorded in parts of northern and eastern Tasmania, the extreme southwest of Western Australia, the Hunter District of New South Wales and in the Australian Alps.


Area-average rainfall
Rank
(of 117)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean
Comment
Australia 44 66.9 −16%
Queensland 32 84.3 −33%
New South Wales 97 81.8 +25%
Victoria 102 62.1 +56%
Tasmania 81 96.4 27%
South Australia 82 21.1 −13%
Western Australia 81 65.2 15%
Northern Territory 28 71.8 −40%

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 January 2016
Hottest day   47.4 °C at Marble Bar (WA) on 5 January
Coldest day     5.1 °C at Mount Read (Tas.) on 14 January
Coldest night   −3.0 °C at Mount Hotham (Vic.) on 15 January
Warmest night   33.4 °C at Telfer Aero (WA) on 4 January
Wettest day 255.0 mm at Bungwahl (NSW) on 6 January


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 2 pm EST on Monday 1 February 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.


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Network problems on 8 January disrupted processing of observations, affecting some climate information. Missing data are being retrieved and will be processed into our systems over coming weeks.