Australia in July 2020

In brief

  • Daytime temperatures during July were warmer than average for most of the country; the maximum temperature was the seventh-highest on record for July for Australia as a whole.
  • Mean minimum temperatures were above average for much of Western Australia, the eastern seaboard of Victoria, New South Wales, and south-eastern Queensland, and the Cape York Peninsula coast. However, minimum temperatures for the month were cooler than average along a band extending across the interior from the northern Kimberley to western Victoria.
  • July rainfall was below average for Australia as a whole
  • Rainfall was below average for most of the southern half of country, although areas of eastern Victoria and coastal New South Wales had above average rainfall

Temperatures

For Australia as a whole the national mean temperature was above average at 0.99 °C warmer than average for July.

Days were especially warm, with the mean maximum temperature for July the seventh-warmest on record at 1.54 °C above average. The mean minimum temperature was lower, but also warmer than average nationally at +0.43 °C.

As is common in periods of low rainfall during the cooler months of the year, daytime temperatures were very much warmer than average over most of Australia, while nights were cooler than average in some of the inland southeast. Clear skies and sunny days are typical of central and inland eastern Australia during the cool season in dry years. Reduced cloud cover, low humidity, and low soil moisture leads to a large diurnal temperature range (the difference between daily maximum and minimum temperatures), with both higher daytime temperatures and cooler nights.

Maximum temperatures for July were above or very much above average across most of Australia. Daytime temperatures were amongst the highest 10% of historical records (decile 10) for the majority of Western Australia; the Top End of the Northern Territory; across the centre of Queensland's Cape York Peninsula; and across the Alpine region in southeast Australia. The mean maximum temperature for July was the warmest on record for a large area of Western Australia, centred on the Gascoyne.

The mean minimum temperature for the month was above average for much of Western Australia away from the Kimberley, around the Gulf coast and northern half of the Cape York Peninsula coast, and along the east coast from The Wide Bay and Burnett District in Queensland to Port Phillip in Victoria.

However, minimum temperatures for the month were cooler than average along a band extending from the northern Kimberley, through the southern half of the Northern Territory and eastern two thirds of South Australia, to southwest New South Wales and western Victoria.

Clear skies and cold nights led to some sites in South Australia observing their lowest July temperature on record, while for the month as a whole several sites in South Australia and Victoria had their lowest July mean daily minimum temperature on record or for at least 20 years.

Conversely, overcast conditions kept days cool in north-west Victoria early in the month, with some sites observing a record-low daily maximum temperature for July on the 8th.

A warm period late in the month brought very warm days to parts of the South West Land Division, with record warm days for July observed at some sites. Many coastal sites in the northwest and west of Western Australia had their warmest July on record in terms of maximum temperatures.


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 105 +1.54 7th highest = 69 +0.43 97 +0.99
Queensland 93 +1.14 86 +1.26 94 +1.20
New South Wales = 93 +0.96 84 +0.92 95 +0.94
Victoria = 81 +0.50 = 53 +0.04 = 70 +0.27
Tasmania = 87 +0.51 26 −0.45 54 +0.03
South Australia 97 +1.41 22 −1.01 = 64 +0.20
Western Australia 110 +2.52 2nd highest (record +2.54 °C in 2019) = 79 +0.55 109 +1.54 3rd highest (record +1.87 °C in 1973)
Northern Territory 80 +0.89 = 50 +0.03 68 +0.46

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

July rainfall was 43% below average for Australia as a whole.

Rainfall was below average for most of the southern half of Western Australia, South Australia, the south-west of New South Wales and the south inland of the ranges, Victoria except Gippsland, and for Tasmania. For Tasmania, it was the second-driest July on record, while for South Australia rainfall was the tenth-lowest on record for the month.

May–July rainfall has been below or very much below average over most of the southern half of Australia, except in Gippsland and eastern New South Wales where totals have been close to average.

The temperature gradient across the tropical Indian Ocean, with waters in the east being cooler than waters in the west, likely contributed to a supression of moisture entering Australia from the north-west. This temperature pattern has dominated the Indian Ocean Basin over most of the past three years. Long-term rainfall trends are also likely to have played a role in low rainfall over the past three months. April-October rainfall has declined by 15 to 20% over southern Australia since the 1970's, meaning average rainfall in the south is now less than in the previous century. Climate models indicate that southern Australian rainfall decline is consistent with the climate response to increased greenhouse gases in the global atmosphere.

July rainfall was above average for most of Gippsland in Victoria and along the coast of New South Wales, extending into coastal south-east Queensland and the Central West Slopes and Plains District in New South Wales.

Low pressure systems off the east coast of Australia brought periods of very heavy rain to the east coast at times during the month.

A cold front and complex low pressure system crossed southeast Australia from the 11th, with the low deepening over the Tasman Sea during the 13th and 14th before moving away eastward during the 15th. Widespread rainfall resulted over Victoria, with heavy falls at Maffra and Murderers Hill in Gippsland leading to those sites observing their wettest July days on record on the 13th.

Another low pressure system developed off the coast of southeast Queensland towards the end of the month, tracking southward close to the New South Wales coast. Heavy rain fell over coastal New South Wales and much of Gippsland, resulting in localised flooding through the Lower Hunter. Some areas also experienced coastal erosion. A large number of sites in New South Wales and a few in southeast Queensland had their highest July daily rainfall on record between the 26th and 28th. A large number of sites in New South Wales and a few sites in Queensland had their highest total July rainfall for at least 20 years.

The northern Australian dry season spans May through September. Tropical northern Australia typically has very low rainfall totals during the dry season, and only a small amount of rainfall is needed to exceed the median.


Area-average rainfall
Rank
(of 121)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean
Comment
Australia 19 12.6 −43%
Queensland 50 9.7 −49%
New South Wales 80 43.3 +10%
Victoria 25 45.6 −35%
Tasmania 2 66.4 −58% 2nd lowest (record 57.5 mm in 1957)
South Australia 10 6.1 −67% 10th lowest; lowest since 1997
Western Australia 13 8.8 −56%
Northern Territory 53 0.8 −88%
Murray-Darling Basin 40 27.2 −32%

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 July 2020
Hottest day 36.2 °C    at Noonamah Airstrip (NT) on the 11th
Coldest day −2.9 °C    at Thredbo AWS (NSW) on the 3rd
Coldest night −9.1 °C    at Liawenee (Tas) on the 17th
Warmest night 25.6 °C    at Coconut Island (Qld) on the 2nd
Wettest day 223.6 mm at Sanctuary Point (Salinas Street) (NSW) on the 28th


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 12 pm EST on Monday 3 August 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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