South Australia in March 2012: A cool and wet start to autumn

  • Below average temperatures for most of South Australia this March.
  • Rainfall was above average across most of the State, with very much above average totals in the North and Northeast of the State.
  • Highest on record March total rainfall at some locations in the Northeast Pastoral district.

Rainfall

Rainfall during March 2012 was above average across most of South Australia as a whole. Central and eastern parts of the State received monthly totals very much above average, with some locations receiving highest March rainfall totals on record. Coastal regions saw rainfall totals very much below average in the far west of the State. See a map of rainfall deciles.

The wettest periods across South Australia during March 2012 were between the 1st and 4th, the 14th and 17th and again between the 21st and 24th. A low pressure surface trough that had combined with a slow moving upper level trough and a moist tropical airmass over the Northeast of the State in late February, resulted in heavy rainfall being reported across north eastern districts into early March.

Pastoral Districts

Rainfall totals across the Pastoral districts were well above average for March 2012, generally ranging between 20 and 40 mm across the Northwest, while the Far North and Northeast received totals ranging between 40 and 60mm. Moomba Airport reported the highest overall rainfall total for March; 140.2 mm was observed for the month, 90.4mm of which was recorded to 9 am on the 3rd, making it the wettest March 2012 day for any location in the State.

Agricultural Districts

Rainfall totals for March 2012 over Yorke Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, parts of the Mount Lofty Ranges and the Southeast districts was mostly above average tending to very much above average over the Flinders Ranges, the Upper North and Murray Valley districts, with totals generally ranging between 30 and 50mm. Peebinga and Caliph, both located in the Upper Murray Valley received record highest March rainfall totals of 62.4 mm and 65.6mm respectively. Rainfall totals of between 10 to 30mm were recorded over most of the Eyre Peninsula tending to very much below average along coastal parts in the west of the State.

Some sites had their highest total March rainfall on record.
Some sites had their highest total March rainfall for at least 25 years.
Some sites had their lowest total March rainfall on record.
Some sites had their highest March daily rainfall on record.

Temperature

The average temperature (the average of the daily maximum and daily minimum temperatures) for South Australia as a whole in March 2012 was 1.3 C below the long-term March average, the same as in March 2011, with March 2010 was 0.4C warmer than average. All parts of the State, apart from coastal regions, saw below average temperatures in March 2012. Temperatures averaged across the month tended to be as much as 3 C below average across northern parts of the South Australia.

Maximum Temperature

The area-averaged mean maximum temperature was 1.6C below the long-term March average for South Australia as a whole.

Maximum temperatures for the month were close to 4C below average across large areas in the Northeast of the State, grading to slightly above average across most coastal areas. The Lower Southeast and parts of the Mount Lofty and Flinders Ranges saw slightly below average maximum temperatures. See a map of maximum temperature anomalies. Average maximum temperatures for the month ranged from 20.4 C at Mount Lofty to 31.3C at Marree Comparison in the Northeast of the State.

The hottest day of the month for any location was recorded at Tarcoola Aerodrome on the 14th where the maximum temperature reached 39.6 C. Mount Lofty had the coldest day on the 23rd with an observed maximum of 12.7C.

Minimum Temperature

Minimum temperatures for the month were generally cooler than average for most of South Australia, averaging 0.9 C below average for the State as a whole. Minimum temperatures tended to 3C below average across parts in the far Northwest of the State, while coastal areas in the west and southeast recorded minimums slightly above average. See a map of minimum temperature anomalies. Values across the State ranged from 10.3C at Yongala in the Upper North to18.5 C at Moomba Airport.

The warmest nights for many locations were between the 14th and 15th as warm to hot north to northwesterly winds were being directed over much of the State ahead of a low pressure trough. Ceduna AMO recorded the warmest night of the month during this period with a minimum of 26.0C on March 14.

The coldest nights of the month for many locations in South Australia were between 9th and 12th and again between the 22nd and 26th as a high pressure system located to the Southwest of Western Australia directed a southwesterly airstream across the State. Keith (Munkora) recorded the coldest night of the month in the earlier period, under the influences of a high pressure system located just to the south of the State, with a minimum temperature of only 3.3 C on March 11.

Some sites had their lowest March mean daily maximum temperature for at least 25 years.

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Extremes in March 2012
Hottest day 39.6 °C at Tarcoola Aero on the 14th
Warmest days on average 31.3 °C at Marree Comparison
Coolest days on average 20.4 °C at Mount Lofty
Coldest day 12.7 °C at Mount Lofty on the 23rd
Coldest night 3.7 °C at Keith (Munkora) on the 11th
Coolest nights on average 10.3 °C at Yongala
Warmest nights on average 18.5 °C at Moomba Airport
Warmest night 26.0 °C at Ceduna AMO on the 14th
Warmest on average overall 24.8 °C at Marree Comparison
24.8 °C at Moomba Airport
Coolest on average overall 15.7 °C at Mount Lofty
Wettest overall 140.2 mm at Moomba Airport
Driest overall 0 mm at Nullarbor
Wettest day 90.4 mm at Moomba Airport on the 3rd
Highest wind gust 100 km/h at Cape Willoughby on the 1st
100 km/h at Snowtown (Rayville Park) on the 14th

Record highest March daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in March 2012 (mm)
Previous wettest
for March
Years of
record
Loxton Research Centre 41.2 on the 1st 26.2 on the 28th in 2006 28
Heathfield Works Depot 50.0 on the 15th 43.4 on the 24th in 2011 27



Record highest total March rainfall
Total rainfall
for March 2012 (mm)
Previous wettest
for March
Years of
record
Average for
March
Peebinga 62.4 56.6 in 2011 57 15.5
Caliph 65.6 47.2 in 1996 38 13.9

Highest total March rainfall for at least 25 years
Total rainfall
for March 2012 (mm)
Most recent March
at least this wet
Years since
wetter
Average for
March
Mindarie 72.0 81.8 in 1946* 64 15.5
Alawoona 53.4 60.8 in 1983 29 14.4
Cooke Plains 59.4 63.2 in 1985 27 20.6
Wolseley 38.4 43.1 in 1984* 26 21.1

* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a higher value has gone unreported.




Record lowest total March rainfall
Total rainfall
for March 2012 (mm)
Previous driest
for March
Years of
record
Average for
March
Nullarbor 0.0 = 0.0 in 1997 99 21.8



Lowest March mean daily maximum temperature for at least 25 years
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for March 2012 (°C)
Most recent March
at least this cool
Years since
cooler
Average for
March
Marree Comparison 31.3 =31.3 in 1987 25 33.9



Summary statistics for March 2012
Maximum temperatures
for March
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for March
(°C)
Rainfall
for March
(millimetres)
Mean for
March
2012
Diff
from
average
Highest for
March
2012
Mean for
March
2012
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
March
2012
Total for
March
2012
Average
for
March
Rank of
March
2012
Fraction of
March
average
Northwest (district 16)
Andamooka 29.9 -2.3 35.9 31st 17.4 -0.8 12.3 23rd 39.2 14.1 v high 278%
Coober Pedy Airport 30.0   38.3 14th 17.3   11.6 22nd 43.2
Ernabella (Pukatja) 28.7   36.5 31st 14.9   10.1 25th 54.0
Marla Police Station 30.3 -2.4 39.2 14th 16.1 -1.7 11.4 26th 21.4 23.6 high 91%
Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam Aerodrome) 29.9   36.8 14th 15.5   9.8 25th 39.8
Tarcoola Aero 30.4   39.6 14th 15.4   8.1 22nd 17.4
Woomera Aerodrome 29.2 -1.2 36.8 14th 16.1 -0.7 11.4 22nd 34.8 13.7 high 254%
Far North (district 17)
Arkaroola 26.6 -3.3 33.7 15th 13.9 -1.9 9.4 26th 68.7 31.0 high 222%
Leigh Creek Airport 28.9 -2.3 35.1 31st 16.1 -1.3 11.0 23rd 87.8 20.7 v high 424%
Marree Aero 30.5   36.9 15th 17.2   11.6 24th 28.8
Marree Comparison 31.3 -2.6 37.1 31st 17.9 -0.1 12.5 24th 31.0 14.4 high 215%
Moomba Airport 31.1   36.9 15th 18.5   13.6 25th 140.2
Oodnadatta Airport 31.1 -2.6 38.4 31st 17.5 -1.7 12.7 24th 22.2 14.1 high 157%
Western Agricultural (district 18)
Ceduna AMO 27.1 +0.4 38.6 13th 13.5 +0.3 5.7 26th 5.8 16.2 average 36%
Cleve 25.9 0.0 35.5 13th 14.5 -0.2 10.9 24th 22.4 21.7 average 103%
Cleve Aerodrome 26.2   36.4 13th 14.1   10.1 25th 16.4 22.4 average 73%
Coulta (Coles Point) 25.1 0.0 33.1 13th 13.4 -0.3 8.4 25th 15.8
Cummins Aero 26.8   37.0 13th 11.4   4.2 22nd 12.2
Elliston 24.9 +0.8 34.4 30th 14.3 0.0 9.3 9th 8.7 15.1 average 58%
Kimba 27.0 -0.8 35.0 13th 13.3 -0.7 8.2 24th 27.0 17.0 high 159%
Kyancutta 29.0 -0.9 37.5 13th 12.6 +0.3 6.1 25th 10.8 14.7 average 73%
Minnipa Pirsa 28.0   36.7 13th 13.7   8.0 22nd 19.4
Neptune Island 21.6 +0.5 25.6 20th 16.5 +0.5 14.1 23rd 11.4 20.0 average 57%
North Shields (Port Lincoln AWS) 25.0   36.3 20th 13.9   9.8 30th 6.2
Nullarbor 26.6 +0.1 38.8 30th 14.0 -0.1 8.6 25th 0 21.8 lowest 0%
Port Augusta Aero 28.7   36.2 13th 14.9   9.8 22nd 76.8
Streaky Bay 27.4 +0.2 35.7 13th 14.8 +0.1 10.9 25th 5.4 14.9 average 36%
Whyalla Aero 26.4 -0.8 36.9 14th 14.9 -0.5 10.6 26th 40.6 21.1 high 192%
Wudinna Aero 29.1   38.0 13th 12.4   5.8 25th 14.0
Upper North (district 19)
Hawker 28.1 -2.0 34.3 14th 14.0 -0.9 9.5 26th 55.8 16.8 v high 332%
Yongala 25.4 -1.7 32.3 13th 10.3 -0.5 4.1 22nd 57.2 16.6 v high 345%
Northeast (district 20)
Gluepot Reserve (Gluepot) 27.8   35.5 14th 11.9   6.2 22nd 69.8
Yunta Airstrip 27.4   34.3 14th 12.2   6.5 22nd 39.4
Lower North (district 21)
Clare High School 24.8   33.0 14th 11.5   6.7 22nd 50.6
Port Pirie Aerodrome 27.8   35.6 14th 14.3   8.2 22nd 44.2
Port Pirie Nyrstar Comparison 28.0 -1.4 35.5 13th 16.0 0.0 10.5 22nd 50.3 18.6 high 270%
Snowtown (Rayville Park) 27.7   36.2 14th 12.1   7.4 22nd 42.8
Yorke Peninsula (district 22A)
Edithburgh 23.8   34.8 20th 15.4   10.2 13th 25.0
Kadina AWS 27.3   35.7 13th 13.0   8.4 9th 33.8
Maitland 25.7 -0.2 34.7 13th 14.8 +0.4 10.8 22nd 30.4 21.0 high 145%
Minlaton Aero 25.6   35.8 14th 14.1   9.3 22nd 20.8
Stenhouse Bay 23.4   32.5 19th 16.0   13.3 23rd 26.4
Warooka 24.6 -0.4 32.4 13th 14.3 -0.3 9.6 22nd 27.2 16.8 high 162%
Kangaroo Island (district 22B)
Cape Borda 21.9   27.9 13th 13.7   10.8 11th 20.6
Cape Willoughby 21.4 +0.8 29.8 14th 15.8 +0.3 12.7 24th 29.2 21.6 high 135%
Kingscote Aero 24.6   32.2 14th 10.6   5.6 9th 30.0
Parndana Cfs AWS 23.4   32.5 13th 11.3   6.9 22nd 30.2
Adelaide Plains (district 23A)
Adelaide (Kent Town) 26.2 -0.1 35.0 13th 15.1 -0.1 11.3 22nd 63.2 27.5 high 230%
Adelaide Airport 25.3 -0.2 34.8 14th 14.7 +0.3 10.5 12th 56.2 22.3 v high 252%
Edinburgh RAAF 26.2 -0.6 36.0 14th 14.3 -0.2 9.2 22nd 54.4 26.6 high 205%
Parafield Airport 26.8 0.0 36.3 14th 14.1 -0.5 9.5 22nd 55.8 23.2 v high 241%
Roseworthy AWS 27.1   36.9 14th 12.9   7.1 22nd 35.2
County Light (district 23B)
Nuriootpa Viticultural 25.0   33.5 14th 11.8   5.8 22nd 46.6
Rosedale (Turretfield Research Centre) 26.5 -0.8 36.2 14th 12.9 -0.4 7.1 22nd 43.1 20.5 high 210%
Mount Lofty Ranges (district 23C)
Hindmarsh Island AWS 24.0   35.9 14th 14.5   10.3 12th 47.6
Kuitpo Forest Reserve 22.6   32.7 14th 12.5   9.1 22nd 74.6
Mount Barker 23.4 -1.2 33.0 14th 11.0 +0.6 7.0 26th 70.8 31.6 high 224%
Mount Crawford (Mt Crawford AWS) 22.8   32.0 14th 11.8   8.0 22nd 47.4
Mount Lofty 20.4   30.1 14th 11.0   7.8 22nd 72.6
Noarlunga 24.6   33.6 14th 15.2   11.0 22nd 81.6
Parawa (Second Valley Forest AWS) 21.3   31.5 14th 12.8   9.5 22nd 41.0
Victor Harbor (Encounter Bay) 23.6   35.9 14th 12.5   6.5 26th 33.2
Upper Murray Valley (district 24A)
Loxton Research Centre 27.3 -0.8 35.2 14th 12.5 +0.6 7.2 22nd 48.8 13.2 v high 370%
Renmark Aero 27.5   35.2 14th 12.3   7.2 22nd 68.0
Lower Murray Valley (district 24B)
Eudunda 25.1 -0.5 33.0 13th 12.3 +0.1 8.0 22nd 57.4 21.1 v high 272%
Meningie 24.9 +0.7 34.0 13th 13.0 +0.5 7.9 26th 41.4 22.4 high 185%
Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) 26.4   36.1 14th 11.8   6.6 9th 44.0
Murray Bridge Comparison 27.0 +0.4 35.8 13th 13.0 +0.1 9.0 26th 68.4 20.8 v high 329%
Strathalbyn Racecourse 24.9   35.8 14th 13.1   8.7 12th 49.6
Murray Mallee (district 25A)
Karoonda 26.7   35.4 14th 12.0   7.3 26th 44.7 17.7 v high 253%
Upper Southeast (district 25B)
Keith 25.7 -1.1 35.2 14th 11.9 +0.5 6.5 11th 31.5 21.5 high 147%
Keith (Munkora) 26.6   37.5 14th 10.7   3.7 11th 29.8
Lameroo (Austin Plains) 26.5   36.1 14th 11.6   6.0 22nd 35.6
Lameroo Comparison 26.5 -1.1 35.6 14th 12.4 +0.9 7.5 22nd 34.4 18.8 high 183%
Lower Southeast (district 26)
Cape Jaffa (The Limestone) 23.0 +0.5 34.4 14th 12.9 +0.7 8.9 7th 31.2
Coonawarra 24.2 -0.7 33.5 13th 10.7 +0.7 4.5 11th 30.8 29.0 average 106%
Mount Gambier Aero 23.7 +0.6 34.8 14th 10.9 +0.4 4.5 11th 49.8 35.4 high 141%
Naracoorte Aerodrome 25.1   34.9 14th 10.5   4.0 26th 29.2
Padthaway South 24.9   35.2 14th 10.5   4.3 26th 36.4
Robe Airfield 23.0   35.6 14th 11.3   3.8 9th 29.2
Robe Comparison 22.0 +1.0 30.0 14th 13.5 +0.8 9.1 7th 45.2 26.8 high 169%

Notes

A Monthly Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in South 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.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 7 am on Monday 2 April 2012. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

Averages are long-term means based on observations from all available years of record, which vary widely from site to site. They are not shown for sites with less than 20 years of record, as they cannot then be calculated reliably.
The median is sometimes more representative than the mean of long-term average rain.

The Rank indicates how rainfall this time compares with the climate record for the site, based on the decile ranking (very low rainfall is in decile 1, low in decile 2 or 3, average in decile 4 to 7, high in decile 8 or 9 and very high is in decile 10).
The Fraction of average shows how much rain has fallen this time as a percentage of the long-term mean.

Further information

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