South Australia in April 2012: A warm, dry start to the Growing Season

  • Rainfall was average to below across most of the State, with very much below average totals across eastern parts of the State.
  • Warm days with maximum temperatures in excess of 1 C, though cool nights for eastern parts of the State.

Rainfall

South Australia received less than half of the average April rainfall for the State as a whole. Apart from the far northwest of State, where rainfall totals were slightly above average, most of South Australia reported below average to very much below average rainfall. See a map of rainfall deciles.

The wettest period across South Australia during April 2012 was between the 21st and 26th as a low pressure system located in the Great Australian Bight extended a trough of low pressure across the State. A cold frontal system followed, moving across parts of the agricultural areas ahead of a moist south to southwesterly airstream being directed across southern coastal districts.

The growing season, for cropping farming in agricultural districts, is typically viewed as starting in April, often with a significant rain event occurring towards the end of April as the break to the season. This year, a cold front in the third week of the month saw rainfall totals of 25mm or greater in a 3 day period across lower Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas, parts of the Mount Lofty Ranges and across Kangaroo Island, but other areas did not see a definite break to the growing season occur in April 2012.

Pastoral Districts

While some locations in the Northwest received rainfall totals ranging between 20 and 40mm, most parts of the Pastoral districts were average to well below average for April 2012. Totals generally ranging between 5 to 15 mm across the Northeast and Far North, though several locations reported no rainfall for the month. Ernabella (Pukatja), in the Northwest, was the wettest location in the Pastoral districts, reporting 24 mm for the month.

Agricultural Districts

Rainfall totals for April 2012 over Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas, Kangaroo Island, parts of the Mount Lofty Ranges and the Southeast districts were mostly average tending to below average over the Flinders Ranges and the Upper North, with totals generally ranging between 20 to 40mm. Rainfall totals of between 10 to 20mm were recorded over southern coastal areas grading to lesser values further inland. The wettest location for the State overall was at Aldgate Creek where 62.2mm of rainfall was recorded for the month.

Some sites had their lowest total April rainfall on record.

Temperature

The average temperature (the average of the daily maximum and daily minimum temperatures) for South Australia as a whole in April 2012 was 0.7 C above the long-term April average; as opposed to the below average April mean temperature in 2011. All parts of the State, apart from the far Northwest Pastoral district, saw above average temperatures in April 2012. In particular, coastal regions in the western and southeastern agricultural districts reported average temperatures in excess of 1 C above normal, much of the rest of the State reported slightly above average temperatures.

Maximum Temperature

The maximum temperature averaged across the whole State was 1 C above the long-term April average, being close to average across large areas of the northern parts of the State, grading to 1 to 2 C above average over the coastal regions. See a map of maximum temperature anomalies. The warmest period of the month occurred through the first week of April as warm northerly winds were directed across the State ahead of the passage of a low pressure surface trough. This saw temperatures up to 6 C warmer than average through the first week of the month.

The hottest day of the month for any location was recorded at Tarcoola Aerodrome on the 2nd where the maximum temperature reached 40.0 C. Mount Lofty had the coldest day on the 23rd with a maximum of 9.5C being recorded.

Minimum Temperature

Minimum temperatures for the month were generally slightly greater than average for most of South Australia, averaging 0.3 C above normal for the State as a whole. Minimum temperatures tended to 1C above average across most parts of the State, while areas east of the Flinders Ranges, the Upper North and Upper Murray Valley recorded minimums below average. See a map of minimum temperature anomalies. Values across the State for the month as a whole ranged from 7.1C at Yongala in the Upper North to16.1 C at Neptune Island.

The coolest nights for many locations were between the 11th and 13th and again between the 24th and 28th of April. The coldest night for any location was recorded in the earlier period at Gluepot Reserve (Gluepot) where a minimum of -0.1 C was recorded on the 12th; owing to the influence of a high pressure system centred to the Southeast of the State which resulted in cool and clear conditions.

The warmest nights of the month for many locations in South Australia occurred through the first week of the April as a warm northwesterly airstream was directed across the State ahead of a low pressure trough. Marla Police Station recorded the warmest night of the month with a minimum temperature of 25.5C on April 2nd.

Some sites had their warmest April night (highest daily minimum temperature) on record.

Further information

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Extremes in April 2012
Hottest day 40.0 °C at Marla Police Station on the 2nd
Warmest days on average 29.3 °C at Marree Comparison
Coolest days on average 18.6 °C at Mount Lofty
Coldest day 9.5 °C at Mount Lofty on the 23rd
Coldest night -0.1 °C at Gluepot Reserve (Gluepot) on the 12th
Coolest nights on average 7.0 °C at Yongala
Warmest nights on average 16.1 °C at Neptune Island
Warmest night 25.5 °C at Marla Police Station on the 2nd
Warmest on average overall 21.8 °C at Oodnadatta Airport
Coolest on average overall 14.8 °C at Mount Lofty
Wettest overall 62.2 mm at Aldgate Creek
Driest overall 0 mm at Andamooka
0 mm at Arkaroola
0 mm at Clare (Neagles Rock)
0 mm at Gammon Ranges (Arcoona Bluff)
0 mm at Leigh Creek (Maynards Well)
0 mm at Leigh Creek Airport
0 mm at Marree Aero
0 mm at Marree Comparison
0 mm at Moomba Airport
0 mm at South Para Resv (Saw)
Wettest day 42.0 mm at Aldgate Creek on the 23rd
Highest wind gust 98 km/h at Cape Willoughby on the 6th

Record lowest total April rainfall
Total rainfall
for April 2012 (mm)
Previous driest
for April
Years of
record
Average for
April
Marree Comparison 0.0 = 0.0 in 2011 127 10.8
Arkaroola 0.0 = 0.0 in 2004 75 14.4
Andamooka 0.0 = 0.0 in 1997 47 15.1
Leigh Creek Airport 0.0 = 0.0 in 1999 26 13.4



Record highest April daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in April 2012 (°C)
Previous warmest
for April
Years of
record
Average for
April
Andamooka 24.1 on the 6th 23.3 on the 2nd in 2005 43 13.9
Marla Police Station 25.5 on the 2nd 25.4 on the 5th in 1992 26 13.6
Whyalla Aero 23.2 on the 6th 22.7 on the 14th in 2004 25 11.7



Summary statistics for April 2012
Maximum temperatures
for April
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for April
(°C)
Rainfall
for April
(millimetres)
Mean for
April
2012
Diff
from
average
Highest for
April
2012
Mean for
April
2012
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
April
2012
Total for
April
2012
Average
for
April
Rank of
April
2012
Fraction of
April
average
Northwest (district 16)
Andamooka 27.8 +0.5 38.0 2nd 14.9 +1.0 8.7 11th 0 15.1 lowest 0%
Coober Pedy Airport 27.3   38.0 5th 14.6   7.2 11th 5.2
Ernabella (Pukatja) 26.3   37.0 4th 12.9   5.6 27th 24.0
Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam Aerodrome) 27.6   37.6 2nd 11.2   2.7 11th 0.2
Tarcoola Aero 27.7   38.3 2nd 11.7   5.6 12th 8.0
Woomera Aerodrome 26.8 +1.3 37.7 2nd 13.7 +0.7 7.3 25th 0.2 11.4 low 2%
Far North (district 17)
Arkaroola 25.7 +0.6 35.0 3rd 10.0 -1.1 3.7 27th 0 14.4 lowest 0%
Leigh Creek Airport 27.0 +0.8 35.5 2nd 12.5 -0.4 6.5 28th 0 13.4 lowest 0%
Marree Aero 28.9   36.9 2nd 13.4   6.8 11th 0
Marree Comparison 29.3 +0.8 37.2 2nd 13.9 +0.6 7.4 11th 0 10.8 lowest 0%
Moomba Airport 29.2   39.5 3rd 14.1   8.6 28th 0
Oodnadatta Airport 28.9 +0.4 38.0 5th 14.8 +0.4 6.0 25th 0.2 11.1 low 2%
Western Agricultural (district 18)
Ceduna AMO 26.4 +2.2 37.1 2nd 10.6 -0.1 4.0 11th 6.8 19.1 low 36%
Cleve 24.7 +2.0 35.7 5th 13.3 +1.0 7.7 24th 16.4 28.4 average 58%
Cleve Aerodrome 24.7   36.1 5th 12.7   7.9 11th 13.0 24.7 average 53%
Coulta (Coles Point) 23.0 +0.9 30.8 20th 12.1 +0.3 6.7 16th 40.6
Cummins Aero 24.8   34.7 5th 9.7   2.7 24th 30.4
Elliston 23.4 +1.1 30.1 2nd 12.3 +0.1 7.1 27th 21.2 27.4 average 77%
Kimba 25.2 +1.3 35.5 2nd 11.7 +0.5 5.0 25th 17.6 22.2 average 79%
Kyancutta 26.8 +1.5 37.2 2nd 9.8 +0.3 2.7 11th 18.9 19.3 average 98%
Minnipa Pirsa 25.7   36.7 2nd 12.4   6.0 11th 16.8
Neptune Island 20.8 +1.3 26.5 2nd 16.1 +1.2 11.9 24th 21.4 31.3 average 68%
North Shields (Port Lincoln AWS) 24.0 +2.0 33.2 2nd 12.1 0.0 7.6 13th 23.6
Nullarbor 26.1 +1.4 37.7 5th 11.7 +0.1 5.9 12th 6.4 22.1 low 29%
Port Augusta Aero 27.5   38.2 2nd 12.1   4.7 11th 0.4
Streaky Bay 26.0 +2.3 34.0 4th 13.2 +0.5 7.5 11th 21.5 24.0 average 90%
Whyalla Aero 25.3 +1.5 38.2 2nd 12.0 +0.3 5.8 13th 9.2 19.4 average 47%
Wudinna Aero 26.6   37.3 2nd 10.1   1.6 11th 20.2
Upper North (district 19)
Hawker 26.8 +1.4 35.0 2nd 10.0 -1.0 2.3 24th 1.4 19.5 low 7%
Yongala 23.8 +1.9 32.6 2nd 7.0 -0.2 0.4 12th 7.9 24.6 low 32%
Northeast (district 20)
Gluepot Reserve (Gluepot) 25.8   34.0 2nd 8.1   -0.1 12th 2.2
Yunta Airstrip 25.5   34.8 2nd 8.9   1.0 12th 1.0
Lower North (district 21)
Clare High School 23.0   32.2 5th 9.2   4.2 28th 15.4
Port Pirie Aerodrome 26.1   36.5 2nd 10.9   4.6 24th 8.6
Port Pirie Nyrstar Comparison 26.0 +1.2 35.5 5th 14.2 +1.0 8.9 24th 7.6 27.5 low 28%
Snowtown (Rayville Park) 25.5   35.3 2nd 10.0   4.6 12th 8.2
Yorke Peninsula (district 22A)
Edithburgh 22.4   33.8 2nd 12.8   8.4 13th 18.0 23.8 average 76%
Kadina AWS 25.1   34.9 5th 9.5   4.4 13th 11.6
Maitland 23.7 +1.3 34.0 5th 13.6 +1.1 8.7 28th 25.8 43.5 average 59%
Minlaton Aero 23.5   33.6 5th 12.3   6.6 24th 19.2
Stenhouse Bay 22.6   33.6 5th 14.1   10.5 23rd 46.4
Warooka 23.3 +1.3 31.5 5th 13.0 +0.5 8.4 24th 32.8 32.8 average 100%
Kangaroo Island (district 22B)
Cape Borda 20.6   27.1 5th 13.1   8.9 23rd 55.8
Cape Willoughby 20.6 +1.5 28.2 2nd 15.2 +1.1 9.7 23rd 30.2 39.5 average 76%
Kingscote Aero 23.1   31.0 19th 9.0   2.4 12th 32.2
Parndana Cfs AWS 22.0   31.8 5th 10.7   6.8 13th 50.6
Adelaide Plains (district 23A)
Adelaide (Kent Town) 24.2 +1.6 34.6 5th 12.6 +0.2 7.6 24th 27.0 40.1 average 67%
Adelaide Airport 23.5 +1.3 33.7 5th 12.0 +0.2 6.3 12th 26.6 35.2 average 76%
Edinburgh RAAF 24.6 +1.6 35.0 5th 11.8 +0.1 5.6 12th 16.6 30.7 average 54%
Parafield Airport 24.9 +2.3 34.6 5th 11.1 -0.7 5.4 28th 13.4 39.2 low 34%
Roseworthy AWS 25.3   35.2 2nd 11.1   3.3 11th 14.6
County Light (district 23B)
Nuriootpa Viticultural 23.6   33.0 5th 8.3   1.6 24th 12.4
Rosedale (Turretfield Research Centre) 25.1 +2.0 34.8 2nd 10.9 +0.2 4.4 24th 9.2 36.4 low 25%
Mount Lofty Ranges (district 23C)
Hindmarsh Island AWS 22.9   33.5 5th 12.8   7.4 11th 19.2
Kuitpo Forest Reserve 20.9   30.7 5th 12.1   6.7 11th 43.8
Mount Barker 21.7 +1.3 30.8 5th 9.6 +1.3 4.2 11th 49.6 58.5 average 85%
Mount Crawford (Mt Crawford AWS) 20.8   30.3 5th 12.0   5.0 11th 14.0
Mount Lofty 18.6   27.9 5th 11.0   4.5 11th 47.0
Noarlunga 23.2   33.9 5th 13.8   8.1 11th 28.8
Parawa (Second Valley Forest AWS) 20.0   30.0 5th 12.2   8.4 24th 51.0
Victor Harbor (Encounter Bay) 22.6   32.5 2nd 10.3   2.5 13th 21.8
Upper Murray Valley (district 24A)
Loxton Research Centre 25.2 +1.3 33.4 6th 8.4 0.0 1.4 12th 8.6 15.9 average 54%
Renmark Aero 25.4   34.4 6th 8.2   1.0 12th 6.8
Lower Murray Valley (district 24B)
Eudunda 23.3 +1.9 32.1 2nd 10.5 +0.7 5.2 12th 10.8 32.8 low 33%
Meningie 23.4 +1.7 32.8 5th 11.5 +0.8 4.7 11th 31.5 37.5 average 84%
Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) 24.8   34.7 2nd 8.9   1.9 12th 16.4
Murray Bridge Comparison 25.3 +1.8 34.3 5th 10.5 +0.3 4.5 12th 24.9 28.8 average 86%
Strathalbyn Racecourse 23.4   33.6 5th 11.4   4.8 12th 24.4
Murray Mallee (district 25A)
Karoonda 24.6   33.6 5th 9.6   3.2 12th 14.4 24.4 average 59%
Upper Southeast (district 25B)
Keith 23.9 +1.4 32.8 5th 10.4 +1.2 3.5 11th 20.0 32.9 average 61%
Keith (Munkora) 25.3   32.9 5th 8.7   0.8 11th 20.6
Lameroo (Austin Plains) 24.3   33.4 6th 8.8   2.6 11th 12.6
Lameroo Comparison 24.5 +1.6 33.5 5th 10.2 +1.2 4.5 11th 19.4 27.1 average 72%
Lower Southeast (district 26)
Cape Jaffa (The Limestone) 21.1 +1.3 28.2 5th 11.3 +0.8 5.8 12th 48.6
Coonawarra 22.8 +1.8 30.8 5th 8.4 +0.7 1.4 13th 18.4 35.9 average 51%
Mount Gambier Aero 22.0 +2.6 29.9 5th 9.4 +0.7 2.7 12th 39.6 54.8 average 72%
Naracoorte Aerodrome 23.1   31.6 5th 9.7   3.2 17th 19.0
Padthaway South 23.3   31.9 5th 8.5   1.3 11th 21.4
Robe Airfield 21.2   28.4 2nd 10.0   1.5 13th 38.2
Robe Comparison 20.5 +1.7 26.1 18th 12.9 +1.4 8.8 13th 37.4 46.2 average 81%

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 10 am on Tuesday 1 May 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

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries