South Australia in December 2012: Driest December in 18 years

  • Driest December in 18 years (since 1994) for South Australia with rainfall only 52% of average.
  • Generally drier than average, with rainfall less than half of the December average for many locations.
  • Record hottest December daily maximum temperatures recorded at Cleve and Whyalla, and hottest December on record at Arkaroola.
  • Hotter than average December days by 2 to 3 °C resulting in the hottest December for South Australia as a whole in 9 years (since 2003).

Rainfall

With no significant tropical moisture in-feed during the month and high pressure systems often centred in the Great Australian Bight, rainfall across much of South Australia during December was below average, with many locations receiving less than half of the average December rainfall. This was the driest December since 1994 for South Australia as a whole; averaged across the state, rainfall was only 52% of average.

The wettest periods were on the first 2 days of the month when thunderstorms produced some rainfall across the pastoral areas and eastern districts, with a similar pattern mid-month producing much of the rainfall recorded in the southern districts of the state.

Pastoral Districts

Rainfall across pastoral areas was generally below average, though some locations saw higher totals from isolated thunderstorm activity, particularly in the far west of the state and the south-east.

Rainfall totals of 5 to 15mm were typical, with Ernabella reporting the highest December rainfall total for the state this month, with 65mm, 37.8mm of this recorded on the 18th which was the wettest day for any location in the state.

Agricultural Districts

Rainfall totals over the agricultural districts were generally below average, totalling only 10 to 20mm typically. Some parts of the Riverland and Upper Mallee districts had thunderstorm activity that produced more rainfall, resulting in above average rainfall for some locations in these areas.

The highest December 2012 rainfall total in the agricultural districts was 53.4mm recorded at Manoora in the Country Light district.

Some sites had their lowest total December rainfall on record.
Some sites had their lowest total December rainfall for at least 25 years.
See a map of rainfall deciles.

Temperature

The mean temperature (the average of the daily maximum and daily minimum temperatures) for South Australia as a whole for December 2012 was 1.4C above than the long-term December average. This makes this the hottest December since 2003 and the fifth warmest on record. In comparison, December 2011 was 0.3 C warmer than average.

Maximum Temperature

December maximum temperatures were in excess of 1C above average across the entire state and have resulted in the fourth warmest December on record. Maximum temperatures averaged through the month ranged from 21.1C at Cape Willoughby on Kangaroo Island to 39.2C at Oodnadatta Airport in the Northeast district.

The warmest period for many locations occurred on the 23rd with a particularly hot day across the state. Whyalla and Cleve both observed record hottest December temperatures on this day with 44.9C and 43.3C respectively.

The hottest day of the month for any location in South Australia was recorded at Tarcoola Aerodrome on the 23rd where the maximum temperature reached 47.1 C. Mount Lofty had the coldest day on the 3rd with a maximum of 13.9C.

Some sites had their highest December temperature on record.
See a map of maximum temperature anomalies.

Minimum Temperature

Overnight minimum temperatures were close to, if slightly warmer than average in the south, though widely more than 2 C above average across northern parts of South Australia for December 2012. Minimum temperatures averaged through the month ranged from 10.2C at Coonawarra in the southeast to 23.3 C at both Moomba Aerodrome and Oodnadatta Airport in the Northeast Pastoral district.

The coldest nights for many locations were on the 10th and the 21st after the passage of cold frontal systems. Naracoorte Aerodrome had the coolest night on December 10th with a minimum temperature of 2.1 C. The warmest nights for many locations was around the 13th and 14th, particularly across the north-east of the state. Marree Aerodrome recorded the warmest night of the month on the 14th with 31.9 C.

Some sites had their highest December mean daily minimum temperature on record.
See a map of minimum temperature anomalies.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries

Extremes in December 2012
Hottest day 47.1 °C at Tarcoola Aero on the 23rd
Warmest days on average 39.2 °C at Oodnadatta Airport
Coolest days on average 21.1 °C at Cape Willoughby
Coldest day 13.9 °C at Mount Lofty on the 3rd
Coldest night 2.1 °C at Naracoorte Aerodrome on the 10th
Coolest nights on average 10.2 °C at Coonawarra
Warmest nights on average 23.3 °C at Moomba Airport
23.3 °C at Oodnadatta Airport
Warmest night 31.9 °C at Marree Aero on the 14th
Warmest on average overall 31.3 °C at Oodnadatta Airport
Coolest on average overall 17.4 °C at Robe Airfield
Wettest overall 65.0 mm at Ernabella (Pukatja)
Driest overall 0 mm at Clare (Neagles Rock)
0 mm at Kimba
0 mm at Myrtle Bank (Ridge Park)
0 mm at Nonning
0 mm at Pedler Ck at Moana (Nrm)
0 mm at Saddleworth
Wettest day 37.8 mm at Ernabella (Pukatja) on the 18th
Highest wind gust 107 km/h at Marree Aero on the 1st

Record lowest total December rainfall
Total rainfall
for December 2012 (mm)
Previous driest
for December
Years of
record
Average for
December
Saddleworth 0.0 = 0.0 in 1905 140 26.2
Nonning 0.0 = 0.0 in 1956 110 18.4
Kimba 0.0 = 0.0 in 1963 93 19.9
Cowell (Winter Springs) 2.0 = 2.0 in 1994 43 23.6

Lowest total December rainfall for at least 25 years
Total rainfall
for December 2012 (mm)
Most recent December
at least this dry
Years since
drier
Average for
December
Yardea 0.4 0.0 in 1963* 48 16.6
Stockport (Clifton) 1.8 0.0 in 1963* 47 26.8
Meadows 8.8 8.2 in 1975* 36 38.5
Clarendon 5.2 2.2 in 1975* 35 35.5
Mount Hope (Fairview) 2.0 1.8 in 1981* 30 17.2
Oodnadatta Airport 1.4 0.8 in 1972* 30 17.1
Hahndorf 11.0 5.0 in 1984* 27 37.2
Port Elliot Caravan Park 3.4 3.2 in 1984* 27 24.1

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




Record highest December temperature
Highest temperature
in December 2012 (°C)
Previous warmest
for December
Years of
record
Average for
December
Cleve 43.3 on the 23rd = 43.3 on the 30th in 2005 56 26.7
Whyalla Aero 44.9 on the 23rd 44.5 on the 31st in 2010 29 28.1



Record highest December mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for December 2012 (°C)
Previous warmest
for December
Years of
record
Average for
December
Arkaroola 20.2 19.8 in 1997 35 17.7



Summary statistics for December 2012
Maximum temperatures
for December
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for December
(°C)
Rainfall
for December
(millimetres)
Mean for
December
2012
Diff
from
average
Highest for
December
2012
Mean for
December
2012
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
December
2012
Total for
December
2012
Average
for
December
Rank of
December
2012
Fraction of
December
average
Northwest (district 16)
Andamooka 35.8 +1.4 43.6 23rd 20.5 +1.2 13.2 5th 7.4 18.6 low 40%
Coober Pedy Airport 36.3   45.1 23rd 20.8   14.7 4th 6.8
Ernabella (Pukatja) 33.9   40.6 23rd 20.7   15.5 18th 65.0
Marla Police Station 36.3 +1.4 44.7 23rd 21.2 +1.3 15.6 5th 19.4 39.7 low 49%
Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam Aerodrome) 35.9   44.0 23rd 19.3   12.5 5th 13.4
Tarcoola Aero 36.0   47.1 23rd 17.9   9.8 5th 0.4
Woomera Aerodrome 34.2 +1.9 43.8 23rd 18.6 +1.0 11.4 5th 7.2 14.2 average 51%
Far North (district 17)
Arkaroola 34.9 +2.3 41.8 23rd 20.2 +2.5 12.8 5th 18.8 24.8 average 76%
Leigh Creek Airport 35.5 +2.6 42.3 23rd 19.0 +0.5 10.7 5th 12.4 24.2 average 51%
Marree Aero 37.9   43.4 23rd 20.7   12.7 5th 5.6
Marree Comparison 38.5 +2.5 44.6 23rd 20.6 +1.1 13.2 5th 5.6 16.5 average 34%
Moomba Airport 38.9   44.7 24th 23.3   15.1 6th 2.0
Oodnadatta Airport 39.2 +2.9 45.2 23rd 23.3 +2.1 17.5 11th 1.4 17.1 low 8%
Western Agricultural (district 18)
Ceduna AMO 28.4 +1.1 42.6 23rd 14.2 +0.2 6.1 5th 1.2 20.7 v low 6%
Cleve 27.6 +0.9 43.3 23rd 14.7 +0.7 9.3 5th 5.0 26.0 low 19%
Coulta (Coles Point) 26.4 +1.0 35.9 18th 13.4 -0.3 6.2 21st 2.6
Cummins Aero 28.7   40.5 23rd 12.3   5.2 2nd 2.6
Elliston 25.6 +1.1 36.4 23rd 15.3 +0.7 9.2 26th 5.1 16.7 low 31%
Kimba 31.4 +2.2 43.0 23rd 14.2 +0.3 6.5 5th 0 19.9 lowest 0%
Kyancutta 32.8 +2.0 46.3 23rd 13.3 +0.4 4.1 5th 2.8 20.8 low 13%
Minnipa Pirsa 31.7   44.3 23rd 14.1   7.5 5th 2.0
Neptune Island 21.7 +1.2 28.4 12th 15.8 +1.0 13.8 4th 9.4 17.2 low 55%
North Shields (Port Lincoln AWS) 25.8 +1.4 41.7 23rd 13.8 -0.2 8.1 3rd 3.8
Nullarbor 28.0 +1.4 41.2 18th 14.5 +0.3 8.1 5th 10.0 15.3 average 65%
Port Augusta Aero 33.1   45.7 23rd 17.5   12.2 5th 13.6
Streaky Bay 28.9 +1.6 38.7 18th 15.3 +0.4 8.5 5th 2.2 14.5 low 15%
Whyalla Aero 29.0 +0.9 44.9 23rd 16.8 +1.0 10.1 6th 15.0 24.1 average 62%
Wudinna Aero 32.4   45.9 23rd 12.9   4.0 5th 4.8
Upper North (district 19)
Hawker 33.5 +1.7 41.8 24th 16.8 +1.0 10.0 5th 21.4 22.0 average 97%
Yongala 30.1 +1.5 40.5 23rd 12.5 +1.0 5.5 5th 21.0 24.4 average 86%
Northeast (district 20)
Gluepot Reserve (Gluepot) 31.8   42.2 23rd 13.6   6.9 6th 24.6
Yunta Airstrip 32.1   41.6 23rd 14.3   8.1 5th 11.6
Lower North (district 21)
Clare High School 28.1   40.5 23rd 12.7   6.8 6th 30.8
Port Pirie Aerodrome 31.0   43.3 23rd 15.7   8.5 5th 21.4
Snowtown (Rayville Park) 30.6   43.7 23rd 13.1   5.8 6th 18.0
Yorke Peninsula (district 22A)
Edithburgh 25.0   43.2 23rd 15.4   10.2 18th 4.8 17.3 v low 28%
Kadina AWS 30.2   43.5 23rd 12.9   4.6 6th 4.6
Maitland 28.0 +1.7 41.9 23rd 14.8 +1.1 10.0 9th 6.4 23.4 low 27%
Minlaton Aero 28.2   43.9 23rd 13.2   6.6 3rd 3.8
Stenhouse Bay 23.9   38.5 7th 15.4   9.8 6th 5.8
Warooka 26.3 +0.9 38.4 23rd 14.4 +0.7 9.8 2nd 5.4 17.8 low 30%
Kangaroo Island (district 22B)
Cape Borda 23.0   33.0 12th 13.2   8.7 6th 11.2
Cape Willoughby 21.1 +0.5 33.4 23rd 15.2 +0.8 11.3 3rd 10.8 23.0 average 47%
Kingscote Aero 26.1   40.8 23rd 11.1   4.1 6th 8.6
Parndana Cfs AWS 24.9   38.6 23rd 11.1   5.9 3rd 9.6
Adelaide Plains (district 23A)
Adelaide (Kent Town) 28.3 +1.3 42.0 23rd 16.0 +0.4 10.0 6th 11.6 29.4 low 39%
Adelaide Airport 27.0 +1.3 41.7 23rd 15.5 +1.0 9.1 6th 7.2 24.0 low 30%
Edinburgh RAAF 28.6 +0.8 42.6 23rd 15.1 +0.3 7.7 6th 10.2 24.9 low 41%
Parafield Airport 29.0 +1.3 42.2 23rd 15.0 +0.2 7.1 6th 8.6 24.9 low 35%
Roseworthy AWS 29.8   44.3 23rd 12.2   3.8 9th 11.8
County Light (district 23B)
Nuriootpa Viticultural 28.4   41.2 23rd 12.6   5.3 3rd 10.4
Rosedale (Turretfield Research Centre) 29.4 +1.3 43.0 23rd 12.9 -0.6 5.5 9th 10.4 24.4 average 43%
Mount Lofty Ranges (district 23C)
Hindmarsh Island AWS 24.5   40.4 23rd 14.4   9.8 10th 8.6
Kuitpo Forest Reserve 24.2   38.3 23rd 12.6   8.0 10th 9.0
Mount Barker 26.1 +1.1 40.5 23rd 11.8 +1.4 4.2 6th 11.0 34.8 low 32%
Mount Crawford (Mt Crawford AWS) 26.5   39.2 23rd 12.4   6.8 10th 18.8
Mount Lofty 22.1   33.8 12th 11.1   5.5 10th 19.6
Noarlunga 26.4   40.9 23rd 15.5   10.1 6th 10.8
Parawa (Second Valley Forest AWS) 23.2   38.8 23rd 12.3   7.6 6th 13.6
Victor Harbor (Encounter Bay) 24.6   41.4 23rd 12.7   7.3 21st 10.4
Upper Murray Valley (district 24A)
Loxton Research Centre 30.9 +1.4 41.2 23rd 13.4 +0.4 6.9 6th 10.6 25.3 average 42%
Renmark Aero 31.9   42.8 23rd 14.3   8.4 3rd 14.0
Lower Murray Valley (district 24B)
Eudunda 28.8 +1.9 40.2 23rd 12.7 +0.4 6.9 6th 16.6 26.5 average 63%
Meningie 25.8 +1.3 39.6 23rd 13.7 +0.8 7.9 26th 10.2 23.7 average 43%
Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) 28.6   43.4 23rd 12.5   5.3 6th 20.4
Murray Bridge Comparison 28.5 +0.9 43.7 23rd 13.7 +0.5 7.5 6th 16.5 23.8 average 69%
Strathalbyn Racecourse 26.4   40.9 23rd 13.3   7.6 6th 12.0
Murray Mallee (district 25A)
Karoonda 29.0   42.0 23rd 12.7   7.0 6th 23.8 25.0 average 95%
Upper Southeast (district 25B)
Keith 28.3 +0.7 40.8 23rd 13.0 +1.1 6.0 10th 18.8 27.0 average 70%
Keith (Munkora) 28.7   41.5 23rd 10.5   3.4 6th 27.4
Lameroo (Austin Plains) 29.8   42.0 23rd 11.8   6.9 6th 14.8
Lameroo Comparison 29.8 +0.9 41.0 23rd 13.4 +1.3 8.1 10th 10.4 24.8 low 42%
Lower Southeast (district 26)
Cape Jaffa (The Limestone) 23.4 +0.7 38.1 12th 13.1 +0.8 7.5 22nd 8.2
Coonawarra 26.0 +1.2 39.0 23rd 10.2 +0.1 2.9 10th 11.6 37.9 v low 31%
Mount Gambier Aero 24.5 +1.6 40.3 23rd 10.8 +0.9 5.6 21st 24.2 38.7 low 63%
Naracoorte Aerodrome 27.5   40.5 23rd 10.4   2.1 10th 13.6
Padthaway South 27.2   39.9 23rd 10.5   3.5 10th 17.4
Robe Airfield 22.6   35.6 12th 12.3   4.2 21st 13.6
Robe Comparison 21.9 +0.7 34.5 12th 13.9 +1.2 9.0 21st 15.2 27.9 average 54%

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 8 am on Wednesday 2 January 2013. 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