Tasmania in March 2013: exceptionally warm

March 2013 was the warmest recorded in Tasmania, with an unprecedented run of hot days to start, almost no cold weather, and another warm burst in the final week (before a cool final day). There was some heavy rain in the central north.

  • Tasmania's warmest March
  • Record warm daytime temperatures
  • Record warm overnight temperatures
  • Some heavy rain in the central north

Prolonged heatwave ensures Tasmania's warmest March

A prolonged heatwave affected Tasmania and the rest of southeast Australia between 2 and 13 March, helping create the warmest March ever recorded in Tasmania. Many sites had their highest March mean temperature on record or their highest for many years. In several cases the March record was set in 2010, with 1974 and 1971 also very warm for Tasmania. Averaged across the state, the mean temperature was a March record of 15.7 °C, which is 2.2 °C above normal and 0.3 °C warmer than the previous record from 1974. The state average maximum temperature was a March record of 21.0 (2.9 °C above normal and 0.9 °C above the previous record from 1974), and minimum temperatures were the 3rd-warmest for March at 10.3 °C (1.6 °C above normal).

A near-stationary high over the Tasman Sea directed warm air across the state from the 2nd to the 13th, and coincided with exceptionally high sea surface temperatures. The heatwave was characterised by prolonged sequences of days and nights above threshold temperatures, and was accompanied by high humidity and generally light winds. Launceston reached 30 °C on 8 consecutive days from the 5th to the 12th, double the previous record for such a warm spell (28 to 31 January 2009). Lake St Clair and Sheffield both had an unprecedented 9 consecutive days reaching 25 °C, whilst Hobart Airport and Orford had 7 consecutive nights above 15 °C. With the heatwave affecting Victoria and SA as well, a Special Climate Statement was prepared.

Record warm days

The heatwave included several particularly warm days; the hottest day was the 12th with 37.4 °C at Bushy Park, and 37.3 °C at Grove. Some sites (including Launceston) had their highest March temperature on record, either on the 7th or the 12th. Although the second half of the month was not as warm as the first half, the 27th saw an approaching cold front push temperatures into the 30s at many sites. The 32.8 °C at Bushy Park that day was within a whisker of the highest late-season temperature ever recorded in Tasmania (33.0 °C at Scamander on 27 March 1990), whilst Launceston (30.0 °C), Strathgordon (28.5 °C) and Lake Leake (27.0 °C) were among sites that had their highest late-season maximum.

The warm weather at the start of the month, and a shortage of cold weather, meant almost all sites had their highest March mean daily maximum temperature on record (the main exceptions were on the east and south coasts, where 2010 was warmer). Many sites broke their previous records by a wide margin, and in several cases were more than 3 °C above the March average.

There was some cold weather: on the 16th and 17th temperatures in the low to mid-teens were common, some snow fell on the highest peaks, and Mount Wellington reached just 5.3 °C. For most sites the coolest day was the 31st in the wake of a cold front.

Record warm nights

Overnight temperatures were also persistently high through the first part of the month, peaking on the 12th or 13th when some sites (including Hobart, Bicheno and Devonport) had their warmest March night on record. With little in the way of cold nights it was not surprising that many sites had their highest March mean daily minimum temperature on record.

The coldest morning for most places was the 17th (when Mount Wellington fell to -1.7 °C and Liawenee and Mount Read also dropped below zero), or at the very start of the month: Liawenee dipped to -1.4 °C on the 1st.

Heavy rain in the central north

The 21st was easily the wettest day of the month as a cold front and complex area of low pressure near the state brought rain statewide, heavy in the north with some thunderstorms. Several sites saw daily totals over 60 mm, with Targa (Mountain Views) receiving 92.0 mm in the 24 hours to 9 am on the 22nd, and both Barrington and Westbury having their highest March daily rainfall on record. More fronts brought more rain through to the 24th, and this was enough to ensure the March totals were above average in the central north. In most of the rest of the state, rainfall was close to average.

Despite the heavy falls in the north, westerly winds brought rain to the west coast on most days from the 10th to the 24th and Mount Read with 324.8 mm was the wettest single spot. The westerlies also meant the driest areas were on the east coast, with Maria Island (Point Lesueur) getting only 17.0 mm.

Hobart's warmest March

March 2013 was exceptionally warm in Hobart, with temperatures almost three degrees above normal.

Hobart's mean daily maximum of 22.9 °C was a record, although just 0.02 °C above March 1940 (which had 3 days over 35 °C). Although there were some very high temperatures this year (it reached 36.6 °C on the 12th and 31.8 °C on the 27th), more noticeable was the lack of especially low temperatures: the coldest was 16.2 °C on the 31st.

The lack of cold nights (the coldest morning was 8.4 °C on the 19th) and several very mild ones (there were 4 mornings when it didn't drop below 17 °C) meant the average minimum temperature was 13.5 °C, 2.8 °C warmer than normal and just 0.02 °C cooler than the record from 2010.

There were 3 main rain events for Hobart: a trough brought 6.6 mm on the 10th, a front on the 17th brought 14.4 mm, and a low near the state on the 21st gave 20.2 mm. Together these helped give a March total of 48.6 mm, slightly above the long-term average of 45 mm.

The Bureau of Meteorology's climate archive includes some warm months for Hobart in the early part of the record, but those from before a standard "Stevenson screen" was installed in mid-1895 are not directly comparable to the more recent observations.

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Extremes in March 2013
Hottest day 37.4 °C at Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) on the 12th
Warmest days on average 25.3 °C at Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates)
and Launceston (Ti Tree Bend)
Coolest days on average 14.5 °C at Mount Wellington
Coldest day 5.3 °C at Mount Wellington on the 17th
Coldest night -1.7 °C at Mount Wellington on the 17th
Coolest nights on average 5.5 °C at Liawenee
Warmest nights on average 15.5 °C at Swan Island
Warmest night 21.2 °C at Burnie (Round Hill) on the 12th
Warmest on average overall 19.2 °C at Flinders Island Airport
Coolest on average overall10.5 °C at Mount Wellington
Wettest overall 324.8 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall 17.0 mm at Maria Island (Point Lesueur)
Wettest day92.0 mm at Targa (Mountain Views) on the 22nd
Highest wind gust 143 km/h at Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse on the 31st

Maps
ObservedAnomalyDecile rank
Total
rainfall
Map of Rainfall totals Map of Percentage of normal rainfall Map of Rainfall deciles
Mean
daily
maximum
temperatures
Map of Mean maximum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature
Mean
daily
minimum
temperatures
Map of Mean minimum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean minimum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature

Click on a map to show it full size in a pop-up window


Record highest March daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in March 2013 (mm)
Previous wettest
for March
Years of
record
Barrington Post Office 64.2 on the 22nd 61.4 on the 19th in 1975 46
Westbury (Birralee Road) 69.8 on the 22nd 64.4 on the 17th in 2001 36



Record highest March temperature
Highest temperature
in March 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for March
Years of
record
Average for
March
Marrawah 29.8 on the 6th = 29.8 on the 12th in 1998 43 19.3
Strathgordon Village 33.1 on the 12th 31.5 on the 14th in 1985 32 17.3
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 33.0 on the 7th 32.9 on the 17th in 2008 30 22.5
Wynyard Airport 30.3 on the 7th 28.9 on the 10th in 2008 28 20.1
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 36.8 on the 12th 36.4 on the 1st in 1989 26 20.1
Dover 37.0 on the 12th 36.5 on the 13th in 1998 24 19.1
Strahan Aerodrome 35.4 on the 12th 34.3 on the 17th in 2008 22 19.4
Maydena Post Office 35.7 on the 12th 35.2 on the 17th in 2008 21 19.4



Record highest March mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for March 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for March
Years of
record
Average for
March
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 22.9 = 22.9 in 1940 118 20.1
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 25.3 24.4 in 2010 78 21.8
Cape Sorell 20.9 20.2 in 1956 72 17.5
Burnie (Round Hill) 22.3 = 22.3 in 1971 64 20.0
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 23.5 23.2 in 2010 55 20.4
Hobart Airport 23.1 23.0 in 2010 54 20.7
Butlers Gorge 19.7 19.3 in 1971 50 16.5
Flinders Island Airport 23.9 23.4 in 2008 50 21.2
Marrawah 22.0 21.5 in 1974 42 19.3
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 23.7 23.6 in 1990 41 21.3
Mount Wellington 14.5 14.2 in 1992 33 11.3
Strathgordon Village 20.0 = 20.0 in 1974 31 17.3
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 25.3 24.5 in 1992 29 22.5
Wynyard Airport 22.1 22.0 in 2010 27 20.1
Fingal (Legge Street) 24.0 23.7 in 2010 26 21.5
Dover 21.7 20.5 in 2010 23 19.1
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 20.1 19.3 in 2008 23 17.4
Bull Bay (Lauriston) 21.9 = 21.9 in 2010 21 19.7
Devonport Airport 22.0 21.8 in 2010 21 20.3
Lake St Clair National Park 19.6 18.4 in 2008 21 16.6
Strahan Aerodrome 22.2 21.5 in 1982 21 19.4
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 20.7 19.8 in 2000 20 18.4
Maydena Post Office 22.9 21.1 in 2001 20 19.4

Highest March mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for March 2013 (°C)
Most recent March
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Average for
March
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 19.8 = 19.8 in 1974 39 17.6
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 18.5 18.7 in 1974 39 16.3
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 22.2 22.3 in 1989* 23 20.1

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




Record highest March daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in March 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for March
Years of
record
Average for
March
Hobart Airport 20.4 on the 13th 19.8 on the 18th in 1967 55 10.8
Burnie (Round Hill) 21.2 on the 12th 20.7 on the 11th in 1974 49 12.0
Marrawah 20.0 on the 12th 19.2 on the 3rd in 1974 43 11.6
Scamander 20.0 on the 13th = 20.0 on the 12th in 1974 31 11.8
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 19.1 on the 10th 19.0 on the 21st in 2012 30 10.1
Wynyard Airport 21.0 on the 12th 18.9 on the 10th in 2001 28 9.5
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 19.8 on the 12th 19.0 on the 10th in 2001 21 12.8



Record highest March mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for March 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for March
Years of
record
Average for
March
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 13.5 = 13.5 in 2010 118 10.9
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 13.2 13.0 in 1974 89 11.1
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 12.7 = 12.7 in 1974 76 10.6
Mount Wellington 6.5 6.0 in 1971 33 4.0
Strathgordon Village 10.8 10.6 in 1974 31 8.5
Wynyard Airport 11.4 11.1 in 1962 27 9.5
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 10.7 10.1 in 1989 25 8.4
Dover 10.7 10.6 in 2001 23 9.0
Devonport Airport 12.5 = 12.5 in 2010 21 10.7
Lake St Clair National Park 6.7 6.1 in 2001 21 4.2
Strahan Aerodrome 11.4 11.0 in 2001 21 9.7
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 14.8 13.6 in 2001 20 12.8

Highest March mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for March 2013 (°C)
Most recent March
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Average for
March
Marrawah 13.6 14.1 in 1974 39 11.6
Scamander 13.7 14.5 in 1974* 30 11.8
Flinders Island Airport 14.5 14.6 in 1983* 29 12.5
Burnie (Round Hill) 13.9 = 13.9 in 1985 28 12.0
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 14.6 = 14.6 in 1989 24 13.3
Butlers Gorge 6.9 7.2 in 1974* 21 5.1

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




Record highest March mean temperature
Mean daily
temperature
for March 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for March
Years of
record
Average for
March
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 18.2 18.1 in 2010 118 15.5
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 17.5 17.2 in 2010 78 15.1
Cape Sorell 17.3 17.1 in 1956 72 14.5
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 19.1 18.8 in 2010 55 16.9
Butlers Gorge 13.3 13.1 in 1974 50 10.8
Flinders Island Airport 19.2 19.0 in 1974 50 16.9
Marrawah 17.8 = 17.8 in 1974 42 15.5
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 17.4 17.3 in 1990 41 15.6
Mount Wellington 10.5 9.9 in 1992 33 7.6
Strathgordon Village 15.4 15.3 in 1974 31 12.9
Scamander 18.1 18.0 in 2010 30 16.2
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 18.4 18.3 in 2010 29 16.3
Wynyard Airport 16.8 16.5 in 2010 27 14.8
Fingal (Legge Street) 16.5 16.4 in 2010 26 14.7
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 16.4 16.2 in 1989 25 14.3
Dover 16.2 15.3 in 2010 23 14.0
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 13.7 13.2 in 2010 23 11.7
Devonport Airport 17.3 17.2 in 2010 21 15.5
Lake St Clair National Park 13.1 11.8 in 2010 21 10.4
Strahan Aerodrome 16.8 16.0 in 1982 21 14.5
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 17.8 16.6 in 2000 20 15.6
Maydena Post Office 15.6 15.0 in 2001 20 13.2

Highest March mean temperature for at least 20 years
Mean daily
temperature
for March 2013 (°C)
Most recent March
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Average for
March
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 16.5 16.6 in 1971 42 14.3
Burnie (Round Hill) 18.1 18.9 in 1974 39 16.0
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 15.6 15.7 in 1974 39 13.4



Summary statistics for March 2013
Maximum temperatures
for March
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for March
(°C)
Rainfall
for March
(millimetres)
Mean for
March
2013
Diff
from
average
Highest for
March
2013
Mean for
March
2013
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
March
2013
Total for
March
2013
Average
for
March
Rank of
March
2013
Fraction of
March
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 22.3 +1.4 27.1 12th 12.8 +1.2 6.4 29th 64.2 45.9 high 140%
Burnie (Round Hill) 22.3 +2.3 26.5 7th 13.9 +1.9 7.4 1st 67.6 51.5 high 131%
Cape Grim 20.4   25.5 10th 14.7   8.3 29th 49.2
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 20.7 +2.3 25.7 10th 14.8 +2.0 9.5 17th 45.2 46.0 average 98%
Cressy Research Station 25.2 +2.6 34.3 7th 9.3 +1.2 2.2 14th 79.0 46.5 average 170%
Devonport Airport 22.0 +1.7 26.6 12th 12.5 +1.8 3.1 17th 72.2 47.6 high 152%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 25.3 +2.8 33.0 7th 11.4 +1.3 4.2 29th 68.0 37.7 high 180%
Launceston Airport 25.0   33.9 7th 10.3   2.9 29th 63.4
Low Head 21.4 +1.5 25.8 10th 14.5 +1.4 7.7 17th 86.0 46.3 high 186%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 21.9 +3.2 31.7 10th 11.9 +2.3 4.9 17th 99.0 85.8 average 115%
Marrawah 22.0 +2.7 29.8 6th 13.6 +2.0 8.0 17th 47.0 66.2 average 71%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 23.7 +2.4 32.0 7th 11.1 +1.2 4.4 29th 102.6 55.7 high 184%
Sheffield School Farm 22.5 +2.7 31.0 7th 10.6 +1.4 5.8 1st
Smithton Aerodrome 22.4 +2.2 32.5 7th 11.5 +2.0 5.3 2nd 57.2 50.1 average 114%
Wynyard Airport 22.1 +2.0 30.3 7th 11.4 +1.9 4.8 18th 54.6 47.6 average 115%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 21.9 +1.4 28.5 13th 13.5 +1.5 6.5 29th 30.9 57.0 average 54%
Fingal (Legge Street) 24.0 +2.5 32.6 6th 8.9 +0.9 2.8 1st 53.2 45.1 high 118%
Friendly Beaches 22.9 +1.5 28.9 12th 13.4 +1.5 7.7 17th 48.6 58.1 average 84%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 20.1 +2.7 28.9 12th 7.4 +1.4 1.2 18th 58.4 62.7 average 93%
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 23.5 +3.1 27.8 12th 14.6 +1.3 8.0 29th 31.2 57.7 average 54%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 21.4   27.7 27th 14.4   10.2 17th 17.0
Orford (Aubin Court) 22.0 +1.5 31.0 27th 12.1 +1.4 6.8 17th 38.2 46.1 average 83%
Scamander 22.7 +2.0 29.6 6th 13.7 +1.9 9.0 17th 35.6 65.7 average 54%
St Helens Aerodrome 22.8 +2.0 32.7 6th 12.9 +1.4 5.7 29th 65.4 64.2 average 102%
Swan Island 22.1 +1.9 27.1 27th 15.5 +1.3 10.5 17th 36.4 57.0 average 64%
Swansea (Francis Street) 23.5   32.8 27th 12.3   6.8 14th 26.9
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 24.6 +3.0 33.6 7th 9.4 +1.5 2.0 14th 62.8 35.5 high 177%
Southeast (district 94)
Bull Bay (Lauriston) 21.9 +2.2 33.5 12th 12.6 +1.2 8.0 17th 46.6 44.4 average 105%
Campania (Kincora) 24.4 +2.3 35.7 12th 11.7 +1.8 5.9 1st 44.2 36.5 average 121%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 20.4 +2.0 35.5 12th 13.0 +1.5 7.0 31st 56.2 55.8 average 101%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 19.8 +2.2 33.8 12th 13.2 +2.1 7.5 31st 56.8 68.3 average 83%
Dennes Point 22.0   33.5 12th 13.5   8.9 17th 46.8
Dover 21.7 +2.6 37.0 12th 10.7 +1.7 3.2 17th 54.2 63.9 average 85%
Dunalley (Stroud Point) 22.2   31.3 27th 14.2   9.9 29th 28.4
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 22.2 +2.1 36.8 12th 10.7 +2.3 4.4 17th 58.8 54.6 average 108%
Grove (Research Station) 23.7   37.3 12th 9.7   2.7 19th
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 22.9 +2.8 36.6 12th 13.5 +2.6 8.4 19th 48.6 45.5 average 107%
Hobart Airport 23.1 +2.4 36.1 12th 12.5 +1.7 8.3 17th 41.2 36.4 average 113%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 18.5 +2.2 30.2 12th 12.7 +2.1 7.8 31st 74.8 85.9 average 87%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 23.5 +2.7 34.6 12th 9.8 +1.6 3.6 1st 42.6 33.5 average 127%
Mount Wellington 14.5 +3.2 26.1 12th 6.5 +2.5 -1.7 17th 87.6 76.4 average 115%
Tasman Island 19.2 +2.4 26.2 5th 12.6 +1.5 6.6 31st 37.4 67.5 v low 55%
Tunnack Fire Station 21.7 +2.8 31.2 6th 8.8 +1.3 0.6 1st 42.0 53.6 average 78%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 25.3 +3.5 37.4 12th 9.7 +1.3 2.6 1st 39.4 39.6 average 99%
Maydena Post Office 22.9 +3.5 35.7 12th 8.5 +1.4 0.4 1st 85.4 71.7 average 119%
Ouse Fire Station 25.0 +2.8 36.4 12th 9.6 +1.7 3.6 19th 43.8 30.9 high 142%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 19.7 +3.2 28.9 4th 6.9 +1.8 0.4 5th 101.8 100.6 average 101%
Lake St Clair National Park 19.6 +3.0 28.7 8th 6.7 +2.5 0.5 1st 143.4 110.4 high 130%
Liawenee 18.6 +2.7 27.7 5th 5.5 +1.9 -1.4 1st 142.2 66.7 v high 213%
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 20.9 +3.4 28.8 12th 13.7 +2.2 8.5 17th 92.0 83.7 average 110%
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 17.4 +3.0 31.0 12th 8.6 +2.5 1.0 31st 80.4 69.6 average 116%
Low Rocky Point 20.3   31.2 12th 13.2   8.9 1st 93.6 94.1 average 99%
Mount Read 14.7 +3.0 24.4 12th 7.5 +2.7 -0.1 17th 324.8 267.4 high 121%
Scotts Peak Dam 21.3 +3.1 35.4 12th 10.6 +2.3 4.5 17th 138.6 120.7 average 115%
Strahan Aerodrome 22.2 +2.8 35.4 12th 11.4 +1.7 3.6 1st 120.8 103.6 high 117%
Strathgordon Village 20.0 +2.7 33.1 12th 10.8 +2.3 4.5 17th 156.0 148.4 average 105%
Warra 19.8   32.3 12th 9.2   1.4 1st 104.0
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 23.3 +3.4 36.8 12th 14.2 +2.2 8.2 2nd 48.6 51.1 average 95%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 23.9 +2.7 31.9 27th 14.5 +2.0 5.9 19th
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 8.5 +0.5 10.3 27th 5.2 +0.5 2.1 6th 136.0 99.9 v high 136%

Notes

A Monthly Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in Tasmania 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 2 April 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 the years 1896 to 2100. They are not shown for sites with less than 10 years of record in that time, 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.

The ACORN-SAT dataset is being used for temperature area averages from December 2012 onwards. The major change from earlier datasets is that the ACORN-SAT dataset commences in 1910, rather than 1950, and hence rankings are calculated using a larger set of years.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries