Melbourne Metropolitan Area and Environs in March 2013: Much warmer than usual

Highlights:

Record breaking heatwave (nine consecutive days above 30C in Melbourne was a record for the city at any time of the year)

35.6C on the 27th of March, its latest 35+ day in more than 70 years

Rainfall slightly less than that usually received.

Summary

Located in the Central District at the head of Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne is Victoria's State Capital. Here, overnight minimum temperatures were much warmer than those usually experienced and averaged 16.7C (departure from normal 3.5C). That the overnight temperatures in Melbourne are higher than those in most surrounding localities is a consequence of the city being under the influence of the effect of urbanisation (cities are usually warmer than their rural surroundings, especially at night, because of heat stored in bricks and concrete and trapped between close-packed buildings). Daytime maximum temperatures were much warmer than those usually experienced and averaged 27.6C (departure from normal 3.7C). Total rainfall for the month was 42.2 mm, this being slightly less than that usually recorded (normal 50.3 mm, percentage of normal received 84%).

Some 20 kilometres northwest of the Melbourne city centre,  Melbourne Airport, is typical of Melbourne suburbs. Here, overnight minimum temperatures were much warmer than those usually experienced and averaged 14.7C (departure from normal 2.1C). Daytime maximum temperatures were much warmer than those usually experienced and averaged 26.9C (departure from normal 2.9C). Total rainfall for the month was 43.2 mm, this being slightly more than that usually recorded (normal 37.8 mm, percentage of normal received 114%).

Selected Melbourne suburbs

In the suburb of Essendon, which is located some 15 kilometres to the northwest of the city centre, overnight minimum temperatures were much warmer than those usually experienced and averaged 15.1C (departure from normal 2.7C). Daytime maximum temperatures were much warmer than those usually experienced and averaged 27.3C (departure from normal 3.4C). Total rainfall for the month was 58.2 mm, this being more than that usually recorded (normal 40.2 mm, percentage of normal received 145%).

The suburb of Laverton is located some 30 kilometres to the southwest of the city centre, and is often under the drying influence of the rain shadow from the ranges of western Victoria. Here, overnight minimum temperatures were much warmer than those usually experienced and averaged 14.7C (departure from normal 2.2C). Daytime maximum temperatures were much warmer than those usually experienced and averaged 26.8C (departure from normal 3.2C). Total rainfall for the month was 30.2 mm, this being slightly less than that usually recorded (normal 35.3 mm, percentage of normal received 86%).

In the suburb of Bundoora, which is located some 20 kilometres to the northeast of the city centre, overnight minimum temperatures were much warmer than those usually experienced and averaged 14C (departure from normal 1.5C). Daytime maximum temperatures were much warmer than those usually experienced and averaged 26.5C (departure from normal 2.4C). Total rainfall for the month was 48.5 mm, this being close to that usually recorded (normal 44.3 mm, percentage of normal received 107%).

In the suburb of Moorabbin, which is located some 20 kilometres to the southeast of the city centre, overnight minimum temperatures were much warmer than those usually experienced and averaged 15C (departure from normal 2.2C). Daytime maximum temperatures were much warmer than those usually experienced and averaged 26.9C (departure from normal 3.3C). Total rainfall for the month was 49 mm, this being close to that usually recorded (normal 44.8 mm, percentage of normal received 109%).

Records & Extremes

Some sites had their lowest total March rainfall for at least 10 years.

Some sites had their highest March mean daily maximum temperature on record.

Some sites had their highest March mean daily maximum temperature for at least 10 years.

Minimum temperature

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

Some sites had their highest March mean daily minimum temperature on record.

Some sites had their highest March mean daily minimum temperature for at least 10 years.


Extremes in March 2013
Hottest day 39.0 C at Avalon Airport on the 12th
Warmest days on average 27.6 C at Melbourne Regional Office
Coolest days on average 26.4 C at Cerberus
Coldest day 17.1 C at Bundoora (Latrobe University) on the 17th
17.1 C at Melbourne Airport on the 17th
Coldest night 4.4 C at Coldstream on the 19th
Coolest nights on average 10.9 C at Coldstream
Warmest nights on average 16.7 C at Melbourne Regional Office
Warmest night 26.8 C at Melbourne Regional Office on the 13th
Warmest on average overall 22.1 C at Melbourne Regional Office
Coolest on average overall 19.1 C at Coldstream
Wettest overall 58.2 mm at Essendon Airport
Highest wind gust 96 km/h at Melbourne Airport on the 21st

Lowest total March rainfall for at least 10 years
Total rainfall
for March 2013 (mm)
Most recent March
at least this dry
Years since
drier
Average for
March
Avalon Airport 4.0 0.0 in 1980* 23 27.5

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




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
Laverton RAAF 26.8 = 26.8 in 2008 69 23.6
Moorabbin Airport 26.9 26.5 in 2008 41 23.6
Cerberus 26.4 25.4 in 2008 21 22.8
Avalon Airport 27.3 26.8 in 2008 17 24.0

Highest March mean daily maximum temperature for at least 10 years
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for March 2013 (C)
Most recent March
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Average for
March
Melbourne Regional Office 27.6 28.9 in 1940 73 23.9
Essendon Airport 27.3 29.2 in 1940* 43 23.9

* 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
Melbourne Regional Office 26.5

on the 13th

26.8 o'nite

26.3 on the 3rd in 1927 158 13.2
Scoresby Research Institute 26.1 on the 13th 25.2 on the 18th in 2008 46 12.4
Essendon Airport 25.3 on the 13th 25.1 on the 18th in 2008 44 12.4
Melbourne Airport 24.3 on the 13th = 24.3 on the 18th in 2008 43 12.6
Bundoora (Latrobe University) 26.2 on the 13th 24.7 on the 18th in 2008 30 12.5
Cranbourne Botanic Gardens 24.0 on the 13th 20.9 on the 24th in 2002 24 12.3
Viewbank 25.2 on the 13th 22.0 on the 19th in 2003 14 12.6



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
Essendon Airport 15.1 14.6 in 2010 43 12.4
Cranbourne Botanic Gardens 14.4 13.9 in 1992 23 12.3
Cerberus 14.3 14.1 in 1992 21 12.4
Avalon Airport 14.5 13.9 in 2000 17 12.3
Viewbank 14.2 = 14.2 in 2010 13 12.6

Highest March mean daily minimum temperature for at least 10 years
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for March 2013 (C)
Most recent March
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Average for
March
Laverton RAAF 14.7 15.3 in 1974 39 12.5
Melbourne Airport 14.7 15.6 in 1974 39 12.6
Melbourne Regional Office 16.7 16.8 in 1974 39 13.2
Moorabbin Airport 15.0 =15.0 in 1983 30 12.8
Scoresby Research Institute 14.4 =14.4 in 1992* 19 12.4

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




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
East Central (district 86)
Bundoora (Latrobe University) 26.5 +2.4 35.9 12th 14.0 +1.5 7.0 29th 48.5 45.3 average 107%
Cerberus 26.4 +3.6 37.1 12th 14.3 +1.9 8.2 19th 39.2 46.4 average 84%
Coldstream 27.2 +2.3 36.2 11th 10.9 +1.3 4.4 19th 42.6 49.1 average 87%
Cranbourne Botanic Gardens 26.6 +3.3 36.8 12th 14.4 +2.1 9.0 20th 48.2 42.6 average 113%
Essendon Airport 27.3 +3.4 37.3 11th 15.1 +2.7 9.3 19th 58.2 40.2 high 145%
Melbourne Airport 26.9 +2.9 36.9 11th 14.7 +2.1 9.0 29th 43.2 37.8 high 114%
Melbourne Regional Office 27.6 +3.7 37.1 11th 16.7 +3.5 10.9 29th 42.2 50.3 average 84%
Moorabbin Airport 26.9 +3.3 37.1 12th 15.0 +2.2 9.1 20th 49.0 44.8 average 109%
Scoresby Research Institute 26.7 +2.7 36.0 11th 14.4 +2.0 5.9 19th 44.4 54.2 average 82%
Viewbank 27.4 +2.4 37.2 11th 14.2 +1.6 7.4 19th 48.6 45.8 average 106%
West Central (district 87)
Avalon Airport 27.3 +3.3 39.0 12th 14.5 +2.2 7.9 29th 4.0 27.5 v low 15%
Laverton RAAF 26.8 +3.2 37.2 12th 14.7 +2.2 8.5 29th 30.2 35.3 average 86%

Notes

A Monthly Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in Melbourne Metropolitan Area and Environs 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 4 pm 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 all available years of record, which vary widely from site to site. They are not shown for sites with less than 10 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.

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.


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