Canberra in winter 2012: Mild days and cold nights for Canberra

  • Below average rainfall
  • Above average maximum temperatures, fewest cold days on record
  • Below average minimum temperatures, coldest since 1997

Below average rainfall

Canberra Airport recorded 119.5 mm of rainfall during winter, slightly below the historical average of 127.9 mm. Rain was close to normal throughout the winter, with 25 days of rain during the season (average 31). The wettest day was on the 11th of July as a surface trough crossed the state, with 22.4 mm at Canberra Airport and 33 mm at Mt Ginini. Canberra Airport also recorded two days above 15 mm associated with a surface trough in early June, with falls reaching 26.5 mm at Tidbinbilla.

Mild days and cold nights

The average maximum temperature at Canberra Airport during winter was 13.2 °C, 0.9 °C above the historical average and the equal 11th warmest on record. Temperatures were above average throughout the season but particularly mild during July, which was the 3rd warmest on record for Canberra. The warm temperatures were associated with generally clear conditions during the season and a lack of cool days.

The coldest day at Canberra Airport during winter was 9.2 °C, on the 24th of August; this is the first winter on record with no days below 9 °C. Only five days during the season failed to reach 10 °C, the equal fewest on record (average 19 days). In comparison, 12 days reached 15 °C, average for winter, with the warmest day reaching 19.4 °C on August 22.

The average minimum temperature was -0.3 °C, 0.9 °C below the winter average. This was the coolest winter for night-time temperatures since 1997, although only the 16th coolest on record. There were 49 nights of 0 °C or less, the most since 2002, of which 20 dropped below -4 °C, the most since 1997. In early July there were seven consecutive nights below -4 °C, only the fourth such spell on record for Canberra, while temperatures dropped to -6.6 °C in early August, the coldest night since July 2004.

The average temperature at Canberra Airport during winter was consequently 6.5 °C, equal to the historical average.

Other Phenomena

The prevailing winds during winter were westerly to northerly, forming 70% of 3pm winds, with 24% of winds from a southerly direction. This is slightly more southerly than normal for winter (15%), contributing to cooler night-time temperatures. There were 14 strong wind days at the airport, with the windiest day on August 10th, with wind gusts reaching 74 km/hr at the airport and 98 km/hr at Mt Ginini.

Canberra recorded an average of 5.8 hours of sunshine during winter, close to the historical average of 6 hours. There were no thunderstorms observed at the airport, with four reported anywhere in the ACT. The airport recorded 22 fogs (average 20), with snow observed on August 17 for the first time since 2005.

Further information

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Extremes in winter 2012
Hottest day 19.4 °C at Canberra Airport on 22 Aug
Warmest days on average 13.2 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest days on average 3.0 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Coldest day -2.3 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on 24 Aug
Coldest night -10.0 °C at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve on 5 Jul
Coolest nights on average -2.2 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Warmest nights on average -0.3 °C at Canberra Airport
-0.3 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Warmest night 7.7 °C at Canberra Airport on 3 Jun
Warmest on average overall 6.4 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest on average overall 0.5 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest overall 200.2 mm at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest day 33.0 mm at Mount Ginini AWS on 11 Jul
Highest wind gust 98 km/h at Mount Ginini AWS on 10 Aug

Record lowest winter temperature
Lowest temperature
in winter 2012 (°C)
Previous coolest
for winter
Years of
record
Average for
winter
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve -10.0 on 5 Jul = -10.0 on 28 Jun 1988 28 1.0



Summary statistics for winter 2012
Maximum temperatures
for winter
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for winter
(°C)
Rainfall
for winter
(millimetres)
Mean for
winter
2012
Diff
from
average
Highest for
winter
2012
Mean for
winter
2012
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
winter
2012
Total for
winter
2012
Average
for
winter
Rank of
winter
2012
Fraction of
winter
average
Canberra Airport 13.2 +0.9 19.4 22 Aug -0.3 -0.9 -6.6 2 Aug 119.5 127.9 average 93%
Mount Ginini AWS 3.0   8.3 24 Jul -2.2   -6.4 10 Aug 200.2
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 13.0   18.4 22 Aug -0.3   -6.2 7 Jul 114.2

Notes

As of March 2010, the official station for Canberra is 70351 'Canberra Airport'. Averages from the previous site, 70014 Canberra Airport Comparison, are used for comparisons (all years of record).

A Seasonal Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in ACT Monthly Summary 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 9 am on Monday 3 September 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