Australian Capital Territory in winter 2017: dry season with warm days and cool nights

Winter in Canberra was drier than average, particularly in the first half of the season. Daytime temperatures were warmer than average, but minimum temperatures were the coolest since 1982.

Very dry start to winter, but average rainfall August

  • Winter 2017 began with Canberra's driest June on record, when only 2.4 mm was recorded at Canberra Airport
  • July rainfall was also below average, but the city received average totals in August
  • A total of 68.6 mm fell at Canberra Airport during winter 2017 overall, almost 200 mm less than winter 2016 and Canberra's driest winter since 1994
  • More than 5 mm of rainfall was recorded on four days during the season, below the average of seven days

Cold nights, even for Canberra

  • Maximum temperatures were 1.3 °C above average in Canberra for winter, the eighth-warmest winter mean maximum on record
  • There were only five days with a maximum temperature below 10 °C, less than the average of 15 days for winter: the coolest day was 31 July when the temperature reached 8.8 °C
  • Minimum temperatures were 1.7 °C below average for the season, and particularly cool in June and July due to clear skies: it was the fourth-coolest winter on record for minimum temperature and the lowest since 1982
  • Minimum temperatures dropped to 2 °C or lower (the threshold for potential frost conditions) on 69 nights at Canberra Airport, more than the winter average of 57 nights
  • Canberra Airport reported -8.7 °C on July 1, its coldest morning since 1971

A snowy finish to winter

  • A cold front crossed New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory on 27 August, with snow and hail reported across the Territory

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Extremes in winter 2017
Hottest day 19.2 °C at Canberra Airport on 14 Aug
Warmest days on average 13.5 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest days on average 3.6 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Coldest day -2.5 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on 18 Aug
Coldest night -8.7 °C at Canberra Airport on 1 Jul
Coolest nights on average -2.1 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Warmest nights on average -0.6 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Warmest night 8.8 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS on 5 Jul
Warmest on average overall 6.3 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest on average overall 0.8 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest overall 246.6 mm at Mount Ginini AWS
Driest overall 68.6 mm at Canberra Airport
Wettest day 29.6 mm at Mount Ginini AWS on 4 Aug
Strongest wind gust 89 km/h at Mount Ginini AWS on 16 Aug

Record lowest winter total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
winter
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 72.0 86.2 in 2002 21 145.1

Lowest winter total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
lower
Average for
winter
Canberra (Australian National Botanic Ga 69.9 56.5 in 1994 154.8
Torrens (Darke St) 70.6 67.8 in 1994 154.1



Lowest winter mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
lower
Average for
winter
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS -0.6 -1.1 in 1997 0.8



Summary statistics for winter 2017
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
winter
2017
Diff
from
average
Highest for
winter
2017
Mean for
winter
2017
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
winter
2017
Total for
winter
2017
Average
for
winter
Rank of
winter
2017
Fraction of
winter
average
Canberra Airport 13.5 +1.3 19.2 14 Aug -1.0 -1.7 -8.7 1 Jul 68.6 128.2 low 54%
Mount Ginini AWS 3.6 +0.2 9.7 18 Jun -2.1 -0.3 -7.4 28 Aug 246.6 275.8 average 89%
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 13.2 +0.1 18.9 14 Aug -0.6 -1.4 -7.0 2 Jul 72.0 145.1 lowest 50%
Note: Observations for “Canberra Airport” are taken from the current site (Bureau number 070351), which opened in late 2008.
Comparisons are made against data from the previous site Canberra Airport Comparison (070014), which ran from 1939 to 2010.

Notes

The Seasonal climate summary, generally published on the first working day of each month, lists the main features of the weather in Australian Capital Territory using the most timely and accurate information available on the date of publication; it will generally not be updated. More extensive discussion of significant weather events, along with later information and data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

In September 2017 this summary was broadened to include data from observing sites in or near the Australian Capital Territory “Greater Capital City Statistical Area” (GCCSA). The Australian Bureau of Statistics designed the GCCSAs to “include the population within the urban area of the city, as well as people who regularly socialise, shop or work within the city, and live in small towns and rural areas surrounding the city. It is important to note that GCCSAs do not define the built up edge of the city. They provide a stable definition for these cities and are designed for the output of a range of social and economic survey data.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 12 pm on Friday 1 September 2017. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

In some situations, some or all of the rainfall is in the form of hail or snow. In these cases the totals given are for the water equivalent: the depth of liquid water that results from melting any frozen precipitation. There can be significant 'undercatch' of snow in strong winds, meaning the true precipitation can be higher than that reported.

Averages for individual sites 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.

Where temperature area averages are mentioned, they are derived from the ACORN-SAT dataset.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
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