Canberra in summer 2016-17: Warmest summer days on record

Canberra recorded its warmest summer on record for daytime temperatures during 2016-17, and the second-warmest mean temperatures on record behind summer 2005-06, with persistently warm days throughout the summer. Overnight temperatures were also warmer than average, particularly during December, with a record-cold night in February. Rainfall was below average and the driest summer for Canberra since 2002-03, with few heavy rain days.

Warmest summer days on record

  • The average maximum temperature at Canberra Airport during summer was 30.5 °C, 3.4 °C above the historical average and well above the previous summer record of 29.9 °C in summer 2005-06
  • Summer was notable for the persistence of high temperatures, with Canberra Airport recording a record-breaking 53 days above 30 °C (average 26 days) as well as 18 days above 35 °C; this is the second-highest number of hot days on record behind 20 days in summer 2013-14 (average 5 days)
  • There were several heatwaves during the season with the most severe reaching 41.0 °C on 10 February and 41.6 °C on 11 February, two of the five highest temperatures at Canberra Airport since records began in mid-1939
  • The average minimum temperature was 1.2 °C above average, with very warm nights in December but closer to average minimums in February
  • Six nights remained above 20 °C during the summer, the second-highest number on record behind nine warm nights in summer 1972-73 (average one night)
  • Fourteen nights remained below 10 °C, below the summer average of 20 cool nights
  • Minimum temperatures were slightly below average during February, and Canberra recorded its coldest February night on record at 2.8 °C on the 21st
  • For more information on heat records broken during summer, see Special Climate Statement 61: Exceptional heat in southeast Australia in early 2017

A dry summer

  • Rainfall was 45% below average at Canberra Airport, the driest summer since 2002-03
  • Rainfall was close to average in December, but very low in January and February
  • There were 23 rain days, normal for summer, but only three recorded more than 10 mm of rain (average 5 days), all of which occurred during December
  • No days recorded 25 mm or more of rain, the first time since summer 2007-08 (average 1 day), with the heaviest falls associated with thunderstorms on 24 December

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries

Extremes in summer 2016-17
Hottest day 41.6 °C at Canberra Airport on 11 Feb 2017
Warmest days on average 30.5 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest days on average 20.2 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Coldest day 8.8 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on 15 Dec 2016
Coldest night -1.6 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on 20 Feb 2017
Coolest nights on average 9.6 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Warmest nights on average 14.3 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Warmest night 22.3 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS on 24 Jan 2017
Warmest on average overall 22.1 °C at Canberra Airport
22.1 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Coolest on average overall 14.9 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest overall 144.2 mm at Mount Ginini AWS
Driest overall 93.6 mm at Canberra Airport
Wettest day 34.0 mm at Mount Ginini AWS on 6 Dec 2016
Strongest wind gust 91 km/h at Mount Ginini AWS on 14 Jan 2017

Record highest summer temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
summer
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 41.1 on 10 Feb 2017 40.2 on 18 Jan 1998 21 28.1

Summary statistics for summer 2016-17

Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
summer
2016-17
Diff
from
average
Highest for
summer
2016-17
Mean for
summer
2016-17
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
summer
2016-17
Total for
summer
2016-17
Average
for
summer
Rank of
summer
2016-17
Fraction of
summer
average
Canberra Airport 30.5 +3.4 41.6 11 Feb 2017 13.8 +1.2 2.8 21 Feb 2017 93.6 171.7 low 55%
Mount Ginini AWS 20.2 +1.1 30.2 10 Feb 2017 9.6 +1.0 -1.6 20 Feb 2017 144.2 270.5 low 53%
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 29.9 +1.8 41.1 10 Feb 2017 14.3 +0.8 3.4 21 Feb 2017 127.0 197.0 low 64%
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 Canberra 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.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 9 am on Wednesday 1 March 2017. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

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.

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.

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
Enquiries