Australia in Spring (September-November) 2009

In Brief

It was a very warm and rather dry spring for Australia, with the most notable feature being an exceptionally warm November in the southeastern quarter of the continent. Rainfall was below normal over significant parts of the continent, with little early-season tropical activity in the north, although a major rain event in the southern inland in late November eased rainfall deficits there. Maximum temperatures were above normal virtually throughout the continent, and minimum temperatures were also above normal in most areas outside tropical Queensland.


Daytime maximum temperatures averaged over Australia were 1.44C above normal (3rd highest on record). They were the highest on record for Tasmania, and ranked second for Victoria and third for New South Wales. They were above normal almost throughout the continent, the only exception being a small area on the southern coast of Western Australia around Albany. They were at least 1C above normal over Victoria, New South Wales, most of South Australia, Queensland outside the tropics, the Northern Territory except for the northeast, north-western Tasmania, and most of Western Australia except the south-west and parts of the Kimberley. Anomalies exceeded +2C in most of inland NSW, south-eastern Queensland, northern Victoria and the South Australian Mallee, as well as patches around Broome and Darwin, and reached +3C in parts of central NSW. Records were set in the western NT Top End and north Kimberley, in north-western Tasmania, around Broome (WA) and Rockhampton (Queensland), and on exposed coastlines of Victoria and Kangaroo Island.

Overnight minimum temperatures were less extreme over the continent, averaging 0.80C above normal (8th highest on record), but the three south-eastern mainland states, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, all had their highest spring mean minimum temperatures on record. Conditions were milder in the tropics, where minima were below normal in most of tropical Queensland, as well as in the north-eastern Northern Territory and parts of the Kimberley. They were near normal in the west of Western Australia.

Elsewhere they were above normal, with anomalies of +1-2C widespread over an area covering South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales (except the far north-east), northern Tasmania, southern inland Queensland and border areas of the southern Northern Territory and eastern Western Australia. Peak anomalies, around +2C, occurred in the far south-west of NSW and in the northern Flinders Ranges. Records were set in both areas, as well as in the far west of South Australia and in east Gippsland (Victoria).

Areal average temperatures
  Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature
(out of 60)
Comment Rank
(out of 60)
Australia 58 +1.12 3nd highest; record is +1.42 (2006) 53 +0.80
Queensland 54 +1.18 35 +0.31
New South Wales 58 +2.59 3rd highest; record is +2.96 (2002) 60 +1.56 Highest on record; previous record +1.28 (1997)
Victoria 59+2.19 2nd highest; record is +2.31 (2006) 60 +1.39 Highest on record; previous record +1.32 (1975)
Tasmania 60 +1.38 Highest on record; previous record +1.15 (2007) 55 +0.70
South Australia 57 +1.72 60 +1.74 Highest on record; previous record +1.61 (1997)
Western Australia 55 +1.20 51 +0.61
Northern Territory 54 +1.15 40 +0.51

*Anomaly is the departure from the long-term (1961-1990) average.

Temperature maps
Map of mean daily maximum temperature Map of mean daily maximum temperature anomalies Map of mean daily maximum temperature deciles
Map of mean daily minimum temperature Map of mean daily minimum temperature anomalies Map of mean daily minimum temperature deciles


Spring rainfall averaged over Australia was 22% below normal (36th lowest of 110 years). The most significant dry conditions were in the north, with the Northern Territory 66% below normal (8th lowest on record) and Queensland 46% below normal. Rainfall was in the lowest decile in much of the western half of the Northern Territory, along the Gulf of Carpentaria coast near the Queensland-Northern Territory border, and along the Queensland coast and adjacent inland between Brisbane and St. Lawrence. There were also patches in the lowest decile on Cape York Peninsula, in central New South Wales around Hillston, and in western Tasmania around Strahan.

The most substantial areas of above-normal rainfall were in South Australia, covering the whole state except the far west, and reaching the highest decile in parts of the north, especially along the Stuart Highway corridor from Woomera northwards. This area of above-normal rainfall extended into north-western Victoria and south to Melbourne, and far western New South Wales and south-western Queensland. Rainfall was also above normal on parts of the northern New South Wales coast (reaching the highest decile around Coffs Harbour, which saw significant floods in October and November), eastern Tasmania, patches on the northern tropical coast of Queensland, and much of Western Australia away from the eastern border, although in the latter case totals were modest.

Areal average rainfall
(out of 110)
from mean*
Australia 36 56.8 −22%
Queensland 21 46.1 −46%
New South Wales 43 99.9 −22%
Victoria 67 190.1 +4%
Tasmania 40 330.4 −12%
South Australia 95 78.0 +53%
Western Australia 68 40.3 +0%
Northern Territory 8 23.2 −66%
Murray-Darling Basin 45 92.0 −22%

*The mean is calculated for the 1961-1990 reference period.

Rainfall maps
Map of total rainfall Map of percentage of normal rain Map of rainfall deciles

Australian weather extremes in spring 2009
Hottest day 47.4 °C at Marree (SA) on 18 November
Coldest day −3.8 °C at Thredbo (Top Station) (NSW) on 26 September
Coldest night −10.4 °C at Thredbo (Top Station) (NSW) on 2 September
Warmest night 33.3 °C at White Cliffs Airport (NSW) on 19 November
Wettest day 398.6 mm at Spicketts Creek (NSW) on 27 October


The Seasonal Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in Australia using the most timely and accurate information available on the date of publication; it will generally not be updated.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 12 pm on Tuesday 1 December 2009. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available, especially for rainfall where much more data becomes available as returns are received from volunteers.

Long-term averages in this statement and associated tables are for the period 1961 to 1990 unless otherwise specified.

In the tables, fractional ranks denote tied values.

A new area-averaging method was adopted for rainfall in May 2009. Current and historical totals for Tasmania are substantially higher than under the old scheme, but differences for other states, and nationally, are negligible. The rankings and departures from mean shown here use the new method.

Further information

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