Australia in Winter (June-August) 2010

In Brief

Winter 2010 was a generally wet season over much of Australia, with near-normal daytime temperatures and warmer than normal overnight temperatures. Victoria and South Australia had their coolest winter in thirteen years, and NSW in a decade, while the northern tropics had a very warm winter, especially their overnight minima, of which there were areas of highest on record.

Significant rainfall fell over the northern and eastern regions of Australia, while southwestern WA had its driest winter on record.


Maximum temperatures averaged over Australia were 0.01C below normal for winter. Areas above normal were the western half of Western Australia, the northern half of the NT, northern and eastern Queensland, the South Coast district of NSW and Tasmania. The Pilbara region and a small area of the western Kimberley in Western Australia had stronger anomalies, with temperatures at least 1C above normal, and much of this area was in the highest decile. The northern NT and northern Queensland both also had maxima at least 1C above normal, with parts of the Darwin-Daly district and the Cape York Peninsula recording highest on record winter daytime temperatures.

Below normal maximum temperatures covered most of the central and southern regions of Australia. A region of central Australia, covering the southern NT and northern South Australia, extending slightly over the borders into Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, recorded at least 1C below normal, with small areas in the Alice Springs district 2C or more below normal.

Minimum temperatures for winter were generally below normal in the south, and above normal in the north. Minimum temperatures of 1 to 3C above normal covered most of the northern half of Western Australia, the northern and western NT, as well as northern and eastern Queensland, with the stronger anomalies tending to be further north. Positive anomalies exceeded 3C in a small area of the central Kimberley in Western Australia, and also in the Cape York Peninsula region of Queensland, where there were record high minima for winter. New records were set during the winter period. Cape Don in the NT set the record high daily minimum July temperature for Australia, with 26.9C on the 26th of July. Horn Island and Coconut Island, both in Queensland, set the record high daily minimum July temperature for Queensland, with 26.2C on the 27th and 2nd of July, respectively. Horn Island then set a record again in August, measuring the record high daily minimum August temperature for Queensland with 26.8C on the 19th of August.

Notable cooler than normal minimum temperatures were measured in southwest Western Australia and small areas near Port Augusta and Tarcoola in South Australia, where temperatures were 1 to 2C below normal. These areas were in the lowest decile, with a small area near Perth recording lowest on record.

Areal average temperatures
  Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature
(out of 61)
Comment Rank
(out of 61)
Australia 24 −0.01 Lowest since 1997 50 +0.56
Queensland 38 +0.54 54 1.18
New South Wales 18 −0.18 Lowest since 1998 37 +0.27
Victoria 21 −0.18 Lowest since 1992 15 −0.26
Tasmania 55 +0.97 40 +0.28
South Australia 9 −0.87 Lowest since 1989 34 +0.17
Western Australia 34 +0.25 49 +0.55
Northern Territory 17 −0.46 40 +0.39

*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


Nationally averaged rainfall was 13% above the long-term average, with higher than normal falls generally in the north and east of the country. A large band of highest decile rainfall extended across from the Kimberley, into the southern half of the NT and northern SA, through to the Queensland and NSW bordering region. Small areas near Derby in WA, Alice Springs in the NT and Moomba in SA had highest on record falls. An area of western Victoria between Ballarat and Warrnambool, and smaller patches, expecially around Bendigo, in Victoria also had winter rainfall in the highest decile, as did a small area east of Darwin and the far north Peninsula region in Queensland, where a small area on the eastern tip was highest on record.

Below average rainfall for winter was recorded in small areas near the Gulf of Carpentaria, Gippsland in Victoria, a small area near Bega, NSW, and small scattered areas of southeast SA. The most substantial area of below-normal rainfall was in the wider southwest WA region, extending down from Carnarvon and reaching just beyond Esperance. A large area of the southwest, extending almost up to Geraldton, and across to Southern Cross had their driest winter on record. The area averaged rainfall for the southwest WA region was 179.3mm, or 34% below average. This was lower than the previous record by a margin of more than 30 mm.

Areal average rainfall
(out of 111)
from mean*
Australia 83 75.0 +13%
Queensland 79 66.3 +25%
New South Wales 81 136.9 +11%
Victoria 65 210.3 +1%
Tasmania 46 415.3 −7%
South Australia 72 64.1 +7%
Western Australia 54 56.3 −9%
Northern Territory 107 51.5 +168% Highest since 1986
Murray-Darling Basin 87 135.1 +15%

*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 winter 2010
Hottest day 39.0 °C at Wyndham Aero (WA) on 20 August and Bradshaw (NT) on 25 August
Coldest day −5.3 °C at Mount Hotham (Vic) on 28 June
Coldest night −19.6 °C at Charlotte Pass (NSW) on 20 July
Warmest night 26.9 °C at Cape Don (NT) on 26 July
Wettest day 199.0 mm at Mount Wellington (Tas) on 12 August


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 Wednesday 1 September 2010. 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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Service notice

Network problems on 8 January disrupted processing of observations, affecting some climate information. Missing data are being retrieved and will be processed into our systems over coming weeks.