Australia in Spring (September-November) 2010

In Brief

Wettest spring on record for Australia. Individually, most states had a very wet season, with the NT, Queensland and NSW all having their wettest spring on record, and all states except Tasmania in the top 10 wettest. Maximum temperatures were generally much cooler than normal, with the exception of western WA, which was much warmer than normal. Minimum temperatures were close to normal: cooler than average conditions dominated the interior, while coastal areas tended to be warmer than normal.


Temperatures

Nationally-averaged maximum temperatures were 1.23°C below normal for spring, making it Australia’s 4th coldest spring on record. Most of Australia had cooler than normal daytime temperatures, except the western coast of WA, the far tropical north, Tasmania and the far southeast of the mainland. Daytime temperatures were at least 1°C below normal in a wide region stretching from the eastern half of WA across to the eastern Australian coast. Anomalies of 3°C below normal were closer to the interior of the continent, in central Queensland and also a region surrounding the SA-NT border, with anomalies of at least 4°C below normal surrounding Alice Springs. Much of this area had their coldest spring maximum temperatures on record. Areas of lowest on record include a large region in central Queensland, as far east as Roma and Emerald, reaching across most of the southern NT, and over the SA border, as well as a small area just south of Cook in SA. The cooler maximum temperatures resulted in the NT recording its coldest spring maximum temperature on record (−1.91°C), Queensland its second coldest (−1.77°C), and SA its third coldest (−2.16°C). Widespread heavy rainfall in central Australia contributed to the cooler daytime temperatures.

Above average maximum temperatures were mostly confined to western WA, with temperatures of at least 1°C above normal in a region south of Port Hedland, and reaching in as far inland as Southern Cross. Part of this area, stretching along the coastline, had record high maximum spring temperatures. Two small regions near Broome in WA and the tip of the Cape York Peninsula also recorded daytime temperatures of at least 1°C above normal.

Nationally averaged minimum temperatures were near normal, with an anomaly of +0.15°C. Cooler anomalies were generally in central and southern Australia, with warmer anomalies along the tropical north, and wide regions across the western and eastern coasts. Notable cooler than normal minimum temperatures were mostly confined to the interior of the continent, with anomalies of −1°C surrounding a wide area of Alice Springs, as well as smaller areas near Birdsville in Queensland and Halls Creek and Giles in WA.

Minimum temperatures of 1°C above normal were found across the central west coast of WA, the tropical north, and a large region from Bundaberg in Queensland down to the Victorian-NSW border, reaching as far inland as Charleville in Queensland. The central west coast of WA and the Cape York Peninsula recorded anomalies of at least +2°C. These two regions also had areas of highest on record minima.


Areal average temperatures
  Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature
Rank
(out of 61)
Anomaly*
(°C)
Comment Rank
(out of 61)
Anomaly*
(°C)
Comment
Australia 4 −1.23 4th lowest; record is −1.50 (1956) 32 +0.15
Queensland 2 −1.77 2nd lowest; record is −1.88 (1978) 54 +0.79
New South Wales 7 −1.14 Lowest since 1992 41 +0.48
Victoria 23 −0.34 54 +0.52
Tasmania 40 +0.42 45 +0.22
South Australia 3 −2.16 3rd lowest; record is −2.37 (1956) 22 −0.18 Lowest since 1992
Western Australia 21 −0.29 35 +0.26
Northern Territory 1 −1.91 Lowest on record; previous record −1.81 (1974) 7 −0.94 Lowest since 1982

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


Temperature maps
MeanAnomalyDeciles
Mean
daily
maximum
temperatures
Map of mean daily maximum temperature Map of mean daily maximum temperature anomalies Map of mean daily maximum temperature deciles
Mean
daily
minimum
temperatures
Map of mean daily minimum temperature Map of mean daily minimum temperature anomalies Map of mean daily minimum temperature deciles

Rainfall

A very wet spring season occurred this year, with Australia recording its wettest spring on record. Nationally averaged rainfall was 163.0 mm (125% above normal), well clear of the previous record of 140.1 mm (set in 1975). Most of the states had a very wet spring, with all except for Tasmania having area averages in the top ten highest totals. The NT had its wettest spring on record, with 169.8 mm, as did NSW, with 245.7 mm. Queensland also had its wettest spring on record with 248.2 mm, breaking the previous record set in 1950 by more than 30 mm. SA also had a very wet spring with 127.9 mm, second only to 1975 (129.8 mm). WA had its 5th wettest spring, mostly due to the wet conditions in the northern half, while Victoria had its 9th wettest spring, making it the highest spring rainfall since 1993 (17 years). In stark contrast to most of the country, southwest WA had its driest spring on record.

Areas of very much above average rainfall were widespread across Australia, with central and eastern Australia having a particularly wet spring. Areas that received rainfall totals in the top 10% of records included northern and eastern WA, most of the NT, most of SA (except the southeast), Queensland, NSW (except the southeast coast) as well as northern and central Victoria. Large areas within these regions had highest on record falls, in particular central Australia, in an area along the NT-SA border stretching south into western NSW and north into central Queensland. Parts of the tropical north of Australia also had highest on record falls.

Despite the widespread wet, there were areas of Australia which received below average rainfall. The southwest region of WA, south of a line stretching from just north of Geraldton, down to just east of Esperance had falls in the lowest 10% of records with much of this near the western coast having lowest on record falls. The only other region in Australia to receive below average falls was the Gippsland region of Victoria.


Areal average rainfall
Rank
(out of 111)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean*
Comment
Australia 111 163.0 +125% Highest on record;
previous record 140.1 (1975)
Queensland 111 248.2 +194% Highest on record;
previous record 213.3 (1950)
New South Wales 111 245.7 +98% Highest on record;
previous record 239.9 (1917)
Victoria 103 259.6 +43% Highest since 1993
Tasmania 80 414.8 +13%
South Australia 110 127.9 +147% 2nd highest; record is 129.8 (1975)
Western Australia 107 71.9 +76% Highest since 1975
Northern Territory 111 169.8 +151% Highest on record;
previous record 153.2 (2000)
Murray-Darling Basin 111 235.5 +106% Highest on record;
previous record 227.9 (1917)

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


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


Australian weather extremes in spring 2010
Hottest day 46.9 °C at Roebourne (WA) on 10 November
Coldest day −2.6 °C at Mount Hotham (Vic) on 16 September
Coldest night −12.1 °C at Charlotte Pass (NSW) on 8 September
Warmest night 31.9 °C at Telfer Aero (WA) on 24 November
Wettest day 254.4 mm at Noosaville (QLD) on 9 October


Notes

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 December 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.


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