Australia in spring 2011

In Brief

Spring 2011 saw a return to wet conditions following a dry winter with most of western and northern Australia recording above average falls. Maximum and minimum temperatures were above average over southern Australia with cool conditions recorded in the Kimberley and parts of the NT.


Temperatures

Maximum temperatures averaged over Australia were 0.3°C above normal for spring. Much of Australia recorded temperatures within a degree of the average with southeastern Australia recording above average day time temperatures while northeast WA and large parts of the NT recorded cooler than normal conditions. Almost all of the states with the exception of WA and the NT, recorded above average statewide temperatures.

Southern and eastern Victoria, southeastern SA, northern Tasmania as well as parts of southwest NSW, southern WA and far northern Queensland recorded very much above average maximum temperatures ranking in the top 10% of springs on record. The most notable statewide daytime temperatures were recorded in Tasmania, which experienced its second warmest spring on record with an anomaly of +1.2°C (record is +1.4°C in 2009). In contrast to southeast Australia, the Kimberley region and parts of the NT ranked in the coldest 10% of springs on record.

Minimum temperatures followed a similar pattern to daytime temperatures with warmer conditions recorded in southern Australia and far northern Queensland while cooler than normal overnight temperatures were recorded across most of the north. National overnight temperatures averaged over Australia were slightly above average (+0.1°C). Most of the southern coast recorded minimum temperatures in the warmest 10% of records while the Kimberley’s ranked in the coolest 10% with small areas within this region recording their coldest spring on record. An area in the south on the eastern border of WA and SA recorded its warmest spring on record for spring minimum temperatures. Victoria recorded its third warmest spring on record for overnight temperatures making this the third warmest spring for mean temperatures (average of maximum and minimum). Tasmania recorded its fourth warmest spring on record for mean temperatures.


Areal average temperatures
  Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature
Rank
(out of 62)
Anomaly*
(°C)
Comment Rank
(out of 62)
Anomaly*
(°C)
Comment
Australia 33 +0.31 32 +0.11 lowest since 2001
Queensland 42 +0.54 equal 30 +0.14 lowest since 2001
New South Wales 46 +1.13 47 +0.73
Victoria 56 +1.46 60 +1.03 Third highest; Record is +1.39 (2009)
Tasmania 61 +1.24 Second highest; Record is +1.38 (2009) 51 +0.43
South Australia 51 +1.11 53 +0.98
Western Australia 23 +−0.20 equal 24 −0.12 lowest since 2001
Northern Territory 18 −0.41 10 −0.71

*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

Following a dry winter, Australia experienced a return to wet conditions during spring 2011 with a national average of 107.4 mm (48% above normal) recorded during spring 2011. Most of Australia recorded above normal falls with most of the northwestern half of Australia, including parts of northern NSW, recording very much above average falls ranking in the wettest 10% of springs on record. Small areas in WA, the NT and northeast NSW recorded their wettest spring on record while WA recorded its second wettest spring on record statewide with 88.5 mm (116% above normal) with the spring of 1975 holding the record with 115 mm. All of the states recorded rainfall which was above or very close to their average rainfall. Dry conditions were only recorded along the southern half of the Queensland coast and the coastal area between Adelaide and Melbourne.

The wet conditions in northwestern Australia were driven by above average rainfall recorded in both October and November with these conditions partly associated with the reformed weak La Niña in the tropical Pacific ocean and the warmer than normal sea surface temperatures off the WA coast.


Areal average rainfall
Rank
(out of 112)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean*
Comment
Australia 100 107.4 +48%
Queensland 71 92.5 +10%
New South Wales 96 174.5 +41%
Victoria 59 180.2 0%
Tasmania 56 361.4 −1%
South Australia 85 67.7 +33%
Western Australia 111 88.5 +116% 2nd highest on record; Record is 114.9 mm (1975); highest since 1975
Northern Territory 104 126.4 +87%
Murray-Darling Basin 86 153.4 +34%

*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 2011
Hottest day 44.1 °C at Birdsville (QLD) on the 15th November
Coldest day −3.5 °C at Mt Hotham (VIC) on the 9th September
Coldest night −11.0 °C at Charlotte Pass (NSW) on the 21st September
Warmest night 29.6 °C at Birdsville (QLD) on the 8th November
Wettest day 422.0 mm at Happy Valley (QLD) on the 19th 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 2pm EST on Thursday 1 December 2011. 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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