Australia in autumn 2013

In Brief

Southeastern Australia and northwestern Queensland continued to receive below average rainfall during autumn, although much of the remainder of the continent saw welcome above-average falls. Seasonal totals were above average for the Top End and most of Western Australia and central Australia.

Maximum temperatures were above average across the vast majority of Australia, but below average for part of coastal eastern Queensland. Minima were also above average for most of Australia but near average for New South Wales and southern Queensland. Autumn anomalies were +1.03 °C for maxima, averaged nationally, and +0.89 °C for minima.


Temperatures

Autumn maximum temperatures averaged across Australia were the equal-eighth-warmest on record with an anomaly of +1.03 °C. Area-averaged maxima for a number of other States were also in the top 10 records: Tasmania, third highest (+1.14 °C); South Australia, fourth highest (+1.77 °C); Victoria, fifth highest (+1.29 °C); and the Northern Territory, ninth highest (+1.42 °C). Maxima were above average across most of the country with Tasmania, most of Victoria, southwestern New South Wales, southeastern Western Australia, South Australia, western Queensland and southern parts of the Northern Territory all observing maxima in the highest 10 % of records (in total 34 % of Australia). Autumn maxima were the highest on record for parts of the southern coast of both the mainland and Tasmania. An area of the eastern coast between the northeastern corner of New South Wales and Townsville recorded below-average maxima.

As in summer, several heatwaves occurred during autumn 2013, the most notable in early March. Southeast Australia experienced a heatwave during the first two weeks of March as warm northerly winds elevated temperatures in southeast South Australia, Tasmania and southern Victoria. Melbourne set a new record for consecutive days reaching at least 30 °C, with a 9-day run of 32 °C or above. Special Climate Statement 45 summarises records set during this event.

Minimum temperatures for autumn were above average for most of mainland Australia and Tasmania but near average for the majority of New South Wales and the southeastern half of Queensland. Averaged nationally, minima were 0.89 °C above average, ranking as the tenth warmest autumn in 104 years of record. South Australia recorded its third-warmest autumn minima (+1.53 °C) and Western Australia its seventh-warmest (+1.16 °C). A large area of the southern coast of Western Australia and South Australia observed highest-on-record minima ( 5 % of Australia) while 37 % of Australia was in the highest 10 % of records.


Areal average temperatures
  Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature
Rank
(out of 104)
Anomaly*
(°C)
Comment Rank
(out of 104)
Anomaly*
(°C)
Comment
Australia 97.5 +1.03 equal-eighth highest 95 +0.89
Queensland 71.5 +0.46 90 +0.52
New South Wales 90 +0.83 68 +0.01
Victoria 100 +1.29 fifth highest 90 +0.66
Tasmania 102 +1.14 third highest 80 +0.24
South Australia 101 +1.77 fourth highest 102 +1.53 third highest
Western Australia 88.5 +0.96 98 +1.07 seventh highest
Northern Territory 96 +1.42 ninth highest 95.5 +1.16

*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

Autumn rainfall during 2013 was above average across the Top End; Kimberley, Interior and southern coast of Western Australia; central Australia and pastoral South Australia; and parts of northern, east coast and southwest Queensland. Rainfall was below average for parts of Western Australia's Pilbara and northern Gascoyne, western Queensland, southern and northwestern Tasmania, parts of southern New South Wales and the majority of Victoria. Large parts of Victoria, especially in the Western District, recorded rainfall in the lowest 10 % of autumn records, as did smaller areas of the New South Wales tablelands and Riverina.

For Australia as a whole, the area-averaged rainfall was 123.1 mm (2 % above the long-term average), ranking somewhat above the median as the 80th wettest autumn of 114 years. South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory received above-average falls, while the remaining States recorded below-average rainfall. Victoria's area-averaged total was the 17th driest on record for autumn. Areas of highest-on-record totals were restricted to isolated parts of the Top End, and Western Australian coast near Esperance.


Areal average rainfall
Rank
(out of 114)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean*
Comment
Australia 80 123.1 +2%
Queensland 64 150.2 −8%
New South Wales 44 101.4 −29%
Victoria 17 97.0 −38%
Tasmania 31 290.3 −15%
South Australia 92 67.9 +21%
Western Australia 80 107.3 +19%
Northern Territory 88 169.0 +21%
Murray-Darling Basin 45 84.1 −29%

*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 autumn 2013
Hottest day    46.0 °C at Roebourne (WA) on 20 March
Coldest day    −2.1 °C at Mount Hotham (Vic.) on 14 May
Coldest night    −8.8 °C at Cooma Airport AWS (NSW) on 25 May
Warmest night    32.1 °C at Gascoyne Junction (WA) on 8 March
Wettest day  288.6 mm at Mount Jukes (Qld.) on 4 March


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 EST on Monday 3 June 2013. 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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