Australia in spring 2013

In Brief

Spring 2013 was the warmest on record for Australia in terms of both mean temperatures (anomaly of +1.57 °C) and maximum temperatures (anomaly of +2.07 °C). Area-averaged national minimum temperatures were also well above average at +1.07 °C, the fourth-warmest on record. Maximum temperatures were above average for nearly all of Australia, excluding Tasmania, southwestern Victoria and adjacent southeastern South Australia where maxima were near average. A large area of highest-on-record spring maxima was recorded in the inland north. Minimum temperatures were also above average across most of Australia although areas of near-average minima were recorded around the northern coastline and across much of the inland southeast, with an area of cooler-than-average minima recorded inland of the Great Dividing Range in southern New South Wales.

Rainfall was 10% below the long-term mean when averaged nationally, although Tasmania and the tropical north received above-average spring rain, with above-average totals also generally recorded in southern Western Australia and the coastal fringe of the southeast mainland. Most of South Australia, northwestern and northeastern Victoria, New South Wales inland of the Divide, western and southern Queensland and the southern half of the Northern Territory recorded below-average rainfall.


Temperatures

Maximum temperatures during spring were the warmest on record for Australia as a whole and also for Queensland and the Northern Territory, while maxima were the third warmest on record for New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia. The national maximum temperature anomaly was +2.07 °C, 0.24 °C above the previous record set in 2006. Spring mean temperatures were also Australia's warmest on record, with the anomaly of 1.57 °C surpassing the previous record (also set in 2006) by 0.14 °C. All states and the Northern Territory, except Victoria and Tasmania, placed at least sixth-highest on record for mean temperatures. Minima were also above average, placing at fourth highest for the national anomaly of +1.07 °C, with all regions except Victoria and Tasmania placing at least equal-tenth-highest on record. Of the three months in the season, September was the warmest and set a new high record for monthly mean temperature anomaly at +2.75 °C, October was also a warm month (mean temperature anomaly +1.43 °C, seventh-highest), and November somewhat cooler at +0.52 °C although still sufficient to leave Australia well on track to set a new record for warmest calendar year come the end of December.

Maximum temperatures were near average across Tasmania, southeastern South Australia and southwestern Victoria and above average to highest on record over the remainder of Australia. Temperatures were very much above average (in the highest 10% of records) for 82% of Australia, missing only parts of inland southeastern New South Wales, far northern Queensland, the northern coasts and southern Western Australia in addition to Victoria and Tasmania as mentioned above. Spring maxima were the highest on record for a broad area extending from the central west of Western Australia, through central Australia, western and southern inland Queensland and northern border areas of inland New South Wales, and a small area of the east coast north of Newcastle.

Minimum temperatures were above to very much above average across Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland except for small areas near the coast, and also for western and southeastern South Australia, the southern half of Victoria, Tasmania, and coastal and far western New South Wales. The northern half of Victoria, the remainder of New South Wales and eastern South Australia between about Marree and Adelaide recorded near-average minima, with below-average minima recorded in a small area near Port Augusta and a larger area covering the South West Slopes District in New South Wales and reaching just across the border into Victoria. Damaging late-season frosts occurred in this area on 18 October.


Areal average temperatures
Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
Rank
(of 104)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 104)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 104)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment
Australia 104 +2.07 highest (was +1.83 °C in 2006) 101 +1.07 4th highest (record +1.30 °C in 1998) 104 +1.57 highest (was +1.43 °C in 2006)
Queensland 104 +2.41 highest (was +2.01 °C in 1915) 100 +1.22 5th highest 104 +1.81 highest (was +1.68 °C in 2005)
New South Wales 102 +2.75 3rd highest (record +3.04 °C in 2006) 76 +0.48 99 +1.62 6th highest
Victoria 87 +1.09 90 +0.52 90 +0.80
Tasmania = 57 +0.04 97 +0.65 8th highest = 80 +0.34
South Australia 102 +2.56 3rd highest (record +2.74 °C in 2006 and 2012) = 94 +0.97 equal 10th highest 102 +1.76 3rd highest (record +2.07 °C in 2006)
Western Australia 102 +1.58 3rd highest (record +1.87 °C in 2006) 102 +1.11 3rd highest (record +1.54 °C in 2006) 103 +1.35 2nd highest (record +1.71 °C in 2006)
Northern Territory 104 +2.01 highest (was +1.55 °C in 2002) 99 +1.35 6th highest 103 +1.68 2nd highest (record +1.80 °C in 2005)

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 104 (highest). A rank marked with ’=‘ indicates the value is tied for that rank. 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

For Australia as a whole, area-averaged rainfall was 10% below the long-term average, although this value conceals marked regional differences. South Australia and New South Wales recorded area-averaged totals 57% and 33% below average respectively, with the area of below-average rainfall covering most of South Australia, northwestern Victoria, the southeastern half of the Northern Territory and extending from northwest Queensland through the east inland of the ranges all the way to northeastern Victoria. Across the Murray-Darling Basin it was the 19th-driest spring on record (41% below average).

A number of October storms in the northwest of Western Australia and an early start to the wet season for the north more generally in the second half of November contributed to above average spring rainfall from the Kimberley to the Cape York Peninsula. Above-average spring rainfall recorded in southern Western Australia was mostly the result of above-average rainfall during September. Tasmania also recorded above-average spring rainfall, although as a result of more consistent rainfall throughout the season, associated with generally persistent westerly flow which also contributed to above-average rainfall in a narrow strip along the coast of Victoria.


Area-average rainfall
Rank
(of 114)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean
Comment
Australia 57 65.3 −10%
Queensland 54 73.3 −13%
New South Wales 28 82.6 −33%
Victoria 39 154.9 −14%
Tasmania 105 483.2 +32% 10th highest; highest since 1988
South Australia = 11 22.1 −57%
Western Australia 87 49.4 +20%
Northern Territory 77 71.1 +5%
Murray-Darling Basin 19 67.2 −41%

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 114 (highest). A rank marked with ’=‘ indicates the value is tied for that rank. Departure from mean is relative to the long-term (1961–1990) average.


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


Australian weather extremes in spring 2013
Hottest day   46.4 °C at Roebourne (WA) on 5 November
Coldest day   −3.1 °C at Mount Wellington (Tas.) on 11 September
Coldest night  −11.6 °C at Perisher Valley AWS (NSW) on 13 September
Warmest night    31.8 °C at Argyle Aerodrome (WA) on 17 November
Wettest day  258.0 mm at Gray (Haven of Hope) (Tas.) on 13 November


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 noon EST on Saturday 1 December 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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