Australia in summer 2015–16

In Brief

  • National mean temperature sixth-warmest on record for summer
  • Maximum temperature tenth-warmest; minimum temperature fourth-warmest
  • Maximum temperatures above average across southeast Australia and much of the tropical coast
  • Minimum temperatures very much above average for more than 40 per cent of Australia
  • Rainfall close to average for Australia as a whole
  • Rainfall very much above average in the southwest Australia and central Australia
  • Widespread record December temperatures in southest Australia
  • Extreme rainfall in northern and eastern Tasmania during late January

Summer was very warm for much of Australia, with very much above average mean temperatures across much of coastal northern Australia, throughout inland western Queensland and New South Wales, almost all of Victoria, all of Tasmania and much of southern and eastern South Australia. No State or territory recorded negative temperature anomalies for any of maximum, minimum or mean temperatures, with a National mean temperature anomaly of +0.82 °C (sixth-warmest on record). The summer maximum temperature was also very warm (+0.82 °C), and had the same spatial coverage as for mean temperatures, although not as widespread throughout western Queensland and New South Wales. A much larger area of northern inland Queensland recorded very much above average summer minimum temperatures. For Australia as a whole, it was the fourth-warmest summer for mean minimum temperatures (+0.83 °C).

Rainfall during summer was close to average, with all States except for South Australia and the Northern Territory recording below average rainfall. Larger areas of very much above average rainfall were recorded across the southwest of the continent, and in a region extending from the southern part of central Australia through much of the Northern Territory. Smaller patches of very much below average were recorded throughout much of northern coastal Australia and for parts of inland South Australia. Patches of very much above average rainfall were recorded in parts of the southern Australia surrounding the Great Australian Bight, north and east Tasmania, central New South Wales and throughout areas of inland Queensland.


Temperatures

Across the season, mean temperatures were average or below average in the central Northern Territory, southern Western Australia (except the southwest) and southeastern Queensland and northern New South Wales. Very much above average temperatures were recorded for all of Tasmania, eastern and southern South Australia, western New South Wales, inland western and northern Queensland and the Top End of the Northern Territory. Small areas of warmest on record included eastern Tasmania, the northern tip of Cape York Peninsula, a small part of the western part of the Peninsula, the north east part of Arnhem Land and the western Kimberley. Elsewhere, above average temperatures were recorded.

Widespread above average mean temperatures were recorded in at least one month of the season for all states except the Northern Territory, which recorded the only negative monthly mean temperature anomaly for the season (-0.45 °C in December). Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia all recorded their warmest December on record for statewide mean temperatures, while Tasmania also recorded its second-warmest January on record.

During each month of summer, large areas of below average or very-much below average monthly maximum temperatures were generally recorded in areas associated with above average rainfall. Above average summer maximum temperatures largely corresponded to areas that were also above average for summer mean temperatures. During December, a widespread heatwave resulted in record December temperatures in southeast Australia.

Summer minimum temperatures were very much above average throughout most of inland eastern Australia, much of northern Australia and Victoria, all of Tasmania and parts of southern Australia. Areas of very much above average minimum temperatures were more widespread than for maximum temperatures during December and January, but of smaller extent during February, when they were largely constrained to northern Australia.


Areal average temperatures
Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
Rank
(of 106)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 106)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 106)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment
Australia 98 +0.82 9th highest 103 +0.83 4th highest (record +0.94 °C in 1973) 101 +0.82 6th highest
Queensland 90 +0.94 104 +1.21 3rd highest (record +1.88 °C in 2006) 102 +1.08 5th highest
New South Wales 89 +1.43 94 +1.22 92 +1.33
Victoria 103 +1.85 4th highest (record +2.50 °C in 2001) 104 +1.61 3rd highest (record +1.95 °C in 1981) 104 +1.73 3rd highest (record +2.18 °C in 2001)
Tasmania 105 +1.89 2nd highest (record +2.10 °C in 1961) 106 +1.67 highest (was +1.43 °C in 1971) 106 +1.78 highest (was +1.33 °C in 1981 and 1961)
South Australia 97 +1.35 10th highest 96 +1.21 100 +1.29 7th highest
Western Australia 90 +0.56 =91 +0.40 91 +0.49
Northern Territory 74 +0.12 86 +0.41 = 78 +0.27

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 106 (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
Mean
daily
temperatures
Map of mean daily temperature Map of mean daily temperature anomalies Map of mean daily temperature deciles

Rainfall

During summer, Australian area-averaged rainfall was close to normal (2 % below normal). Average rainfall occurred mostly away from the coast across the eastern mainland of the continent, and in the interior regions of the northwest. Below average rainfall was recorded across much of the north tropical coast, excluding three distinct regions: the coastal Daly District of the Northern Territory, areas surrounding the Gulf of Carpentaria and Far North Queensland between Cooktown and Princess Charlotte Bay. Although these regions received highest on record or very much above average rainfall during December, their rainfall during January and February was below average.

Very much above average summer rainfall was also recorded in the southwest of the country (where January rainfall was very much above average), throughout parts of the south east interior of Western Australia and through central east Northern Territory extending into adjacent regions of northeast South Australia. Smaller regions of above average rainfall were recorded near the Great Australian Bight including the lower part of the Lower Eyre Peninsula (largely due to rain in February), and in the Hunter District of New South Wales (as a result of January rainfall). Heavy rainfall in the last four days of January resulted in above average summer rainfall for parts of north and east Tasmania, as described in Special Climate Statement 54 .

Very much below average to below average rainfall was recorded in the central region of the northern Pastoral Districts of South Australia, central areas of the Upper Western District in New South Wales, and throughout parts of tropical Queensland and the Top End. Below average rainfall was recorded in western Tasmania, areas surrounding Melbourne and extending north to the Murray River, the Southeast Coast District of Queensland, and the adjacent Northern Rivers District of New South Wales.


Area-average rainfall
Rank
(of 116)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean
Comment
Australia 54 203.3 −2%
Queensland 37 281.8 −13%
New South Wales 56 146.1 −14%
Victoria 51 110.2 −8%
Tasmania 40 224.3 −9%
South Australia 80 66.2 +6%
Western Australia 64 144.0 −3%
Northern Territory 82 366.5 +16%
Murray-Darling Basin 59 127.5 −11%

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 116 (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 summer 2015-16
Hottest day   47.8 °C at Emu Creek Station (WA) on 13 February and at Mardie (WA) on 12 February
Coldest day   2.6 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle, Tas.) on 16 February
Coldest night   −4.6 °C at Dinner Plain (Mount Hotham Airport, Vic.) on 12 December
Warmest night   34.1 °C at Moomba Airport (SA) on 7 December
Wettest day 291.0 mm at Willeroo (Qld) on 26 December


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. Later information, including data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review, usually published in the fourth week of the month.

Climate Summaries are usually published on the first working day of each month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 10 am EST on Tuesday 1 December 2015. 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.

The system used for calculating areal averages of rainfall was changed in May 2009; the main effect was that current and historical values for Tasmania were increased. Since December 2012, ACORN-SAT has been used for calculating areal averages of temperature; the major change from earlier datasets is that the ACORN-SAT dataset commences in 1910, and hence rankings are calculated using a larger set of years.


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