Australia in spring 2015

In Brief

  • National mean temperatures second warmest on record for spring
  • Maximum temperature second warmest; minimum temperature third warmest
  • Maximum temperatures very much above average across Australia
  • Minimum temperatures very much above average across southern Australia
  • Rainfall below average for Australia as a whole, although above average in the north of Western Australia
  • October was the warmest on record, and had the highest mean temperature anomaly on record for any month
  • Significant early-season heat, with a Special Climate Statement issued

Spring was an exceptionally warm season for most of Australia, although nights were cooler than average for much of the Kimberley and parts of the Top End. Nationally, maximum temperatures were the second warmest on record for spring and minimum temperatures were the third warmest on record (anomalies of +2.08 °C and +1.21 °C respectively). The national mean temperature was the second warmest on record for spring, at 1.65 degrees above the long-term (1961–1990) average.

Maximum temperatures were very much above average for most of Australia. It was warmest on record for most of Tasmania, the west of Western Australia, along with some other scattered areas such as the southern coastline of Victoria. Minimum temperatures were very much above average for the southern half of Australia, extending into the Pilbara and inland central Queensland. Minima were warmer than average for most of the remainder of Queensland and adjacent parts of the Northern Territory, and near average for most of the Kimberley and the Northern Territory. Areas of the northeastern Kimberley and central Top End had cooler than average night-time temperatures. Mean minimum temperatures in areas of southwestern South Australia, southern and western Western Australia, and the central to southern coast of New South Wales were the warmest on record for minima.

Rainfall during spring was 29% below the long-term mean for Australia as a whole. Rainfall was lower than average for the season over most of the eastern two thirds of Australia; very much below average for the west of the South West Land Division in Western Australia, southeastern South Australia and Victoria, parts of the Top End; and lowest on record for much of Tasmania. Large parts of the northern half of Western Australia observed above-average rainfall for the season, owing to above-average rainfall in both October and November.


Temperatures

Each of the individual months of spring experienced rather different temperature patterns: September days were very much warmer than average across the west of Western Australia while the nights were cooler than average along a broad strip extending from the northwest through the centre to cover the mainland southeast; October saw record warmth for both maxima and minima across the southern half of Australia, and was record-warm for the nation as a whole, recording the highest mean temperature anomaly for any month; November saw above-average temperatures across Australia for both maxima and minima and was third warmest on record for Australia as a whole.

The mean national maximum temperature for spring was 2.08 °C warmer than average, the second highest on record. Every State and the Northern Territory observed spring maxima in the warmest eight on record. For Western Australia spring maxima were the warmest on record at +2.41 °C, 0.15 °C above the record set last year. Tasmania and Victoria observed their second warmest springs. A number of stations in the southeastern States (particularly Victoria and Tasmania, which both observed their second warmest springs) observed record-high mean temperatures for the season, as did a number of Western Australian sites.

Maximum temperatures were above to very much above average for most of Australia, with parts of the southern Cape York Peninsula and North Tropical Coast observing near-average maxima, as did a pocket of southeast Queensland and the central western Northern Territory. Maxima were in the highest 10% of historical observations (decile 10) for spring across the southwestern half of Queensland, all but northeastern New South Wales, all of Victoria and South Australia, all of Western Australia except the western half of the Kimberley, and an area of the central western Northern Territory. Spring mean maxima were the highest on record for nearly all of Tasmania, parts of southern Victoria, areas of southwestern and northwestern New South Wales, central northern South Australia, and a large area of Western Australia, roughly west of a line between Karratha and Esperance. A large number of stations in Victoria and Western Australia observed their average warmest spring days on record, as did some stations in Tasmania.

Minimum temperatures were above to very much above average for the southern half of Australia, extending into the Pilbara, southern and eastern Northern Territory, and northern Queensland south of the Cape York Peninsula. Minima were in the highest 10% of historical observations (decile 10) across much of this area. They were highest on record for areas of Western Australia in the coastal Pilbara, extending from the Central West district into the central Gascoyne, along the south coast of Western Australia extending into a large part of southwestern South Australia, a small area of southwestern Queensland, and in areas of the central to southern coast of New South Wales and adjacent northeastern Victoria. A number of sites in New South Wales and Western Australia observed record-warm mean spring minima, as did a few sites in Victoria and South Australia.

Minima were near-average for much of the Northern Territory and Kimberley, with cooler-than-average nights observed in the northern and parts of the eastern Kimberley, and in parts of the central Top End, extending to the Darwin area and parts of the eastern Top End. Minima were also near average for areas of Queensland including the northern Cape York Peninsula, the North Tropical Coast, East Central Coast, near Bundaberg, and in the southwest.


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 105 +2.08 2nd highest (record +2.32 °C in 2014) 104 +1.21 3rd highest (record +1.30 °C in 1998) 105 +1.65 2nd highest (record +1.67 °C in 2014)
Queensland 99 +1.37 8th highest 100 +1.11 7th highest 100 +1.24 7th highest
New South Wales 103 +2.86 4th highest (record +3.20 °C in 2014) 104 +1.71 3rd highest (record +2.18 °C in 1914) 105 +2.29 2nd highest (record +2.42 °C in 1914)
Victoria 105 +2.99 2nd highest (record +3.33 °C in 1914) 102 +1.11 5th highest 106 +2.05 highest (was +1.99 °C in 1914)
Tasmania 105 +1.36 2nd highest (record +1.89 °C in 1914) = 90 +0.43 105 +0.90 2nd highest (record +1.03 °C in 2005)
South Australia 103 +2.71 4th highest (record +3.06 °C in 2014) 106 +1.68 highest (was +1.42 °C in 1997 and 1914) 105 +2.19 2nd highest (record +2.21 °C in 2014)
Western Australia 106 +2.41 highest (was +2.26 °C in 2014) 105 +1.44 2nd highest (record +1.54 °C in 2006) 106 +1.93 highest (was +1.83 °C in 2014)
Northern Territory 99 +1.34 8th highest 74 +0.34 = 87 +0.84

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

Australian area-averaged spring rainfall was 29% below the long-term (1961–1990) mean, with the State averages for Tasmania (59% below mean) and Victoria (47% below mean) particularly low.

Spring rainfall was below to very much below average for the South West Land Division and South Coastal district of Western Australia, western and southeastern South Australia, all of Victoria except Gippsland, all of Tasmania, parts of southeastern and western New South Wales, large parts of Queensland, the south of the Northern Territory and the Top End. Rainfall was in the lowest 10% of historical observations (decile 1) for the west of the South West Land Division, southeast South Australia, most of Victoria except along the northern border, extending to South Gippsland, areas of the Top End, and a part of the southwestern Alice Springs district. For Tasmania, spring rainfall was the lowest on record for all but the northeast and a strip along the east coast, and the Tasmanian area-average was lowest on record. Victoria's area-average rainfall was the sixth lowest on record for spring. A number of sites in Victoria and Tasmania received their lowest spring rainfall on record.

Rainfall for the season was above average for much of the northern half of Western Australia, extending just into the central western Northern Territory, some small pockets of the east coast between southeast Queensland and the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, and also for some very small areas of Queensland, New South Wales, and southeast Western Australia.

Dry conditions were dominant in the first two months of spring, while above-average rainfall in parts of Australia in November were not sufficient to reverse the trend. There was below-average rainfall across most of Australia during September (the third-driest September on record nationally). October had below-average rain except in the northern half of Western Australia, and was particularly dry in southern South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. November rainfall was mixed, being lower than average for the southwestern corner of Western Australia, southern Victoria, Tasmania, and the Top End, but above average for many other areas.


Area-average rainfall
Rank
(of 116)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean
Comment
Australia 34 51.2 −29%
Queensland 39 57.0 −32%
New South Wales 49 102.7 −17%
Victoria 6 96.0 −47% 6th lowest
Tasmania 1 151.3 −59% lowest
South Australia 30 29.0 −43%
Western Australia 70 39.8 −3%
Northern Territory 33 37.5 −45%
Murray-Darling Basin 35 80.4 −30%

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 spring 2015
Hottest day   46.8 °C at Roebourne Aero (WA) on 15 November
Coldest day   −3.6 °C at Thredbo AWS (NSW) on 23 September
Coldest night   −8.3 °C at Thredbo AWS (NSW) on 24 September
Warmest night   33.2 °C at Telfer Aero (WA) on 23 November
Wettest day 127.0 mm at Marodian TM (Qld.) on 15 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. 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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