Australia in spring 2014

In Brief

Spring 2014 was the warmest on record for Australia, for the second year running. Both mean temperatures and maximum temperatures were highest on record for the season. The national maximum temperature anomaly was +2.33 °C (previous record +2.06 °C in 2013), mean temperature anomaly +1.67 °C (previous record +1.57 °C in 2013) and minimum temperature anomaly +1.02 °C (equal-fifth-highest). Maximum temperatures were very much above average for nearly all of Australia and highest on record for large areas, mostly in Western Australia and South Australia. Minimum temperatures were above to very much average for most of Australia except the tropical north, for parts of which minima were below average.

Spring rainfall for Australia as a whole was 34% below the long-term mean. Rainfall was below average across most of Australia, except for Western Australia where rainfall was generally above average for the season. For the Murray–Darling Basin this spring was the equal-tenth-driest on record.


Temperatures

Australia has seen persistent warmth in recent seasons, and spring 2014 was no exception. It was the warmest spring on record for Australia, with the national mean temperature anomaly of +1.67 °C not only surpassing the spring record set only last year, but indeed surpassing the largest positive mean temperature anomaly recorded for any season (previous record +1.64 °C set during autumn 2005, records start in 1910). Nine of the ten warmest springs on record have occurred in the last thirteen years (2002–2014). The warmth of spring was not only exceptional in degree, but also in extent, affecting nearly all of Australia.

A Special Climate Statement will shortly be released covering the several significant heatwaves which occurred during spring 2014 and summarising records set, although as the number of records set at individual locations is very large please refer to the separate regional summaries for tables of station records.

Maximum temperatures were above to very much above average across nearly all of Australia. Maximum temperatures were highest on record for spring across 23% of the country and highest on record for large areas in Western Australia, stretching from the Pilbara coast to the Eucla district and southeast Western Australia, across western South Australia and into western New South Wales. Highest-on-record maxima were also recorded in the southern Top End, parts of northern New South Wales and along the coast of southeast South Australia and western Victoria. The national maximum temperature anomaly for Australia as a whole was +2.33 °C (previous record +2.06 °C set in 2013). Maximum temperature anomalies for all States and the Northern Territory were ranked amongst the four warmest on record for spring.

Minimum temperatures were above to very much above average for nearly all of Australia except the tropical north. Spring minima were highest on record for a large area of southeastern Western Australia and adjacent parts of South Australia and the Central Wheat Belt District of Western Australia (in total 11% of Australia). In contrast, most of the Cape York Peninsula, the Top End, an area extending from the eastern Kimberley into the west of the Victoria River District of the Northern Territory and a small area of Queensland's Capricornia coast recorded below-average minimum temperatures for spring. The national minimum temperature anomaly was equal-fifth-highest on record at +1.02 °C. Mean minimum temperatures for spring were second-highest on record for Western Australia, with New South Wales and South Australia also placed seventh-warmest and sixth-warmest on record.


Areal average temperatures
Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
Rank
(of 105)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 105)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 105)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment
Australia 105 +2.33 highest (was +2.06 °C in 2013) = 100 +1.02 equal 5th highest 105 +1.67 highest (was +1.57 °C in 2013)
Queensland 102 +1.88 4th highest (record +2.41 °C in 2013) 95 +0.84 102 +1.36 4th highest (record +1.81 °C in 2013)
New South Wales 105 +3.20 highest (was +3.04 °C in 2006) 99 +1.22 7th highest 104 +2.21 2nd highest (record +2.42 °C in 1914)
Victoria 104 +2.63 2nd highest (record +3.33 °C in 1914) 87 +0.43 103 +1.53 3rd highest (record +1.99 °C in 1914)
Tasmania 103 +1.01 3rd highest (record +1.89 °C in 1914) 88 +0.33 100 +0.66 6th highest
South Australia 105 +3.06 highest (was +2.74 °C in 2012 and 2006) 100 +1.34 6th highest 105 +2.20 highest (was +2.07 °C in 2006)
Western Australia 105 +2.26 highest (was +1.87 °C in 2006) 104 +1.38 2nd highest (record +1.54 °C in 2006) 105 +1.82 highest (was +1.71 °C in 2006)
Northern Territory 104 +1.94 2nd highest (record +2.01 °C in 2013) 73 +0.33 98 +1.13 8th highest

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 105 (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

Area-averaged spring rainfall was 34% below the long-term mean for Australia as a whole, although this disguises a pronounced difference between Western Australia and the remainder of the continent. Rainfall was above average for nearly all of Western Australia. Large areas of the central eastern interior and southern coastal region recorded seasonal rainfall in the highest ten percent of records for spring, with a few locations in the south recording their wettest spring on record (see the Western Australian seasonal summary for details).

Across eastern Australia conditions were very much drier, with Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia all recording area-averaged totals in the lowest fifteen on record for spring. In total, rainfall was in the lowest ten per cent of spring records for 15% of Australia, with the Murray–Darling Basin as a whole also recording its equal-tenth-lowest area-average total for the season. The dry conditions in eastern Australia were a result of cumulative deficits in each month on spring; above-average monthly rainfall was only recorded during August for part of central eastern Queensland and an area covering northwestern New South Wales and adjacent South Australia, and during November for parts of western Queensland. A number of individual locations recorded their driest spring on record; please see the separate regional summaries for tables of station records.


Area-average rainfall
Rank
(of 115)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean
Comment
Australia 28 48.1 −34%
Queensland 13 40.8 −52%
New South Wales 10 59.9 −52% 10th lowest; lowest since 2002
Victoria 15 112.9 −38%
Tasmania 11 267.6 −27%
South Australia 14 23.0 −55%
Western Australia 94 55.6 +35%
Northern Territory 23 33.3 −51%
Murray-Darling Basin = 10 55.8 −51% equal 10th lowest

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 115 (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 2014
Hottest day   46.1 °C at Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam Aerodrome) on 22 November (SA)
Coldest day   −2.7 °C at Thredbo AWS (NSW) on 3 September
Coldest night   −8.3 °C at Thredbo AWS (NSW) on 3 September
Warmest night   32.8 °C at Moomba Airport (SA) on 23 November
Wettest day 204.6 mm at Bendalong STP (NSW) on 15 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. 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 12 noon EST on Monday 1 December 2014. 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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