Australia in spring 2016

In Brief

  • Warmer than average across the north and coastal eastern Australia
  • Cooler than average days across the eastern interior
  • Cooler than average nights for the southwest and southeast South Australia
  • Drier than average for southern Western Australia, Cape York Peninsula and the eastern seaboard
  • Above average rainfall across the Murray-Darling basin, most of the Northern Territory, western Queensland and Tasmania


Overall, mean temperatures for Australia were equal to the long term average for spring, with an anomaly of 0.00 °C. Mean minimum temperatures were slightly above average (+0.05 °C) and mean maximum temperatures slightly below average (anomaly of −0.05 °C). Most States and the Northern Territory recorded cooler than average daytime temperatures, with only Western Australia recording well above average temperatures for maxima. For minima, temperatures for most States and Territories were either warmer than average or close to average, with only South Australia recording well below average minima. Tasmania reported its ninth warmest overnight temperature for spring. For mean temperatures, Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia were all cooler than average overall, whereas Tasmania and Western Australia recorded well above average mean temperatures. The contrasting temperature extremes across the country were more prevalent for minima, particularly between the warmer north and the cooler south of the mainland. At least 16% of Australia was within the warmest decile (the highest 10% of historical records) whereas 9% was within the coolest decile (the lowest 10% of historical records).

Above average to very much above average maximum and mean temperatures were recorded along a narrow strip of the east Australian coastline, south to Victoria. Record highest spring mean temperatures occurred surrounding Townsville. For minima, above average temperatures occurred along the east Australian coastline south to northern New South Wales, and again in an area from the Hunter through to Canberra, then extending away from the coast, southwards to East Gippsland.

The interior of Australia—east of Western Australia, south from central Northern Territory through to South Australia's south east coast, and extending across much of the region eastwards to the Great Dividing Range—recorded below average temperatures for maximum, minimum and mean temperatures. Large areas of very much below average temperature were recorded throughout western Queensland and border regions with the Northern Territory for maximum and mean temperatures, with smaller areas throughout New South Wales. Large parts of south east South Australia were very much below average, with an area surrounding Port Augusta recording lowest on record for minima during spring.

In the west, maximum temperatures were mostly close to average. Apart from the tropics, regions of above average daytime temperatures were confined to the far east and west coasts of the country. Much of southern Western Australia recorded below to very much below average minima, with lowest on record across the interior of south west Western Australia. Below average mean temperatures were constrained to the south west, with above average temperatures extending along the northwest coastline, north of Carnarvon.

Areal average temperatures
Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
(of 107)
Comment Rank
(of 107)
Comment Rank
(of 107)
Australia 49 −0.05 65 +0.05 57 +0.00
Queensland = 30 −0.38 = 82 +0.46 60 +0.05
New South Wales 31 −0.43 57 −0.05 38 −0.24
Victoria = 38 −0.42 = 75 +0.20 = 50 −0.10
Tasmania = 57 +0.04 99 +0.59 9th highest = 79 +0.32
South Australia = 32 −0.58 = 19 −0.70 27 −0.63
Western Australia 75 +0.51 60 −0.02 = 66 +0.25
Northern Territory = 56 −0.02 = 69 +0.19 = 65 +0.09

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 107 (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
Map of mean daily maximum temperature Map of mean daily maximum temperature anomalies Map of mean daily maximum temperature deciles
Map of mean daily minimum temperature Map of mean daily minimum temperature anomalies Map of mean daily minimum temperature deciles
Map of mean daily temperature Map of mean daily temperature anomalies Map of mean daily temperature deciles


Although Australian total rainfall during spring 2016 was 26% above average, rainfall varied considerably over large areas. It was generally drier than average in the country's southwest and northeast. Spring was wetter than average across much of the southeast and interior, and the Northern Territory. Much of the rain over the interior and southeast fell during September. Vigorous cold fronts during September and October brought heavy rainfall and damaging winds across many areas of the southeast.

Above average spring rainfall occurred across the Murray-Darling basin, most of Victoria, eastern South Australia, western Queensland, all of Tasmania, much of the Northern Territory and parts of northern Western Australia. Rainfall was in decile 10 (the highest 10% of records since 1900) across parts of northern Tasmania, the southern Murray-Darling basin and adjoining regions of southwest Victoria, eastern South Australia, then extending northwest through adjoining areas of western Queensland and the Northern Territory. The Top End was also in decile 10, with some parts recording highest on record.

Below average rainfall was recorded across southern Western Australia and much of Cape York Peninsula. Some smaller areas existed along eastern Australia, particularly coastal areas south of Fraser Island. Interior parts of southern Western Australia and areas of Cape York Peninsula recorded rainfall in the lowest decile (the lowest 10% of historical records).

Following Australia's second-wettest winter on record, record rainfall continued during September, resulting in record rainfall over many areas of eastern and northern Australia for each multi-month period since May 2016. The rainfall during this period largely resulted from the strong negative phase of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which persisted through to mid-November. Many sites across southern and eastern Australia recorded their highest spring daily rainfall totals.

Area-average rainfall
(of 117)
from mean
Australia = 95 92.2 +27%
Queensland 80 98.5 +17%
New South Wales 105 181.2 +46%
Victoria 108 257.2 +42% 10th highest
Tasmania 108 492.7 +35% 10th highest; highest since 1988
South Australia 89 67.8 +33%
Western Australia 42 32.2 −21%
Northern Territory 104 112.5 +66%
Murray-Darling Basin 107 187.4 +64%
Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 117 (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
Map of total rainfall Map of percentage of normal rain Map of rainfall deciles

Australian weather extremes in winter 2016
Hottest day 46.2 °C  at West Roebuck (WA) on 5 November
Coldest day −2.0 °C  at Thredbo (NSW) on 11 October
Coldest night −9.3 °C  at Thredbo (NSW) on 13 October
Warmest night 31.5 °C  at Warmun (WA) on 9 November
and at Argyle Aerodrome (WA) on 8 November
and at Mandora (WA) on 6 November
Wettest day 204.2 mm at Gray (TAS) on 14 November


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 1 pm EST on Thursday 1 December 2016. 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.

Further information

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