Australia in autumn 2017

In Brief

  • A very warm autumn for most of Australia
  • Mean temperature amongst top ten for Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia
  • Mean maximum temperature seventh warmest on record for Australia, and amongst top ten for all but Western Australia
  • Days warmest on record for an area of western Queensland
  • Mean minimum temperatures above average nationally, also amongst top ten for Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania
  • A very mixed season for rainfall:
    • wetter than average for the east coast, western Victoria and parts of Western Australia
    • drier than average for western Tasmania, western Queensland and eastern Northern Territory, and west of Western Australia
  • Severe tropical cyclone Debbie caused March flooding in Queensland and New South Wales

Temperatures

The autumn mean temperature was above average for Australia, with an anomaly of +0.82 °C. All states except Western Australia and the Northern Territory ranked amongst the warmest ten autumns on record for mean temperatures. March was exceptionally warm for the eastern half of Australia, while the April mean temperature was close to average over much of the continent, and May was very warm for daytime temperatures in the north.

Mean maximum temperatures were very much above average (+1.21 °C) for Australia as a whole, coming in as seventh warmest on record for autumn nationally. Autumn maxima were amongst the top ten warmest for the Northern Territory and all states except Western Australia. National mean minimum temperatures were also above average, with an anomaly of +0.42 °C, though only Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania placed amongst the ten warmest autumns for their state.

Maximum temperatures for autumn were above to very much above average for most of the Northern Territory; along the eastern boarder of Western Australia south of the Kimberley; across all of South Australia; most of Queensland except an area just inland of the coast in central east and inland of the ranges in the south; inland New South Wales; all of Victoria and Tasmania; and an area of Western Australia between the western Pilbara and Central Wheat Belt. Maxima were warmest on record for autumn for an area of western Queensland and an adjacent area of the Northern Territory.

Mean minimum temperatures were also above to very much above average for most of eastern Australia, the east of South Australia, and the northern half and far southeast of the Northern Territory. Minimum temperatures were mostly near average for Western Australia during autumn, although they were cooler than average for an area spanning the southwestern Northern Territory and the adjacent eastern interior and southeastern Kimberley in Western Australia. They were also cooler than average for a smaller area of the western Eucla, reaching inland into the Nullarbor Plain.


Areal average temperatures
Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
Rank
(of 108)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 108)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 108)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment
Australia 102 +1.21 7th highest = 88 +0.42 97 +0.82
Queensland 102 +1.53 7th highest 99 +0.99 10th highest = 104 +1.26 equal 4th highest (record +2.34 °C in 2016)
New South Wales 97 +1.01 95 +0.87 99 +0.94 10th highest
Victoria 101 +1.21 8th highest 99 +0.95 10th highest 105 +1.08 4th highest (record +1.87 °C in 2016)
Tasmania 101 +0.95 8th highest 100 +0.72 equal 8th highest 104 +0.84 5th highest
South Australia 102 +1.46 7th highest 78 +0.36 97 +0.91
Western Australia 84 +0.73 59 −0.10 79 +0.32
Northern Territory 102 +1.66 7th highest 80 +0.29 93 +0.98

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 108 (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

Rainfall for autumn was slightly below average for Australia as a whole, but varied markedly across the country.

Rainfall for the season was above to very much above average from the central base of the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, along the east coast to southeastern New South Wales, extending into parts of central New South Wales. Severe tropical cyclone Debbie brought heavy rainfall and floods to parts of eastern Queensland and northeastern New South Wales at the end of March (see Monthly Weather Review), with numerous monthly and daily rainfall records set in Queensland and New South Wales. Heavy rain in Queensland on the 18th and 19th of May also contributed to high seasonal totals between the Gulf Country and the tropical and central coasts, with some locations setting monthly rainfall records for May in part due to this event.

Above average rainfall was also observed in western Victoria and adjacent parts of New South Wales border country and southeastern South Australia; an area of central South Australia; the coastal Top End in the Northern Territory; and areas of Western Australia's between the southern Kimberley and southern interior, and along a broad strip extending from the eastern Pilbara coast to the western Eucla coast.

Rainfall for the season was below average for much of western and southwestern Queensland, extending across the eastern half of the Northern Territory south of the Top End; on each of the Yorke, Eyre, and Fleurieu peninsulas in South Australia; across the west of Western Australia from the far western Pilbara to the south coast around Esperance; and across the west of Tasmania.

In Western Australia the South West Land Division recorded its 11th-driest autumn on record, and driest autumn since 2012, while total rainfall for the season was approximately one-fifth of average for coastal regions to the north of Perth, and was the driest autumn for at least two decades at many locations. Rainfall was below average in the west of Western Australia for both April and May.

In western and southern Tasmania rainfall was below average for both March and April, resulting in the emergence of serious rainfall deficiencies in some parts of western and southern Tasmania for periods commencing February or March. The Drought Statement discusses these deficiencies and will be updated within the next week to reflect rainfall to the end of May.


Area-average rainfall
Rank
(of 118)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean
Comment
Australia 69 113.5 −6%
Queensland 76 157.8 −3%
New South Wales 92 153.2 +7%
Victoria 80 162.0 +3%
Tasmania 20 256.6 −25%
South Australia 58 42.9 −24%
Western Australia 66 94.4 +5%
Northern Territory 51 104.4 −25%
Murray-Darling Basin 81 115.7 −3%

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 118 (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 autumn 2017
Hottest day 44.6 °C    at Mandora (WA) on 5 March
Coldest day −1.8 °C    at Thredbo AWS (NSW) on 29 May
Coldest night −8.5 °C    at Thredbo AWS (NSW) on 3 May
Warmest night 30.2 °C    at Oodnadatta Airport (SA) on 27 March
Wettest day 635.0 mm at Mt Jukes (Qld.) on 30 March


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 1 pm EST on Thursday 1 June 2017. 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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