Australia in summer 2023-24

In brief

  • Australia's third-warmest summer on record, 1.62 °C above the 1961-1990 average, marked by persistent and widespread heat.
  • Amongst the ten warmest summers on record for the Northern Territory and all states except Victoria.
  • Western Australia had its warmest summer on record since observations began in 1910.
  • The national mean maximum temperature was 1.73 °C above the 1961–1990 average for summer, while the national mean minimum temperature was 1.50 °C above average.
  • Mean maximum temperatures were above average for Tasmania, most of Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Queensland and parts of north-western and far eastern Victoria.
  • Summer mean minimum temperatures were above average for nearly all of Australia and highest on record for south-eastern Queensland, north-eastern New South Wales, Cape York Peninsula and parts of inland Western Australia and the Top End of the Northern Territory.
  • Most of Australia was affected by heatwaves in December and February, while in late January Western Australia and central and southern parts of the country were affected.
  • Bushfires affected parts of southern Western Australia throughout summer, while in February there were significant bushfires in western Victoria and central Tasmania.
  • Summer rainfall was 18.9% above the 1961–1990 average for Australia as a whole.
  • Summer rainfall was above average for large parts of the eastern two-thirds of the mainland, but areas in western and central Western Australia, southern Northern Territory and Tasmania had a drier than average summer.
  • Significant flooding, associated with tropical systems, affected large areas of northern Australia during summer, while severe thunderstorm activity brought extensive flooding to parts of the eastern and south-eastern mainland.
  • The onset of the monsoon at Darwin was on 10 January, a delay compared to its typical late-December onset.

Further information and tables of records for each state and the Northern Territory can be found in the individual regional climate summaries, to be released on 5 March. For discussion of events during summer, see the individual monthly climate summaries for Australia for December, January and February.

 

Temperatures

The national mean temperature was 1.62 °C above the 1961–1990 average for summer, the third-warmest on record since national observations began in 1910.

Western Australia had its warmest summer on record, with the statewide mean temperature 1.90 °C above average.

The national mean maximum temperature for summer was 1.73 °C above the 1961-1990 average, the third-warmest on record since national observations began in 1910.

Western Australia had its second-warmest summer mean maximum temperature on record, 2.45 °C above the 1961–1990 average. New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia were all in their respective top ten warmest on record.

Mean maximum temperatures for summer were above average for Tasmania, most of Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Queensland and parts of north-western and far eastern Victoria. Mean maximum temperatures were very much above average (in the highest 10% of all summers since 1910) across most of Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania, large parts of southern and far north-eastern Northern Territory, northern and western New South Wales, and parts of Queensland. Summer daytime temperatures were the highest on record for large areas of Western Australia.

Heatwave conditions persisted across large parts of Australia this summer. Western Australia experienced several severe heatwave events, with many stations having record highest summer temperatures.

Mean maximum temperatures were close to average or below average for areas of the north-western coast of Western Australia, southern South Australia, south-eastern New South Wales, most of Victoria, and large parts of central Queensland and the Northern Territory.

The national mean minimum temperature was 1.50 °C above the 1961–1990 average for summer, the third-warmest summer nights on record since national observations began in 1910.

Western Australia had its second-warmest summer mean minimum temperature on record, 1.34 °C above the 1961–1990 average. For the Northern Territory and Queensland, mean minimum temperatures this summer were third-warmest on record, and New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania were all in their respective top ten warmest on record.

Mean minimum temperatures were above average or very much above average (in the highest 10% of all summers since 1910) across most of Australia. Summer night-time temperatures were the highest on record for south-eastern Queensland, north-eastern New South Wales and Cape York Peninsula, and for parts of inland Western Australia and the Top End of the Northern Territory. Many stations in those areas had their record highest mean minimum temperature for summer.

3-month temperature table ending February 2024
Areal average temperatures
  Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
  Rank
(of 114)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 114)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 114)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment
Australia 112 +1.73 3rd highest (record +2.58 °C in 2019) 112 +1.50 3rd highest (record +1.62 °C in 2019) 112 +1.62 3rd highest (record +2.10 °C in 2019)
Queensland 99 +1.18   112 +1.87 3rd highest (record +2.10 °C in 2006) 109 +1.53 6th highest
New South Wales 105 +2.03 10th highest 109 +1.87 6th highest 105 +1.95 10th highest
Victoria = 82 +0.68   106 +1.44 9th highest = 95 +1.06  
Tasmania 106 +1.41 9th highest 105 +0.92 10th highest 106 +1.17 9th highest
South Australia 109 +1.88 6th highest = 101 +1.22   108 +1.55 7th highest
Western Australia 113 +2.45 2nd highest (record +2.55 °C in 2019) 113 +1.34 2nd highest (record +1.36 °C in 2020) 114 +1.90 highest (was +1.73 °C in 2019)
Northern Territory 102 +0.99   112 +1.34 3rd highest (record +1.88 °C in 2019) 110 +1.17 5th highest

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 114 (highest). A rank marked with ’=‘ indicates the value is tied for that rank. Anomaly is the departure from the long-term (1961–1990) average.

 

Rainfall

For Australia as a whole, the area-averaged rainfall total was 18.9% above the 1961–1990 average for summer.

Rainfall totals were above average for the Northern Territory and all states except Western Australia and Tasmania.

Summer rainfall was above average for large parts of the eastern two-thirds of the mainland, with areas of very much above average (in the highest 10% of all summers since 1900) scattered across Queensland, New South Wales, northern parts of the Northern Territory, Victoria and southern South Australia. Some stations in these areas had their record highest total precipitation for summer.

Heavy rainfall and flooding in parts of northern Australia were brought by tropical systems, and in parts of eastern Australia flooding resulted from intense thunderstorm activity.

Rainfall this summer was below average for areas in western and central Western Australia, southern Northern Territory and Tasmania. Rainfall was very much below average (in the lowest 10% of all summers since 1900) for parts of Western Australia's Kimberley, Pilbara, Gascoyne, South West, South Coastal and Interior districts and the Lasseter district in the Northern Territory. Summer rainfall was the lowest on record for an area around Broome in the west of the Kimberley. 

Significant weather and records

For discussion of events during summer, see the individual monthly climate summaries for Australia for December, January and February.

Further information and tables of records for each state and the Northern Territory can be found in the individual regional climate summaries, to be released on 5 March.

3-month rainfall table ending February 2024
Area-average rainfall
  Rank
(of 124)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean
Comment
Australia 99 247.7 +19%  
Queensland 104 421.9 +30%  
New South Wales 93 192.7 +16%  
Victoria 111 184.2 +56%  
Tasmania 33 200.0 −17%  
South Australia 98 75.8 +27%  
Western Australia 40 118.9 −20%  
Northern Territory 104 440.1 +38%  
Murray-Darling Basin 100 179.4 +27%  

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 124 (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.

Australian weather extremes in summer 2024
Hottest day 49.9°C at Carnarvon Airport (WA) on the 18th February
Coldest day 4.6°C at Mount Read (Tas.) on the 30th December
Coldest night -2.8°C at Liawenee (Tas.) on the 30th January
Warmest night 36.4°C at Birdsville Airport (Qld.) on the 26th January
Wettest day 714.0 mm at Mossman South Alchera Drive (Qld.) on the 18th December

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