Australia in Autumn 2022

In brief

  • The national mean temperature for autumn was 1.44 °C above the 1961–1990 average, the 3rd-highest on record (compared to all years since 1910)
  • Mean maximum temperatures for autumn were warmer or very much warmer than average for most of northern Australia, eastern Western Australia, much of South Australia, southern Victoria, and Tasmania; mean maximum temperatures were highest on record for autumn for large parts of the northern tropics
  • Mean maximum temperatures for autumn were cooler than average for small parts of eastern New South Wales
  • Mean minimum temperatures for autumn were warmer or very much warmer than average for nearly all of Australia and highest on record for autumn for an area of coastal Queensland from the Central Coast to the south-east; overall, mean the mean minimum temperature was the 2nd-highest on record for autumn for Australia as a whole
  • Autumn rainfall was 4% above average for Australia as a whole
  • Rainfall for autumn was below average for the majority of the Northern Territory, the western half of Tasmania, parts of coastal south-east South Australia, and south-western Victoria
  • Rainfall was above average for much of the eastern mainland, parts of Pastoral South Australia, and much of the South West Land Division and north-western quadrant of Western Australia
  • Persistent heavy rainfall resulted in significant and widespread flooding across coastal New South Wales during March, with flooding also in south-east Queensland at the end of March; parts of eastern Victoria and coastal New South Wales in early April, and tropical Queensland in late April

Temperatures

The national mean temperature for autumn was 1.44 °C above the 1961–1990 average for Australia as a whole, making it Australia's 3rd-warmest autumn on record (compared to all years since 1910). Autumn was amongst the ten warmest on record for Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory.

The mean maximum temperature was the 8th-highest on record for autumn at 1.35 °C above average, and the mean minimum temperature was the 2nd-highest on record for autumn at 1.52 °C above average (the highest mean minimum temperature on record for autumn was in 2016).

Maximum temperatures were above to very much above average for autumn for the Kimberley and eastern border regions of Western Australia; the Northern Territory; most of Queensland except for parts of the inland south and the south-east; much of South Australia except the south-west and part of the north-east; most of southern Victoria and along the western border; and all of Tasmania.

Mean maximum temperatures were highest on record for autumn for large parts of the northern tropics. A large number of stations across the northern tropics observed a record-high mean maximum temperature for autumn, as did a number of stations in north-western to central Tasmania.

Mean maximum temperatures for autumn were cooler than average for small parts of eastern New South Wales and a pocket of the south coast of Western Australia around Bremer Bay.

Mean minimum temperatures for autumn were warmer or very much warmer than average for nearly all of Australia, and highest on record for autumn for an area of coastal Queensland from the Central Coast to the south-east, extending inland into the Central Highlands District. Mean minimum temperatures for the season were close to average for parts of the eastern Kimberley and inland of the west coast in Western Australia.

A large number of stations across the east coast of Queensland, New South Wales, far north-eastern Victoria, northern and eastern Tasmania had their highest mean minimum temperature on record for autumn. A scattering of stations elsewhere across northern Australia also observed a record-high mean minimum temperature for autumn.

Heat had been persistent in the north and west throughout summer, and continued into the start of autumn. At the beginning of March severe to extreme heatwave conditions were experienced through large parts of north and north-east Queensland, with March temperature records being broken at several locations. Also in March, Darwin equalled its hottest March day on record, reaching 36.0 °C on the 9th during a widespread heatwave across northern Australia.

A cold out-break at the end of May brought a record-low daily maximum temperature for May to some stations in Victoria and New South Wales as a deep low pressure system and associated cold front tracked across south-east Australia, bringing cold air and "speckled" cloud in a strong south-westerly airstream behind the front. Snow was reported settling to relatively low locations across parts of the south-east, and good falls of snow in the Alpine region.

Further discussion and tables of records for each state and the Northern Territory can be found in the individual regional climate summaries, to be released on Friday 3 June 2022.

For discussion of events throughout the season, see the individual monthly climate summaries for Australia for March, April, and May.

3-month temperature table ending May 2022
Areal average temperatures
  Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
  Rank
(of 113)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 113)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 113)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment
Australia 106 +1.35 8th highest 112 +1.52 2nd highest (record +1.97 °C in 2016) 111 +1.44 3rd highest (record +1.98 °C in 2016)
Queensland 104 +1.45 10th highest 112 +2.17 2nd highest (record +2.69 °C in 2016) 111 +1.81 3rd highest (record +2.53 °C in 2016)
New South Wales 72 +0.26   110 +1.66 4th highest (record +2.35 °C in 1989) 102 +0.96  
Victoria 83 +0.36   108 +1.34 6th highest = 100 +0.85  
Tasmania 106 +0.95 8th highest = 101 +0.63   107 +0.79 7th highest
South Australia 97 +1.01   100 +1.02   102 +1.02  
Western Australia 101 +1.24   108 +1.26 6th highest 106 +1.25 8th highest
Northern Territory 113 +2.54 highest (was +2.43 °C in 2005) 108 +1.54 6th highest 112 +2.04 2nd highest (record +2.31 °C in 2016)

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 113 (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

Autumn rainfall was 4% above average for Australia as a whole. However the national figure is contributed to by significant regional, and month-to-month, differences.

Rainfall for autumn was below average the majority of the Northern Territory, the western half of Tasmania, parts of coastal south-east South Australia, and south-western Victoria. While La Niña contributed to a wetter than average season for parts of eastern Australia, persistent high pressure, and weaker than average westerly winds across latitudes immediately to Australia's south, contributed to the drier than average season for Tasmania and parts of the southern coastline.

Rainfall was above average for much of Queensland away from the western border and parts of the north and north-west, nearly all of New South Wales, most of northern and eastern Victoria except the north-east, and large parts of Pastoral South Australia from the south coast through parts of the north and much of the east of the state. In Western Australia, autumn rainfall was above average for much of the South West Land Division, the Gascoyne, Pilbara, western Kimberley, and parts of the interior.

For New South Wales, autumn rainfall was the 7th-highest on record (since 1900), and the wettest autumn since 1990.

Persistent heavy rainfall during March resulted in significant and widespread flooding across coastal New South Wales, with flooding also affecting south-east Queensland at the end of March.

Early in April heavy rain again brought flooding to parts of coastal New South Wales and parts of eastern Victoria. Late in the month, heavy rain in coastal areas of tropical Queensland caused some flooding, with rainfall extending well inland, with some areas of western Queensland receiving well in excess of their average monthly rainfall for April.

A large number of stations along the east coast from around Bundaberg in Queensland to eastern Victoria had their highest total autumn rainfall on record. Including stations with a shorter length of record (observations spanning less than 30 years), records were set for total autumn rainfall across a scattering of station in south-east Tasmania, eastern Victoria, and inland regions of New South Wales, south-eastern and central Queensland.

Further discussion and tables of records for each state and the Northern Territory can be found in the individual regional climate summaries, to be released on Friday 3 June 2022.

For discussion of events during autumn, see the individual monthly climate summaries for Australia for March, April, and May. A Special Climate Statement was issued discussing the Extreme rainfall and flooding in south-eastern Queensland and eastern New South Wales during February and early March 2022.

3-month rainfall table ending May 2022
Area-average rainfall
  Rank
(of 123)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean
Comment
Australia 91 127.8 +4%  
Queensland 101 200.8 +22%  
New South Wales 117 239.1 +60% 7th highest; highest since 1990
Victoria 89 168.8 +6%  
Tasmania 30 280.2 −16%  
South Australia 79 50.5 −12%  
Western Australia 84 104.9 +16%  
Northern Territory 12 49.9 −65%  
Murray-Darling Basin 113 176.1 +40%  

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 123 (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 autumn 2022
Hottest day 47.1°C at Roebourne Aero (WA) on the 16th March
Coldest day −3.7°C at Mount Hotham (Vic.) on the 31st May
Coldest night −9.9°C at Liawenee (Tas.) on the 24th May
Warmest night 33.3°C at Telfer Aero (WA) on the 16th March
Wettest day 347.0 mm at Uki (Tweed River) (NSW) on the 1st March

 

Climate