Australia in spring 2021

In brief

  • Spring rainfall was above to very much above average for most of Australia
  • Nationally it was the tenth-wettest spring on record and the wettest since 2010; rainfall for spring 57% above the 1961–1990 average
  • The national mean temperature for spring was 0.44 °C above the 1961–1990 average
  • Both daytime and night-time temperatures were above to very much above average for much of the northern tropics; nights were also warmer than average across the remainder of Queensland, coastal New South Wales, southern and eastern Victoria, and much of Tasmania
  • Days were cooler than average for much of New South Wales and north-eastern Victoria, central to south coast Western Australia and parts of the north-west coast, and north-west South Australia; nights cooler than average for parts of the inland south-east, much of Western Australia, and the adjacent south-west Northern Territory

Temperatures

The national mean temperature for spring was 0.44 °C above the 1961–1990 average for Australia as a whole. The mean maximum temperature was 0.39 °C above average, and the mean minimum temperature was 0.48 °C above average.

The far northern tropics were consistently warm through each of the three spring months, while away from the tropics September was warmer than average for much of the remainder of the mainland, and November was much cooler than average for most of the mainland.

Maximum temperatures were above to very much above average for much of the northern tropics. Some areas of the eastern Top End of the Northern Territory and across the base of Cape York Peninsula in Queensland had their warmest spring mean maximum temperature on record. Days were cooler than average for much of New South Wales away from border regions, extending into south-east New South Wales and north-eastern Victoria. Maximum temperatures were cooler than average for much of inland Western Australia, extending to the south coast, and also for parts of the north-west coast, and north-west South Australia.

Minimum temperatures were above to very much above average for much of the northern tropics, the remainder of Queensland, coastal New South Wales, southern and eastern Victoria, much of Tasmania, and parts of the north coast of Western Australia. Minimum temperatures were below average for parts of the inland south-east, much of the northern half of Western Australia away from the coast and most of the South West Land Division away from the coast, and also for the south-west of the Northern Territory.

Heat was persistent in the north throughout the season. From late September heat built, with extreme heatwave conditions across the Kimberley and Top End during October. A large number of stations in the Northern Territory and western Queensland set early season temperature records for the warmest day so early after mid-winter, while others observed record runs of consecutive days of high temperatures. Heatwave conditions again affected the coastal Top End between 16 and 19 November, and along the coast in the north-west and west of Western Australia towards the end of November.

A significant cold outbreak during mid-November brought low maximum and minimum temperatures approaching record lows for November across large parts of the south-eastern mainland and snow down to 200 m in southern Tasmania on the 15th.

Further discussion and tables of records for each state and the Northern Territory can be found in the individual regional climate summaries, which will be published on December 3rd.

3-month temperature table ending November 2021
Areal average temperatures
  Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
  Rank
(of 112)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 112)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 112)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment
Australia 66 +0.39   85 +0.48   76 +0.44  
Queensland = 89 +0.90   107 +1.59 6th highest = 101 +1.24  
New South Wales = 41 −0.14   76 +0.47   62 +0.17  
Victoria 57 −0.05   = 84 +0.33   = 63 +0.15  
Tasmania 68 +0.13   = 80 +0.18   73 +0.16  
South Australia 51 +0.02   66 +0.22   59 +0.12  
Western Australia 61 +0.25   43 −0.39   = 55 −0.07  
Northern Territory 82 +0.68   96 +0.89   88 +0.79  

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 112 (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

Spring rainfall was above to very much above average for most of Australia, and 57% above average for Australia as a whole. It was the tenth-wettest spring on record and the wettest since 2010.

Large areas of eastern Australia had rainfall in the highest 10% of historical observations (decile 10) for spring, and a large number of stations across the eastern seaboard and a few scattered elsewhere in Queensland's Gulf Country and the Northern Territory observed their highest total rainfall on record for the three months September–November.

Rainfall was close to average or below average for western Victoria and south-eastern South Australia, much of the south of Western Australia and along the north-west coast, parts of the Top End, and parts of Queensland's Cape York Peninsula.

While September was a little drier than average, and October a little wetter than average for Australia as a whole, November was exceptionally wet, with the national area-averaged rainfall more than twice the average and the highest on record for November.

Thunderstorms and severe storms were frequent during spring, and included:

  • in the south-eastern mainland and Queensland at the end of September
  • parts of Queensland and New South Wales at various times throughout October, with a number of tornados and reports of giant hail
  • giant to gargantuan hail in Yalboroo (between Proserpine and Mackay in Queensland) on 19 October, with a hailstone measured at 16 cm, the largest hailstone measurement verified in Australia
  • heavy rainfall leading to areas of flash flooding and riverine flooding in eastern Australia during November

A Special Climate Statement will be produced discussing the November flooding and rainfall records, it is likely to be released in the next week or two.

Further discussion and tables of records for each state and the Northern Territory can be found in the individual regional climate summaries, which will be published on December 3rd.

3-month rainfall table ending November 2021
Area-average rainfall
  Rank
(of 122)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean
Comment
Australia 113 113.0 +57% 10th highest; highest since 2010
Queensland 110 149.1 +78%  
New South Wales 119 216.6 +69% 4th highest (record 260.8 mm in 2010)
Victoria 99 225.3 +24%  
Tasmania 96 416.9 +18%  
South Australia 110 78.3 +53%  
Western Australia 101 53.5 +35%  
Northern Territory 106 106.0 +59%  
Murray-Darling Basin 115 199.7 +70% 8th highest; highest since 2010

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 122 (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 spring 2021
Hottest day 45.1 °C at Wyndham Aero (WA) on the 21st October
Coldest day −2.4 °C at Mount Hotham (Vic.) on the 13th September
Coldest night −9.3 °C at Thredbo AWS (NSW) on the 26th September
Warmest night 30.7 °C at Argyle Aerodrome (WA) on the 23nd November
Wettest day 340.8 mm at Samuel Hill Aero (Qld.) on the 10th November

Climate