Sydney in spring 2012: Dry, warm and sunny spring for Sydney

  • Driest spring since 2002, but average rain days
  • Warmer than average temperatures, equal fewest cold days on record
  • Coolest nights since 2003

Rainfall - Driest spring in a decade

Sydney Observatory Hill recorded 105.2 mm of rain during spring, well below the historical average of 229.3 mm. This was the driest spring since 2002, with below average rainfall recorded across the city and in all three months.

The rain fell over 35 days, normal for spring, but only seven recorded at least 5 mm (average 11 days), the fewest since 2002. No days recorded at least 15 mm (average 4 days) for only the 10th time on record, with the wettest day at Sydney Observatory Hill reaching just 13.2 mm on September 29. Most of the rain during the season was associated with thunderstorms or coastal trough systems, which brought higher falls to some suburbs.

Temperature - Warm days across the city

The average maximum temperature at Sydney Observatory Hill during spring was 23.3 °C, 1.4 °C above the historical average. This is the warmest spring since 2009, and the 17th consecutive warm spring for Sydney. Temperatures were above average throughout the season and across the city, associated with generally dry and sunny conditions during the season as well as several hot days. Seven days reached at least 30 °C in the city (average 4 days), while only two were cooler than 18 °C (average 14 days); this is only the second time on record with so few cool days.

The average minimum temperature at Sydney Observatory Hill was 14.2 °C, 0.8 °C above the historical average. This was the coolest spring since 2003 in the city, while nights were slightly below average at shorter-record stations in western Sydney. Temperatures were particularly cool at the start of the season, with a cold spell breaking records on September 1 and giving the city its coldest spring night since 1995, while a cold snap in mid-October resulted in two consecutive nights below 9 °C, the first such spell since 2003.

See a list of spring temperature records.

Other phenomena

The prevailing wind direction at 3pm was easterly, with 41% of winds between E and NE and 44% between ESE and S, slightly above normal for spring. There were 24 strong wind days at Sydney Airport during the season, with the strongest wind gust reaching 89 km/hr on November 18, while wind gusts in western Sydney reached 107 km/hr during a thunderstorm on 8 Nov.

Seven thunderstorms were reported at Sydney Airport, with seventeen storms reported anywhere in the metropolitan area. There were an average of 8.3 hours of bright sunshine during the season, above the historical average of 7.7 hours and the sunniest spring since 2007. Conditions were particularly sunny during September and October, with below average sunshine during November.

Further information

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Extremes in spring 2012
Hottest day 39.3 °C at Parramatta North (Masons Drive) on 30 Nov
Warmest days on average 26.0 °C at Penrith Lakes AWS
Coolest days on average 22.5 °C at Terrey Hills AWS
Coldest day 13.9 °C at Terrey Hills AWS on 12 Oct
Coldest night -1.8 °C at Camden Airport AWS on 1 Sep
Coolest nights on average 9.1 °C at Camden Airport AWS
Warmest nights on average 14.2 °C at Sydney (Observatory Hill)
14.2 °C at Sydney Airport AMO
Warmest night 21.8 °C at Sydney Airport AMO on 30 Nov
Warmest on average overall 18.9 °C at Sydney Airport AMO
Coolest on average overall 17.1 °C at Camden Airport AWS
17.1 °C at Campbelltown (Mount Annan)
Wettest overall 138.0 mm at Castle Cove (Rosebridge Ave)
Wettest day 45.0 mm at Maroota (Old Telegraph Road) on 19 Sep
Highest wind gust 107 km/h at Penrith Lakes AWS on 8 Nov


Record lowest spring temperature
Lowest temperature
in spring 2012 (°C)
Previous coolest
for spring
Years of
record
Average for
spring
Prospect Reservoir 1.7 on 1 Sep 2.6 on 22 Sep 1994 47 11.9
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 0.7 on 1 Sep 1.4 on 7 Sep 1995 46 11.8
Camden Airport AWS -1.8 on 1 Sep -1.0 on 14 Sep 1972 37 9.9



Summary statistics for spring 2012
Maximum temperatures
for spring
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for spring
(°C)
Rainfall
for spring
(millimetres)
Mean for
spring
2012
Diff
from
average
Highest for
spring
2012
Mean for
spring
2012
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
spring
2012
Total for
spring
2012
Average
for
spring
Rank of
spring
2012
Fraction of
spring
average
Badgerys Creek AWS 25.3   38.4 30 Nov 9.7   -0.2 1 Sep 106.2
Bankstown Airport AWS 24.6 +1.1 39.1 30 Nov 11.2 -0.4 2.7 1 Sep 86.2 183.0 v low 47%
Camden Airport AWS 25.2 +1.2 37.5 30 Nov 9.1 -0.8 -1.8 1 Sep 102.0 182.0 low 56%
Campbelltown (Mount Annan) 24.9   37.0 30 Nov 9.3   0.6 3 Sep 114.4
Canterbury Racecourse AWS 23.3   34.0 25 Nov 11.4   2.7 1 Sep 104.2
Holsworthy Aerodrome AWS 24.4   38.3 30 Nov 10.8   2.2 1 Sep 104.4
Holsworthy Control Range 24.3   37.7 30 Nov 10.1   0.8 1 Sep 96.4
Horsley Park Equestrian Centre AWS 24.8   38.1 30 Nov 10.9   2.4 1 Sep 107.2
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 24.3 +0.7 39.3 30 Nov 11.2 -0.6 0.7 1 Sep 99.4 208.1 low 48%
Penrith Lakes AWS 26.0   38.4 30 Nov 11.4   2.2 1 Sep 125.4
Prospect Reservoir 25.1 +1.6 38.8 30 Nov 11.5 -0.4 1.7 1 Sep 92.6 179.5 low 52%
Richmond RAAF 25.9   38.8 30 Nov 9.9   -1.4 1 Sep 90.0
Riverview Observatory 23.2 +0.7 33.5 5 Oct 11.9 0.0 3.3 1 Sep 102.1 217.1 low 47%
Springwood (Valley Heights) 23.8   36.2 30 Nov 11.4   3.2 1 Sep 124.0 227.0 low 55%
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 23.3 +1.4 34.2 5 Oct 14.2 +0.8 5.5 1 Sep 105.2 229.3 low 46%
Sydney Airport AMO 23.6 +1.3 35.6 5 Oct 14.2 +1.2 5.1 1 Sep 83.2 212.2 low 39%
Terrey Hills AWS 22.5   33.5 5 Oct 12.6   4.2 1 Sep 116.2

Notes

A Seasonal Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in Sydney - Greater Sydney 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.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 8 am on Monday 3 December 2012. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

Averages are long-term means based on observations from all available years of record, which vary widely from site to site. They are not shown for sites with less than 20 years of record, as they cannot then be calculated reliably.
The median is sometimes more representative than the mean of long-term average rain.

The Rank indicates how rainfall this time compares with the climate record for the site, based on the decile ranking (very low rainfall is in decile 1, low in decile 2 or 3, average in decile 4 to 7, high in decile 8 or 9 and very high is in decile 10).
The Fraction of average shows how much rain has fallen this time as a percentage of the long-term mean.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries