Sydney in winter 2013: Warmest winter on record

  • Warmest winter on record
  • Most days above 20 °C on record, equal-highest nights above 10 °C
  • Wettest June since 2007, followed by a dry end to winter

Rainfall - Wet start, dry finish

Sydney Observatory Hill recorded 364 mm of rainfall during winter 2013, slightly above the historical average of 310.7 mm, with close to average rainfall across the city. There were 30 rain days during the season, close to the historical average of 34 days, of which nine recorded at least 10 mm (normal for winter). However, the average conditions hide significant variation during the season.

Most of the rain fell during June, which was the wettest single month for Sydney since June 2007. This included very heavy rain during an East Coast Low on 23-24 June, with daily falls reaching 118.6 mm at Palm Beach on the 24th, followed by heavy showers at the end of the month including two-day totals of 156.2 mm at Collaroy to 9am on the 30th.

Rainfall was generally below average during the remainder of winter, with a July-August total of just 47.6 mm, the driest such period since 2002. The dry end to winter was associated with anomalously westerly winds, with no days exceeding 10 mm in either month (following nine such days during June).

Temperature - Record winter warmth

Winter 2013 was the warmest on record for Sydney Observatory Hill for maximum, minimum and mean temperatures, with winter average temperature records broken across the city. Temperatures were warm throughout the season but particularly during July and August, associated with generally dry, sunny conditions and a lack of cold conditions.

The mean maximum temperature was 19.5 °C, 2.5 °C above the historical average, while the mean minimum temperature was 10.4 °C, 1.6 °C above the historical average. The mean temperature was consequently 14.9 °C, 2.0 °C above the historical average and 0.3 °C warmer than the previous record for winter, recorded in 1988 and 2005. The last time Sydney Observatory Hill experienced a cooler-than-average winter was in 1978.

The dominant feature of winter was the persistence of mild weather: 39 days reached at least 20 °C during the season (average 12 days), breaking the previous record of 37 days set in 2005; only 15 days failed to exceed the winter average of 17 °C (historical average 49 days). There was also a general lack of cool nights during the season, with only one night dropping to 7 °C (average 22 nights), the second-fewest on record, while 49 nights remained above 10 °C (average 26 nights), the equal-highest frequency on record with 1950.

See a list of winter temperature records.

Other phenomena

Sydney Airport recorded an average of 6.8 hours of bright sunshine during winter, equal to the historical average; this reflects the strong variation through the season, with the sunniest August since 1995 but the cloudiest June since 1989.

The wind direction at Sydney Airport was southerly (SE-SW) for 42% of the time, while 37% of 3 pm winds were N-W, normal for winter. There were two major strong wind events, with gusts reaching 98 km/h at Port Botany on 2 June and 96 km/h at Camden Airport on 12 August, with the latter event causing power outages and some wind damage across the city.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries

Extremes in winter 2013
Hottest day 29.3 °C at Richmond RAAF on 30 Aug
Warmest days on average 19.6 °C at Sydney Airport AMO
Coolest days on average 17.3 °C at Springwood (Valley Heights)
Coldest day 11.3 °C at Springwood (Valley Heights) on 29 Jun
Coldest night -2.1 °C at Camden Airport AWS on 22 Jul
Coolest nights on average 4.3 °C at Camden Airport AWS
Warmest nights on average 10.4 °C at Sydney (Observatory Hill)
Warmest night 15.8 °C at Sydney Airport AMO on 7 Jun
Warmest on average overall 14.9 °C at Sydney (Observatory Hill)
14.9 °C at Sydney Airport AMO
Coolest on average overall 11.5 °C at Camden Airport AWS
Wettest overall 450.8 mm at Cronulla South Bowling Club
Wettest day 118.6 mm at Palm Beach (Sunrise Road) on 24 Jun
Highest wind gust 98 km/h at Port Botany (Molineux Point AWS) on 2 Jun

Record highest winter mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for winter 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for winter
Years of
record
Average for
winter
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 19.5 19.4 in 2005 154 17.0
Sydney Airport AMO 19.6 19.3 in 2009 74 17.6
Bankstown Airport AWS 19.3 19.2 in 2005 43 17.9


Record highest winter mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for winter 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for winter
Years of
record
Average for
winter
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 10.4 10.3 in 1988 154 8.8
Sydney Airport AMO 10.2 9.9 in 1999 74 8.0


Record highest winter mean temperature
Mean daily
temperature
for winter 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for winter
Years of
record
Average for
winter
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 14.9 14.6 in 1988 154 12.9
Sydney Airport AMO 14.9 14.4 in 2009 74 12.8
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 13.5 13.4 in 2009 46 12.5
Prospect Reservoir 13.3 13.0 in 2005 46 12.2
Bankstown Airport AWS 13.1 13.0 in 1988 43 11.9


Summary statistics for winter 2013
Maximum temperatures
for winter
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for winter
(°C)
Rainfall
for winter
(millimetres)
Mean for
winter
2013
Diff
from
average
Highest for
winter
2013
Mean for
winter
2013
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
winter
2013
Total for
winter
2013
Average
for
winter
Rank of
winter
2013
Fraction of
winter
average
Badgerys Creek AWS 18.5   27.4 30 Aug 5.7   -0.4 23 Jul 161.8
Bankstown Airport AWS 19.3 +1.4 28.3 30 Aug 6.8 +0.9 1.0 23 Jul 187.6 169.2 average 111%
Camden Airport AWS 18.8 +0.8 27.9 30 Aug 4.3 +0.5 -2.1 22 Jul 172.8 143.7 average 120%
Campbelltown (Mount Annan) 18.8   27.6 30 Aug 5.1   -0.9 22 Jul 142.2
Canterbury Racecourse AWS 19.1   28.1 30 Aug 7.2   1.6 23 Jul 314.0
Holsworthy Aerodrome AWS 18.8   27.7 30 Aug 6.7   0.6 23 Jul 191.4
Holsworthy Control Range 18.9   27.5 30 Aug 5.9   -0.7 7 Jul 170.4
Horsley Park Equestrian Centre AWS 18.6   27.8 30 Aug 7.2   1.9 6 Jul 142.4
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 19.1 +1.1 28.1 30 Aug 7.9 +1.0 3.2 16 Aug 214.6 188.8 average 114%
Penrith Lakes AWS 19.1   28.5 30 Aug 6.7   1.5 7 Jul 105.6
Prospect Reservoir 18.8 +1.2 27.0 30 Aug 7.8 +1.0 0.0 4 Jul 165.8 181.9 average 91%
Richmond RAAF 19.4   29.3 30 Aug 5.4   -0.8 21 Aug 75.8 108.2 average 70%
Springwood (Valley Heights) 17.3   26.4 30 Aug 8.0   4.2 9 Aug 153.4 187.5 average 82%
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 19.5 +2.5 24.7 30 Aug 10.4 +1.6 7.0 9 Aug 364.0 311.0 average 117%
Sydney Airport AMO 19.6 +2.0 27.4 30 Aug 10.2 +2.2 5.2 7 Jul 353.8 268.4 high 132%
Terrey Hills AWS 17.4   27.1 30 Aug     4.4 20 Aug 172.6

Notes

A Seasonal Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in 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 2 September 2013. 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.

The ACORN-SAT dataset is being used for temperature area averages from December 2012 onwards. The major change from earlier datasets is that the ACORN-SAT dataset commences in 1910, rather than 1950, and hence rankings are calculated using a larger set of years.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries