Sydney in autumn 2016: Persistent warmth breaks autumn records

Autumn 2016 was the warmest on record for Sydney, with persistently warm temperatures throughout the season. Rainfall was well below average across most of the city, with the exception of Observatory Hill.

  • Warmest autumn on record across the Sydney region
  • Most autumn days above 25 °C on record for Observatory Hill
  • Record-breaking spell of 232 nights of 12 °C or higher
  • Very dry autumn across most of Sydney
  • Short-lived storm produced heavy rain at Observatory Hill in early April

Autumn 2016 was the warmest on record for all stations in Sydney, with the mean temperature at Observatory Hill 0.4 °C above the previous record, set in 2014. Autumn average daytime temperatures were also the warmest on record at all Sydney stations, with some stations such as Richmond RAAF exceeding their previous record by more than 1 °C. At Observatory Hill the autumn average minimum temperature was also the warmest on record, with warmer than average nights recorded across the city.

The warm temperatures reflected prolonged warmth throughout the season. While several stations recorded their warmest March night on record or hottest April or May day, few autumn daily temperature records were broken. However, just five days failed to reach 20 °C at Observatory Hill, the second-fewest on record, while 46 days reached at least 25 °C, the most warm days on record. Nights were also persistently warm, with only six nights below 12 °C, the equal second-fewest on record. These nights ended a record spell of 232 nights above 12 °C, which extended between 30 September 2015 and 18 May 2016. The only significant cold snap during the season occurred during the final week of May, when Richmond recorded its coldest autumn night since 1987.

Rainfall was close to average during autumn at Observatory Hill, which experienced a very dry May but above average rainfall during both March and April. While there were 32 rain days at Observatory Hill, below the average of 39 rain days, four recorded at least 25 mm of rain. This included 94.4 mm on 4 April, of which 80 mm fell in just 3 hours, while Randwick also recorded 95.4 mm in an isolated storm on 21 March. However, the heavy falls were isolated to the eastern suburbs, with well below average rainfall recorded across most of the Sydney region and the driest autumn on record at Richmond.

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Extremes in autumn 2016
Hottest day 36.6 °C at Penrith Lakes AWS on 6 Apr
36.6 °C at Richmond RAAF on 6 Apr
Warmest days on average 26.8 °C at Richmond RAAF
Coolest days on average 23.6 °C at Terrey Hills AWS
Coldest day 14.4 °C at Terrey Hills AWS on 28 May
Coldest night -2.1 °C at Richmond RAAF on 30 May
Coolest nights on average 11.7 °C at Camden Airport AWS
Warmest nights on average 16.6 °C at Sydney (Observatory Hill)
Warmest night 23.4 °C at Sydney Airport AMO on 4 Mar
Warmest on average overall 20.7 °C at Sydney (Observatory Hill)
20.7 °C at Sydney Airport AMO
Coolest on average overall 18.9 °C at Camden Airport AWS
Wettest overall 355.4 mm at Sydney (Observatory Hill)
Driest overall 25.6 mm at Richmond RAAF
Wettest day 95.4 mm at Randwick (Randwick St) on 21 Mar
Strongest wind gust 81 km/h at Holsworthy Aerodrome AWS on 23 May

Record lowest autumn total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
autumn
Richmond RAAF 25.6 32.6 in 2006 22 178.7

Lowest autumn total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
lower
Average for
autumn
Springwood (Valley Heights) 62.6 61.1 in 1902* 287.0

* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a lower value has gone unreported.


Record highest autumn mean daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
autumn
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 24.8 24.5 in 2014 157 22.2
Sydney Airport AMO 25.1 24.4 in 1958 76 22.8
Prospect Reservoir 25.9 24.6 in 1980 50 23.4
Bankstown Airport AWS 26.0 24.9 in 2014 47 23.5
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 25.6 24.7 in 1998 46 23.5
Camden Airport AWS 26.1 25.5 in 1980 39 23.7
Richmond RAAF 26.8 25.1 in 1998 22 23.8
Badgerys Creek AWS 26.3 24.6 in 2006 20 23.7
Canterbury Racecourse AWS 25.0 24.2 in 2014 20 23.2
Penrith Lakes AWS 26.7 25.1 in 1998 20 24.3

Record highest autumn daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
autumn
Sydney Airport AMO 23.4 on 4 Mar = 23.4 on 5 Mar 1980 78 14.2
Richmond RAAF 22.7 on 11 Mar 22.0 on 19 Mar 2000 22 11.6
Penrith Lakes AWS 23.3 on 11 Mar 23.2 on 17 Mar 2000 21 13.0

Record lowest autumn temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
autumn
Richmond RAAF -2.1 on 30 May -1.4 on 16 May 2011 22 11.6
Penrith Lakes AWS 2.0 on 30 May 2.1 on 31 May 2004 21 13.0

Record highest autumn mean daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
autumn
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 16.6 16.5 in 1989 157 14.6
Sydney Airport AMO 16.4 16.2 in 1989 76 14.2
Penrith Lakes AWS 14.2 13.9 in 1998 20 13.0

Highest autumn mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
autumn
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 13.8 14.0 in 1989 12.9

Record highest autumn mean temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
autumn
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 20.7 20.3 in 2014 157 18.4
Sydney Airport AMO 20.7 20.2 in 2014 76 18.5
Prospect Reservoir 19.9 19.2 in 1980 50 18.2
Bankstown Airport AWS 19.8 19.1 in 2014 47 18.1
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 19.7 19.2 in 2007 46 18.2
Camden Airport AWS 18.9 18.5 in 1998 39 17.3
Richmond RAAF 19.5 19.0 in 1998 21 17.7
Badgerys Creek AWS 19.3 18.6 in 1998 20 17.5
Canterbury Racecourse AWS 19.2 18.9 in 1998 20 18.0
Penrith Lakes AWS 20.4 19.5 in 1998 20 18.6

Summary statistics for autumn 2016
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
autumn
2016
Diff
from
average
Highest for
autumn
2016
Mean for
autumn
2016
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
autumn
2016
Total for
autumn
2016
Average
for
autumn
Rank of
autumn
2016
Fraction of
autumn
average
Badgerys Creek AWS 26.3 +2.6 36.0 6 Apr 12.3 +0.9 0.9 30 May 53.8 169.7 low 32%
Bankstown Airport AWS 26.0 +2.5 35.8 6 Apr 13.6 +0.8 3.4 25 May 58.6 251.0 v low 23%
Camden Airport AWS 26.1 +2.4 36.3 6 Apr 11.7 +0.8 -0.7 30 May 68.2 210.6 v low 32%
Campbelltown (Mount Annan) 26.2   35.6 6 Apr 12.2   2.6 30 May 55.4 186.0 v low 30%
Canterbury Racecourse AWS 25.0 +1.8 34.5 6 Apr 13.3 +0.5 3.3 29 May 175.0 263.9 low 66%
Holsworthy Aerodrome AWS 25.2   35.1 6 Apr 13.0   3.6 25 May 105.2
Horsley Park Equestrian Centre AWS 26.0 +2.5 35.8 6 Apr 13.5 +0.9 1.0 30 May 47.4 196.6 v low 24%
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 25.6 +2.1 35.2 6 Apr 13.8 +0.9 4.0 30 May 86.8 269.8 v low 32%
Penrith Lakes AWS 26.7 +2.4 36.6 6 Apr 14.2 +1.2 2.0 30 May 36.2 159.2 lowest 23%
Prospect Reservoir 25.9 +2.5 35.7 6 Apr 13.8 +0.8 2.7 30 May 62.5 243.2 v low 26%
Richmond RAAF 26.8 +3.0 36.6 6 Apr 12.2 +0.6 -2.1 30 May 25.6 178.7 lowest 14%
Springwood (Valley Heights) 24.2 +2.2 34.3 6 Apr 13.8 +1.6 3.9 30 May 62.6 287.0 v low 22%
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 24.8 +2.6 34.2 6 Apr 16.6 +2.0 7.3 30 May 355.4 377.6 average 94%
Sydney Airport AMO 25.1 +2.3 34.7 6 Apr 16.4 +2.2 7.4 30 May 249.2 322.4 average 77%
Terrey Hills AWS 23.6 +1.6 32.2 6 Apr 15.1 +1.5 5.7 30 May 152.0 307.6 low 49%

Notes

The Seasonal climate summary lists 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.

A climate summary is generally published on the first working day of each month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 10 am on Wednesday 1 June 2016. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

Averages for individual sites 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 10 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 used for temperature area averages.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
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