Sydney in summer 2013-14: Driest summer since 1986-87

  • Well below average rainfall across the city
  • Above average temperatures, but few hot days

Rainfall - Driest summer in almost 30 years

Sydney Observatory Hill recorded 106.6 mm of rain during summer 2013-14, close to a third of the historical average (297.7 mm), making it the driest summer since 1986-87. Rainfall was below average across the city, with several short-record stations in northern Sydney recording their driest summer in 20-30 years of record, while Turramurra recorded its driest summer since 1964-65.

Rainfall was below average throughout the season, associated with a lack of major rain events. While there were 29 rain days (average 36), only six recorded at least 5 mm of rainfall (average 13), the fewest since 5 days in summer 1986-87. Only two days recorded at least 20 mm, with 21 mm on December 26 and 21.8 mm on February 17; this is the first summer since 1984-85 without any days over 25 mm.

Some sites had their lowest total summer rainfall on record.

Temperature

Sydney Observatory Hill recorded a mean maximum temperature of 26.5 °C during summer 2013-14, 0.9 °C above the historical average. Temperatures were persistently warm throughout the season - only 26 days failed to reach at least 25 °C (average 41 days), with no days dropping below 20 °C, but only six days reached at least 30 °C in the city (average 9 days). Temperatures were warmer in western Sydney, with 49 days reaching at least 30 °C in Penrith, the most since summer 2009-10.

The average minimum temperature at Observatory Hill was 19.4 °C, 1.1 °C above the historical average, associated with well above average sea surface temperatures. Only three nights dropped below 15 °C during the season (average 6 nights), while 38 nights remained above 20 °C (average 21 nights). The mean temperature for Sydney was consequently 23 °C, 1 °C above the historical average

Other phenomena

Sydney Airport recorded an average of 8.0 hours of bright sunshine during summer, above the historical average of 7.5 hours and the sunniest summer since 2006-07. Thunder was reported at the airport on only two days, the fewest on record for Sydney (average 9 days).

The prevailing wind direction at Sydney airport was easterly, which is normal for summer. The 3 pm wind direction was between ENE and NNE for 2% of the time and E-S for the remaining 47%, slightly more northeasterly than normal, contributing to the mild temperatures. There were 27 strong wind days reported during the season, with the strongest gusts reaching 106 km/h in western Sydney on 5 December.

Further information

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Extremes in summer 2013-14
Hottest day 41.9 °C at Penrith Lakes AWS on 20 Dec 2013
Warmest days on average 30.4 °C at Penrith Lakes AWS
Coolest days on average 25.7 °C at Terrey Hills AWS
Coldest day 17.1 °C at Springwood (Valley Heights) on 28 Feb 2014
Coldest night 7.5 °C at Camden Airport AWS on 7 Dec 2013
7.5 °C at Campbelltown (Mount Annan) on 7 Dec 2013
Coolest nights on average 15.8 °C at Campbelltown (Mount Annan)
Warmest nights on average 19.5 °C at Sydney Airport AMO
Warmest night 24.1 °C at Sydney Airport AMO on 10 Dec 2013
Warmest on average overall 24.1 °C at Penrith Lakes AWS
Coolest on average overall 21.5 °C at Terrey Hills AWS
Wettest overall 214.2 mm at Springwood (Valley Heights)
Wettest day 48.0 mm at Webbs Ck-Wisemans Ferry (Hawkesbury Rive on 17 Feb 2014
46.4 mm at Randwick Bowling Club on 15 Dec 2013
38.4 mm at Springwood (Valley Heights) on 20 Feb 2014
35.4 mm at Castlereagh (Castlereagh Road) on 25 Dec 2013
35.0 mm at Seven Hills (Collins St) on 21 Jan 2014
34.4 mm at Springwood (Valley Heights) on 26 Dec 2013
Highest wind gust 106 km/h at Camden Airport AWS on 5 Dec 2013
106 km/h at Richmond RAAF on 5 Dec 2013

Record lowest total summer rainfall
Total rainfall
for summer 2013-14 (mm)
Previous driest
for summer
Years of
record
Average for
summer
Avalon Beach (Avalon (Palmgrove Rd)) 117.6 128.7 in 1964 30 314.7
Collaroy (Long Reef Golf Club) 103.0 138.6 in 1969 26 322.4
Chatswood Bowling Club 113.0 118.5 in 1951 24 341.0
Belrose (Evelyn Place) 138.0 200.4 in 1997 23 361.4

Summary statistics for summer 2013-14
Maximum temperatures
for summer
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for summer
(°C)
Rainfall
for summer
(millimetres)
Mean for
summer
2013-14
Diff
from
average
Highest for
summer
2013-14
Mean for
summer
2013-14
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
summer
2013-14
Total for
summer
2013-14
Average
for
summer
Rank of
summer
2013-14
Fraction of
summer
average
Badgerys Creek AWS 29.4   41.0 22 Dec 2013 16.5   8.9 7 Dec 2013 114.6
Bankstown Airport AWS 28.5 +0.8 40.1 20 Dec 2013 17.7 +0.1 10.5 7 Dec 2013 104.2 263.7 v low 40%
Camden Airport AWS 29.6 +0.8 40.9 22 Dec 2013 15.9 -0.3 7.5 7 Dec 2013 104.0 236.9 v low 44%
Campbelltown (Mount Annan) 29.0   40.6 20 Dec 2013 15.8   7.5 7 Dec 2013 113.2
Canterbury Racecourse AWS 27.0   38.4 20 Dec 2013 17.3   9.8 7 Dec 2013 79.8
Holsworthy Aerodrome AWS 28.2   41.2 20 Dec 2013 17.2   8.9 7 Dec 2013 93.0
Holsworthy Control Range 28.3   40.1 20 Dec 2013 16.4   9.2 7 Dec 2013 79.2
Horsley Park Equestrian Centre AWS 29.1   40.3 20 Dec 2013 16.9   9.9 6 Dec 2013 117.6
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 28.3 +0.4 40.2 20 Dec 2013 17.1 0.0 9.6 6 Dec 2013 125.2 300.5 v low 42%
Penrith Lakes AWS 30.4   41.9 20 Dec 2013 17.8   11.0 7 Dec 2013 132.2
Prospect Reservoir 29.0 +1.1 40.2 22 Dec 2013 17.1 -0.2 9.7 6 Dec 2013 119.4 264.4 low 45%
Richmond RAAF 29.6 +0.4 39.8 20 Dec 2013 16.5   9.1 7 Dec 2013 119.6
Springwood (Valley Heights) 27.7   38.5 20 Dec 2013 15.9   10.0 6 Dec 2013 214.2 366.9 low 58%
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 26.5 +0.9 36.5 2 Jan 2014 19.4 +1.1 12.7 6 Dec 2013 106.6 296.5 v low 36%
Sydney Airport AMO 27.3 +1.1 37.8 20 Dec 2013 19.5 +1.0 13.1 6 Dec 2013 124.8 279.8 low 45%
Terrey Hills AWS 25.7   36.9 20 Dec 2013 17.3   9.3 6 Dec 2013 138.2

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 3 March 2014. 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