Sydney in summer 2016-17: Warmest summer on record

Summer 2016-17 was the warmest on record for Sydney, with persistent warmth throughout the season and few cold spells. Records were broken for numbers of hot days and nights across the city, with many stations experiencing their warmest February day on record on the 10th and 11th. Rainfall was close to average, with a dry start to the summer followed by some heavy rain and thunderstorms during February.

Warmest summer on record

  • Summer 2016-17 was the warmest on record for Sydney Observatory Hill with the mean temperature 2.8 °C above average
  • Most stations, including Observatory Hill, broke summer records for all of average maximum, minimum, and mean temperatures
  • Temperatures were persistently warm throughout the summer, with only 14 days failing to reach 25 °C at Observatory Hill, the second-fewest on record behind summer 1990-91 (average 41 days)
  • Observatory Hill experienced a record-breaking 26 days of 30 °C or higher and 11 days of 35 °C or higher, with record numbers of days above 40 °C recorded in western Sydney including 11 days at Richmond
  • Summer temperatures peaked over 10 and 11 February, with many stations recording their hottest February day on record and some also breaking summer records, although the 47.0 °C at Richmond remained below Sydney's all-time record of 47.8 °C at the old Richmond site on 14 January 1939
  • Minimum temperatures were also persistently warm, with no nights below 15 °C at Observatory Hill and 58 nights reaching at least 20 °C, the second-most warm nights on record behind 64 nights in summer 1990-91 (average 22 nights)
  • Five nights reached at least 25 °C, the most hot nights on record, with ten nights reaching at least 24 °C; the previous records are 4 and 6 nights respectively in 2010-11
  • Temperatures reached 30 °C by 9 am on four days, with a temperature of 36.5 °C recorded at Observatory Hill at 9 am on January 18, the highest 9 am temperature since records began in 1955
  • For more information on heat records broken during summer, see Special Climate Statement 61: Exceptional heat in southeast Australia in early 2017

A dry start and a wet finish

  • Rainfall was average to below average across the city, with a dry December and January but a wetter than average February
  • Observatory Hill recorded rain on 32 days, close to the summer average of 36 rain days
  • Five days had more than 25 mm of rain (average 3 days), mostly in February, with flash flooding in parts of the Sydney CBD on 7 February and severe thunderstorms with large hail in parts of the north and northwest on 18 February

Further information

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Extremes in summer 2016-17
Hottest day 47.0 °C at Richmond RAAF on 11 Feb 2017
Warmest days on average 32.9 °C at Richmond RAAF
Coolest days on average 28.2 °C at Terrey Hills AWS
Coldest day 17.5 °C at Springwood (Valley Heights) on 15 Dec 2016
Coldest night 9.9 °C at Springwood (Valley Heights) on 21 Dec 2016
Coolest nights on average 17.9 °C at Campbelltown (Mount Annan)
Warmest nights on average 20.9 °C at Sydney (Observatory Hill)
Warmest night 27.5 °C at Parramatta North (Masons Drive) on 14 Dec 2016
27.5 °C at Springwood (Valley Heights) on 14 Dec 2016
27.5 °C at Sydney Airport AMO on 14 Dec 2016
Warmest on average overall 26.3 °C at Penrith Lakes AWS
Coolest on average overall 23.5 °C at Terrey Hills AWS
Wettest overall 441.8 mm at Mona Vale Golf Club
Driest overall 162.0 mm at Milperra Bridge (Georges River)
Wettest day 85.0 mm at Sydney (Observatory Hill) on 8 Feb 2017
Strongest wind gust 93 km/h at Horsley Park Equestrian Centre AWS on 17 Feb 2017

Record highest summer temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
summer
Richmond RAAF 47.0 on 11 Feb 2017 46.4 on 18 Jan 2013 24 29.2
Badgerys Creek AWS 46.4 on 11 Feb 2017 45.8 on 18 Jan 2013 22 28.9
Penrith Lakes AWS 46.9 on 11 Feb 2017 46.5 on 18 Jan 2013 22 29.8

Record highest summer mean daily maximum temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
summer
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 28.7 28.6 in 1990 157 25.6
Sydney Airport AMO 29.3 29.0 in 1990 77 26.2
Bankstown Airport AWS 31.0 30.3 in 1990 48 27.8
Camden Airport AWS 31.8 31.5 in 1990 40 28.8
Richmond RAAF 32.9 31.4 in 1997 23 29.2
Canterbury Racecourse AWS 29.3 29.0 in 1997 21 27.1
Penrith Lakes AWS 32.8 31.7 in 1997 21 29.8

Highest summer mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years

Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
summer
Prospect Reservoir 30.9 31.0 in 1990 28.0

Record highest summer daily minimum temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
summer
Sydney Airport AMO 27.5 on 14 Dec 2016 26.4 on 6 Feb 2011 78 18.5
Camden Airport AWS 24.3 on 14 Jan 2017 24.0 on 3 Feb 2011 42 16.3
Richmond RAAF 26.2 on 31 Jan 2017 25.0 on 23 Dec 2000 24 17.1
Badgerys Creek AWS 25.1 on 14 Jan 2017 23.9 on 3 Feb 2011 22 16.5
Horsley Park Equestrian Centre AWS 24.8 on 31 Jan 2017 24.7 on 3 Feb 2011 20 17.2

Record highest summer mean daily minimum temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
summer
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 20.9 20.7 in 1990 157 18.4
Sydney Airport AMO 20.5 = 20.5 in 1990 77 18.5
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 19.1 18.4 in 2009 49 17.1
Bankstown Airport AWS 19.5 = 19.5 in 1990 48 17.6
Camden Airport AWS 18.1 17.6 in 1990 40 16.3
Richmond RAAF 19.1 18.2 in 2010 22 17.1
Canterbury Racecourse AWS 19.4 19.1 in 1997 21 17.8
Penrith Lakes AWS 19.8 19.0 in 2010 21 18.0

Highest summer mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years

Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
summer
Prospect Reservoir 19.1 19.9 in 1990 17.3

Record highest summer mean temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
summer
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 24.8 24.7 in 1990 157 22.0
Sydney Airport AMO 24.9 24.8 in 1990 77 22.4
Bankstown Airport AWS 25.2 24.9 in 1990 48 22.7
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 24.8 24.3 in 1990 48 22.5
Camden Airport AWS 24.9 24.6 in 1990 40 22.5
Richmond RAAF 26.0 24.6 in 1997 22 23.1
Canterbury Racecourse AWS 24.3 24.1 in 1997 21 22.4
Penrith Lakes AWS 26.3 25.1 in 1997 21 23.9

Highest summer mean temperature for at least 20 years

Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
summer
Prospect Reservoir 25.1 25.5 in 1990 22.6

Summary statistics for summer 2016-17

Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
summer
2016-17
Diff
from
average
Highest for
summer
2016-17
Mean for
summer
2016-17
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
summer
2016-17
Total for
summer
2016-17
Average
for
summer
Rank of
summer
2016-17
Fraction of
summer
average
Bankstown Airport AWS 31.0 +3.2 44.5 10 Feb 2017 19.5 +1.9 13.1 10 Dec 2016 182.4 264.5 average 69%
Camden Airport AWS 31.8 +3.0 45.6 11 Feb 2017 18.1 +1.8 10.7 21 Feb 2017 180.8 240.2 average 75%
Campbelltown (Mount Annan) 31.4 +2.9 45.6 11 Feb 2017 17.9 +1.7 11.4 21 Feb 2017 188.2 249.7 average 75%
Canterbury Racecourse AWS 29.3 +2.2 43.1 10 Feb 2017 19.4 +1.6 12.9 21 Feb 2017 283.0 245.5 average 115%
Holsworthy Aerodrome AWS 30.3   45.1 11 Feb 2017 18.3   11.3 10 Dec 2016 226.0


Horsley Park Equestrian Centre AWS 31.4 +2.6 44.5 11 Feb 2017 18.7 +1.5 13.0 20 Feb 2017 233.8 251.9 average 93%
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 30.6 +2.7 44.5 10 Feb 2017 19.1 +2.0 12.0 20 Feb 2017 265.0 304.5 average 87%
Penrith Lakes AWS 32.8 +3.0 46.9 11 Feb 2017 19.8 +1.8 13.9 20 Dec 2016 163.2 279.1 low 58%
Prospect Reservoir 30.9 +2.9 43.4 13 Jan 2017 19.1 +1.8 13.1 20 Dec 2016 322.9 267.2 average 121%
Richmond RAAF 32.9 +3.7 47.0 11 Feb 2017 19.1 +2.0 11.5 21 Feb 2017 172.2 282.0 low 61%
Springwood (Valley Heights) 30.2 +3.2 44.6 11 Feb 2017 18.0 +1.6 9.9 21 Dec 2016 223.2 366.8 low 61%
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 28.7 +3.1 39.4 31 Jan 2017 20.9 +2.5 16.7 20 Dec 2016 318.6 297.4 average 107%
Sydney Airport AMO 29.3 +3.1 42.9 10 Feb 2017 20.5 +2.0 16.2 10 Dec 2016 261.8 280.7 average 93%
Terrey Hills AWS 28.2 +2.4 40.9 5 Feb 2017 18.9 +1.3 13.5 10 Dec 2016 278.8 304.1 average 92%

Notes

The Seasonal climate summary, generally published on the first working day of each month, 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. More extensive discussion of significant weather events, along with later information and data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 9 am on Wednesday 1 March 2017. 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.

Where temperature area averages are mentioned, they are derived from the ACORN-SAT dataset.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries