Greater Brisbane in summer 2018-19: A very dry and warm summer

It was a very dry summer in Greater Brisbane, with some sites reporting their driest summer on record. Mean maximum temperatures were warmer than usual, with a record run of days at or above 30  °C at Archerfield and Brisbane. Overnight temperatures were also warmer than usual at all sites.

A very dry summer

  • Rainfall in Greater Brisbane was well below average for summer, and some sites had their lowest total summer rainfall on record or for at least 20 years
  • December saw below to near-average rainfall reported at most sites in Greater Brisbane
  • While the remnants of ex-tropical cyclone Owen produced moderate to locally heavier falls between 15 and 17 December, and some sites had their highest December daily rainfall on record, most locations in the Greater Brisbane area reported below average December rainfall, and some sites had their lowest total December rainfall on record
  • Rainfall in the Greater Brisbane area was well below average in January, and the lowest on record for some locations; most of the rain for January fell in the first ten days of the month, with a few isolated showers producing light falls at some sites near the end of the month
  • In February, rainfall totals ranged between 10 mm at Gatton to just more than 100 mm at Point Lookout, with most of the January rain falling in the first half of the month due to showers and onshore flow

Warmer than usual summer days and nights

  • Most locations recorded mean maximum temperatures more than a degree above the long-term average, and more than 2 °C at inland locations such as Amberley, Gatton and Beaudesert; Gatton had its second-warmest summer mean maximum temperature on record (highest is 34.2  °C in summer 2016-17)
  • Brisbane and Archerfield had a record run of 46 days at or above 30 °C from 10 January to 24 February
  • Summer mean minimum temperatures were up to a degree above average at most locations; Brisbane had a run of 57 nights at or above 20 °C, two days short of the record set in 1978
  • December mean maximum and mean minimum temperatures were warmer than usual at most locations in Greater Brisbane; a low intensity heatwave at the start of the month resulted in a short spell of very warm days and nights
  • It was a hot start to the year, with all locations in Greater Brisbane recording warmer than usual daytime temperatures in January; some locations recorded mean maximum temperatures more than 2 °C above average
  • Overnight temperatures were near or above average at all sites in Greater Brisbane in January
  • Brisbane had a record run of 18 days in a row at or above 32 °C ending on 2 February 2019, a record for any month
  • Brisbane also had a record run of 16 days in a row at or above 32 °C in January, surpassing the previous January record of five days ending on 30 January 2001
  • Mean minimum temperatures for February were warmer than average at all locations; Amberley had its equal highest February mean temperature on record

Brisbane

  • Total rainfall for Brisbane was 116.8 mm, which is 28% of the long-term average of 420.3 mm
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Brisbane was 31.2 °C, which is 1.2 °C above the long-term average of 30.0 °C. This is the equal second-highest mean maximum temperature at this site (equal with summer 2005-06, highest is 31.3 °C in summer 2016-17).  The warmest day was 35.7 °C on 22 Dec, and the coolest day was on 7 Dec when the temperature reached 25.7 °C
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Brisbane was 21.8 °C, which is 0.7 °C above the long-term average of 21.1 °C. The coldest morning was 17.2 °C on 26 Dec, and the warmest morning was on 14 Feb when the minimum temperature was 25.4 °C

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Extremes in summer 2018-19
Hottest day 42.9 °C at University of Queensland Gatton on 13 Feb 2019
Warmest days on average 34.1 °C at University of Queensland Gatton
Coolest days on average 28.4 °C at Cape Moreton Lighthouse
Coldest day 23.9 °C at Cape Moreton Lighthouse on 7 Dec 2018
Coldest night 12.0 °C at University of Queensland Gatton on 25 Dec 2018
Coolest nights on average 18.6 °C at University of Queensland Gatton
Warmest nights on average 22.7 °C at Point Lookout
Warmest night 26.2 °C at Redcliffe on 14 Feb 2019 and at Logan City Water Treatment Plant on 15 Feb 2019
Warmest on average overall 26.5 °C at Brisbane
Coolest on average overall 25.1 °C at Redland (Alexandra Hills)
Wettest overall 322.0 mm at Peachester
Driest overall 15.3 mm at Mt Tarampa
Wettest day 118.6 mm at Rosevale on 15 Dec 2018
Strongest wind gust 113 km/h at Cape Moreton Lighthouse on 22 Feb 2019

Record lowest summer total rainfall

New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
summer
Harrisville Mary Street 68.2 93.9 in 1918 119 334.0
University of Queensland Gatton 47.2 82.5 in 1918 119 308.2
Manly Railway Station 86.5 86.8 in 1918 116 408.8
Toogoolawah Post Office 93.6 135.4 in 1938 110 348.4
Blackbutt Post Office 159.4 166.6 in 1992 105 343.4
Sim Jue Creek 95.0 98.0 in 1938 78 381.8
Amberley AMO 137.8 165.2 in 2005 75 356.4
Rocky Point Sugar Mill 107.2 111.9 in 2013 54 468.3
Capalaba Water Treat 152.6 153.0 in 2015 46 436.2
Maroon Dam 118.2 126.0 in 2001 46 383.8
Fort Lytton 114.6 157.8 in 1992 44 428.5
Clontarf 165.6 187.8 in 2001 24 406.8
Brisbane Aero 98.2 150.6 in 2013 23 376.2
Logan City Water Treatment Plant 141.5 159.2 in 2015 23 386.5

Lowest summer total rainfall for at least 20 years

Observed
(mm)
Most recent
lower
Average for
summer
Alderley 123.5 68.7 in 1918* 458.9
Somerset Dam 166.4 148.5 in 1938* 403.0
Esk Post Office 98.0 86.1 in 1938* 376.0
Archerfield Airport 128.8 103.3 in 1951* 409.7
Lindfield 180.8 178.4 in 1976 432.1

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




Summary statistics for summer 2018-19

Maximum temperatures
( °C)
Minimum temperatures
( °C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
summer
2018-19
Diff
from
average
Highest for
summer
2018-19
Mean for
summer
2018-19
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
summer
2018-19
Total for
summer
2018-19
Average
for
summer
Rank of
summer
2018-19
Fraction of
summer
average
Amberley AMO 32.8 +2.0 41.5 2 Dec 2018 19.3 +0.1 13.4 25 Dec 2018 137.8 356.4 lowest 39%
Archerfield Airport 31.7 +1.7 36.1 12 Feb 2019 20.7 +0.9 13.9 25 Dec 2018 128.8 409.7 v low 31%
Beaudesert Drumley Street 32.8 +2.1 40.8 13 Feb 2019 19.1 +0.3 13.6 25 Dec 2018 77.4 357.2 v low 22%
Beerburrum Forest Station 30.8 +0.9 39.8 2 Dec 2018     14.3 26 Dec 2018 166.0 561.8 lowest 30%
Brisbane 31.2 +1.2 35.7 22 Dec 2018 21.8 +0.7 17.2 26 Dec 2018 116.8 420.3 v low 28%
Brisbane Aero 29.5 +0.7 33.2 22 Dec 2018 21.6 +0.7 15.7 25 Dec 2018 98.2 376.2 lowest 26%
Cape Moreton Lighthouse 28.4 +1.7 30.9 10 Feb 2019 22.6 +0.9 18.6 17 Dec 2018 193.8 425.7 low 46%
Logan City Water Treatment Plant 30.4 +0.9 35.6 13 Feb 2019 20.8 +0.7 15.7 25 Dec 2018 141.5 386.5 lowest 37%
Point Lookout 30.5 +1.5 34.7 1 Feb 2019 22.7 +0.5 19.8 6 Dec 2018 175.7 416.1 v low 42%
Redcliffe 29.8 +1.1 33.6 2 Dec 2018 22.5 +0.8 18.0 26 Dec 2018 128.6 352.6 v low 36%
Redland (Alexandra Hills) 29.2   31.6 1 Feb 2019 20.9   15.9 26 Dec 2018 123.4


University of Queensland Gatton 34.1 +2.8 42.9 13 Feb 2019 18.6 -0.1 12.0 25 Dec 2018 47.2 308.2 lowest 15%

Notes

The Seasonal climate summary, generally published on the first working day of each month, lists the main features of the weather in Greater Brisbane 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 summary includes data from observing sites in or near the Greater Brisbane “Greater Capital City Statistical Area” (GCCSA). The Australian Bureau of Statistics designed the GCCSAs to “include the population within the urban area of the city, as well as people who regularly socialise, shop or work within the city, and live in small towns and rural areas surrounding the city. It is important to note that GCCSAs do not define the built up edge of the city. They provide a stable definition for these cities and are designed for the output of a range of social and economic survey data.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 9 am on Friday 1 March 2019. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

In some situations, some or all of the rainfall is in the form of hail or snow. In these cases the totals given are for the water equivalent: the depth of liquid water that results from melting any frozen precipitation. There can be significant 'undercatch' of snow in strong winds, meaning the true precipitation can be higher than that reported.

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

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(03) 9669 4057
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Climate