South Australia in autumn 2011: A cool, wet autumn

  • Autumn 2011 rainfall was almost double the long-term average for the state as a whole.
  • The coldest autumn days for South Australia as a whole in 56 years, with maximum temperatures up to 2°C below average. 
  • Minimum temperatures were close to average.

Rainfall

Autumn 2011 rainfall was above average (the 10th wettest autumn on record), with the state receiving approximately 1.7 times the long-term autumn average. The strong La Niña event in the Pacific Ocean was weakening throughout autumn, with conditions in the Pacific returning to neutral toward the end of May. Rainfall totals were above average across the state in March, average to below average in April, and then average in May as conditions in the Pacific returned to neutral.

The most significant rainfall events occurred in March. On the 8th, high moisture levels associated with the remnants of a tropical low over the north of the state combined with a trough of low pressure over the central and eastern parts. This resulted in the development of severe thunderstorms in the northeast of the state producing isolated heavy falls (including 24 hour totals of 134 mm at Kalamurina and 170 mm at Dulkaninna, as well as heavy rain and flash flooding around the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges area. The passage of a trough of low pressure produced severe thunderstorms with heavy falls in the north of the state on the 19th, and flash flooding on the Eyre Peninsula on the 20th. About 30 stations set new highest daily rainfall records for autumn with these events, see highest autumn daily rainfall on record.

Rainfall totals were average to above average in the pastoral districts, with some areas in the Far North District receiving more than 3 times their long-term autumn average. Rainfall totals ranged from around 20 to 90mm, with higher totals at some locations over 100mm.  Arkaroola had the highest rainfall total in the pastorals this autumn with 185.8 mm.

Rainfall totals in the agricultural districts were average to above average, and ranged from 70 mm to 150 mm in the Western Agricultural and Upper North districts, increasing to about 90 mm to 180 mm elsewhere (except for the Upper Murray Valley where totals were around 50mm). Some locations on Kangaroo Island and in the Mount Lofty Ranges received over 200 mm. The wettest location in the Agricultural districts was Crafers (Mt Lofty) with 328.8 mm.

Some sites had their highest total autumn rainfall for at least 25 years. See a map of rainfall deciles.

Temperature

Maximum temperature

Maximum temperatures were up to 2°C below the long-term average across South Australia for the whole of autumn 2011, with this autumn being the second coolest on record following the autumn of 1955. In March, maximum temperatures were up to 4°C below average across South Australia, with South Australia recording its coldest March on record as a result. Conditions tended closer to average in April where average maximum temperatures were within a degree of average, and cooled again in May average maximums up to 2°C below the long-term average in the west but within a degree of average elsewhere.

Mean maximum temperatures were 1°C to 2°C below average over the pastoral districts, ranging from 22.1°C at Yunta in the Northeast District to 27.7°C at Moomba in the Far North. The hottest autumn day in the pastoral areas was on the 16th of March with 39.0°C at Marree Comparison, whilst the coolest was 12.0°C at Yunta on the 25th of May.  

Mean maximum temperatures were up to about 2°C below average across the agricultural districts and ranged from 15.8°C at Mount Lofty to 24.8°C at Port Augusta in the Western Agricultural District. Cape Willoughby, Hawker and Nonning had their coldest autumn on record, see lowest autumn mean daily maximum temperature on record. The highest recorded maximum temperature in the agricultural areas for this autumn was 37.8°C on the 6th of March at Port Augusta. The coolest daily maximum temperature was recorded at Mount Lofty with 8.2°C on the 25th of May.

Some sites had their lowest autumn mean daily maximum temperature for at least 25 years.

Minimum temperature

In the pastoral districts mean monthly minimum temperatures were generally within 1°C of average, and ranged from 9.2°C at Gluepot in the Northeast district to 14.3°C at Oodnadatta Airport in the Far North district. The lowest recorded minimum temperature in the pastoral areas was -4.2°C recorded at Yunta Airstrip on the 16th of May. Marla also had its coldest autumn night on record with -4.0°C on the 30th of May, see lowest autumn temperature on record. The warmest recorded minimum temperature in the pastoral districts was 28.0 °C at Oodnadatta Airport in the Far North on the 1st of March.  
 
Over the agricultural districts mean minimum temperatures were generally within 1°C of average. They ranged from 7.6°C at Yongala in the Upper North District to 15.0 °C at Neptune Island in the Western Agricultural district. The lowest recorded minimum temperature for autumn was -3.0°C at Yongala on the 10th of May, whilst the highest recorded minimum temperature was 24.0°C at Port Pirie (Nystar) on the 8th of March.

Some sites had their lowest autumn temperature on record.

 

Further information

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Extremes in autumn 2011
Hottest day 39.0 °C at Marree Comparison on 16 Mar
Warmest days on average 27.7 °C at Moomba Airport
Coolest days on average 15.8 °C at Mount Lofty
Coldest day 8.2 °C at Mount Lofty on 25 May
Coldest night -4.2 °C at Yunta Airstrip on 16 May
Coolest nights on average 7.6 °C at Yongala
Warmest nights on average 15.0 °C at Neptune Island
Warmest night 28.0 °C at Oodnadatta Airport on 1 Mar
Warmest on average overall 20.8 °C at Moomba Airport
Coolest on average overall 12.4 °C at Mount Lofty
Wettest overall 328.8 mm at Crafers (Mt Lofty)
Highest wind gust 113 km/h at Neptune Island on 22 May

Record highest autumn daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in autumn 2011 (mm)
Previous wettest
for autumn
Years of
record
Warooka 71.4 on 21 Mar 58.2 on 30 May 1893 130
Hallett 52.8 on 20 Mar 52.1 on 23 May 1890 128
Mount Pleasant 70.4 on 9 Mar =70.4 on 17 Apr 1889 128
American River 62.0 on 21 Mar 59.7 on 10 Apr 1948 111
Smithfield 64.0 on 8 Mar 63.0 on 16 Mar 1985 111
Smoky Bay 57.5 on 19 Mar 44.2 on 11 Mar 1969 99
Poochera 53.4 on 21 Mar 44.6 on 13 Mar 2006 93
Karcultaby 42.0 on 14 Mar 36.8 on 26 Mar 1968 90
Booborowie 51.0 on 21 Mar 36.8 on 23 Apr 1980 86
Hiltaba 50.2 on 9 Mar 40.4 on 8 Mar 2009 82
Perponda 93.6 on 9 Mar 44.7 on 13 May 1925 76
Oodnadatta Airport 114.0 on 19 Mar 56.6 on 11 May 1968 64
Mungeranie 112.2 on 8 Mar 91.9 on 9 Mar 1908 60
Arthurton (Lowandale) 49.4 on 8 Mar 40.0 on 1 Mar 1992 53
Pinnaroo (Kombali) 61.0 on 9 Mar 53.8 on 23 Mar 1969 50
Petersville 49.8 on 8 Mar 40.8 on 28 Apr 2007 47
Neptune Island 60.8 on 21 Mar 43.2 on 1 Mar 1983 46
Port Clinton (Kaddyinna) 53.0 on 8 Mar 40.0 on 1 Mar 1992 44
Burra (Leighton) 54.4 on 21 Mar 34.6 on 15 May 1974 43
Kulkami 51.8 on 9 Mar 42.6 on 15 May 1974 43
Lowaldie (Carramar Stud) 60.0 on 9 Mar 56.8 on 27 Mar 1974 43
Mount Schank (Jethia) 64.4 on 21 Mar 53.0 on 19 Apr 1980 43
Rudall (Swaffpro) 45.0 on 20 Mar 40.0 on 7 May 1989 43
Wilkawatt (Newhouse Farm) 54.6 on 9 Mar 44.2 on 8 Mar 2010 43
Port Parham 52.0 on 7 Mar 40.0 on 16 Mar 1985 42
New Well (Marfield) 83.2 on 21 Mar 73.6 on 16 Mar 1996 41
Wilmington (Stonehaven) 154.0 on 21 Mar 83.2 on 14 Mar 1989 39
American River (Redbanks) 89.0 on 21 Mar 36.0 on 1 Mar 1992 37
Marree (Dulkaninna) 170.0 on 8 Mar 50.3 on 2 Mar 1955 30
Kalamurina 134.0 on 8 Mar 47.0 on 2 May 2000 28
Pelican Lagoon 63.6 on 21 Mar 42.4 on 27 Apr 2007 27



Highest total autumn rainfall for at least 25 years
Total rainfall
for autumn 2011 (mm)
Most recent autumn
at least this wet
Years since
wetter
Average for
autumn
Palmer 218.4 247.8 in 1955 55 90.3
Tanunda 224.6 263.4 in 1960 51 128.1
Freeling 214.4 219.3 in 1971 40 108.8
Ardrossan 136.8 148.3 in 1974 36 83.5
Cudlee Creek (Millbrook) 296.0 339.6 in 1975 36 194.6
Mount Pleasant 246.2 255.8 in 1971 36 148.2
Purnong (Claypans) 148.3 195.3 in 1974 36 72.1
Williamstown 260.0 261.6 in 1975 36 154.7
Wirrabara Forest 252.4 267.6 in 1974 36 149.0
Neptune Island 159.8 275.2 in 1983 28 106.3
Penneshaw 177.2 246.5 in 1983 28 112.0
Sandalwood 144.2 149.3 in 1983 28 71.6
Streaky Bay 122.2 256.3 in 1983 28 83.7
Truro 208.1 295.0 in 1983 28 113.3
Karoonda 155.0 175.8 in 1983 27 77.4
Langhorne Creek 141.0 159.2 in 1985 26 92.7
Murray Bridge Comparison 132.4 143.2 in 1985 26 84.1
Tailem Bend 140.7 158.2 in 1985 26 88.6



Record lowest autumn mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for autumn 2011 (°C)
Previous coolest
for autumn
Years of
record
Average for
autumn
Cape Willoughby 17.7 17.8 in 1983 43 18.9
Nonning 23.2 = 23.2 in 1995 38 24.9
Hawker 22.8 23.4 in 1989 37 25.2

Lowest autumn mean daily maximum temperature for at least 25 years
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for autumn 2011 (°C)
Most recent autumn
at least this cool
Years since
cooler
Average for
autumn
Mount Barker 18.5 18.2 in 1946 65 20.6
Yongala 20.4 =20.4 in 1955 56 22.1
Kyancutta 23.4 23.2 in 1960 49 25.4
Oodnadatta Airport 26.9 25.4 in 1955 47 28.5



Summary statistics for autumn 2011
Maximum temperatures
for autumn
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for autumn
(°C)
Rainfall
for autumn
(millimetres)
Mean for
autumn
2011
Diff
from
average
Highest for
autumn
2011
Mean for
autumn
2011
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
autumn
2011
Total for
autumn
2011
Average
for
autumn
Rank of
autumn
2011
Fraction of
autumn
average
Northwest (district 16)
Andamooka 25.5 -1.9 35.6 13 Mar 14.0 0.0 3.7 16 May 23.0 44.8 average 51%
Coober Pedy Airport 24.7   35.3 16 Mar 13.4   3.7 31 May 90.8
Ernabella (Pukatja) 24.9   34.2 18 Mar 11.8   -1.5 27 May 38.6
Marla Police Station 25.8 -2.4 36.1 18 Mar 12.2 -1.4 -0.4 30 May 35.6 46.9 average 76%
Nonning 23.2 -1.7 35.4 6 Mar 11.5 +0.8 -0.5 17 May 85.5 53.6 high 160%
Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam Aerodrome) 25.4   35.7 12 Mar 12.0   1.0 30 May 30.8
Tarcoola Aero 25.0   35.6 12 Mar 11.9   1.7 30 May 73.2
Woomera Aerodrome 24.0 -1.5 35.5 6 Mar 13.0 -0.1 4.5 16 May 61.6 43.4 high 142%
Far North (district 17)
Arkaroola 22.6 -2.5 32.0 13 Mar 10.1 -1.3 -0.7 17 May 185.8 62.4 v high 298%
Leigh Creek Airport 24.4 -1.8 34.5 15 Mar 12.7 -0.3 1.4 27 May 89.4 46.7 high 191%
Marree Aero 26.5   37.6 16 Mar 13.2   1.5 26 May 60.0
Marree Comparison 27.2 -1.3 39.0 16 Mar 13.3 -0.1 3.0 26 May 57.0 38.6 high 148%
Moomba Airport 27.7   37.5 1 Mar 13.9   1.7 26 May 119.2
Oodnadatta Airport 26.9 -1.6 37.3 18 Mar 14.3 -0.2 1.5 27 May 139.0 38.4 v high 362%
Western Agricultural (district 18)
Ceduna AMO 22.7 -1.2 37.1 6 Mar 10.9 +0.1 2.5 29 May 71.4 68.1 average 105%
Cleve 21.1 -1.4 34.0 7 Mar 12.6 +0.3 6.5 16 May 138.6 90.7 high 153%
Cleve Aerodrome 21.1   35.4 7 Mar 12.3   5.8 16 May 103.6 84.9 high 122%
Coulta (Coles Point) 21.6   32.6 6 Mar 11.7   4.3 16 May 75.2
Cummins Aero 22.2   34.3 6 Mar 11.3   2.8 16 May 94.2
Elliston 21.3 -0.7 34.0 6 Mar 12.4 +0.1 3.0 29 May 95.7 94.6 average 101%
Kimba 21.7 -2.1 34.2 6 Mar 11.2 0.0 2.5 17 May 110.4 74.7 high 148%
Kyancutta 23.4 -2.0 36.3 6 Mar 10.0 +0.3 0.6 15 May 104.2 66.4 high 157%
Minnipa Pirsa 22.8   35.9 6 Mar 11.2   4.8 17 May 115.0
Neptune Island 18.9 -0.5 25.0 7 Mar 15.0 +0.1 11.3 25 May 159.8 106.3 v high 150%
North Shields (Port Lincoln AWS) 20.8   33.7 8 Apr 12.4   5.8 16 May 117.6
Nullarbor 22.2 -2.1 36.2 6 Mar 11.5 0.0 2.1 30 May 73.2 74.1 average 99%
Port Augusta Aero 24.8   37.8 6 Mar 12.0   -0.6 17 May 57.8
Streaky Bay 22.8 -0.9 35.9 6 Mar     6.6 15 May 122.2 83.7 high 146%
Whyalla Aero 22.4 -1.6 35.8 7 Mar 12.1 +0.1 0.3 17 May 78.2 62.0 average 126%
Wudinna Aero 23.6   36.3 6 Mar 9.8   0.5 16 May 76.8
Upper North (district 19)
Hawker 22.8 -2.4 33.8 15 Mar 10.2 -0.8 -1.2 10 May 110.8 66.9 high 166%
Yongala 20.4 -1.7 32.0 6 Mar 7.6 +0.1 -3.0 10 May 90.0 76.2 average 118%
Northeast (district 20)
Gluepot Reserve (Gluepot) 23.1   35.2 7 Mar 9.2   -2.8 16 May 63.9
Yunta Airstrip 22.1   35.4 13 Mar 8.8   -4.2 16 May 42.8
Lower North (district 21)
Clare High School 20.0   33.2 6 Mar 9.5   -1.0 10 May 160.8
Port Pirie Aerodrome 23.6   36.5 6 Mar 11.7   2.4 17 May 137.3
Port Pirie Nyrstar Comparison 23.8 -1.1 37.0 6 Mar 13.5 +0.2 4.9 16 May 142.8 84.3 high 169%
Snowtown (Rayville Park) 23.1   36.7 7 Mar 9.7   -0.3 16 May 93.6
Yorke Peninsula (district 22A)
Edithburgh 20.0   33.1 7 Mar 13.4   5.9 31 May 155.2
Kadina AWS 22.7   35.2 7 Mar 10.7   1.6 17 May 148.0
Maitland 21.2 -0.9 33.4 6 Mar 12.4 +0.1 6.1 28 May 149.2 122.6 high 122%
Minlaton Aero 21.5   35.3 7 Mar 11.7   5.8 16 May 88.0
Stenhouse Bay 19.9   35.4 7 Mar 13.8   6.2 17 May 142.0
Warooka 20.8 -1.1 32.8 7 Mar 12.6 +0.1 7.2 17 May 130.2 103.5 high 126%
Kangaroo Island (district 22B)
Cape Borda 18.5   26.2 12 Mar     6.9 17 May 147.6
Cape Willoughby 17.7 -1.2 29.8 7 Mar 13.9 -0.2 8.9 24 May 147.4 122.7 high 120%
Kingscote Aero 20.1   33.0 7 Mar 9.7   0.4 17 May 228.6
Adelaide Plains (district 23A)
Adelaide (Kent Town) 21.8 -0.9 34.9 7 Mar 12.5 -0.1 5.2 16 May 153.4 125.7 high 122%
Adelaide Airport 21.5 -0.6 35.2 7 Mar 12.1 +0.2 4.0 16 May 129.4 110.9 average 117%
Edinburgh RAAF 21.8 -1.2 35.8 7 Mar 11.6 -0.2 3.2 16 May 180.2 100.7 v high 179%
Parafield Airport 22.2 -0.6 35.9 7 Mar 11.1 -0.8 2.8 16 May 167.6 109.8 v high 153%
Roseworthy AWS 22.1   35.7 6 Mar 10.1   1.5 10 May 126.8
County Light (district 23B)
Nuriootpa Viticultural 19.9   32.2 7 Mar 9.5   -0.7 10 May 195.6
Rosedale (Turretfield Research Centre) 21.6 -1.4 35.1 7 Mar 10.4 -0.4 -0.7 10 May 173.5 110.0 high 158%
Mount Lofty Ranges (district 23C)
Hindmarsh Island AWS 20.0   35.5 7 Mar 12.0   5.5 17 May 88.4
Kuitpo Forest Reserve 18.0   33.1 7 Mar 10.5   3.7 31 May 223.0
Mount Barker 18.5 -2.1 32.4 7 Mar 9.3 +0.9 1.6 31 May 162.4 177.4 average 92%
Mount Crawford (Mt Crawford AWS) 17.4   31.3 7 Mar 9.8   4.2 17 May 252.6
Mount Lofty 15.8   28.8 6 Mar 9.0   4.1 9 May 286.6
Noarlunga 21.1   33.6 7 Mar 12.9   7.0 31 May 92.0
Parawa (Second Valley Forest AWS) 16.8   30.4 6 Mar 10.7   4.3 17 May 202.8
Victor Harbor (Encounter Bay) 19.7   35.2 7 Mar 10.8   2.3 31 May 138.8
Upper Murray Valley (district 24A)
Loxton Research Centre 22.8 -1.1 34.1 7 Mar 9.6 +0.7 -1.0 17 May 46.2 51.5 average 90%
Renmark Aero 23.0   35.0 7 Mar 9.8   -2.6 17 May 58.4
Lower Murray Valley (district 24B)
Eudunda 20.0 -1.3 31.6 7 Mar 9.6 -0.3 1.5 16 May 153.6 98.9 high 155%
Meningie 20.7 -0.7 32.1 12 Mar 10.3 -0.4 3.2 31 May 94.4 114.2 average 83%
Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) 21.5   36.7 7 Mar 9.1   -0.8 17 May 116.0
Murray Bridge Comparison 22.1 -1.2 35.8 7 Mar 10.2 -0.2 1.3 17 May 132.4 84.1 high 157%
Strathalbyn Racecourse 20.3   34.8 7 Mar 10.6   3.9 17 May 115.2
Murray Mallee (district 25A)
Karoonda 21.7   35.5 7 Mar 9.2   0.8 17 May 155.0 77.4 v high 200%
Upper Southeast (district 25B)
Keith 21.1 -1.5 34.8 7 Mar 9.1 -0.4 1.2 31 May 113.3 106.6 average 106%
Keith (Munkora) 21.7   36.4 7 Mar     -0.5 10 May 114.8
Lameroo (Austin Plains) 21.6   35.4 7 Mar 8.8   1.3 17 May 106.2
Lameroo Comparison 21.9 -1.1 34.5 12 Mar 9.7 +0.6 2.5 31 May
Lower Southeast (district 26)
Cape Jaffa (The Limestone) 18.8   32.2 7 Mar 10.6   4.0 18 Apr 112.4
Coonawarra 19.3 -1.8 34.4 7 Mar 8.3 +0.1 -1.1 31 May 144.4 116.5 average 124%
Mount Gambier Aero 18.6 -0.9 34.2 7 Mar 9.3 +0.5 -0.4 31 May 192.2 161.1 average 119%
Naracoorte Aerodrome 19.7   34.8 7 Mar 8.3   -0.2 31 May 139.2
Padthaway South 20.2   35.2 7 Mar 8.1   -0.7 10 May 119.9
Robe Airfield 19.1   33.6 7 Mar 9.4   -0.7 31 May 162.8
Robe Comparison 18.3 -0.5 27.9 6 Mar 11.3 -0.2 4.5 31 May 136.6 145.8 average 94%

Notes

A Seasonal Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in South Australia 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 1 pm on Wednesday 1 June 2011. 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.

Further information

Media
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