South Australia in spring 2012: Very warm and dry across the State

  • Warmest spring days on record for South Australia.
  • Third driest spring on record for the State.
  • A hot finish results in temperatures records observed at several locations, and warmest spring night on record for the state.

Rainfall

Rainfall averaged across South Australia as a whole was very much below normal throughout spring 2012. September rainfall totals were below average across all parts of the State, except the far northern parts of the Pastoral districts where falls were generally near average. Drier than normal conditions persisted through to the end of spring with the fifth driest October on record and November rainfall the lowest in 16 years. This has resulted in the driest spring since 1967 and the third driest spring on record for South Australia.

The most significant rainfall events for spring occurred between the 5th and 7th of September as a deep low pressure system that tracked eastwards across ocean waters produced squally showers and isolated thunderstorms across southern parts of South Australia. Later, on October 10, a strong cold frontal system and associated cold air mass moved over the south of the State resulting in heavy rainfall, hail and a rare snow event for several locations about the Mt Lofty and Flinders Ranges. The passage of this cold frontal system brought rainfall totals of between 10 to 30 mm for central and southern parts of the State.

See a map of rainfall deciles.

Pastoral Districts

Rainfall totals for spring as a whole were very low across the Pastorals generally ranging between 10 to 30mm. Ernabella (Pukatja) had the highest spring rainfall total in the Pastorals with 32.8 mm. Marla Police Station reported a record lowest spring rainfall total of 4.8mm, the lowest spring rainfall at this location since 1990 when only 6.4mm was observed.

Agricultural Districts

Rainfall totals in the agricultural districts were very much below average across most of the agricultural districts, generally ranging from 40 to 60 mm in the eastern Agricultural, the Upper North and the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas. Falls increased to 100 mm about southeast coastal locations and the Mount Lofty and Flinders Ranges. The wettest location overall in the agricultural districts and the state was at Kuitpo Forest Reserve in the Mount Lofty ranges with a spring rainfall total of 133.8 mm.

Some sites had their lowest total spring rainfall on record.
Some sites had their lowest total spring rainfall for at least 25 years.

Temperature

Temperatures across South Australia were very much above average this spring. The mean temperature (the average of the maximum and minimum temperatures) for South Australia as a whole in spring was 1.8 C above the long-term average, resulting in the warmest spring for the State since 2006 and the second warmest spring on record. By contrast spring 2011 was 1.1 C warmer than average.

Maximum

Averaged across the State as a whole, spring daytime temperatures were 2.7 C above the long term average, resulting in the warmest spring days on record South Australia. See a map of maximum temperature anomalies. The previous warmest spring occurred in 2006. By contrast, daytime temperatures throughout spring in 2011 averaged 1.1C above normal.

Many locations across the State experienced maximum temperatures in excess of 2C above average throughout September and October. A heatwave, which affected large parts of southeastern Australia at the end of November, resulted in large areas of South Australia observing November average maximum temperatures in excess of 3C above normal.

Average maximum temperatures ranged from 17.9C at Mount Lofty and Parawa to 33.2C at Moomba Airport in the Far North. Oodnadatta Airport, reported a record highest spring average maximum temperature with 33.0C.

The hottest spring day occurred on November 29; Marree Comparison observed 46.0C which was the hottest day for any location in the State, and the warmest spring day there since 2009 while Loxton Research Centre observed a record highest spring daytime temperature of 43.6C.

The coldest day in spring was observed at Mount Lofty on October 11, where the maximum reached just 7.8 C owing to the passage of a very cold airmass and cold frontal system.

Minimum

Averaged across the State as a whole, spring minimum temperatures were 1C warmer than normal. The northern and western parts of South Australia were the warmest, with several locations observing minimum temperatures in excess of 1.0 C above average, while most agricultural areas saw slightly below average night-time temperatures. See a map of minimum temperature anomalies.

The eastern half of the State experienced cooler than normal nights through September and October, while western districts had warmer than normal nights. Nights warmed considerably through November, with parts across northern half of the State seeing nights 2 to 3 C above average.

Spring average minimum temperatures ranged from 5.9C at Keith (Munkora) to 16.5C at Oodnadatta Airport. The lowest recorded minimum temperature through spring was -1.9C at Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) on September 25; the warmest night was a State record for November with 32.3 C at Oodnadatta Airport on November 29. Leigh Creek also observed a record warmest night on November 26 with a minimum of 29.4 C.

Some sites had their highest spring temperature on record.
Some sites had their highest spring mean daily maximum temperature on record.
Some sites had their warmest spring night (highest daily minimum temperature) on record.

Further information

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Extremes in spring 2012
Hottest day 46.0 °C at Marree Comparison on 29 Nov
Warmest days on average 33.2 °C at Moomba Airport
Coolest days on average 17.9 °C at Mount Lofty
17.9 °C at Parawa (Second Valley Forest AWS)
Coldest day 7.8 °C at Mount Lofty on 11 Oct
Coldest night -1.9 °C at Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) on 25 Sep
Coolest nights on average 5.9 °C at Keith (Munkora)
Warmest nights on average 16.5 °C at Oodnadatta Airport
Warmest night 32.3 °C at Oodnadatta Airport on 29 Nov
Warmest on average overall 24.7 °C at Oodnadatta Airport
Coolest on average overall 12.9 °C at Mount Lofty
Wettest overall 133.8 mm at Kuitpo Forest Reserve
Driest overall 1.2 mm at Leigh Creek (Pfitzners Well)
1.2 mm at Moomba Airport
Wettest day 32 mm at Piccadilly (Woodhouse) on 7 Sep
32 mm at Todmorden on 7 Nov
Highest wind gust 119 km/h at Cape Borda on 5 Sep

Record lowest total spring rainfall
Total rainfall
for spring 2012 (mm)
Previous driest
for spring
Years of
record
Average for
spring
Adelaide (Tea Tree Gully Council) 43.9 47.9 in 2006 126 160.8
Penong 9.2 9.4 in 1963 114 73.6
Owen 22.0 39.6 in 1938 80 114.6
Nundroo 4.4 6.9 in 1963 78 71.5
Parachilna (Motpena) 10.4 = 10.4 in 2006 44 57.6
Beltana Roadhouse 5.3 7.2 in 2006 27 56.0
Marla Police Station 4.8 6.4 in 1990 25 55.5

Lowest total spring rainfall for at least 25 years
Total rainfall
for spring 2012 (mm)
Most recent spring
at least this dry
Years since
drier
Average for
spring
Marrabel 49.2 31.3 in 1896* 115 140.4
Lobethal 75.7 69.9 in 1914* 97 214.6
Lameroo Comparison 27.2 16.8 in 1938 74 105.6
Adelaide (Pooraka) 40.4 30.1 in 1938* 73 118.6
Gawler Council Depot 36.0 26.7 in 1896* 65 119.8
Blinman 14.4 =14.4 in 1959 53 72.5
Ceduna AMO 15.6 9.2 in 1963 49 72.4
Riverton 57.6 40.6 in 1967* 44 141.5
Saddleworth 44.0 37.2 in 1967* 44 133.3
Tailem Bend 33.7 27.2 in 1967* 44 102.6
Auburn 57.8 50.5 in 1967* 43 158.1
Cooke Plains 42.4 42.2 in 1967* 43 102.1
Nildottie 22.4 15.1 in 1967* 43 74.6
Hamley Bridge 46.8 35.8 in 1967* 42 113.6
Manoora 54.2 48.8 in 1967* 41 134.7
Palmer 41.3 33.7 in 1967* 41 108.8
Blyth 42.5 38.8 in 1972* 35 113.4
Eudunda 48.2 =48.2 in 1982 30 119.2
Freeling 54.5 =54.5 in 1982 30 135.1
Karoonda 35.7 26.9 in 1982 30 91.8
Kyancutta 17.7 10.9 in 1982 30 79.3
Mindarie 25.1 8.0 in 1982 30 86.4
Alawoona 22.8 7.2 in 1982* 29 79.0
Boolcoomatta 3.8 1.3 in 1980* 29 48.8
Port Wakefield 37.0 34.8 in 1982* 29 83.5
Sandalwood 29.4 19.8 in 1982* 28 90.3
Iron Knob 14.8 12.0 in 1982* 26 58.7
Mallala 43.0 35.6 in 1982* 26 105.8
Mount Bryan 41.6 31.0 in 1982* 26 123.3
Paruna 21.0 8.4 in 1982* 25 80.2
Poochera 18.5 16.0 in 1982* 25 75.5

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




Record highest spring temperature
Highest temperature
in spring 2012 (°C)
Previous warmest
for spring
Years of
record
Average for
spring
Loxton Research Centre 43.6 on 29 Nov 43.0 on 18 Nov 2009 29 24.0



Record highest spring mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for spring 2012 (°C)
Previous warmest
for spring
Years of
record
Average for
spring
Oodnadatta Airport 33.0 = 33.0 in 2006 62 30.2
Andamooka 30.4 = 30.4 in 2006 42 28.1
Hawker 28.2 = 28.2 in 2006 37 25.5



Record highest spring daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in spring 2012 (°C)
Previous warmest
for spring
Years of
record
Average for
spring
Oodnadatta Airport 32.3 on 29 Nov 32.2 on 30 Nov 2006 63 15.0
Leigh Creek Airport 29.4 on 26 Nov 29.3 on 27 Nov 2006 29 12.6



Summary statistics for spring 2012
Maximum temperatures
for spring
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for spring
(°C)
Rainfall
for spring
(millimetres)
Mean for
spring
2012
Diff
from
average
Highest for
spring
2012
Mean for
spring
2012
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
spring
2012
Total for
spring
2012
Average
for
spring
Rank of
spring
2012
Fraction of
spring
average
Northwest (district 16)
Andamooka 30.4 +2.3 43.9 25 Nov 14.5 +0.9 4.6 1 Sep 5.8 46.7 v low 12%
Coober Pedy Airport 31.1   44.8 25 Nov 15.0   4.2 1 Sep 10.0
Ernabella (Pukatja) 31.1   41.8 25 Nov 14.8   2.3 10 Sep 32.8
Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam Aerodrome) 30.4   43.3 25 Nov 12.5   -1.1 1 Sep 1.6
Tarcoola Aero 30.6   44.3 4 Nov 12.1   1.8 1 Sep 3.0
Woomera Aerodrome 28.9 +2.7 42.6 25 Nov 13.3 +0.9 4.4 8 Sep 16.2 47.5 low 34%
Far North (district 17)
Arkaroola     43.2 29 Nov 12.0 +0.4 0.5 8 Sep 5.3 52.5 low 10%
Leigh Creek Airport 29.6 +2.8 43.1 29 Nov 13.3 +0.7 3.0 12 Oct 5.0 55.9 v low 9%
Marree Aero 31.6   45.5 26 Nov 14.1   2.9 1 Sep 4.6
Marree Comparison 32.4 +3.0 46.0 29 Nov 14.4 +1.1 4.6 1 Sep 5.5 35.8 low 15%
Moomba Airport 33.2   45.7 30 Nov 15.4   4.7 12 Oct 1.2
Oodnadatta Airport 33.0 +2.8 45.6 25 Nov 16.5 +1.5 4.2 1 Sep 5.4 36.8 low 15%
Western Agricultural (district 18)
Ceduna AMO 25.8 +2.1 44.0 4 Nov 10.4 +0.4 0.1 9 Sep 15.6 72.4 v low 22%
Cleve 23.9 +1.7 38.6 4 Nov 11.1 +0.8 3.4 18 Sep 51.4 106.2 low 48%
Cleve Aerodrome 24.0   39.6 4 Nov 10.1   3.1 18 Sep 41.2 86.8 low 47%
Coulta (Coles Point) 22.3 +1.2 37.5 4 Nov 9.9 -0.5 1.5 12 Oct 45.8
Cummins Aero 24.1   38.6 4 Nov 7.3   -1.0 12 Oct 47.6
Elliston 22.7 +1.3 37.7 4 Nov 11.4 +0.2 3.0 10 Sep 39.3 89.6 v low 44%
Kimba 25.9 +2.3 40.0 4 Nov     2.0 14 Oct 29.2 91.2 v low 32%
Kyancutta 27.8 +2.6 42.4 4 Nov 8.3 -0.1 -0.5 18 Sep 17.7 79.3 v low 22%
Minnipa Pirsa 26.7   42.4 4 Nov 10.5   2.6 12 Oct 24.0
Neptune Island 18.2 +0.6 26.1 29 Nov 12.8 +0.3 7.1 11 Oct 49.6 91.7 low 54%
North Shields (Port Lincoln AWS) 22.0 +1.3 36.4 11 Nov 9.4 -0.5 2.9 17 Oct 48.2
Nullarbor 25.5 +1.3 42.8 4 Nov 10.8 +0.6 1.9 24 Sep 23.2 52.9 low 44%
Port Augusta Aero 28.6   42.5 4 Nov 11.5   0.0 1 Sep 24.2
Streaky Bay 24.7 +1.9 40.4 4 Nov 11.9 +0.4 4.5 18 Sep 36.9 80.6 low 46%
Whyalla Aero 25.3 +1.4 41.9 4 Nov 11.1 +0.2 0.5 1 Sep 35.0 73.1 low 48%
Wudinna Aero 27.6   42.4 4 Nov 8.2   -1.0 12 Oct 22.4
Upper North (district 19)
Hawker 28.2 +2.7 42.5 29 Nov 11.1 +1.1 0.5 9 Sep 27.0 75.5 low 36%
Yongala 24.6 +2.8 39.5 29 Nov 6.9 +0.5 -1.4 2 Sep 33.8 100.0 v low 34%
Northeast (district 20)
Gluepot Reserve (Gluepot) 27.1   44.4 29 Nov 8.5   -1.7 10 Sep 23.1
Yunta Airstrip 26.9   42.8 29 Nov 9.4   -0.8 30 Sep 18.0
Lower North (district 21)
Clare High School 22.7   38.1 29 Nov 8.1   0.3 1 Sep 63.4
Port Pirie Aerodrome 26.1   39.8 4 Nov 9.8   -0.6 1 Sep 40.2
Snowtown (Rayville Park) 25.7   39.9 29 Nov 7.5   -1.8 1 Sep 39.8
Yorke Peninsula (district 22A)
Edithburgh 21.0   37.2 20 Nov 10.6   1.8 10 Sep 47.6
Kadina AWS 25.2   39.9 4 Nov 7.6   -1.1 1 Sep 28.6
Maitland 23.3 +2.0 38.0 4 Nov 11.0 +0.8 4.6 1 Sep 64.2 119.5 low 54%
Minlaton Aero 23.5   37.2 4 Nov 9.1   1.5 10 Sep 41.6
Stenhouse Bay 20.8   35.1 20 Nov 11.8   4.9 1 Sep 48.0
Warooka 21.8 +1.2 34.4 4 Nov 10.6 +0.3 4.0 29 Sep 49.6 104.3 low 48%
Kangaroo Island (district 22B)
Cape Borda 18.5   30.9 4 Nov 10.1   5.6 22 Oct 61.2
Cape Willoughby 18.4 +0.9 31.0 20 Nov 12.0 +0.4 5.1 11 Oct 66.6 125.8 low 53%
Kingscote Aero 21.2   33.7 29 Nov 7.0   0.4 25 Sep 47.6
Parndana Cfs AWS 19.5   32.8 20 Nov 8.0   2.8 29 Sep 82.6
Adelaide Plains (district 23A)
Adelaide (Kent Town) 23.5 +1.5 38.0 29 Nov 11.9 +0.2 4.9 11 Oct 59.4 135.4 v low 44%
Adelaide Airport 22.5 +1.5 36.8 29 Nov 11.0 +0.2 3.8 25 Sep 45.0 108.3 v low 42%
Edinburgh RAAF 24.0 +1.8 38.5 29 Nov 10.3 0.0 1.9 18 Sep 50.2 111.4 v low 45%
Parafield Airport 24.1 +2.2 38.2 29 Nov 10.6 +0.2 1.8 18 Sep 56.6 112.5 v low 50%
Roseworthy AWS 25.1   41.0 29 Nov 7.7   -0.9 7 Oct 55.4
County Light (district 23B)
Nuriootpa Viticultural 22.9   39.8 29 Nov 8.5   0.5 18 Sep 60.2
Rosedale (Turretfield Research Centre) 24.2 +2.3 40.6 29 Nov 8.6 -0.1 -0.5 1 Sep 62.2 126.1 v low 49%
Mount Lofty Ranges (district 23C)
Hindmarsh Island AWS     35.8 20 Nov 10.8   4.8 3 Sep 67.2
Kuitpo Forest Reserve 19.6   33.5 29 Nov 9.5   2.7 11 Oct 133.8
Mount Barker 21.0 +1.5 37.0 29 Nov 8.5 +1.2 2.2 25 Sep 109.8 191.8 v low 57%
Mount Crawford (Mt Crawford AWS) 19.9   36.5 29 Nov 8.9   1.1 11 Oct 62.6
Mount Lofty 17.9   33.0 29 Nov 8.0   0.4 11 Oct 95.6
Noarlunga 22.2   36.4 29 Nov 11.8   5.4 11 Oct 76.8
Parawa (Second Valley Forest AWS) 17.9   32.5 29 Nov 9.2   2.9 12 Oct 114.2
Victor Harbor (Encounter Bay) 20.9   35.9 20 Nov 8.6   1.9 25 Sep 101.8
Upper Murray Valley (district 24A)
Loxton Research Centre 26.0 +2.0 43.6 29 Nov 8.8 +0.2 0.6 10 Sep 20.3 72.3 v low 28%
Renmark Aero 26.7   45.3 29 Nov 9.0   -0.7 10 Sep 16.2
Lower Murray Valley (district 24B)
Eudunda 23.3 +2.6 39.6 29 Nov 8.6 +0.4 2.2 24 Sep 48.2 119.2 v low 40%
Meningie 21.7 +1.2 37.9 29 Nov 9.6 -0.1 2.0 25 Sep 59.6 114.7 low 52%
Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) 24.0   40.6 29 Nov 7.3   -1.9 25 Sep 41.0
Murray Bridge Comparison 24.5 +1.8 40.6 29 Nov 9.3 +0.1 1.0 25 Sep 48.6 96.1 v low 51%
Strathalbyn Racecourse 22.0   38.5 29 Nov 9.3   2.4 25 Sep 66.0
Murray Mallee (district 25A)
Karoonda 24.5   42.6 29 Nov 8.3   0.0 25 Sep 35.7 91.8 v low 39%
Upper Southeast (district 25B)
Keith 22.9 +1.2 40.2 29 Nov 8.4 0.0 0.5 25 Sep 54.2 124.3 v low 44%
Keith (Munkora) 23.0   41.3 29 Nov 5.9   -1.7 10 Nov 56.0
Lameroo (Austin Plains) 24.3   42.5 29 Nov 7.3   -0.8 25 Sep 31.4
Lameroo Comparison 24.0 +1.3 41.5 29 Nov 8.7 +0.8 2.0 7 Oct 27.2 105.6 v low 26%
Lower Southeast (district 26)
Cape Jaffa (The Limestone) 18.8 +0.1 33.4 29 Nov 9.1 -0.4 2.9 25 Sep 102.6
Coonawarra 20.4 +0.8 37.4 29 Nov 6.9 -0.6 0.3 28 Oct 102.4 141.5 low 72%
Mount Gambier Aero 19.6 +1.6 37.4 29 Nov 7.4 +0.1 0.4 19 Sep 102.2 180.4 v low 57%
Naracoorte Aerodrome 21.0   39.1 29 Nov 6.9   0.2 28 Oct 71.6
Padthaway South 21.3   38.7 29 Nov 7.4   0.1 25 Sep 66.2
Robe Airfield 19.1   33.0 20 Nov 8.4   1.0 11 Sep 105.0
Robe Comparison 18.3 +0.7 29.0 29 Nov 10.4 +0.1 4.4 9 Oct 109.4 133.5 average 82%
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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 8 am on Monday 3 December 2012. 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
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries