Tuesday, 3 March 2009 - Seasonal Climate Summary for Tasmania - Product code IDCKGC17R0

Tasmania in summer 2008−09: cool, except for a few exceptionally hot days

Tasmania registered its highest temperature on record during the summer of 2008−09, but cool weather dominated the season. Overall rain was close to average over much of the state, but below average in the central north, Midlands and the southeast. Damaging winds, flooding rain and large hail were also features of summer.

Monthly summaries have also been prepared for December, January and February.

An archive of previous seasonal summaries for Tasmania is also available, as are summaries for other states and many other climate summaries and diagnostics.

Details

Mostly cool temperatures: Cooler than usual temperatures dominated during summer. Over the whole season, most locations were cooler than normal by around half to one degree at night and half a degree during the day (although a few sites were slightly warmer than usual). There were several very cold nights, but only a few warm ones. Liawenee had the third coldest summer temperature ever recorded on the 10th of December, when it fell to −4.5°C. It was one of seven occasions when temperatures below −3°C were recorded this summer; in a usual summer this doesn't happen at all. Lake Leake fell to −2.7°C on the 4th of December, its coldest summer temperature on record, and Swansea had its coolest mean overnight temperature in summer since 1986. There were several extended runs of cool days: the first three weeks of December, the two weeks from 29 December, and the second week of February all saw temperatures below average, and often struggling to reach 20°C. Snow fell on the highlands at both the start and end of December, and at the start of January. However, there were also some very hot days, especially at the end January.

Record hot days: Despite the generally cool summer, the record for Tasmania's highest temperature was smashed at several places late in January. Between the 28th and 31st of January a heatwave affected northern Tasmania and temperatures over 40°C were recorded by seven sites on the 29th and 30th. This is only the second time in history temperatures in Tasmania have been so hot on two consecutive days. A new all time Tasmanian record of 41.5°C was set by Flinders Island on the 29th, but on the 30th it was beaten by Ross (41.6°C), St Helens (41.8 °C) and Scamander (42.2°C). The previous Tasmanian record was 40.8 °C at Hobart on 4 January 1976. Several other sites had their highest temperature on record, with many beating previous records by 2 or 3 degrees. Overnight temperatures were also very warm during this period, especially on the morning of the 30th when nowhere in Tasmania fell below 16°C and many sites had their warmest summer night on record.

Dry in the southeast, Midlands and central north: Several cold fronts and heavy rain from low pressure systems on the 13th of December and 24th of February led to near average summer rainfall in much of the west, southwest and east, but it was another relatively dry season in the southeast, Midlands and central north. Many sites in these areas have had their driest three years on record, and there has been no widespread above average rainfall since spring 2005. The driest locations this season were in the central north; the lowest total was 64.4 mm at Deloraine, and Devonport Airport and Ulverstone had their driest summer since 1983. Many sites in the southeast had their driest summer since 2002.

Severe weather events: Damaging winds, flooding rain and large hail were all features of summer. The stand out event occurred on the 22nd January when an approaching front caused winds to gust over 100 km/h at several sites, peaking at 150 km/h on Mount Wellington (the non-standard anemometer on Droughty Hill registered 157 km/h). Widespread damage was sustained across the state, over 27,000 premises lost power and a fire caused the Midlands Highway to close for a period during the day. There were also damaging winds in the northeast on the 13th December, when a low pressure system intensified near Flinders Island. But heavy rain was the principal feature of this event, resulting in moderate flooding in the middle reaches of South Esk River on 14th and minor flooding of the Break O’Day and St Pauls rivers. St Marys recorded 173 mm over two days. Northeastern Tasmania was also the location of severe thunderstorms on the 31st January. Hail as large as tennis balls fell at Gray, and significant localised damage was reported.

Further information

Ian Barnes-Keoghan
Meteorologist
Tasmania and Antarctica Climate Services Centre
Bureau of Meteorology
Phone (03) 6221 2043
Email climate.tas@bom.gov.au

Extremes

Hottest day
Highest temperature
42.2°C at Scamander on 30 Jan 2009
Warmest days on average
Highest mean daily maximum temperature
24.1°C at Cressy Research Station
Coolest days on average
Lowest mean daily maximum temperature
12.1°C at Mount Wellington
Coldest day
Lowest daily maximum temperature
2.1°C at Mount Wellington on 16 Jan 2009
Coldest night
Lowest temperature
−4.5°C at Liawenee on 10 Dec 2008
Coolest nights on average
Lowest mean daily minimum temperature
3.3°C at Mount Wellington
Warmest nights on average
Highest mean daily minimum temperature
13.6°C at Swan Island
Warmest night
Highest daily minimum temperature
24.0°C at Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) on 30 Jan 2009
Wettest overall
Highest total rainfall
782.0 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall
Lowest total rainfall
64.4 mm at Deloraine Railway Bridge (Meander River)
Wettest day
Highest daily rainfall
111.4 mm at Goshen on 14 Dec 2008
Highest wind gust
150 km/h at Mount Wellington on 22 Jan 2009

Records

Lowest total summer rainfall for at least 20 years
Total rainfall
for summer 2008−09 (mm)
Most recent lower
for summer
Years since
lower
Average for
summer
Devonport Airport 72.9 44.0 in 1983 23 131.5
Ulverstone (Knights Road) 79.5 50.8 in 1983 22 149.9



Record highest summer temperature
Highest temperature
in summer 2008−09 (°C)
Previous highest
for summer
Years of
record
Average for
summer
Launceston Airport Comparison 39.9 on 30 Jan 2009 37.3 on 28 Jan 1943 70 22.5
Flinders Island Airport 41.5 on 29 Jan 2009 * 38.8 on 25 Jan 2003 47 21.6
Burnie (Round Hill) 33.8 on 31 Jan 2009 32.8 on 20 Jan 1982 45 20.6
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 37.7 on 30 Jan 2009 35.9 on 1 Feb 1983 37 22.2
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 39.0 on 30 Jan 2009 35.4 on 11 Jan 1982 27 23.7
Scamander 42.2 on 30 Jan 2009 * 39.8 on 1 Feb 1983 26 21.3
Wynyard Airport 35.1 on 31 Jan 2009 32.6 on 3 Feb 2000 24 20.7
Fingal (Legge Street) 41.3 on 30 Jan 2009 * 38.0 on 25 Jan 2003 23 22.5
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 36.2 on 30 Jan 2009 33.9 on 25 Jan 2003 20 18.6
All these temperatures are also annual records (that is, they are the highest temperatures recorded at these locations).
* These locations all exceeded the previous Tasmanian record of 40.8 °C set in Hobart on 4 January 1976. The old record was also exceeded at St Helens (41.8°C), Ross (41.6°C) and Cressy (41.4°C), but they have been open for less than 20 years and so are not included in the table above.


Record highest summer daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in summer 2008−09 (°C)
Previous highest
for summer
Years of
record
Average for
summer
Launceston Airport Comparison 20.7 on 30 Jan 2009 20.0 on 1 Feb 1968 70 9.8
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 21.3 on 30 Jan 2009 20.0 on 21 Jan 1997 37 10.3
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 20.9 on 30 Jan 2009 20.3 on 14 Jan 1998 27 11.6
Tarraleah Village 20.9 on 30 Jan 2009 20.7 on 12 Dec 1998 26 6.7
Fingal (Legge Street) 20.9 on 30 Jan 2009 19.5 on 9 Feb 2001 23 9.6
All these temperatures are also annual records.

Record lowest summer temperature
Lowest temperature
in summer 2008−09 (°C)
Previous lowest
for summer
Years of
record
Average for
summer
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) −2.7 on 4 Dec 2008 −1.6 on 24 Jan 2000 20 7.8



Lowest summer mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for summer 2008−09 (°C)
Most recent lower
for summer
Years since
lower
Average for
summer
Swansea Post Office 10.8 10.4 in 1986 22 11.4



Summaries

In this table, key sites have been highlighted to make them easier to find. This table is very wide and may not fit if printed.


Summary statistics for summer 2008−09
Maximum temperatures
for summer
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for summer
(°C)
Rainfall
for summer
(millimetres)
Mean for
summer
2008−09
Diff
from
average
Highest for
summer
2008−09
Mean for
summer
2008−09
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
summer
2008−09
Total for
summer
2008−09
Average
for
summer
Rank of
summer
2008−09
Fraction of
summer
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport 20.6 −0.8 31.0 30 Jan 2009 11.7 −0.8 4.5 4 Dec 2008 109.1 125.5 average 87%
Burnie 20.8 +0.2 33.8 31 Jan 2009 12.5 +0.2 5.5 10 Dec 2008 83.8 151.6 low 55%
Cape Grim BAPS 18.2 −0.4 30.5 29 Jan 2009 12.4 −0.5 7.4 2 Jan 2009 119.0 112.3 average 106%
Cressy Research Station 24.1   41.4 30 Jan 2009 8.9   −2.2 4 Dec 2008 80.8
Devonport Airport 20.7 0.0 29.7 29 Jan 2009 11.1 −0.7 2.1 10 Dec 2008 72.9 131.5 very low 55%
Launceston 23.7 0.0 39.0 30 Jan 2009 11.4 −0.3 2.2 4 Dec 2008 105.8 123.7 average 86%
Launceston Airport 23.4   40.4 30 Jan 2009 9.4   0.8 4 Dec 2008 104.6
Launceston Airport Comparison 22.6 +0.1 39.9 30 Jan 2009 9.8 0.0 1.6 4 Dec 2008 114.2 133.5 average 86%
Low Head 19.3 −0.8 26.3 29 Jan 2009 13.1 −0.7 8.4 11 Dec 2008 67.8 117.0 very low 58%
Luncheon Hill 18.5 −1.6 35.4 30 Jan 2009 8.3 −1.6 1.0 10 Dec 2008 224.8 224.0 average 100%
Marrawah 19.4 −0.4 33.0 29 Jan 2009 11.2 −0.4 6.2 10 Dec 2008 149.2 156.2 average 96%
Scottsdale 21.8 −0.4 37.7 30 Jan 2009 9.8 −0.6 0.8 4 Dec 2008 116.6 165.4 low 70%
Sheffield School Farm 21.2 +0.2 37.1 30 Jan 2009 9.0 −1.3 1.2 4 Dec 2008 107.2 158.0 low 68%
Smithton Aerodrome 20.5 −0.4 36.6 30 Jan 2009 9.8 −1.1 1.1 10 Dec 2008 156.0 134.4 average 116%
Wynyard Airport 21.5 +0.8 35.1 31 Jan 2009 10.1 −0.6 1.5 4 Dec 2008 96.9 151.5 low 64%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno 21.0 +0.1 31.8 20 Jan 2009 12.5 0.0 6.0 10 Dec 2008 118.4 181.2 average 65%
Eddystone Point 21.3 +0.9 35.1 29 Jan 2009 12.8 −0.6 6.1 4 Dec 2008 145.8 152.3 average 96%
Fingal 22.3 −0.3 41.3 30 Jan 2009 9.4 −0.2 0.4 4 Dec 2008 132.6 132.8 average 100%
Friendly Beaches 21.7 −0.7 32.7 20 Jan 2009 11.9 −0.8 5.5 10 Dec 2008
Lake Leake 18.4 −0.2 36.2 30 Jan 2009 6.7 −1.1 −2.7 4 Dec 2008 133.2 172.3 low 77%
Maria Island 20.3   30.9 30 Jan 2009 12.5   7.3 4 Dec 2008 105.6
Orford 20.9 −0.5 36.7 30 Jan 2009 11.2 −0.2 5.4 10 Dec 2008 130.2 158.5 average 82%
Scamander 21.2 −0.1 42.2 30 Jan 2009 12.2 0.0 6.1 4 Dec 2008 158.8 152.5 average 104%
St Helens Aerodrome 21.5   41.8 30 Jan 2009 12.0   4.3 4 Dec 2008 200.2
Swan Island 19.6   31.9 29 Jan 2009 13.6   7.6 4 Dec 2008 101.8
Swansea Post Office 21.2 −0.5 33.9 20 Jan 2009 10.8 −0.6 2.4 3 Jan 2009 124.2 152.1 average 82%
Midlands (district 93)
Ross 23.4 −0.3 41.6 30 Jan 2009 9.6 −0.3 −0.6 4 Dec 2008 85.4 124.9 low 68%
Southeast (district 94)
Bull Bay 20.3 −0.4 29.7 22 Dec 2008 11.0 −0.7 5.5 4 Dec 2008 84.0 156.1 low 54%
Campania 23.0   38.6 30 Jan 2009 10.5   2.6 10 Dec 2008 87.0
Cape Bruny 18.7 −0.5 30.9 22 Dec 2008 10.9 −0.8 6.5 4 Dec 2008 135.0 173.4 low 78%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 17.8 −0.1 29.9 22 Dec 2008 11.1 −0.1 5.0 1 Jan 2009 172.0 195.5 average 88%
Dover 19.5 −0.6 31.0 22 Dec 2008 8.7 −1.2 2.6 4 Dec 2008 133.6 179.3 low 75%
Geeveston 20.7 −0.4 34.5 30 Jan 2009 8.9 −0.6 2.0 10 Dec 2008 193.8 180.1 average 108%
Grove 21.9 +0.2 36.3 30 Jan 2009 8.7 −0.5 1.1 4 Dec 2008 156.2 157.0 average 99%
Grove 21.6   36.0 30 Jan 2009 8.1   0.3 4 Dec 2008 172.0
Hobart 21.7 +0.5 33.5 13 Jan 2009 11.6 +0.1 5.0 4 Dec 2008 108.6 145.0 average 75%
Hobart Airport 21.8 +0.1 34.4 13 Jan 2009 11.3 −0.3 4.3 10 Dec 2008 72.6 131.2 low 55%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 16.0 −0.7 26.9 22 Dec 2008 10.3 −0.1 5.4 2 Dec 2008 203.0 240.3 average 84%
Melton Mowbray 22.4 −0.7 38.3 30 Jan 2009 9.6 −0.2 1.0 10 Dec 2008 83.0 103.2 average 80%
Mount Wellington 12.1 −0.6 27.7 30 Jan 2009 3.3 −1.1 −3.6 4 Dec 2008 219.4 251.3 average 87%
Tasman Island 16.8   29.6 29 Jan 2009 10.3   5.2 2 Jan 2009 118.2
Tunnack Fire Station 20.2 −0.6 36.9 30 Jan 2009 7.8 −0.7 −1.0 4 Dec 2008 157.8 144.5 average 109%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park 23.7 +0.5 38.6 30 Jan 2009 8.9 −0.9 1.1 10 Dec 2008 92.0 127.2 low 72%
Maydena Post Office 20.3 −1.2 33.5 30 Jan 2009 7.9 −0.6 1.5 10 Feb 2009 240.6 218.1 average 110%
Ouse Fire Station 23.8 −0.7 38.7 30 Jan 2009 9.2 −0.4 1.4 10 Dec 2008 90.8 96.2 average 94%
Tarraleah Village 18.8 −0.2 33.0 30 Jan 2009 6.9 +0.1 −0.4 10 Dec 2008 230.5 223.0 average 103%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 17.6 −0.4 32.5 29 Jan 2009 5.5 −0.5 −1.6 12 Feb 2009 354.2 308.0 average 115%
Lake St Clair National Park 17.7 −0.8 32.5 30 Jan 2009 5.3 −0.5 −1.0 10 Dec 2008 376.6 324.8 average 116%
Liawenee 16.9   32.0 30 Jan 2009 4.2   −4.5 10 Dec 2008 129.6
West Coast (district 97)
Hartz Mountain 15.5 −1.4 28.6 30 Jan 2009 5.5 −1.0 −0.1 10 Dec 2008 272.2 202.5 very high 134%
Mount Read 12.4 −1.1 28.6 30 Jan 2009 4.6 −0.7 −1.6 10 Dec 2008 782.0
Scotts Peak Dam 19.4 −0.5 33.2 30 Jan 2009 8.1 −0.8 2.7 10 Dec 2008
Strahan Aerodrome 19.5 −0.8 30.3 13 Jan 2009 9.7 −0.6 4.4 10 Dec 2008
Strathgordon Village     31.0 30 Jan 2009 9.2 +0.1 3.0 4 Dec 2008 540.3 463.7 high 117%
Warra 17.6   31.5 30 Jan 2009 7.1   1.1 10 Dec 2008 374.0
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 19.8 −0.3 33.4 29 Jan 2009 11.6 −0.5 2.8 11 Dec 2008 97.4 117.0 low 83%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 21.6 0.0 41.5 29 Jan 2009 12.4 −0.5 4.5 11 Dec 2008 182.7 143.1 high 128%
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 8.1 −0.3 10.6 22 Jan 2009 4.8 −0.2 0.7 5 Dec 2008 233.8 246.4 average 95%


Notes

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 10 am on Tuesday 3 March 2009. 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 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.

Further information

Ian Barnes-Keoghan
Meteorologist
Tasmania and Antarctica Climate Services Centre
Bureau of Meteorology
Phone (03) 6221 2043
Email climate.tas@bom.gov.au