Tasmania in summer 2011-12: A hot send-off to summer

The last weekend of summer was very hot in Tasmania, with daytime temperatures reaching into the mid to high 30s, and a few sites recording their warmest summer night on record. Summer rainfall was below average for most areas, but above average on Deal and Flinders Islands.

  • A hot end to summer
  • Record warm summer night at Devonport, Maatsuyker Island and Geeveston
  • Warm summer days and nights overall
  • Below average rainfall for most areas
  • A few heavy rainfall events in the north and southeast

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

A hot end to summer

The last weekend of summer was very hot, which is unusual so late in the season. Temperatures at most sites reached into the mid to high 30s on 25 and 26 February and a few sites recorded their hottest February temperatures on record. Maximum temperatures exceeded 36 °C on both days at several sites in the southeast. While similar two-day events have occurred in the summer months before, they are not common and it is exceptional to have one so late in the season.

Other warm periods in summer included the second half of December, the first few days of the New Year, and the second half of January.

Despite all the warmth, there were many cool days in summer. The coolest of these were in the first half of December, and in mid and late January. The 4th of December was the coldest summer day for most areas, with temperatures struggling to reach the mid-teens. Mount Wellington only reached a maximum temperature of 2.5 °C on this day, and Lake Leake had its equal coldest summer day on record, only reaching 8.6 °C.

Overall, summer days were up to two degrees warmer than normal across most areas of Tasmania this summer; this contrasts with last summer when daytime temperatures were mostly below average.

Warm summer nights, with a few records broken

Minimum temperatures were also exceptionally warm over the last weekend of summer, with most sites recording minimum temperatures of 5 to 12 degrees above average. Maatsuyker Island, Geeveston and Devonport not only recorded their warmest summer night (highest daily minimum temperature) on record that weekend, but also their warmest minimum temperature for any time of year. The minimum temperature of 23.5 °C at Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse beat its previous record by 3 degrees.

Nights were also warm at the start and end of January in northerly winds when temperatures did not fall below the high teens and a few sites recorded their warmest January nights on record.

There were only a few cold nights. Most of those occurred in the first week of December as a high to the west directed cold southerly air across Tasmania and minimum temperatures were generally less than 10 degrees, and below zero at a few locations. The coldest was Liawenee on 2 December, when the temperature fell to -3.7 °C, and on the 5th, Cape Grim recorded its lowest summer temperature on record with 6.6 °C.

Overall, minimum temperatures were generally above average by up to one degree.

A mostly dry summer, but with a few heavy falls

Summer rainfall was below average across most areas of Tasmania due to an absence of cold fronts affecting the state. Some sites were notably dry: Lake St Clair National Park had its driest summer on record; and City of Melbourne Bay on King Island had its driest summer in more than 20 years. The driest location was Avoca (Railway House) in the northeast, with only 51 mm for the whole summer.

A few heavy rainfall events helped deliver close to average summer rainfall to parts of the north and southeast. In the north, moist northerly winds delivered daily rainfall totals of up to 50 mm on 18 December and 5 February, with further falls of up to 50 mm with showers and thunderstorms on 17 February. On 10 and 11 February, thunderstorms delivered heavy rain to Deal Island and Memana on Flinders Island. The 114 mm recorded in the 24 hours to 9am on 11 February at Deal Island was its highest summer daily rainfall on record. Deal Island had its wettest summer on record as a result.

In the southeast, daily falls of 20 to 50 mm were recorded with thunderstorms on 19 December, and on 30 January a cold front and low delivered 30 to 80 mm of rain. Judbury on the Huon River recorded 42 mm with this event, which is its wettest summer day on record. Mount Read was the wettest location overall with 501 mm, though this is close to 180 mm below its summer average.

An unusually hot end to summer in Hobart

As with the rest of Tasmania, the last weekend of summer was a hot one in Hobart, with the temperature reaching 38.8 °C on 25 February and 36.0 °C on the 26th. The temperature has exceeded 36 °C on two or more consecutive days just four times previously in Hobart. There were three days over 36 °C in 1897, from 29 to 31 December when the temperature reached 40.0 °C, 40.6 °C and 37.9 °C. The most recent two-day event was 14 and 15 February 1982 with 38.7 °C and 39.2 °C. This year is the first time such a two-day hot event has occurred this late in summer.

Hobart's average summer maximum temperature overall was 22.2 °C, which is 1.3 degrees above average. There were 8 days over 30 °C compared to a summer average of 5 days only 2 days last summer. Five of the hot days were in January, which was a warm month in Hobart (days were 2 °C warmer than average).

Nights were warm too: 23.4 °C on 27 February was the warmest night in 92 years (since 23.9 °C on 24 December 1920), and following the minimum of 22.2 °C the night before, is the first time Hobart has had two consecutive nights above 22.0 °C. The overall minimum temperature average for summer was 12.8 °C which is 1.2 °C warmer than normal. There were some cold nights, with 5.8 °C recorded on 2 and 4 December.

Hobart's rainfall of 131 mm was below the summer average of 145 mm, and just below the 145 mm received last year. December rainfall was close to average and January just above, but in February Hobart only received about half of its monthly average. The wettest summer day was 30 January and into the morning of the 31st, when a cold front delivered 29 mm of rain.

Further information

Media
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Extremes in summer 2011-12
Hottest day 39.4 °C at Hobart Airport on 25 Feb 2012
Warmest days on average 25.2 °C at Ouse Fire Station
Coolest days on average 13.0 °C at Mount Wellington
Coldest day 2.5 °C at Mount Wellington on 4 Dec 2011
Coldest night -3.7 °C at Liawenee on 2 Dec 2011
Coolest nights on average 5.0 °C at Mount Wellington
Warmest nights on average 15.0 °C at Swan Island
Warmest night 23.6 °C at Tasman Island on 26 Feb 2012
Warmest on average overall 18.7 °C at Launceston (Ti Tree Bend)
Coolest on average overall 9.0 °C at Mount Wellington
Wettest overall 501.2 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall 51.4 mm at Avoca (Railway House)
Wettest day114.4 mm at Deal Island on 11 Feb 2012
Highest wind gust 156 km/h at Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) on 5 Feb 2012

Maps
ObservedAnomalyDecile rank
Total
rainfall
Map of Rainfall totals Map of Percentage of normal rainfall Map of Rainfall deciles
Mean
daily
maximum
temperatures
Map of Mean maximum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature
Mean
daily
minimum
temperatures
Map of Mean minimum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean minimum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature

Click on a map to show it full size in a pop-up window


Record highest summer daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in summer 2011-12 (mm)
Previous wettest
for summer
Years of
record
Deal Island 114.4 on 11 Feb 2012 105.4 on 3 Jan 1920 118
Judbury (Huon River) 41.6 on 31 Jan 2012 38.4 on 5 Feb 2010 20



Record highest total summer rainfall
Total rainfall
for summer 2011-12 (mm)
Previous wettest
for summer
Years of
record
Average for
summer
Deal Island 312.6 303.0 in 1934 138 129.1



Record lowest total summer rainfall
Total rainfall
for summer 2011-12 (mm)
Previous driest
for summer
Years of
record
Average for
summer
Lake St Clair National Park 191.8 200.8 in 2002 23 314.3

Lowest total summer rainfall for at least 20 years
Total rainfall
for summer 2011-12 (mm)
Most recent summer
at least this dry
Years since
drier
Average for
summer
City of Melbourne Bay 85.4 68.5 in 1983 28 147.4



Record lowest summer daily maximum temperature
Lowest daily maximum
temperature
in summer 2011-12 (°C)
Previous coolest
for summer
Years of
record
Average for
summer
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 8.6 on 4 Dec 2011 = 8.6 on 3 Dec 2001 23 18.6



Highest summer mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for summer 2011-12 (°C)
Most recent summer
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Average for
summer
Burnie (Round Hill) 22.0 22.3 in 1980* 30 20.6

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




Record highest summer daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in summer 2011-12 (°C)
Previous warmest
for summer
Years of
record
Average for
summer
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 23.5 on 26 Feb 2012 20.4 on 15 Feb 1994 56 10.5
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 21.0 on 27 Feb 2012 18.5 on 17 Jan 2007 28 9.5
Bull Bay (Lauriston) 21.8 on 27 Feb 2012 21.0 on 12 Jan 2010 21 11.8
Devonport Airport 20.0 on 27 Feb 2012 = 20.0 on 4 Feb 2010 21 11.7



Record lowest summer temperature
Lowest temperature
in summer 2011-12 (°C)
Previous coolest
for summer
Years of
record
Average for
summer
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 6.6 on 5 Dec 2011 6.9 on 27 Dec 2010 21 12.9



Record highest summer mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for summer 2011-12 (°C)
Previous warmest
for summer
Years of
record
Average for
summer
Scamander 13.5 = 13.5 in 2006 27 12.3

Highest summer mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for summer 2011-12 (°C)
Most recent summer
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Average for
summer
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 11.7 =11.7 in 1980 31 10.5



Highest summer mean temperature for at least 20 years
Mean daily
temperature
for summer 2011-12 (°C)
Most recent summer
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Average for
summer
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 14.6 14.8 in 1988 23 13.6



Summary statistics for summer 2011-12
Maximum temperatures
for summer
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for summer
(°C)
Rainfall
for summer
(millimetres)
Mean for
summer
2011-12
Diff
from
average
Highest for
summer
2011-12
Mean for
summer
2011-12
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
summer
2011-12
Total for
summer
2011-12
Average
for
summer
Rank of
summer
2011-12
Fraction of
summer
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 21.5 +0.2 27.9 25 Feb 2012 12.9 +0.5 4.0 4 Dec 2011
Burnie (Round Hill) 22.0 +1.4 28.8 26 Jan 2012     6.5 1 Dec 2011 129.7 153.2 average 85%
Cape Grim 19.4   26.5 26 Feb 2012 13.4   6.7 5 Dec 2011 93.2
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 19.6 +1.1 27.1 26 Feb 2012 13.4 +0.5 6.6 5 Dec 2011 90.4 117.1 average 77%
Cressy Research Station 24.8 +0.5 34.1 25 Feb 2012 10.4 +0.8 0.8 5 Dec 2011 63.6 105.3 low 60%
Devonport Airport 21.6 +0.9 28.0 18 Jan 2012 12.5 +0.8 4.9 4 Dec 2011 123.4 133.5 average 92%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 24.7 +1.0 31.4 25 Feb 2012 12.7 +1.0 4.8 5 Dec 2011 96.0 124.0 low 77%
Launceston Airport 24.3   33.0 25 Feb 2012 10.7   2.7 1 Dec 2011 74.6
Low Head 20.9 +0.9 26.0 26 Feb 2012 14.2 +0.4 7.2 4 Dec 2011 104.6 119.8 average 87%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 21.2 +1.1 31.1 25 Feb 2012 10.6 +0.8 3.8 4 Dec 2011 176.2 223.6 low 79%
Marrawah 20.6 +0.9 31.0 26 Feb 2012 12.4 +0.8 5.5 5 Dec 2011 145.6 158.7 average 92%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 22.5 +0.3 31.5 25 Feb 2012 11.2 +0.8 3.0 4 Dec 2011 134.4 165.4 average 81%
Sheffield School Farm 21.9 +0.9 29.0 25 Feb 2012 10.3 +0.2 2.3 5 Dec 2011 186.2 156.1 average 119%
Smithton Aerodrome 21.4 +0.5 28.0 26 Feb 2012 11.2 +0.4 3.8 8 Feb 2012 110.6 137.7 average 80%
Wynyard Airport 21.6 +0.8 28.6 26 Feb 2012 11.6 +0.9 4.2 4 Dec 2011 140.0 157.0 average 89%
East Coast (district 92)
Eddystone Point     33.0 25 Feb 2012 14.3 +0.9 4.9 4 Dec 2011
Fingal (Legge Street) 23.3 +0.8 35.9 25 Feb 2012 10.5 +0.9 0.6 2 Dec 2011 65.2 132.7 low 49%
Friendly Beaches 23.0 +0.6 38.6 25 Feb 2012 13.0 +0.4 5.2 2 Dec 2011 112.2 164.3 low 68%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 18.7 +0.1 30.7 25 Feb 2012 8.4 +0.6 -0.8 2 Dec 2011 112.6 172.4 low 65%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 20.7   32.6 25 Feb 2012 13.7   6.2 4 Dec 2011 72.2
Orford (Aubin Court) 21.5 +0.1 38.2 25 Feb 2012 12.0 +0.5 5.4 4 Dec 2011 110.6 158.4 low 70%
Scamander 21.8 +0.5 37.2 3 Jan 2012 13.5 +1.2 6.4 2 Dec 2011 76.9 163.3 v low 47%
St Helens Aerodrome 22.2 +0.6 35.1 3 Jan 2012 13.3 +0.7 5.3 2 Dec 2011 121.6
Swan Island 21.0 +0.7 30.2 25 Feb 2012 15.0 +0.7 6.7 4 Dec 2011 106.4 141.5 average 75%
Swansea (Francis Street) 21.8   37.7 25 Feb 2012 12.2   3.9 2 Dec 2011 105.8
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 24.5 +0.9 35.0 25 Feb 2012 10.1 +0.2 -0.6 2 Dec 2011 62.2 124.8 low 50%
Southeast (district 94)
Bull Bay (Lauriston) 20.8 +0.1 38.0 25 Feb 2012 12.0 +0.2 5.0 4 Dec 2011 153.6 154.9 average 99%
Campania (Kincora) 23.9 +0.4 39.3 25 Feb 2012 11.0 +0.3 1.9 2 Dec 2011 135.4 107.4 average 126%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 20.1 +0.9 37.3 26 Feb 2012 12.1 +0.4 5.8 1 Dec 2011 161.4 168.0 average 96%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 19.3 +1.4 36.0 26 Feb 2012 12.3 +1.1 5.1 1 Dec 2011 153.6 195.3 low 79%
Dover 20.5 +0.5 37.4 25 Feb 2012 10.1 +0.3 2.8 14 Dec 2011 163.6 175.5 average 93%
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 21.8 +0.7 36.9 25 Feb 2012 10.2 +0.7 2.5 14 Dec 2011 148.8 178.6 average 83%
Grove (Research Station) 22.5   37.2 25 Feb 2012 9.1   0.9 2 Dec 2011 185.4
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 22.2 +1.0 38.8 25 Feb 2012 12.8 +1.2 5.8 2 Dec 2011 131.0 144.6 average 91%
Hobart Airport 22.5 +0.7 39.4 25 Feb 2012 12.4 +0.8 4.9 2 Dec 2011 139.6 130.6 average 107%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 17.6 +1.0 30.9 26 Feb 2012 11.7 +1.2 5.2 4 Dec 2011 212.8 240.2 average 89%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 23.2 +0.2 37.6 25 Feb 2012 10.4 +0.6 1.0 2 Dec 2011 106.2 103.8 average 102%
Mount Wellington 13.0 +0.3 28.3 25 Feb 2012 5.0 +0.7 -3.0 4 Dec 2011 290.0 255.0 high 114%
Tasman Island 17.9 +0.7 35.1 25 Feb 2012 11.6 +0.6 3.4 4 Dec 2011 162.6 186.3 average 87%
Tunnack Fire Station 20.6 -0.1 33.5 25 Feb 2012 8.6 +0.2 -0.1 2 Dec 2011 123.8 145.9 low 85%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 24.7 +1.5 39.1 25 Feb 2012 10.5 +0.8 2.0 2 Dec 2011 89.8 126.8 low 71%
Maydena Post Office 22.0 +0.7 35.9 25 Feb 2012 8.9 +0.5 1.3 14 Dec 2011 139.0 212.2 low 66%
Ouse Fire Station 25.2 +0.8 38.4 25 Feb 2012 10.6 +1.1 2.3 5 Dec 2011 78.8 95.0 average 83%
Tarraleah Village 20.3 +1.3 32.7 25 Feb 2012     0.4 5 Dec 2011
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 19.4 +1.4 31.6 25 Feb 2012 6.9 +0.9 -2.2 5 Dec 2011 182.4 303.9 v low 60%
Lake St Clair National Park 19.6 +1.1 32.0 25 Feb 2012 6.6 +0.9 -1.9 5 Dec 2011 191.8 314.3 lowest 61%
Liawenee 18.1 +0.6 28.9 29 Jan 2012 5.2 +0.6 -3.7 2 Dec 2011 99.1 167.6 low 59%
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 19.9 +2.0 27.6 2 Jan 2012 12.7 +1.1 7.0 5 Dec 2011 145.0 218.6 low 66%
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 17.1 +0.4 32.0 25 Feb 2012 7.0 +0.6 -0.5 4 Dec 2011 194.0 201.4 average 96%
Mount Read 14.2 +0.9 26.9 25 Feb 2012 6.1 +0.9 -1.3 1 Dec 2011 501.2 668.0 v low 75%
Scotts Peak Dam 21.7 +1.8 34.4 29 Jan 2012 9.3 +0.5 2.6 1 Dec 2011 307.4 325.2 average 95%
Strahan Aerodrome 21.6 +1.3 34.9 26 Feb 2012 10.7 +0.4 3.5 5 Dec 2011 196.2 241.5 low 81%
Warra 19.1   34.0 25 Feb 2012 8.1   1.1 14 Dec 2011 267.6
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 21.5 +1.4 36.1 25 Feb 2012 12.7 +0.6 6.4 5 Dec 2011 93.0 120.1 low 77%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 22.4 +0.8 34.7 25 Feb 2012 13.1 +0.2 4.3 2 Dec 2011 117.6 143.3 average 82%
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 8.7 +0.3 12.0 19 Dec 2011 5.1 +0.1 1.5 4 Dec 2011 213.2 247.8 low 86%

Notes

A Seasonal Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in Tasmania 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 9 am on Thursday 1 March 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 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

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries