Tasmania in spring 2015: exceptionally warm and exceptionally dry

Spring 2015 in Tasmania brought exceptionally warm and dry weather, with many sites setting new records. Cold fronts were less common than usual for the time of year, but there were still some days with strong winds, and the occasional cold outbreak.

  • record low spring rainfall for western Tasmania, and the State as a whole
  • record high spring mean maximum temperatures
  • unusually mild nights overall
  • early spring warmth and early start to fire season

Spring rainfall was below average in all parts of Tasmania except the northern East Coast, and record low in the western half, along the north coast and into the southern Midlands. Rainfall in each of September, October and November was below average for most areas. Westerly winds and cold fronts are typical for Tasmania during spring, but uncommon during spring 2015, meaning that the western half had only a fraction of its normal spring rain. Many sites had their lowest total spring rainfall on record. There were some significant falls on the northern East Coast, particularly in the first part of November, ensuring that area had close to average total spring rain. The State's mean rainfall for all of spring was 59% below average, making it the driest spring on record.

Many sites (including Hobart, Launceston, Burnie and Devonport) had their highest spring mean daily maximum temperature on record. High temperatures occurred much earlier in the year than usual, with the first half of October having many days that were more typical of summer; details can be found in the Special Climate Statement Early-season heat across southern Australia. Overnight minimum temperatures were also well above average, and generally in the top 10% of historical records for spring. There were enough cool nights to ensure no records were broken for minimum temperatures, however. The statewide mean maximum temperature was 1.36 °C above average, making this spring the second warmest on record (behind 1914). The statewide mean minimum temperature was 0.43 °C above average. Combined, this gave a statewide mean temperature that was 0.90 °C above average, the second warmest behind the record from 2005.

The early-season high temperatures, combined with very dry conditions, meant an earlier start to the fire season than is usual for Tasmania, with some days of localised extreme fire danger and several difficult-to-control fires; one such day was 6 October, when strong winds were added to the mix. A cold outbreak on 26 November brought rain to the west, mountain snow, and low temperatures, but this was not enough to compensate for the warm and dry conditions that were common for most of this spring.

Hobart's mean daily maximum temperature for spring was a record high 18.8 °C, 1.9 °C above the long-term average. It was 0.3 °C above the previous record, which was set just last year. Included in this were a spring record 6 days over 28 °C. The city's mean minimum temperature of 9.0 °C was 1.2 °C above the November average. The mean temperature for spring (the average of the mean maximum and minimum) was 1.5 °C above average at 13.9 °C, surpassing the previous record set last year. Hobart's total rainfall for the season was 79.8 mm, less than half of the spring average of 169 mm.

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Extremes in spring 2015
Hottest day 33.6 °C at Friendly Beaches on 6 Oct and Campania (Kincora) on 9 Nov
Warmest days on average 20.1 °C at Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates)
Coolest days on average 9.7 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Coldest day -2.0 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) on 22 Sep
Coldest night -6.4 °C at Liawenee on 17 Oct
Coolest nights on average 1.4 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Warmest nights on average 10.9 °C at Swan Island
Warmest night 17.9 °C at Friendly Beaches on 6 Oct
Warmest on average overall 14.6 °C at Friendly Beaches
Coolest on average overall 5.6 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Wettest overall 497.4 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall 38.0 mm at Mauriceton (Jordan River) and Swan Island
Wettest day 101.0 mm at Douglas River on 13 Nov
Strongest wind gust 143 km/h at Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse on 6 Oct

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 lowest spring total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
spring
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 110.7 113.3 in 1937 144 239.5
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 45.8 70.0 in 1945 141 163.3
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 79.6 80.9 in 1914 122 207.8
Latrobe (Coal Hill Road) 71.4 77.7 in 1914 113 237.7
Yolla (Sea View) 112.0 118.6 in 1914 109 367.3
Waratah (Mount Road) 139.0 237.6 in 1914 107 587.6
Naracoopa 115.0 115.6 in 1927 101 245.0
Colebrook (The Meadows) 54.4 70.0 in 1982 99 166.4
York Plains (Handroyd) 50.6 58.0 in 2007 99 149.4
Lymington (Fattys Lane) 109.0 111.2 in 1990 92 210.7
Cape Sorell 88.8 156.4 in 1914 91 315.8
Bronte Heights 83.6 143.7 in 1954 85 264.0
City of Melbourne Bay 118.0 142.4 in 1959 83 256.6
Dover 118.0 134.6 in 1963 77 238.7
Flinders Island Airport 41.2 90.6 in 1982 72 177.1
Burnie (Round Hill) 74.4 87.1 in 2006 71 240.0
Lake Margaret Power Station 297.4 481.3 in 1959 71 783.9
Butlers Gorge 187.4 251.6 in 1985 65 465.7
Woodbridge 128.4 135.5 in 1927 64 247.2
Lorinna 106.6 196.6 in 1937 59 342.7
Hobart Airport 47.2 65.5 in 1963 58 131.4
Seven Mile Beach (Royal Hobart Golf Club 63.6 66.2 in 1961 57 142.5
Devonport Airport 57.9 61.3 in 2006 53 193.7
Whitemark Post Office 51.0 76.2 in 1982 53 168.0
Memana (Babel Farm) 79.6 88.4 in 1982 51 183.9
Forthside Research Station 72.8 80.6 in 2006 48 242.7
Marrawah 102.0 151.4 in 2014 45 258.4
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 104.4 131.2 in 2006 45 245.9
Rotherwood 75.2 100.6 in 1981 44 170.9
Wynyard Airport 80.6 114.2 in 2006 42 256.4
King Island Airport 87.6 106.2 in 2014 41 214.0
Zeehan (West Coast Pioneers Museum) 277.7 375.2 in 1976 41 620.8
Savage River Mine 165.7 330.6 in 1976 40 494.0
Lucaston (Bakers Creek Road) 123.6 166.4 in 1985 36 249.7
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 63.5 82.4 in 2006 35 166.5
Tea Tree (The Point) 72.4 95.6 in 1999 30 151.5
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 70.8 107.4 in 2006 28 188.9
Richmond (Strathayr) 55.4 86.8 in 1999 27 144.0
Deviot Jetty 64.2 138.6 in 2003 26 203.4
Lake St Clair National Park 203.6 399.0 in 2009 26 525.9
Strahan Aerodrome 156.6 156.8 in 1981 25 366.1
Loongana (Serendipity) 177.8 271.6 in 2006 24 439.5
Maydena Post Office 144.8 233.8 in 2014 23 340.7
Three Hummock Island 94.0 122.2 in 2007 23 201.0
Nierinna (Cuthberts Road) 132.8 172.2 in 2014 22 268.0
Ross (The Boulevards) 47.4 72.4 in 2014 22 139.4
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 127.8 262.0 in 2006 20 387.8
Yarlington (Blacks Pinnacle) 82.6 119.6 in 2007 20 193.0

Lowest spring total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
lower
Average for
spring
Frankford (Rossville) 93.4 67.6 in 1914* 251.7
Bothwell (Cluny) 61.8 56.0 in 1919 152.9
Pioneer (Main Road) 98.2 72.3 in 1914* 243.7
Lilydale Post Office 85.5 68.0 in 1914* 232.3
Ringarooma (Main Street) 145.6 143.5 in 1918* 309.8
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 178.4 167.0 in 1937* 306.2
Lady Barron (Franklin Parade) 67.4 64.4 in 1914* 174.6
Premaydena Hatchery 104.7 94.1 in 1961 190.4
Avoca (Railway House) 62.4 50.8 in 1961* 148.9
Levendale 88.2 49.4 in 1940* 196.0
Mauriceton (Jordan River) 38.0 9.4 in 1954* 138.9
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 79.8 77.3 in 1972 168.5
Lunawanna 114.2 113.6 in 1972* 208.5
Launceston (Kings Meadows) 71.4 64.2 in 1972* 170.4
Opossum Bay 74.2 66.2 in 1982 142.6
Deal Island 62.0 55.8 in 1982* 171.8

* 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
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
spring
Devonport Airport 26.3 on 6 Nov 25.7 on 20 Nov 2007 24 15.9



Record highest spring mean daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
spring
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 18.8 18.5 in 2014 133 16.9
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 15.7 15.6 in 2005 91 14.4
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 20.1 20.0 in 1950 79 17.7
Burnie (Round Hill) 17.4 = 17.4 in 2009 66 16.0
Hobart Airport 19.3 18.4 in 2007 57 17.2
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 18.3 = 18.3 in 2011 56 16.5
Flinders Island Airport 18.7 18.0 in 2009 52 16.8
Butlers Gorge 14.9 14.3 in 1950 51 12.4
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 17.6 = 17.6 in 1999 37 16.5
Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 9.7 8.6 in 2014 31 7.1
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 19.6 19.3 in 1987 31 18.0
Fingal (Legge Street) 19.2 18.7 in 2014 29 17.4
Dover 17.8 17.4 in 2014 25 16.1
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 15.5 14.7 in 2014 25 13.6
Devonport Airport 17.0 16.8 in 2009 23 15.9
Maydena Post Office 17.7 17.1 in 2001 22 15.7
Ross (The Boulevards) 19.0 18.8 in 2007 21 17.2

Highest spring mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
spring
Bicheno (Council Depot) 18.5 18.8 in 1987 17.3



Highest spring mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
spring
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 10.2 10.3 in 1988 9.3



Record highest spring mean temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
spring
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 13.9 13.7 in 2014 133 12.4
Hobart Airport 13.8 13.5 in 2005 57 12.4
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 14.2 13.9 in 2014 56 12.9
Flinders Island Airport 13.8 = 13.8 in 1988 52 12.8
Butlers Gorge 8.8 8.6 in 1950 51 7.4
Bicheno (Council Depot) 14.0 13.9 in 1972 39 13.0
Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 5.6 4.9 in 2005 31 3.7
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 13.6 13.3 in 2009 31 12.5
Fingal (Legge Street) 12.5 12.0 in 1988 29 11.3
Dover 12.2 12.1 in 2014 25 11.3
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 9.8 9.6 in 2005 25 8.6
Maydena Post Office 11.5 11.4 in 2000 21 10.3
Ross (The Boulevards) 12.4 12.0 in 2005 21 11.2

Highest spring mean temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
spring
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 13.2 13.4 in 1937* 11.7

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




Summary statistics for spring 2015
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
spring
2015
Diff
from
average
Highest for
spring
2015
Mean for
spring
2015
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
spring
2015
Total for
spring
2015
Average
for
spring
Rank of
spring
2015
Fraction of
spring
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 17.4 +0.9 23.7 7 Oct 8.7 +0.5 3.5 23 Sep 84.5 173.5 v low 49%
Burnie (Round Hill) 17.4 +1.4 25.0 6 Nov 8.5 +0.3 1.2 23 Sep 74.4 240.0 lowest 31%
Cape Grim 14.8   23.1 9 Nov 9.4   3.9 2 Sep 70.6
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 15.3 +0.7 24.3 9 Nov 9.4 -0.1 4.4 2 Sep 70.8 188.9 lowest 37%
Cressy Research Station 19.1 +1.7 27.1 9 Nov 5.8 +0.4 -2.5 18 Oct 64.6 163.4 v low 40%
Devonport Airport 17.0 +1.1 26.3 6 Nov 7.9 +0.4 -0.9 23 Sep 57.9 193.7 lowest 30%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 19.6 +1.6 26.2 6 Nov 7.6 +0.6 -1.2 23 Sep 63.5 166.5 lowest 38%
Launceston Airport 18.9 +1.3 27.0 19 Nov 6.0 +0.3 -1.7 23 Sep 92.8 153.3 v low 61%
Low Head 16.2 +0.6 21.1 6 Nov 9.9 +0.1 4.3 23 Sep 62.1 158.4 v low 39%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 16.4 +1.6 26.0 9 Nov 6.9 +0.5 0.0 23 Sep 127.8 387.8 lowest 33%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 17.6 +1.1 25.0 9 Nov 6.6 +0.5 0.8 17 Sep 104.4 245.9 lowest 42%
Sheffield School Farm 16.8 +1.4 24.3 3 Oct 6.4 +0.4 -0.9 2 Sep 130.6 282.1 v low 46%
Smithton Aerodrome 17.3 +0.8 23.5 6 Nov 6.6 -0.7 -2.3 1 Sep 59.2 230.4 v low 26%
Wynyard Airport 17.5 +1.3 25.6 6 Nov 6.9 +0.5 -0.7 23 Sep 80.6 256.4 lowest 31%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 18.5 +1.2 30.5 6 Oct 9.6 +0.9 1.5 4 Sep 166.0 158.8 average 105%
Fingal (Legge Street) 19.2 +1.8 29.5 9 Nov 5.7 +0.6 -3.7 4 Sep 105.6 148.7 low 71%
Friendly Beaches 19.8 +1.6 33.6 6 Oct 9.4 +0.6 1.2 4 Sep 162.6 148.9 average 109%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 15.5 +1.9 24.7 9 Nov 4.1 +0.5 -3.2 2 Sep 79.6 207.8 lowest 38%
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 18.3 +1.8 28.8 6 Oct 10.2 +0.9 4.4 2 Sep 97.4 192.6 v low 51%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 17.5 +0.9 29.0 3 Oct 10.2 +0.7 4.1 23 Sep 75.4 135.7 low 56%
St Helens Aerodrome 18.7 +1.1 28.2 9 Nov 8.8 +0.5 1.7 4 Sep 178.4 202.0 average 88%
Swan Island 17.1 +1.0 24.6 17 Nov 10.9 +0.5 5.0 23 Sep 38.0 163.5 v low 23%
Swansea (Francis Street) 19.0   32.6 9 Nov 8.3   1.0 2 Sep 95.6
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 19.0 +1.8 28.4 9 Nov 5.8 +0.7 -4.0 4 Sep 47.4 139.4 lowest 34%
Southeast (district 94)
Campania (Kincora) 19.9 +1.7 33.6 9 Nov 7.5 +0.7 0.8 4 Nov 55.8 131.6 v low 42%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 16.4 +0.9 26.3 5 Nov 8.6 +0.2 4.1 27 Nov 111.8 198.0 v low 56%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 15.7 +1.3 25.2 14 Sep 9.1 +1.1 3.8 27 Nov 110.7 239.5 lowest 46%
Dennes Point 17.3   31.8 9 Nov 8.9   3.9 22 Sep 86.4
Dover 17.8 +1.7 31.4 9 Nov 6.6 +0.2 0.1 4 Sep 118.0 238.7 lowest 49%
Dunalley (Stroud Point) 18.1   32.6 6 Oct 9.6   3.9 2 Sep 69.6
Grove (Research Station) 18.6 +1.4 31.6 9 Nov 5.6 -0.1 -1.5 4 Sep 94.8 198.4 v low 48%
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 18.8 +1.9 32.5 9 Nov 9.0 +1.2 2.3 4 Sep 79.8 168.5 v low 47%
Hobart Airport 19.3 +2.1 33.5 9 Nov 8.3 +0.7 1.0 4 Sep 47.2 131.4 lowest 36%
Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 9.7 +2.6 22.7 9 Nov 1.4 +1.1 -5.1 23 Sep 196.4 243.4 average 81%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 13.2 -0.1 22.9 14 Sep 8.3 +0.7 3.5 27 Nov 178.4 306.2 v low 58%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 18.8 +1.8 31.0 9 Nov 6.2 +0.4 -1.0 9 Oct 45.0 131.4 v low 34%
Tasman Island 14.5 +0.7 28.0 6 Oct 8.4 +0.7 2.8 22 Sep 57.0 203.6 v low 28%
Tunnack Fire Station 16.7 +2.0 29.0 9 Nov 4.9 +0.3 -2.9 8 Oct 52.0 177.8 v low 29%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 20.1 +2.4 31.7 9 Nov 6.3 +0.6 -0.8 8 Oct 45.8 163.3 lowest 28%
Maydena Post Office 17.7 +2.0 30.0 9 Nov 5.3 +0.4 -2.1 27 Oct 144.8 340.7 lowest 43%
Ouse Fire Station 20.1 +2.0 32.3 9 Nov 6.1 +0.7 -1.5 8 Oct 48.0 157.4 v low 30%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 14.9 +2.5 25.5 9 Nov 2.7 +0.2 -5.0 27 Oct 187.4 465.7 lowest 40%
Liawenee 14.1 +2.2 25.0 9 Nov 1.5 +0.5 -6.4 17 Oct 102.0 238.9 v low 43%
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 15.8 +1.5 21.8 17 Nov 9.2 +0.5 4.1 4 Sep 88.8 315.8 lowest 28%
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 12.7 +1.7 24.8 9 Nov 3.4 +0.5 -1.6 23 Sep 179.6 258.1 v low 70%
Low Rocky Point 15.3   24.5 14 Sep 8.4   2.6 3 Nov 189.0 328.5 v low 58%
Scotts Peak Dam 16.7 +1.8 28.5 9 Nov 5.8 +0.3 -0.5 3 Nov 276.4 491.5 v low 56%
Strahan Aerodrome 17.0 +0.9 27.3 9 Nov 7.3 0.0 0.3 1 Sep 156.6 366.1 lowest 43%
Warra 15.0 +1.4 29.1 9 Nov 4.5 -0.1 -1.9 3 Nov 253.6 513.5 v low 49%
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 16.9 +0.9 28.0 5 Oct 9.1 0.0 1.8 8 Oct 87.6 214.0 lowest 41%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 18.7 +1.9 32.7 6 Oct 8.9 +0.1 -0.9 2 Sep 41.2 177.1 lowest 23%
Hogan Island 17.6   29.3 6 Oct 10.7   6.0 2 Sep 44.2 144.7 v low 31%
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 5.6 -0.3 8.3 30 Nov 1.5 -0.6 -4.1 5 Sep 256.6 225.9 average 114%

Notes

The Seasonal climate summary lists 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.

A climate summary is generally published on the first working day of each month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 10 am on Tuesday 1 December 2015. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

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.

The ACORN-SAT dataset is used for temperature area averages.

Further information

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Climate

Service notice

Network problems on 8 January disrupted processing of observations, affecting some climate information. Missing data are being retrieved and will be processed into our systems over coming weeks.