South East Queensland
Climate overview

Rainfall

Annual rainfall across the entire South East Queensland (SEQ) region was well above average for the 2010–11 year (Figure C1). The western half of the region recorded its highest annual rainfall on record. The total area-averaged rainfall over the SEQ region during the 2010–11 year was 1,748 mm, well above the mean annual rainfall of 999 mm. Inflows to water storages were well above average and many water storages reached and exceeded storage capacity during the 2010–11 year. Further information on flooding and water storage volumes can be found in the Surface water note, the January 2011 Queensland Climate Summary webpage, Monthly Weather Review webpage and Special Climate Statement 24 webpage.


Figure C1. Map of annual rainfall deciles for the South East Queensland region during the 2010–11 year
Figure C1. Map of annual rainfall deciles for the South East Queensland region during the 2010–11 year

Rainfall across the region ranged from more than 2,700 mm in the northeast to less than 1,300 mm in the south near Kooralbyn (Figure C2).  


Figure C2. Map of total annual rainfall for the South East Queensland region during the 2010–11 year
Figure C2. Map of total annual rainfall for the South East Queensland region during the 2010–11 year

The above-average rainfall observed in the SEQ region is consistent with the wet year experienced across much of eastern Australia. These wet conditions were a result of a very strong La Niña event in the Pacific Ocean. La Niña conditions persisted from September 2010 through to March 2011.

The area-averaged monthly rainfall was above the long-term average for eight months of the 2010–11 year (Figure C3). The period from August to January was especially wet, with all months (except November) above the 90th percentile. December 2010 was the wettest December in 111 years of record and January 2011 ranked as the second wettest January on record. Rainfall in these two months was more than three times the long-term average for these months. The summer rainfall associated with the La Niña and record warm sea surface temperatures in the Australian region contributed to widespread flooding across much of Queensland in late December 2010 and early January 2011.

The La Niña event concluded in April 2011. Rainfall across the SEQ region was generally close to average conditions from February 2011 until the end of the 2010–11 year.


Figure C3. Graph of total monthly rainfall for the South East Queensland region during the 2010–11 year compared with the long-term average and percentiles for the region
Figure C3. Graph of total monthly rainfall for the South East Queensland region during the 2010–11 year compared with the long-term average and percentiles for the region

Evapotranspiration

Evapotranspiration across the SEQ region was generally close to average across the region for the 2010–11 year (Figure C4). Small areas of below-average evapotranspiration were recorded to the southeast of the region.


Figure C4. Map of annual evapotranspiration deciles for the South East Queensland region during the 2010–11 year
Figure C4. Map of annual evapotranspiration deciles for the South East Queensland region during the 2010–11 year

The total area-averaged evapotranspiration over the SEQ region during the 2010–11 year was 1,114 mm. Evapotranspiration was highest along the coast, decreasing from east to west across the region (Figure C5). 


 

Figure C5. Map of total annual evapotranspiration for the South East Queensland region during the 2010–11 year
Figure C5. Map of total annual evapotranspiration for the South East Queensland region during the 2010–11 year

Temperature

The SEQ region experienced mean daytime temperatures cooler than the long-term average during the 2010–11 year ranging from 0.5 °C below average near the coast to 1.0 °C below average in the western parts of the region (Figure C6).


Figure C6. Map of annual maximum daily temperature deciles for the South East Queensland region during the 2010–11 year
Figure C6. Map of annual maximum daily temperature deciles for the South East Queensland region during the 2010–11 year

Mean maximum daily temperatures varied by approximately 5 °C across the region, with values ranging from more than 26 °C in the area surrounding Ipswich to less than 21 °C in highland areas on the southwest fringe of the region (Figure C7).

Figure C7. Map of annual mean maximum daily temperature for the South East Queensland region during the 2010–11 year
Figure C7. Map of annual mean maximum daily temperature for the South East Queensland region during the 2010–11 year


La Niña events are typically associated with cooler than average temperatures, particularly in eastern parts of Australia from October to April. Monthly mean daytime temperatures for the SEQ region were below the long-term average between October and January (Figure C8), which is consistent with the typical effect of the La Niña on daytime temperatures.

Monthly mean temperatures during each of the three months between October and December 2010 were about 2.0 °C below average, with all three months ranking below the 10th percentile, and the region experienced its second coolest October on record. The cooler than average maximum temperatures recorded throughout the 2010–11 year are consistent with the effect of increased cloud cover as a result of the wet conditions observed across the region. This was particularly evident in both October and December 2010 when near record rainfall led to very cool mean daytime temperatures.


Figure C8. Graph of annual mean maximum daily temperature for the South East Queensland region during the 2010–11 year compared with the long-term average and percentiles for the region
Figure C8. Graph of annual mean maximum daily temperature for the South East Queensland region during the 2010–11 year compared with the long-term average and percentiles for the region