Australian Capital Territory in 2017: warm days, chilly winter nights, and drier than average

The Australian Capital Territory was drier than average in 2017, with an average number of rain days but few very heavy events. The mean maximum temperature was the third-warmest on record. The mean minimum temperature was average overall due to colder than average nights from April to September but warm nights in January and December.

Driest year since 2009

  • Rainfall was below average for the Territory overall, with high totals in March and December offset by below average totals during the cooler months and early summer
  • Canberra Airport received 486.0 mm of rain for the year, around 78% of the average and the lowest annual total since 2009
  • Low rainfall in January and February made way for a wet March, but dry conditions re-emerged in winter: it was the driest June on record for Canberra Airport and the third-driest June to September period
  • Rain fell on 116 days at Canberra Airport, slightly more than the average of 106 days, but only two days received 25 mm or more, less than the average of five days
  • The wettest day at Canberra Airport was 2 December, when a moist air mass crossed southeastern Australia, resulting in a 24 hour total of 35.2 mm

Warm days, but cold winter nights

  • The mean temperature at Canberra Airport for 2017 was 14.0 °C, 0.9 °C above average
  • The mean maximum temperature at Canberra Airport was 21.6 °C, 1.8 °C above average and the third-warmest year on record
  • The year began with very warm days: the mean maximum in January 2017 was the warmest ever recorded at Canberra Airport
  • Daytime temperatures were above average for every month of the year except April; February, June, July, September and October were all in their top ten warmest, and it was the warmest on record for January
  • There were 56 days that reached 30 °C or more, more than the long-term average of 33 days but similar to recent years
  • The mean minimum temperature at Canberra Airport was close to the average at 6.5 °C
  • Winter 2017 was the fourth-coolest on record for minimum temperature and the lowest since 1982
  • Frosty conditions were prevalent for much of the cooler months: Canberra Airport recorded 109 nights below 2 °C, 16 days more than the average
  • Despite the cold winter nights, the warmer months saw 46 nights that failed to drop below 15 °C, more than the average of 29 days
  • The mean minimum for December at Canberra Airport of 13.9 °C was the equal warmest on record for the month, tied with 1988

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries

Extremes in 2017
Hottest day 41.6 °C at Canberra Airport on 11 Feb
Warmest days on average 21.6 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest days on average 11.8 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Coldest day -2.5 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on 18 Aug
Coldest night -8.7 °C at Canberra Airport on 1 Jul
Coolest nights on average 3.6 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Warmest nights on average 7.0 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Warmest night 23.1 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS on 20 Dec
Warmest on average overall 14.1 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Coolest on average overall 7.7 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest overall 1026.0 mm at Mount Ginini AWS
Driest overall 486.0 mm at Canberra Airport
Wettest day 88.0 mm at Mount Ginini AWS on 20 May
Strongest wind gust 102 km/h at Mount Ginini AWS on 23 Sep

Record highest temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 41.1 on 10 Feb 40.2 on 18 Jan 1998 22 20.8



Record highest daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 23.1 on 20 Dec 23.0 on 2 Feb 2011 22 7.0



Summary statistics for 2017
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean
for
2017
Diff
from
average
Highest
for
2017
Mean
for
2017
Diff
from
average
Lowest
for
2017
Total
for
2017
Average
annual
total
Rank
of
2017
Fraction
of annual
average
Canberra Airport 21.6 +1.8 41.6 11 Feb 6.5 0.0 -8.7 1 Jul 486.0 617.4 low 78%
Mount Ginini AWS 11.8 0.0 30.2 10 Feb 3.6 +0.1 -7.4 28 Aug 1026.0 1051.2 average 98%
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 21.2 +0.4 41.1 10 Feb 7.0 0.0 -7.0 2 Jul 629.2 631.3 average 100%
Note: Observations for “Canberra Airport” are taken from the current site (Bureau number 070351), which opened in late 2008.
Comparisons are made against data from the previous site Canberra Airport Comparison (070014), which ran from 1939 to 2010.

Notes

The Annual climate summary, generally published on the second working day of the year, lists the main features of the weather in Australian Capital Territory using the most timely and accurate information available on the date of publication; it will generally not be updated. More extensive discussion of significant weather events, along with later information and data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

In September 2017 this summary was broadened to include data from observing sites in or near the Australian Capital Territory “Greater Capital City Statistical Area” (GCCSA). The Australian Bureau of Statistics designed the GCCSAs to “include the population within the urban area of the city, as well as people who regularly socialise, shop or work within the city, and live in small towns and rural areas surrounding the city. It is important to note that GCCSAs do not define the built up edge of the city. They provide a stable definition for these cities and are designed for the output of a range of social and economic survey data.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 10 am on Tuesday 9 January 2018. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

In some situations, some or all of the rainfall is in the form of hail or snow. In these cases the totals given are for the water equivalent: the depth of liquid water that results from melting any frozen precipitation. There can be significant 'undercatch' of snow in strong winds, meaning the true precipitation can be higher than that reported.

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.

Where temperature area averages are mentioned, they are derived from the ACORN-SAT dataset.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries