Australia in spring 2018

In Brief

  • Australia's ninth-warmest spring on record; third-warmest for Queensland, seventh-warmest for the Northern Territory, equal eighth-warmest for Tasmania
  • Exceptionally warm spring for northern Australia, and exceptionally warm October nation-wide (fourth-warmest October on record for Australia)
  • Heatwave across the tropical coast of Queensland in the last week of November saw record-breaking daytime temperatures and extensive fire activity
  • Nationally, spring rainfall was near-average; but mixed over individual months and geographically
  • Eight-driest spring for Tasmania, ninth-driest for Victoria
  • Driest September on record for Australia; second-driest September for Victoria; third-driest for Western Australia and South Australia

Temperatures

Spring 2018 was warm for Australia; the ninth-warmest spring on record nationally, third-warmest for Queensland, seventh-warmest for the Northern Territory and equal eighth-warmest for Tasmania. October was an exceptionally warm month across nearly all of the country, and Australia's fourth-warmest October on record. September and November daytime temperatures were also very warm across the tropics.

Daytime temperatures were warmer than average for spring across most of Australia, and in the highest 10% of historical records across much of northern Australia, including the Kimberley and northern Interior region of Western Australia; the northern half of the Northern Territory; and across most of Queensland away from the greater southeast and the southwest borders. Spring days were the warmest on record for some areas, including the Herbert and Lower Burdekin district in Queensland, areas of the eastern Top End and southwest of the Gulf, and pockets of northeastern Western Australia. Spring maxima were amongst the top 10 warmest for Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Spring maxima were close to average across much of east coast New South Wales, much of South Australia away from the southeast and northwest, and much of western and southern Western Australia.

Nights were also warm for spring across most of the country. Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory all experienced mean minima in the top ten warmest for spring. Very much above average overnight temperatures were observed in an area of the southern Interior District in Western Australia, the northwest of the Northern Territory, a large area of inland, western, and southern Queensland; and across the northeastern quarter of New South Wales, and parts of coastal Tasmania.

Nights were cooler than average for spring in some areas of southeast South Australia and Wimmera in Victoria, and an area stretching from around the top of Spencer Gulf to the New South Wales border.

Nights were particularly cool for the mainland southeast for a period during mid-September, with frost damage reported in grain growing regions of northern Victoria and eastern South Australia.

Conversely, November saw some very warm temperatures. From 1 November, a slow-moving high pressure system over the Tasman Sea promoted a build-up of heat over the southeast corner of Australia. Several sites in southern New South Wales and northern Victoria experienced warm temperatures never before seen so early in spring. The end of November saw an extended heatwave in northern Queensland, focused along the tropical coastline. Numerous locations set monthly or annual daily high temperature records, while some stations observed records for runs of consecutive hots days. A Special Climate Statement will be released covering the event. The exceptional high temperatures, coming at the end of a warm and dry spring, contributed to exceptional fire weather over eastern Queensland, and a number of significant fires.


Areal average temperatures
Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
Rank
(of 109)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 109)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 109)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment
Australia 99 +1.27 99 +0.88 101 +1.07 9th highest
Queensland = 104 +1.64 equal 5th highest 104 +1.20 6th highest 107 +1.42 3rd highest (record +1.81 °C in 2013)
New South Wales 93 +1.65 105 +1.35 5th highest 98 +1.50
Victoria 93 +1.40 84 +0.32 96 +0.87
Tasmania 92 +0.80 98 +0.54 = 101 +0.67 equal 8th highest
South Australia 70 +0.80 77 +0.42 77 +0.62
Western Australia 94 +1.02 95 +0.62 95 +0.82
Northern Territory = 102 +1.35 equal 7th highest = 100 +1.12 equal 9th highest 103 +1.24 7th highest

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 109 (highest). A rank marked with ’=‘ indicates the value is tied for that rank. Anomaly is the departure from the long-term (1961–1990) average.


Temperature maps
MeanAnomalyDeciles
Mean
daily
maximum
temperatures
Map of mean daily maximum temperature Map of mean daily maximum temperature anomalies Map of mean daily maximum temperature deciles
Mean
daily
minimum
temperatures
Map of mean daily minimum temperature Map of mean daily minimum temperature anomalies Map of mean daily minimum temperature deciles
Mean
daily
temperatures
Map of mean daily temperature Map of mean daily temperature anomalies Map of mean daily temperature deciles

Rainfall

Overall, spring rainfall was near-average for Australia.

Rainfall was below or very much below average for the South West Land Division in Western Australia, as well as pockets in the central Pilbara, northeastern interior to southwestern Kimberley, and northern Kimberly regions of Western Australia; across southeastern South Australia, the eastern Eyre Peninsula, and the Flinders Rangers; most of Victoria and Tasmania; inland southeast and northwest New South Wales; and in the coastal tropics and central regions of Queensland.

Spring rainfall was above average across the southern half of Western Australia except for the South West Land Division; large parts of the Northern Territory; western and northern areas of South Australia; and smaller pockets in the far western and coastal southeast of Queensland, and along the northern to central coast of New South Wales.

September was exceptionally dry for Australia; the driest September on record. October and November received slightly more than average rainfall for the national overall, however, individual States varied greatly: Victoria experienced below average rainfall for all months of the season, while South Australia, the south of the Northern Territory, and much of the southern half of Western Australia away from the west coast received very much above average rainfall in November.

Spring came to a wet and wild end for southeastern Australia as a vigorous cold front and trough moved across southern Australia from 21 November. This system generated strong winds across Greater Adelaide, a blanket of dust through New South Wales and southeast Queensland, cold conditions and thunderstorms over Victoria and southern New South Wales and heavy rain for northeastern Tasmania. Heavy rain returned in the last week, as on the 28th a deep low pressure system developed over eastern New South Wales, producing thunderstorms and exceptionally heavy rain across the Central Tablelands, Illawarra and South Coast and Sydney districts. Flash flooding and totals in excess of 50 mm in an hour were experienced.


Area-average rainfall
Rank
(of 119)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean
Comment
Australia 64 68.5 −5%
Queensland 48 65.0 −23%
New South Wales 65 116.0 −6%
Victoria 9 103.7 −43% 9th lowest
Tasmania 8 254.8 −30% 8th lowest
South Australia 68 51.1 +0%
Western Australia 88 48.4 +18%
Northern Territory 89 79.7 +18%
Murray-Darling Basin 49 91.1 −20%

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 119 (highest). A rank marked with ’=‘ indicates the value is tied for that rank. Departure from mean is relative to the long-term (1961–1990) average.


Rainfall maps
TotalsPercentagesDeciles
Total
rainfall
Map of total rainfall Map of percentage of normal rain Map of rainfall deciles


Australian weather extremes in spring 2018
Hottest day 45.7 °C    at Roebourne Aero (WA) on 18 November
Coldest day −2.7 °C    at Mount Hotham (Vic.) on 2 September
Coldest night −9.7 °C    at Thredbo AWS (NSW) on 24 September
Warmest night 32.2 °C    at Marble Bar (WA) on 16 November
Wettest day 189.0 mm at Beaumont (The Cedars) (NSW) on 29 November


Notes

The Seasonal Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in Australia 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.

Climate Summaries are usually published on the first working day of each month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 11 am EST on Monday 3 September 2018. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available, especially for rainfall where much more data becomes available as returns are received from volunteers.

Long-term averages in this statement and associated tables are for the period 1961 to 1990 unless otherwise specified.

The system used for calculating areal averages of rainfall was changed in May 2009; the main effect was that current and historical values for Tasmania were increased. Since December 2012, ACORN-SAT has been used for calculating areal averages of temperature; the major change from earlier datasets is that the ACORN-SAT dataset commences in 1910, and hence rankings are calculated using a larger set of years.


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