Australia in winter 2018

In Brief

  • Overall, fifth-warmest winter on record in terms of mean maximum temperatures; very much warmer than average over eastern and central Australia
  • In the warmest ten winters on record in terms of mean maximum temperatures for Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory
  • Mean temperatures for winter above average for all States and Territories
  • All mainland States saw slightly below average overnight temperatures; only Tasmania had above average overnight temperatures for winter
  • Rainfall was below average for mainland Australia, eighth-driest winter for New South Wales
  • Tasmania the only State that recorded above average winter rainfall

Temperatures

Very warm days and cool nights produced warm mean temperatures for winter 2018 for Australia. All regions observed above average mean temperatures and the Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales were amongst the ten warmest on record for the season. For Australia as a whole, it was the fifth-warmest winter on record.

Daytime temperatures for winter were above average for nearly all of Australia, and in the highest 10% of historical observations (decile 10) for much of central and eastern Australia, spanning from northern regions of the Northern Territory to South Australia; and from Cape York Peninsula in Queensland along the eastern coastline down through most of New South Wales and into East Gippsland in Victoria. Near-average maxima were observed in parts of Western Australia in the Pilbara, Gascoyne and Central West districts, in far southeastern South Australia and southwest Victoria, in the region spanning northeastern Victoria and the Australian Alps.

Mean minimum temperatures were below to very much below average for winter along a broad area extending from the Kimberley in Western Australia, through central Australia to inland New South Wales, northern Victoria and inland southern and eastern Queensland. Minima were in the lowest 10% of historical observations (decile 1) for large areas of the Kimberley in Western Australia and across into southern regions of the Northern Territory; and smaller pockets in eastern South Australia and across to inland northern New South Wales.

Above average minima for winter were observed in areas across the south of Western Australia and southern South Australia to the western Eyre Peninsula; East Gippsland district in Victoria; coastal regions of Tasmania; and smaller areas scattered around the Gulf and Top End Queensland and the Northern Territory. In terms of regional area-averages, Tasmania was the only State to observe above average overnight temperatures for winter.

Each month of the season saw warmer than average daytime temperatures across much of Australia, however, July was an exceptional month with mean maxima very much warmer than average across nearly all of the mainland. Nationally mean maxima were the second-warmest on record, while all mainland States and Territories were in the warmest six on record for July.

Warm winter days saw some sites in northern New South Wales and southeast Queensland reach record high mean daily maximum temperatures over the season. Records were also set for warmest winter day along the Central Coast in Queensland.

Winter saw a cold finish for parts of eastern Australia, including some very cold overnight temperatures for parts of the east. Record low mean monthly minima were observed at locations in northern Western Australia and southeast Queensland for the month of August, while a number of records for low daily minima for August were set during the last few weeks of that month at locations throughout Western Australia, and at several locations along the east coast and inland southeast in Tasmania and Victoria.


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 105 +1.23 5th highest 44 −0.23 88 +0.51
Queensland 105 +1.44 5th highest = 51 −0.16 88 +0.64
New South Wales 105 +1.42 5th highest 45 −0.17 93 +0.63
Victoria 91 +0.60 = 49 −0.07 = 85 +0.27
Tasmania 83 +0.28 72 +0.24 77 +0.26
South Australia 101 +1.29 9th highest = 41 −0.08 90 +0.61
Western Australia = 97 +1.06 50 −0.14 84 +0.46
Northern Territory 104 +1.29 6th highest 35 −0.68 73 +0.30

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

Winter rainfall was below average nationally; the 14th-driest winter on record, and eighth-lowest on record for New South Wales. Rainfall for the season was below average for northeastern Western Australia, much of the Northern Territory, the northern and eastern areas of South Australia, most of Queensland and New South Wales, and northern and eastern Victoria.

For each of the individual months of winter, rainfall has been below average across much of eastern mainland Australia. July was exceptionally dry for New South Wales with over 80% of the State recording very much below average rainfall and as a whole the state observed its fifth-driest July on record. Numerous stations observed record low July rainfall across the State.

The dry winter has come on the back of longer-term rainfall deficiencies for large parts of eastern Australia (see the Drought Statement where these deficiencies are discussed further). Winter rain-bearing systems have been weaker and less frequent than usual, and high pressure systems have been dominant over southern Australia for several months, this has led to clear skies, warm days and very little rainfall across much of eastern Australia.

The season was wetter than average for western Tasmania; parts of the Pilbara and northern Gascoyne districts of Western Australia, and western Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.

Tasmania was the only State to receive above average rainfall totals throughout winter as westerly winds and cold fronts were particularly dominant during July and August. Some significant rainfall events occurred during winter, and associated flooding and property damage in western Tasmania.

Nationally, the most notable rainfall event was towards the end of the season when a complex area of low pressure moved across drought affected areas of inland Queensland and New South Wales producing moderate falls over southern Queensland and parts of northern and central New South Wales. Totals were in excess of 70 mm at some locations and enough to ease rainfall deficiencies slightly throughout those areas, these will be address in the forthcoming Drought Statement, to be released in a few days.


Area-average rainfall
Rank
(of 119)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean
Comment
Australia 14 42.9 −33%
Queensland 18 19.7 −62%
New South Wales 8 53.0 −54% 8th lowest; lowest since 2002
Victoria 26 165.3 −19%
Tasmania 95 536.8 +23%
South Australia 35 42.1 −24%
Western Australia 55 53.4 −12%
Northern Territory 17 2.2 −88%
Murray-Darling Basin 11 59.6 −46%

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 winter 2018
Hottest day 36.9 °C    at Kangaroo Flats (Defence) (NT) on 25 August
Coldest day −5.4 °C    at Mount Hotham (Vic.) on 27 August
Coldest night −14.2 °C    at Perisher Valley AWS (NSW) on 29 August
Warmest night 25.9 °C    at Oenpelli Airport (NT) on 1 July
Wettest day 106.0 mm Minnie Water (Pump Shed) (NSW) on 7 June


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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