Bureau’s climate summary shows impact of a La Nina summer

Australia had its wettest summer overall for four years, though much of south-east Queensland remains dry.

The summer of 2020-21 brought above average rainfall nationwide and was the wettest since 2016-17. South eastern Queensland was the exception, with the Burnett district and areas from Capricornia to Wide Bay the only regions to experience below average summer rainfall.

Last summer also brought the third-wettest December since national records began in 1900.

The national area-averaged mean temperature was 0.06 °C above the 1961-1990 average, making it Australia’s coolest summer overall since 2011–12.

Daytime temperatures were below average for much of the mainland, but warmer than average for the west coast, as well as parts of southwest Queensland and between Fraser Island and Rockhampton.

So far, this severe weather season (November to April) has seen five tropical cyclones in the Australian region, with one (Tropical Cyclone Imogen) making landfall in the Queensland Gulf Country.

There have also been several significant tropical lows that brought heavy rain and some flooding to parts of northern Australia.

State-by-state

New South Wales / ACT

  • New South Wales rainfall was 29% above average overall and the state had its wettest summer since 2011–12 with most regions, except the far south-west, receiving above average rainfall.
  • New South Wales mean temperature for summer 2020–21 was the coolest since summer 2011–12, with daytime temperatures below average over most of the state.
  • Night-time temperatures were below average in the south-west and Riverina, and above average in the north.
  • Greater Sydney temperatures were below average, and rainfall was slightly above average.
  • ACT had its coolest summer since 2011–12, with temperatures below average and rainfall near average.

Victoria

  • Rainfall overall was 14% above the 1961-1990 average.
  • It was Victoria’s coolest summer overall since 2010–11 for maximum temperatures, with cooler than average days in parts of central and southern Victoria.
  • It was also Victoria’s coolest summer overall since 2004–05 for minimum temperatures at 0.18 °C above the 1961-1990 average.
  • Greater Melbourne’s mean daytime temperatures were cooler than average; mean night-time temperatures were mostly close to average, and rainfall close to average.

Queensland

  • It was Queensland’s wettest summer overall since 2011–12, with rainfall 8% above the 1961-1990 average.
  • Summer rainfall was above average in the north and the south inland, and far south-east districts.
  • Summer rainfall was below average from the Capricornia to Wide Bay and Burnett districts.
  • Despite daytime temperatures being 0.46 °C above the 1961-1990 average overall, it was Queensland’s coolest summer since 2011-12.
  • Night-time temperatures were in the 10 warmest on record for Queensland as a whole.
  • Brisbane’s rainfall was around 75% of the summer average, and temperatures were close to average.

Western Australia

  • Most of Western Australia saw above average rainfall and it was particularly wet in the north Gascoyne and the east of the state.
  • Mean daytime temperatures were cooler than average for most of Western Australia.
  • Mean night-time temperatures were generally close to average across the state.
  • Perth had near average summer rainfall and slightly above average mean maximum temperature.

South Australia

  • South Australia had its wettest summer overall since 2016–17, at 14% above the 1961-1990 average.
  • Rainfall was generally above average in the state’s west and along the southern coasts, but below average in the east.
  • December and February were wetter than average across large areas of the state’s west.
  • It was the state’s coolest summer overall since 2001–02 for daytime temperatures at 0.48 °C below the 1961-1990 average.
  • Night-time temperatures were below average across much of central and eastern South Australia.

Tasmania

  • Tasmania had its wettest summer overall since 2010–11, at 19% above the 1961-1990 average.
  • It was wetter than average across the north of the state, but drier than average in parts of the south.
  • Tasmania’s mean temperature for summer was the coolest for at least ten years at 0.09 °C below the 1961-1990 average.
  • Temperatures were close to average in most parts, but nights were warmer than average in the north-east.

Northern Territory (Wet Season to date: October-February)

  • The Northern Territory recorded its highest rainfall since 2016-17, which was well above the long-term average.
  • Maximum temperatures were above average overall, and the mean minimum temperature was more than one degree above the long-term average.

/Bureau of Meteorology Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.