It’s a warmer and dry July as Canberra’s winters lose their bite

Ian Bushnell 26 July 2019 36

Has winter come and gone? The warmer and drier conditions are set to continue. Photo: George Tsotsos.

The ACT is heading for the warmest July on record and also one of the driest, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

And the outlook for the next three months offer little relief in terms of rain, with the ACT remaining warmer and drier than average.

BOM Senior Climatologist Blair Trewin said the average July maximum was sitting on 13.6 C, two degrees above average, and the forecast maximums for the rest of the month would see the ACT surpass the current record of 13.4 C set in 2013.

The minimum temperatures were also above average at 1.2 C, but well short of the record.

Mr Trewin said a contributing factor had been the dry conditions affecting south-east inland Australia, with Canberra receiving only 4.4mm of rain so far this month, only a 10th of the long-term July average.

“If we get no more significant rain that would make it the third driest July on record,” Mr Trewin said.

The dry conditions also tended to create a larger range between daytime and night-time temperatures.

He said the Indian Ocean has been cooler than usual and there had been a lack of winter moisture from the north-west across the continent.

There also had not been many cold outbreaks from the south-west this winter.

“There’s really just been the one cold weekend we had a couple of weeks ago but apart from that we haven’t had too many of those south-west type systems,” Mr Trewin said.

A striking statistic that shows how much Canberra’s winters have changed was that the ACT’s long-term average for the number of days with maximums under 10 C was 19 but Canberra had not reached double figures since 2007, with only four so far this year.

He said that one of the long-term changes was the strengthening of the sub-tropical ridge – a high-pressure system that typically sits over southern Australia during winter.

“It’s gotten stronger over the last couple of decades and you are seeing more fronts miss the continent to the south,” Mr Trewin said.

“On the southern coastal fringe of Australia we see a pretty clear-cut decrease in rainfall, particularly south-west WA but also southern Victoria.”

Inland there was a fairly clear decline in rainfall during the cool seasons from April to September and relatively more rain in summer.

Mr Trewin said that for the three months from August to October, it was leaning towards being quite dry and warm in the ACT with a 70 per cent chance of below-average rainfall and a 70 per cent chance of above-average maximum temperatures.

The ACT’s dam levels were at 56 per cent but Icon Water said there was no threat to Canberra’s water needs.

The July data and three-month outlook comes as central and northern NSW grapple with drought, while in the northern hemisphere record breaking heat waves are sweeping Europe.


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36 Responses to It’s a warmer and dry July as Canberra’s winters lose their bite
Jean Considine Jean Considine 2:55 pm 31 Jul 19

And mine.

Paul Thomas Paul Thomas 10:38 am 31 Jul 19

My Electricty Bill says it's been colder

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 10:54 am 31 Jul 19

    Has there been a price rise in electricity maybe? I check the weather every day on the news and we haven't had so far this winter a temperature colder than -5C. Other years we have gone lower. This year has been my lowest use of heating ever in Canberra.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 3:45 pm 30 Jul 19

Where are the sensors physically located that record the Canberra and Tuggeranong temperatures? Are they mercury in a tube or electronic?

Have they always been where they are now? I know this information was on RiotACT a few years ago but I can’t locate it.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:41 pm 31 Jul 19

    Well, seeing as no one knows, I did a bit more research and it appears that the Canberra temperature readings are taken by BOM somewhere at Canberra Airport yet the same BOM reports live on ABC Radio 666 every morning and gives the temperature at “Canberra Metro”.

    What have trams got to do with this?

Wes Dempsey Wes Dempsey 11:40 am 30 Jul 19

Sooo.... how far do records go back then?

Amy Potterton Amy Potterton 1:09 pm 29 Jul 19

Joshua ambitious headline please discuss

    Joshua Dundas Joshua Dundas 3:22 pm 29 Jul 19

    Hi Amy,

    Thanks for thinking of me. Having spent the last two evenings back in Canberra I can accurately attest to this statement missing the mark somewhat (in this isolated experience).

    During my visit there were lows of -2 and rain during the day on two separate occasions. I acknowledge that this was an isolated excursion so I would need to spend substantially more time down in the capital with sufficient data input to have a more thorough opinion on the subject.

    Look forward to catching up with you now that we have both returned to the office.

    Still awaiting my invitation to Rose Bay eagerly.

    Hope this message finds you in good health and relaxed confines.

    Many thanks and warm wishes.


    Amy Potterton Amy Potterton 7:57 pm 29 Jul 19

    Joshua Dundas appreciate the detailed and timely response. Will circle back! Cheers

Lynette Heydenrych Lynette Heydenrych 9:15 pm 28 Jul 19

so start the water restrictions asap

    John Heinrich John Heinrich 11:37 pm 28 Jul 19

    Lynette Heydenrych the ovals dry,chook yards wet

Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 8:51 pm 28 Jul 19

Yes, an unusually warm winter. I think the lowest night so far is -5C. Other years the lowest would be closer to -7C; one year a few years back even colder. I have turned the booster on the solar hot water on MUCH less than in previous years, though that has maybe as much to do with the sunny days as the temperature. My heater has been on much less too though. Tonight, another night when I haven't needed it.

Roderick Saunders Roderick Saunders 8:49 pm 28 Jul 19

My garden is looking more alive than usual for this time of year

Terry Cooper Terry Cooper 7:57 pm 28 Jul 19

Can I please pay more to heat my house? That will make me not only feel better, but look better to all my fellow virtue signallers....

Raechel Fowler Raechel Fowler 6:52 pm 28 Jul 19

Donna told you!

Kayla Borman Kayla Borman 6:17 pm 28 Jul 19

Biljana we called it

Nathan Lofthouse Nathan Lofthouse 4:12 pm 28 Jul 19

true, but after -3 this morning it's not exactly a heatwave

Capital Retro Capital Retro 4:01 pm 28 Jul 19

“A good frost means a lovely day!”

And all those “beautiful” sunsets everyone is ooohing and aaaahing about means a long drought.

Jac Sween Jac Sween 3:29 pm 28 Jul 19

Stephanie Bako our conversation earlier today ☀️

gooterz gooterz 3:26 pm 28 Jul 19

It also doesnt snow since we made Lake Burley Griffen. Sign of over development and el nino

Sarah Matthew Sarah Matthew 1:55 pm 28 Jul 19

See Neville, told you it has been mild🌞

Jenny Bolin Jenny Bolin 1:45 pm 28 Jul 19

Might have had mild sunny days, but boy, we’ve also had quite a few really good frosts! A good frost means a lovely day!

Steve Jones Steve Jones 1:16 pm 28 Jul 19

All false hype.

We still have August to go.

Carrie Taylor Carrie Taylor 12:44 pm 28 Jul 19

Just proves the climate change is definitely reaching us! Does that mean our Summer will be impossible this year?

Sarah L Yoong Sarah L Yoong 12:21 pm 28 Jul 19

Cleo Cottaris I remember you saying

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