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

Ian Bushnell 26 July 2019 38

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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38 Responses to It’s a warmer and dry July as Canberra’s winters lose their bite
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?

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.

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

Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:36 am 28 Jul 19

My electricity bill contradicts this story. It’s been the coldest I can remember for many years.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:44 pm 31 Jul 19

    I note some others are reporting my experience too. I should point out that I was referring to an increase in consumption however the money amount has also increased sharply due to supplier price increases.

    Our local electricity supplier pays big money to their “decision” makers.

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