9 September 2021

Sure, Canberra's winter was wet but the rest may be surprising

| Ian Bushnell
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Storm clouds

A common sight over Canberra last winter. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

It was a soggy winter this year, the seventh wettest on record for the ACT, with well above average rainfall across all locations.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s season summary says June was the wettest month, with most locations receiving at least double their average rainfall.

It was the fourth-wettest June on record at Canberra Airport, although not as wet as June 2016.

Overall, Canberra Airport received a total of 217.0 mm, 69 per cent more than the long-term average of 128.7 mm.

But the 2016 winter was wetter, only a few years before the Black Summer bushfires, a reminder of how quickly the climatic conditions can change.

The rain eased off a little in July but was still above average, while rainfall was average in August.

The wettest day was 17 June when 34.6 mm fell at the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

The rain filled all of Canberra’s dams to capacity for a combined storage total of nearly 300 gigalitres.

But it also wreaked havoc on Canberra roads and kept crews busy filling potholes and repairing sections of pavement.

While the season had its cold snap from 16 to 25 July, which brought snow to the Brindabellas and some Canberra suburbs, overall maximum and minimums temperatures were slightly above average.

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The mean daily maximum temperature for Canberra Airport was 13.2 °C, 0.8 °C above the long-term average of 12.4 °C, while the mean daily minimum was 1.2 °C, which is 0.7 °C above the long-term average of 0.5 °C.

In fact, maximums spiked in August to be well above average, with 20.9°C degrees recorded at the Airport on the 23rd, 6°C degrees above average.

It probably felt like the coldest winter for some time because there were 11 days when the maximum temperature was below 10 °C, the largest number since 2007. But this was still fewer than the long-term average.

The coldest day was 6 July, when it reached just 6.3°C at the Airport, the coldest day since June 2009. The coldest morning was -6°C on 22 July, and the warmest night was 8.0 °C at on 15 July.

Nationally, it was the fourth warmest winter on record with a mean temperature 1.18°C above average.

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Of course temps would be above average if rain was above average. To have rain you need clouds if you have clouds warm air cannot escape which means temperatures on the ground stay warmer. So not sure the surprise.

My gas bill says it was one of the coldest Winters I’ve experienced

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