Climate of Tasmania

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Main article: Climate of Australia

Tasmania has a cool temperate climate with four distinct seasons. Summer lasts from December to February when the average maximum sea temperature is 21 °C (70 °F). On land, maximum temperatures average 20 °C (68 °F) to 24 °C (75 °F) along the coast and in the lowlands, such as around Launceston. The hottest areas of the state are in the valleys west of Hobart, where summer temperatures regularly rise above 25 °C (77 °F). During heatwaves, temperatures in this region can rise above 40 °C (104 °F). The Tasmanian highlands are much cooler, with Liawenee, located on the Central Plateau, one of the coldest places in Australia with temperatures in February ranging between 4 °C (39 °F) to 17 °C (63 °F). Autumn lasts between March and May and experiences changeable weather, where summer weather patterns gradually take on the shape of winter patterns.[1]

The winter months are between June and July and are generally the wettest and coolest months in the state, with most elevated areas receiving considerable snowfall. Winter maximums range from 12 °C (54 °F) along the coast, to 3 °C (37 °F) on the Central Plateau, thanks to frequent cold fronts from the Southern Ocean. Minimum temperatures however are warmer than mainland Australia, most of coastal Tasmania rarely drops below freezing and daily temperature variation is often very narrow. Elevated, inland areas can however drop below −10 °C (14 °F) during clear nights between fronts, while during snowy weather the maximum temperature may not rise above 0 °C (32 °F).[2]

Spring is a season of transition, where winter weather patterns begin to take the shape of summer patterns, although snowfall is still common in mountainous areas until October. Spring is generally the windiest time of the year with afternoon sea breezes starting to take effect on the coast.

Rainfall in Tasmania follows a complicated pattern rather analogous to that found on large continents at the same latitude in the northern hemisphere. On the western side rainfall increases from around 1,458 millimetres (57.4 in) at Strahan on the coast up to 2,690 millimetres (106 in) at Cradle Valley in the highlands.[3]

There is a strong winter maximum in rainfall: January and February typically averages between 30-40% the rainfall of July and August, though even in the driest months rain usually falls on every second day and the number of rainy days per year is much greater than on any part of the Australian mainland. Further east in the Lake Country, annual rainfall declines to around 900 millimetres (35 in), whilst in the Midlands, annual rainfall is as low as 450 millimetres (18 in) at Ross and generally below 600 millimetres (24 in). The eastern part of Tasmania has more evenly distributed rainfall than in the west, and most months receive very similar averages.

The densely populated northern coast is much drier than the western side, with annual rainfall ranging from 666 millimetres (26.2 in) in Launceston to 955 millimetres (37.6 in) in Burnie in the north west and 993 millimetres (39.1 in) in Scottsdale located further to the east.[4][5] Most rain falls in winter, and in summer the average can be as low as 31 millimetres (1.2 in) per month in Launceston. The east coast is wetter than the Midlands, with an average annual rainfall ranging from 775 millimetres (30.5 in) in St. Helens to around 640 millimetres (25 in) in Swansea.[6][7] Here the rainfall is evenly distributed over the year but can be very erratic as heavy rainfalls from the warm Tasman Sea are quite frequent. Whereas a three-day fall of 125 millimetres (4.9 in) occurs only once every fifty years on the north coast, it occurs on average once every four or five years around Swansea and Bicheno, and on 7–8 June 1954, there were many falls as large as 230 millimetres (9.1 in) in two days in that area. The east coast is sometimes called the "sun coast" because of its sunny climate.[8]

Several sections of inland Tasmania, together with Flinders Island, were declared drought-affected areas by the state government in 2007.[9]

The highest recorded maximum temperature in Tasmania was 42.2 °C (108.0 °F) at Scamander on 30 January 2009, during the 2009 southeastern Australia heat wave. Tasmania's lowest recorded minimum temperature was −13.0 °C (8.6 °F) on 30 June 1983, at Butlers Gorge, Shannon, and Tarraleah.[10]

Climate data for Tasmania
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 42.2
(108)
40.1
(104.2)
38.0
(100.4)
32.0
(89.6)
28.8
(83.8)
22.0
(71.6)
24.0
(75.2)
25.0
(77)
31.1
(88)
34.6
(94.3)
38.5
(101.3)
40.6
(105.1)
42.2
(108)
Record low °C (°F) −4.0
(24.8)
−4.0
(24.8)
−6.9
(19.6)
−7.7
(18.1)
−10.5
(13.1)
−13.0
(8.6)
−12.5
(9.5)
−11.0
(12.2)
−10.7
(12.7)
−8.5
(16.7)
−6.8
(19.8)
−5.0
(23)
−13.0
(8.6)
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[11]

Sunshine is highly differentiated for a relatively compact island, with average quotients ranging from around 4 hours a day (under 1500 hours a year) in the South West of the island, up to around 7 hours daily (2550 hours annually) in the North East around the Launceston area.

Climate data for Strathgordon, elevation 322m - monthly Sunshine total hours
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean monthly sunshine hours 201.5 178.0 145.7 102.0 68.2 51.0 62.0 86.8 102.0 145.7 165.0 179.8 1,487.7
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[12]
Climate data for Launceston Airport, elevation 166m - monthly Sunshine total hours
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean monthly sunshine hours 285.2 254.3 235.6 195.0 151.9 132.0 142.6 170.5 195.0 244.9 258.0 279.0 2,556
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[13]

Locations[edit]

Hobart[edit]

Hobart has a mild temperate oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification), with four distinct seasons. The highest temperature recorded was 41.8°C on 4 January 2013 and the lowest was −2.8°C on 25 June 1972. Compared to other major Australia cities Hobart has the second least daily average hours of sunshine, with 5.9 hours. (Melbourne has the least) [14] The city rarely receives snow in winter; however, the adjacent Mount Wellington is often seen with a covering in winter, and it has received unseasonal snowfalls in all seasons, including summer. Hobart during the 20th century did receive many snowfalls at sea level because of cold masses arriving from Antarctica. These snow-bearing winds often carried on through Tasmania and Victoria to the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales and Northern Victoria. Though snow is unusual in general at sea level in Australia, Hobart has most probably had the most sea level snowfalls out of any State Capital, though Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide have also recorded snow. Mount Wellington has snowfalls through every season, even summer, because of its elevation.

Climate data for Hobart (1881–2013)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 41.8
(107.2)
40.1
(104.2)
37.3
(99.1)
30.6
(87.1)
25.7
(78.3)
20.6
(69.1)
21.6
(70.9)
24.5
(76.1)
31.0
(87.8)
34.6
(94.3)
36.8
(98.2)
40.6
(105.1)
40.9
(105.6)
Average high °C (°F) 21.7
(71.1)
21.7
(71.1)
20.1
(68.2)
17.3
(63.1)
14.5
(58.1)
12.0
(53.6)
11.7
(53.1)
13.1
(55.6)
15.1
(59.2)
17.0
(62.6)
18.7
(65.7)
20.3
(68.5)
16.9
(62.4)
Average low °C (°F) 11.9
(53.4)
12.1
(53.8)
10.9
(51.6)
9.0
(48.2)
7.0
(44.6)
5.2
(41.4)
4.6
(40.3)
5.2
(41.4)
6.4
(43.5)
7.8
(46)
9.3
(48.7)
10.8
(51.4)
8.4
(47.1)
Record low °C (°F) 3.3
(37.9)
3.4
(38.1)
1.8
(35.2)
0.7
(33.3)
−1.6
(29.1)
−2.8
(27)
−2.8
(27)
−1.8
(28.8)
−0.8
(30.6)
0.0
(32)
0.3
(32.5)
3.3
(37.9)
−2.8
(27)
Precipitation mm (inches) 47.1
(1.854)
40.1
(1.579)
45.0
(1.772)
51.2
(2.016)
46.3
(1.823)
54.1
(2.13)
52.2
(2.055)
53.7
(2.114)
53.4
(2.102)
62.8
(2.472)
54.4
(2.142)
56.2
(2.213)
615.4
(24.228)
Avg. rainy days 10.8 9.4 11.3 12.4 13.6 14.5 15.4 15.6 15.3 16.3 14.1 12.7 161.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 248 206.2 198.4 159 130.2 117 136.4 155 177 201.5 207 229.4 2,165.1
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[15][16]

Launceston[edit]

Launceston has a mild, temperate climate,[17] with four distinct seasons. The city is located in the Tamar Valley and is surrounded by many large hills and mountains. With this type of topography, Launceston's weather patterns can change in a short period of time.[18]

The warmest months are in January and February with an average air temperature range of 12.2 °C (54 °F) up to 26.4 °C (80 °F). Throughout the year there is an average of 8.3 days a year over 30 °C (86 °F). The maximum recorded temperature was 41 °C (106 °F) on 30 January 2009, during the 2009 Southeastern Australia heat wave. Winters are cool with minimum temperatures dropping below 1 °C (34 °F) an average of 61 days a year. The coldest month is July, with an average temperature range of 0.2 °C (32 °F) - 14.5 °C (58 °F). The lowest recorded minimum at Launceston's current weather station, Ti Tree Bend was -7.1°C. Launceston rarely receives snowfall in winter due to its location in a valley, however the surrounding hills often receive light dustings of snow. Launcestons lowest recorded maximum temperature was 3.8 °C (38.8 °F).

Winter, for Launceston, is also the season with the least amount of wind. Because of this and the topographical affect of the Tamar Valley, Launceston winters are renowned for foggy mornings, with Launceston Airport the most fog-bound commercial airport in Australia. The average annual rainfall, with moderate to low variability is 665 mm (26 in), falling an average of 88.4 days a year. The most rain Launceston received in a year was 829.6 millimetres (32.66 in) in 1992, with 2006 being the driest year when just 394.8 millimetres (15.54 in) fell.[19][20][21]

The Bureau of Meteorology reported that 2007 was the warmest year ever recorded in Launceston since temperatures were first recorded in 1884. Temperatures ranged from a minimum of 8.1 °C (46.6 °F) – to a maximum of 21.2 °C (70.2 °F). During 2006 and 2007, Launceston had the warmest maximums throughout the state. In 2008, Launceston had the highest average maximum temperature out of all Tasmanian cities with 20.6 °C (69.1 °F).[19] [22] [22][23][24]

Climate data for Launceston (Airport)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 39.9
(103.8)
34.8
(94.6)
34.9
(94.8)
26.9
(80.4)
21.8
(71.2)
17.3
(63.1)
16.6
(61.9)
18.7
(65.7)
23.9
(75)
29.6
(85.3)
31.1
(88)
34.7
(94.5)
39.9
(103.8)
Average high °C (°F) 23.2
(73.8)
23.2
(73.8)
21.1
(70)
17.4
(63.3)
14.0
(57.2)
11.4
(52.5)
10.9
(51.6)
12.0
(53.6)
14.0
(57.2)
16.4
(61.5)
18.8
(65.8)
21.2
(70.2)
17.0
(62.6)
Average low °C (°F) 10.2
(50.4)
10.3
(50.5)
8.9
(48)
6.6
(43.9)
4.6
(40.3)
2.8
(37)
2.3
(36.1)
3.0
(37.4)
4.2
(39.6)
5.5
(41.9)
7.1
(44.8)
8.7
(47.7)
6.2
(43.2)
Record low °C (°F) 0.8
(33.4)
0.5
(32.9)
−1.2
(29.8)
−4.5
(23.9)
−4.8
(23.4)
−7.1
(19.2)
−4.8
(23.4)
−5.3
(22.5)
−3.6
(25.5)
−3.7
(25.3)
−3
(27)
−1
(30)
−7.1
(19.2)
Rainfall mm (inches) 44.0
(1.732)
38.7
(1.524)
38.1
(1.5)
54.5
(2.146)
60.0
(2.362)
61.5
(2.421)
76.7
(3.02)
78.3
(3.083)
64.1
(2.524)
60.2
(2.37)
50.1
(1.972)
50.7
(1.996)
676.9
(26.65)
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 7.8 6.6 8.2 10.4 12.6 13.7 15.8 16.2 13.9 13.2 10.6 9.9 138.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 285.2 254.2 235.6 195.0 151.9 132.0 142.6 170.5 195.0 244.9 258.0 279.0 2,543.9
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[25]

Devonport[edit]

Devonport has cool winters and mild summers. Summer daytime temperatures seem to stay between 20 and 23 degrees due to sea breezes and winters are cool and rainy, however frost and snow are extremely rare.

Climate data for Devonport Airport
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 33.2
(91.8)
28.1
(82.6)
29.0
(84.2)
24.9
(76.8)
20.7
(69.3)
18.8
(65.8)
16.7
(62.1)
18.1
(64.6)
20.0
(68)
24.8
(76.6)
25.7
(78.3)
30.9
(87.6)
33.2
(91.8)
Average high °C (°F) 21.3
(70.3)
21.6
(70.9)
20.4
(68.7)
17.7
(63.9)
15.3
(59.5)
13.4
(56.1)
12.7
(54.9)
13.1
(55.6)
14.2
(57.6)
15.8
(60.4)
17.8
(64)
19.6
(67.3)
16.9
(62.4)
Average low °C (°F) 12.2
(54)
12.7
(54.9)
10.8
(51.4)
8.7
(47.7)
6.7
(44.1)
5.0
(41)
4.6
(40.3)
5.1
(41.2)
6.1
(43)
7.2
(45)
9.1
(48.4)
10.5
(50.9)
8.2
(46.8)
Record low °C (°F) 4.0
(39.2)
4.3
(39.7)
1.3
(34.3)
0.5
(32.9)
−1.8
(28.8)
−1.9
(28.6)
−2.0
(28.4)
−1.6
(29.1)
−2.0
(28.4)
−0.3
(31.5)
0.6
(33.1)
1.6
(34.9)
−2.0
(28.4)
Precipitation mm (inches) 41.8
(1.646)
36.7
(1.445)
47.7
(1.878)
60.9
(2.398)
73.8
(2.906)
77.4
(3.047)
95.3
(3.752)
93.0
(3.661)
75.7
(2.98)
63.6
(2.504)
58.6
(2.307)
53.7
(2.114)
778.4
(30.646)
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[26]

Burnie[edit]

The average temperature in summer ranges from 12.5 to 21 °C with drier non-sea breeze days as warm as 27 °C, with around 16 hours of sunshine per day. In winter, temperature ranges from 6 to 13 °C, and only 8 hours of sunshine. Relative humidity averages over 60% for the year in the afternoon.

Burnie averages 994 mm of rainfall per year. Most of the rain is in the second half of the year from July to December.

Climate data for Burnie
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 33.8
(92.8)
31.0
(87.8)
28.9
(84)
26.2
(79.2)
24.0
(75.2)
18.8
(65.8)
18.2
(64.8)
18.9
(66)
22.4
(72.3)
27.6
(81.7)
31.5
(88.7)
31.2
(88.2)
33.8
(92.8)
Average high °C (°F) 21.1
(70)
21.3
(70.3)
20.1
(68.2)
17.7
(63.9)
15.3
(59.5)
13.5
(56.3)
12.7
(54.9)
13.1
(55.6)
14.3
(57.7)
15.9
(60.6)
17.8
(64)
19.5
(67.1)
16.9
(62.4)
Average low °C (°F) 12.6
(54.7)
13.3
(55.9)
12.0
(53.6)
10.0
(50)
8.4
(47.1)
6.7
(44.1)
5.9
(42.6)
6.1
(43)
6.8
(44.2)
8.0
(46.4)
9.7
(49.5)
11.1
(52)
9.2
(48.6)
Record low °C (°F) 2.8
(37)
3.9
(39)
3.5
(38.3)
0.5
(32.9)
0.0
(32)
−1.1
(30)
−1.7
(28.9)
−2.0
(28.4)
0.0
(32)
−0.8
(30.6)
1.0
(33.8)
2.9
(37.2)
−2.0
(28.4)
Precipitation mm (inches) 44.1
(1.736)
43.7
(1.72)
51.5
(2.028)
74.4
(2.929)
92.8
(3.654)
102.0
(4.016)
123.2
(4.85)
112.3
(4.421)
88.9
(3.5)
84.8
(3.339)
69.2
(2.724)
63.9
(2.516)
950.2
(37.409)
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[27]

Strahan[edit]

Strahan has a mild and wet climate, with some of the highest winter rainfall totals in Tasmania. The highest recorded temperature in Strahan was 38.6°C on 14 February 1982 and the lowest being -3°C on 30 June 1983.

Climate data for Strahan Aerodrome
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 35.6
(96.1)
38.6
(101.5)
35.4
(95.7)
27.6
(81.7)
22.5
(72.5)
19.9
(67.8)
18.3
(64.9)
22.1
(71.8)
27.0
(80.6)
29.6
(85.3)
32.7
(90.9)
36.7
(98.1)
38.6
(101.5)
Average high °C (°F) 20.7
(69.3)
21.2
(70.2)
19.5
(67.1)
16.7
(62.1)
14.3
(57.7)
12.6
(54.7)
12.2
(54)
13.1
(55.6)
14.3
(57.7)
16.1
(61)
17.9
(64.2)
19.7
(67.5)
16.5
(61.7)
Average low °C (°F) 10.7
(51.3)
10.8
(51.4)
9.8
(49.6)
8.4
(47.1)
7.4
(45.3)
5.5
(41.9)
5.1
(41.2)
5.8
(42.4)
6.2
(43.2)
7.3
(45.1)
8.3
(46.9)
9.6
(49.3)
7.9
(46.2)
Record low °C (°F) 0.6
(33.1)
2.6
(36.7)
0.8
(33.4)
−0.2
(31.6)
−0.4
(31.3)
−3.0
(26.6)
−2.7
(27.1)
−1.8
(28.8)
−2.4
(27.7)
−1.1
(30)
0.9
(33.6)
1.1
(34)
−3.0
(26.6)
Precipitation mm (inches) 84.8
(3.339)
63.4
(2.496)
103.6
(4.079)
114.1
(4.492)
144.3
(5.681)
152.1
(5.988)
171.9
(6.768)
179.8
(7.079)
156.1
(6.146)
120.0
(4.724)
94.9
(3.736)
95.0
(3.74)
1,472.8
(57.984)
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Climate of Launceston". Australian BOM. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  2. ^ "Tasmania Climate". World 66. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  3. ^ "Cradle Valley Climate". Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  4. ^ "Burnie Climate". Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  5. ^ "Scottsdale Climate". Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  6. ^ "St Helens Climate". Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  7. ^ "Swansea Climate". Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  8. ^ "Climate of Tasmania". T Change. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  9. ^ "Midlands Drought area" (PDF). Tasmanian Government. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  10. ^ "Rainfall and Temperature Records: National" (PDF). Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 14 November 2009. 
  11. ^ "Official records for Australia in January". Daily Extremes. Bureau of Meteorology. 31 July 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  12. ^ "Strathgordon climate". BOM. Retrieved 12 Jul 2012. 
  13. ^ "Launceston climate". BOM. Retrieved 12 Jul 2012. 
  14. ^ http://www.bom.gov.au
  15. ^ "Climate Data". BoM. Retrieved 28 December 2009. 
  16. ^ "Special Climate Statement 43 – extreme heat in January 2013". Bureau of Meteorology. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  17. ^ "Supervising Scientist Report" (pdf). Australian Government. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. p. 4. Archived from the original on 18 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  18. ^ "Geography of Launceston". Asia Rooms. Retrieved 2008-11-14. 
  19. ^ a b "Climate of Launceston". Australian Government. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  20. ^ "Tasmania breaks all-time high temperature record again". Australian Government. Bureau of Meteorology. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  21. ^ "42.2 deg: Scamander sets State's hottest record!". Fairfax Media. The Examiner. 31 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  22. ^ a b "Climate of Launceston". Australian Government. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 2008-09-02. 
  23. ^ "Tasmania in 2007". Australian Government. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  24. ^ "Tasmanian in 2006". Australian Government. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  25. ^ "Climate Statistics for Launceston". Australian Government. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  26. ^ "Summary statistics DEVONPORT AIRPORT". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  27. ^ "Summary statistics BURNIE (ROUND HILL)". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  28. ^ "Summary statistics STRAHAN AERODROME". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 

External links[edit]