This year, for the first year ever, I didn’t do my annual Brisbane winters versus London’s summers post. This led to a deluge of comments asking me why, assuming one single comment can be referred to as a deluge for artistic license.
Anyway, one reader wondered whether it was because the UK were having a heatwave at the time? No, I’d called an end to the series in the final post called How Do Brisbane’s Winters Compare with London’s Summers? when the score was 6-4 to London.
Well, the weather has not been too shabby here either, here’s how the beach looked up at Mooloolaba just last week…
Today though, I’m going to go much further than just comparing Brisbane with London because, let’s face it, most people do not live in either of these cities.
Australian winters nationwide
Yes, now that winter has finished here for 2018, I thought it would be a good idea to take a close look at winter in Australia, that’s the whole of winter and not just the one day in the middle of winter, for all of our capital cities across the country and compare them with each other.
So, I have gathered together information from all eight of these cities, for June, July and August for winter of this year and put it all together in a stunning, easy to read set of quality graphics (more artistic license) by me to present to you for your climatic pleasure.
Let’s start with Australia’s largest city.
Apart from that first month, Sydney had a very dry winter. Average winter rainfall over the last 60 years though for all three months of winter was much higher at 311 mm with 34 rainy days.
It’s also been a slightly warmer winter this year by about a couple of degrees.
With 104 mm of rainfall throughout all of winter, that’s about two thirds of the 60 year average of 150 mm, so Melbourne have also had a drier than usual season. Temperature wise, it’s been slightly higher than the long-term averages, but not enough to write about. So I won’t.
As with the other two cities so far, Brisbane has been a little warmer than the 60 year average, but only by a degree or so. 81 mm of rain this winter in 24 days is lower than the seasonal average of 133 mm in 23 days. I remember that unusually cold day in June when the maximum daytime temperature was 16.9°C, it was a chiller for sure.
Or maybe I’m getting soft?
When it comes to Brisbane, it’s very hard to actually call this a winter at all.
Well, it certainly did rain a lot over in Perth this winter, they had more wet days than dry. Looking back at historic records, this year there was more rain than usual. The 60 year average for winter in Perth is 392 mm over 48 days. This winter saw 464 mm fall over 53 days with 186 mm setting a new record for August.
Temperature wise though, this year is not significantly different than the 60 year average.
The 19.2°C highest minimum nighttime temperature (second highest of the month was 14.7°C) recorded in August is probably a record high since records began. It happened on an evening following the daytime high of 25.4°C which was on Wednesday, 29 August.
Temperatures weren’t too different from seasonal averages, but rainfall was slightly down this winter compared to others.
Wow! Welcome to the capital of cold. Yes, you read that right, that’s MINUS 7.4°C. They must sell lots of pyjamas in Canberra. It’s the kind of shivering experience I haven’t come across in more than 11 years and I’m not sure I want to encounter it again either.
Rainfall though was very much down on seasonal averages, Canberra only had 65 mm over 30 days during this winter, compared to the usual 128 mm over 33 days.
High temperatures were a little higher than average, and low temperatures a little lower.
Hobart was pretty chilly as well. Not too dissimilar from Canberra during the day, but at nighttime it doesn’t get anywhere near as freezing as Australia’s capital. Still colder than I would like though.
As for rain, incredibly historic records for June, July and August all say 53 mm of rain over 15 or 16 days is the average. So this winter, July and August are pretty much spot on, but June was a little drier than normal.
Finally, it’s time to check out hot and dry.
In Darwin they simply do not call it winter, it’s the dry season. I think it’s easy to see why. This weather is typical for a Darwin ‘winter’, it’s completely in line with the seasonal averages since 1941.
That said, Darwin has averaged 7.7 mm of rain during winter in that period, so 0.4 mm this winter is significantly lower. Either way you look at it though, it’s not a lot of rain.
Dry season indeed.
My thanks to weatherzone for the statistics.
Let’s talk about London
I can’t get the exact same information for London, but I can tell you this.
December has an average high temperature of 7°C, and a low of 3°C. On cold nights, the temperature will drop below zero. Rainfall average is 50 mm. January and February are pretty much the same.
Given that Australia’s coldest cities, Canberra, Hobart and Melbourne, all average highs of 13°C or above, then all of our cities offer better weather if you don’t like cold winters.
I suppose it depends whether you’re looking for a mild to warm winter, or a cold winter where you can rug up and sit around a fire at night time with a warm mug of tea. Everybody’s preferred weather is different. I do not like cold, which is why I live in Brisbane.
Hopefully my guide to winter weather in Australia will help you decide where you want to live.
So, where would you want to live?
Hope you managed to get through yesterday without shivering too much! That was the first time yesterday it get bone chilling cold to me and with the drizzle reminded me of growing up in Cumbria.
The lack of insulation in houses still strikes me as a bit odd and I wonder if new builds will be mandated to do better with the energy used to cool and heat Aussie houses. Lucky for us we get about 8 months where it’s close to perfect 🙂
Yes, I got through it, I didn’t go out and I had to put the heating on in my house and it’s very rare that I do that during the daytime. I’ve probably done it maybe four or five times in the whole 15 odd years I’ve lived here.
Tuesday was easily the coldest day I’ve experienced in Brisbane in my time, I think the previous coldest (ignoring Monday for now) was around 14 point something or 15°C. This is what the ABC News said about Tuesday “Brisbane recorded its coldest daily maximum temperature in two decades, reaching just 12.4C at around 1pm. Brisbane’s coldest-ever maximum was 12C, set in July 2000.”
According to one of the weather websites, the coldest July day ever in Brisbane was in 1940 when it got to just 11.2°C.
Tuesday was just like being back in England, wasn’t it? Except, of course, it wasn’t really, I remember plenty of minus degrees days in the UK. Are we getting soft?
We can’t wait to have our visas granted (passed the medical /police check in September!!!!) And we are looking at NSW Kingscliff or Tweed Heads ? coming from Scotland , where it’s about 17 degrees during summer I am very much looking forward to 16 degrees in winter ???????
I’ll bet you can’t wait, I absolutely love the Tweed Coast, just beautiful and relaxing. Been there a few times for a good beach holiday break…
To get an even better picture, I’d also add average wind speed or the number of windy days to your quality graphics, Bob (particularly for the coldest cities).
Wind has a huge impact on how cold the weather feels. Without wind, 15 degrees Celsius (particularly if it’s sunny and the sun is relatively high and you can feel at least some heat on your skin) isn’t that bad. With wind and without sun (and even worse, with rain or high humidity), 15 Celsius might feel more like 5 degrees. Having said that, I really dislike wind if it’s anything stronger than a light breeze, so it might depend on personal preferences.
Also, nighttime temperatures are extremely important for those who hate cold weather, as even if you stay home at night, with single pane windows or no central heating it can get really cold in the evenings, at night, and in the early morning – even in Australia.
I spent some time in various places in southern Spain in the winter. Even if temperatures reached 20+ Celsius during the day, the nighttime temperatures often dropped to something like 2-5 degrees. Since there’s no central heating there and the buildings are built with hot weather in mind (white, with cold tiles or stone, shaded), I was cold unless I sat right by an electric heater under a blanket. Winter days can be glorious, but nights can be horrid. If there’s high humidity, such winter evenings are often much worse than in a cold country with more weatherproof buildings and properly working central heating.
That’s why I agree with you that one of the best places in Australia for those who absolutely hate cold weather is Brisbane. Actually, Brisbane and the surrounding area plus anything north of Brisbane with minimum nighttime averages over 10 degrees or so is great all year round.
Yes, including information about wind would have been better, but unfortunately weatherzone do not keep those records within their monthly ‘Daily Summaries’ where they list the temperatures and the rainfall.
As you say though, it does make a big difference if it is windy.
A bit like Spain, houses in Brisbane and most of Queensland are not really built for winters, and as you can see, it can drop down to 5°C on the coldest nights here. So definitely a case of extra blankets. That said, these winters aren’t really long enough for that to be a concern.
Thanks for your comments, Bob
We had glorious winter weather in Sydney this year! The last few years were very pleasant too. Sydney is wonderful to live in all year round and a mild winter makes it even easier to live in and enjoy.
Yes, I could see by doing these weather charts that Sydney doesn’t do too bad at all in winter. It’s clearly quite a bit warmer than Melbourne and being cold in winter does seem to be a bit of a gripe for Melburnians.
I’ve never heard anyone from Sydney whinge about winter.
Let me be the first! Since arriving in Sydney in August I’d say it’s much colder than I’d been led to believe. I had to buy a winter coat.
This is mostly down to the fact that it’s windy virtually every day here.
Tall buildings and narrow streets in the CBD exasperates this by creating and wind tunnel and blocking out sunlight.
I’m told wind in the afternoon is a well known phenomena in NSW (possibly for all of coastal Australia?). I’m also told it means most beaches aren’t really suitable for visiting in the afternoon.
Ha ha, well done, I suppose I asked for that 🙂
Anyway, if you had to buy a winter coat, I doubt very much you came from the UK as I know for sure that Sydney’s winters are much better than they are back in Blighty. I wouldn’t believe what you’ve heard about going to the beaches in the afternoon, it can get scorchingly hot at times in Sydney, and that’s when the beach is the best place to be.
And those tall buildings blocking out the sunlight in the CBD? They’ll be a blessing during the height of summer.
Thanks Bob, great to see how the different cities actually compare. I live in Adelaide and always complain about the long winters here but coming from Yorkshire it’s really not cold! my eventual plan is to do down South in summer and oop North in winter and keep that warmth in my bones all year long!
Or you could just move to Brisbane and stay here all year round, that way you will keep warm and save on travel costs. If ever it does get a bit nippy, just put a jumper on and some long socks 🙂
That’s about as cold as it gets in Brisbane.