Seasons were strange in 2016

In the year 2016, the seasonal climate cycles at Manilla, NSW were abnormal. Heat and cold, moisture and dryness did not come at the usual times.

Temperature and rainfall graphs

Mean monthly temperature

Graphs of monthly temperatures, normal and 2016The first graph shows the mean temperatures for each calendar month, both in a normal year (red) and in the year 2016 (blue). In 2016. earlier months, such as April, were warmer, and later months, such as October, were cooler. The difference (anomaly) is plotted below. Anomaly values in this year rise and fall rather steadily in a single cycle that lags months behind the normal summer-winter cycle. The amplitude of this anomaly cycle in 2016 is 5.3 degrees, which is nearly one third of the normal summer to winter amplitude of 16.4 degrees.

Monthly total rainfall

Graphs of monthly rainfall totals, normal and 2016In the same format, the second graph shows the rainfall totals for each calendar month, both in a normal year (red) and in the year 2016 (blue). The mid-year months of June, August, and September, usually dry, were very wet in 2016. The anomaly graph adds to this that rainfall was very low in February, March and April, and again in November and December. Rainfall anomaly does not show such a clear cycle as temperature does, but the effect is bigger. The difference in anomaly between September (+80 mm) and November (-40 mm) is 120 mm, while normally the difference between the wettest month (January) and the driest month (April) is only 48 mm.

Climate anomaly graphs and trends for 2016

The other two graphs add more climate anomaly variables and show the trends through the year 2016.
[See Notes below for an explanation.]

Monthly heat anomalies for 2016

Heat anomalies and trends

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December 2016 was hot

A bearded dragon camouflaged on a bush

Hidden Dragon

Hot weather in this month came in the first and last weeks which, on average, were 4.8° and 3.6° warmer than normal. On the 5th, both day and night were nine degrees above normal. There was just one 40° day, on the 30th. In December months from 1999, there have now been five with one 40° day, but none with more than one. The two hottest, at 40.6°, came in 2005 and 2012.
Rain fell frequently (on 12 days), but it was light (max: 17.8 mm). Plants dried out.
Throughout the month, tiny “flies” swarmed in millions. They are native Rutherglen Bugs (Nysius vinitor), a sap-sucking pest of crops such as sunflower.

 Weather log December 2016

Comparing December months

This was the hottest December of the new century. December 2009 had been the hottest, but this month had a higher mean daily maximum (33.8° vs. 33.1°) and a slightly higher average (26.0° vs. 25.9°). December 2009 still had the warmest nights: the daily minimum was 18.6° then versus 18.2° now. As this month’s days and nights were both so warm, the daily temperature range was quite normal (15.6°).
Contradicting the high air temperatures, the subsoil temperature was well below the normal value of 24.3°. At 22.7°, it was the coolest December value since 1999, when it had been 22.5°.
The month was rather cloudy, which does not match well with the rather low dew point and rainfall. The monthly rainfall total of 48.8 mm is in the 34th percentile, well below the average of 74 mm.

Climate fro December 2016

The Year 2016

As in 2015, the average temperatures for the year 2016 were close to normal by day, and half a degree above normal by night. The subsoil temperature, which had been normal in 2015, fell to half a degree low. Air temperatures had been warmer in 2014 and 2009, and cooler in 2008.
Rainfall, at 775 mm, was in the 76th percentile, well above the 125-year average of 652 mm. The mid-year months of June, August, and September were very wet, while November as well as February, March and April were dry. High rainfall is rare in mid-year months, but 1998 had a similar pattern.
Temperatures also were far from normal in some months. They were about 2° higher than normal through the autumn and 2° lower than normal through the spring.


Data. Rainfall figures are usually from the automatic rain gauge at Manilla, published on the internet by the Bureau of Meteorology as Station 55031. However, the gauge ceased recording on the 8th of October, and later readings are from my non-standard gauge. All other data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.