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Climate and Weather

Australia - Climate and Weather

The climate in Northern Australia is tropical. The region experiences hot and humid summers with mild and cool winters in the south. Australia’s climate is the opposite of that of the Northern hemisphere; it experiences its winter in July and August, while December and January are the hottest months.

The country experiences winter temperatures of between five and ten degrees Celsius, and daytime temperatures ranging from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius during summer. The southern regions of the Australian continent are mostly temperate and warm. Extremely different conditions are experienced in central Australia, especially in the desert and bush areas. The deserts experience years of lack of rain. On the other hand, the rainforests experience average annual rainfalls of 100 inches or more. In addition, heavy winds and rainstorms, caused by tropical cyclones, are experienced in the southern summer months of November and April.

Western Australia, sections of Southern Australia, Tasmania, much of Victoria and the coastal Hinterland of south Wales are in the temperate zone. The European corresponding seasons that apply to the southern hemisphere are summer: December to February, autumn: March to May, winter: June to August and spring: September to November.

Christmas in Australia happens at the height of summer. Other climate zones in Australia include:

Grasslands (savannah): This is a belt that surrounds and spreads into the area north of Alice springs in the northern territory, surrounding the arid and semi-arid deserts.

Deserts: These cover an area almost half of the northern territory, stretching across large parts of south and Western Australia, far southwestern Queensland, and far northwestern corner of New South Wales.

Tropical zones: Tropical regions of Australia have three climatic zones:

Areas north of Darwin including Melville Islands, Bathurst, and the tip of Cape York.

Regions covered by tropical climate are the top end of the northern territory, the area south of the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Kimberly region, Cape York, and across northern Australia.

These include the Australia hinterland, areas to the north of New South Wales and the coastal fringes north of Perth, and Western Australia.

The wet and dry seasons

Australia experiences distinct wet and dry seasons. The tropical, equatorial, and sub-tropical zones are characterized by high temperatures and humidity. Monsoon seasons in Australia last from November to March. There is high humidity during wet seasons, making them hotter than the dry seasons. The areas that get lots of rain in Australia are prone to flooding. Australia experiences average temperatures of around twenty degrees Celsius between April and October with clear skies during the day.

The build up is the period between the wet and dry seasons. It experiences high humidity levels and usually lasts for three to four months. There is usually a lot of tension during this period as people wait for the first rains to begin. The high humidity levels are experienced throughout the day and at night. Therefore, it is a relief to everyone when the rains finally come.


The minimum and maximum temperatures of the Southern capital cities including Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, and Perth are 16 degrees and 26 degrees during summer and 6 and 14 degrees during winter respectively. Australian temperatures have been increasing by 1 degree celsius since the 1950s. This has led to an increase in heat waves experienced in Australia and a decrease in frosts and cold days. In addition, sea temperatures have become warmer since 1900.

Extreme weather

Cyclones, snow, and floods

The tropical regions of Australia may experience extreme cyclones during the wet seasons, especially during the wettest months that last from May to July. In addition, inland deserts may remain totally dry for years. Snow season in the Alps in south-eastern Australia is from June to September, while the mountain range that passes through New South Wales and Victoria experiences regular winter snowfalls.

Changes in the Australian climate have been observed using data collected over a long period, dating back 200 years. 2011 was the second wettest year since 1990, experiencing many disastrous floods. The worst floods to occur in Victoria, Brisbane and Queensland were all experienced in 2016. Over the last 50 years, there has been an increase in rainfall in the North West region, with a decline in the southwest and eastern regions of Australia.

Cyclones mostly occur in the northern tropical regions of Australia between the months of November and April with Queensland, the Western Australian Territory, and Northern territory most affected. Australia experiences about six cyclones each year. Cyclone Mahina was the worst ever cyclone to be recorded, killing over 400 people and destroying an entire pearl-fishing fleet at Bathurst Bay in Queensland.

The dry regions

Central Australia is the driest region in Australia. The arid and semi-arid desert areas have high temperatures during the day and experience little rainfall throughout the year. Intense heat during the day and cold nights characterize the Australian desert areas. Summer temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius.


Australia has experienced many serious droughts in the past 200 years. However, the worst drought in Australia’s history lasted from 1895 to 1903. The eight-year drought caused the death of half of Australia’s sheep and forty percent of its cattle. It also led to a 40 percent reduction in wheat crops across Australia. Central Australia experienced its own eight-year drought between 1958 and 1967.

El Niño

The droughts experienced in Australia have been linked with the Southern Oscillation Index. Most droughts in eastern Australia coincided with El Nino because of the El Nino-La Nina cycle.

Suitable clothing for the different seasons

Summer months in northern Australia require lightweight clothing. You may need a raincoat during the wet season and a sweater or other types of heavy clothing for winter months. People living in the Southern regions of Australia may require a sweater and waterproof clothing for the evenings and medium weight clothing for the winter months.

Read more about this country

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