Temperate marine climate

Tasmania lies between 40°S and 43.5°S and with no place more than 115 kilometres from the sea has a temperate marine climate. On the coast the range of daily temperature is 7°C, but inland the range is almost double, indicating a slight continental effect. Prevailing westerly winds produce a marked west to east variation of cloudiness and rainfall, but the variation of temperature is governed more by elevation and distance from the coast.

Summers are mild and are characterised by much longer days - up to 15 hours of daylight. In winter the shortest day has around nine hours of daylight. In winter and early spring, westerly winds (equinoctial gales) reach their greatest strength and persistence, causing a distinct maximum in the rainfall in the west and north west. In the east and south east rainfall is more evenly distributed throughout the year.

Average Annual Minimum Temperature

Average Annual Minimum Temperature

Average Annual Maximum Temperature

Average Annual Maximum Temperature

Average Annual Rainfall

Average Annual Maximum Temperature

Mean Minimum Air Temperature - North West

Mean Minimum Air Temperature - North West

Mean Minimum Air Temperature - North

Mean Minimum Air Temperature - North

Mean Minimum Air Temperature - South

Mean Minimum Air Temperature - South

Annual Number of Frosts

The annual number of frosts recorded in dairy areas in Tasmania varies from less than 10 to around 100. Lower altitude areas close to the coast tend to have the lowest number of frosts. Cold air drainage is another important factor. There is no figure recorded for Deloraine in the table below, but it is likely to be similar to Cressy, which has an average 99 frosts a year.

Frosts are defined here as the number of days with minimum temperature less than 2 deg C.

Region Area Altitude (m) Average Annual Frosts
North West King Island 24 1
  Redpa 82 9
  Smithton 7 38
  Elliott 55 26
North Deloriane 237 N/A
  Cressy 150 99
  Scottsdale 298 49
South Waterhouse 40 14
  Bushy Park 35 80

Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Mean Maximum Air Temperature - North West

Mean Maximum Air Temperature - North West

Mean Maximum Air Temperature - North

Mean Maximum Air Temperature - North

Mean Maximum Air Temperature - South

Mean Maximum Air Temperature - South

Total Annual Rainfall

The main dairy areas in Tasmania have a total average rainfall of 900 mm or more. However, some of the drier areas in the State are well suited to dairying providing there is a plentiful supply of irrigation water.

Region Area Rainfall    
    Average High Low
North West King Island 901 1,125 694
  Redpa 1,268 1,546 1,027
  Smithton 1,106 1,353 861
  Elliott 1,202 1,553 899
North Deloraine 957 1,234 695
  Cressy 637 821 458
  Scottsdale 1,028 1,325 770
South Waterhouse 665    
  Bushy Park 579 704 454

Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Climate in Tasmania can vary significantly over relatively short distances. For example, in the table above Currie which is on the west coast of King Island has an average rainfall of around 900 mm. However, many dairy farms on King Island experience an average rainfall of more than 1,000 mm, despite being only five to 10 kilometres away.

Rainfall distribution throughout the year is an important factor with rainfall over the late spring and summer months being critical. Some of the higher rainfall areas have a marked winter peak whereas the drier sites often have a more uniform distribution. With summer rainfall being the most important factor, the relative disadvantage of the drier areas is therefore not as significant as the total annual rainfall figures would suggest.

Rainfall By Month - North West

Rainfall By Month - North West

Rainfall By Month - North

Rainfall By Month - North

Rainfall By Month - South

Rainfall By Month - South