Friday, June 6, 2008

Sydney weather

Rain, more rain and then some more rain these days in sydney.
Here are some interesting "facts" about sydney weather:
  1. Sydney has almost the same number of wet days per year as London UK
    (152 wet days for sydney, 153 for london. a wet day has 0.25mm rain or more)

  2. Sydney is the "wettest" city i have ever lived in
    (i have lived in athens-greece, princeton-NJ, toronto and sydney)

  3. Sydney has only 100 sunny days per year. Las vegas has over 200.
    (ok my stats for sydney and las vegas are from different sources using different definitions for sunny-ness: sunny day for sydney has average cloud cover less than 25%, for las vegas it is up to 1/3 cloud cover.)

  4. In april 2008 we had 12 continuous days of rain in sydney. plus some more (non-continuous) days of rain. feb-march were just as bad.
maybe sydney weather has somewhat better reputation than what it really deserves. at least my impression of sydney weather was far better, before moving to sydney.

For me the definition of good weather is simple: sun. Temperature is not very important, as long as you have sun. Having lots of sun implies that you cannot have terribly wet weather, you cannot have tropical weather etc.

The definition and most statistics for wets days comes from website. For example here are some links, for the averages for sydney and here for toronto. Or you can look up other cities starting here. The source for the number of sunny days in sydney is the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

The following is a list of cites and their average number of wet days per year:
And a list of some nice, sunny, good-weather places in the US:

sunniest US cities (source):
City % Sunshine Clear Days
Phoenix, Arizona 85 211
Las Vegas, Nevada 85 210
Tucson, Arizona 85 193
El Paso, Texas 84 193
Fresno, California 79 194
Sacramento, California 78 188
Albuquerque, New Mexico 76 186
Los Angeles, California 73 167
Denver, Colorado 69 115
San Diego, California 68 146
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 68 139
San Francisco, California 66 160

[% sunshine is the percentage of time between sunrise and sunset that sun reaches the earth's surface. Clear days is the number days a year when clouds cover less than one-third of the sky on average.]


  1. ok, to be honest, i started writing this post in the beginning of may, but we had bright sunny days for a few weeks, so i had to wait for the next sequence of rainy days to post this....

  2. Taso, you are an old lady.

  3. Most of Australia is suffering from drought and thirsty for water -- and you are complaining about the rain ??

    BTW, I attended CiE in Athens last week (June 15-20). The talk that I enjoyed the most was the one by Prakash Panangaden -- it connected Domain theory, space-time causal effects, Relativity and Topological Spaces.


  4. I don't mean to upset your analysis, however from your own sources you can see that sydney has 100 days of rain exceeding 1mm, leaving 265 days on average of days with minimal or no rain.

    Additionally the area surveyed for Sydney is significantly larger than London, meaning that any rainfall in the region covered by Sydney is counted over all.

    Also Sydney has a higher average number of hours of sun per day than London, higher average temperature and a smaller range of extremes. (E.g. it does not snow in Sydney.)

    When you combine these together, you get the result of Sydney being a generally sunny city and often one that is drought affected. In the more humid months Sydney can assume a more tropical climate, meaning that you can have an entirely sunny day complemented with a late afternoon or evening shower (which again skew the number of rainy days reported.)

    Using your analysis method, you'll find most of the worlds "sunny" cities are comparable in rain frequency to London.

  5. This is a load of rubbish about Sydney, we have heaps of hot sunny weather, Sydney is much dryer then London, your source of the BBC is wrong, we have about 137 days of rain of more then 0.25mm not 153. which most comes from Storms in the evening. Try using Proper Aussie Souces of Information. Sydney weather is prefect, hot sunny days followed by warm/cool storms. Not as dry as LA or Las vegas, because these places are Desert, Sydney is not.

  6. The prson above my post is 100% correct, especially with the summer months thery, Sydney is more like a tropical city in the height of Summer with hot sunny and humid days followed by a night storm.

  7. yes, i agree with all comments above of course ... (except maybe mani's comment calling me an old lady...).

    i was not trying to argue that sydney has bad weather as you can see in my original post. my main point was that I had a different impression of sydney weather.

    and i mentioned those statistics about rainy days in sydney versus london because i thought they were very very surprising. it is amazing that any reasonable definition of a rainy day would put sydney anywhere near to a place like london rain-wise.

    and as the first anonymous post says it was not easy finding cities much more sunny than sydney. i thought the Mediterranean would easily beat sydney but the statistics dont show that ...

    thanks for your comments.

  8. I've been living in Sydney for almost 3 years and if someone asked me if it makes any sense coming to Sydney for summer holiday I would say forget it! C'mon! Last year there wasn't a single hot day! Two yrs ago the famous Bondi was deserted as the ocean was freezing (14 degrees!!!). In the end it's good for those who live and work here but sometimes it's disappointing that it is not that easy to have a nice weekend on the beach (unless you dont mind cold S winds). I moved to Sydney from Poland and on average it is better (compared to 6 months of dark, wet, cold winters) but summers simply make me cry...

  9. "This is a load of rubbish about Sydney, we have heaps of hot sunny weather, Sydney is much dryer then London"

    Twice as much rainfall lol..Similar number of dry days. Though ur weather is hotter, rainfall more intense.

  10. I have just stumbled across your blog. Although this post is now over 2 year's old I cannot help but comment.

    I too live in Sydney (my wife and I moved here in Sept 2008) and the actual reality of the climate here is much worse than what is propagated. I was sucked in by the brochures, the expectation of hot sunny weather only to be seriously disappointed.

    This last October just depressing - grey, grey and more grey.

    And don't get me started on the cr**py summers as well. I have lived in Christchurch (NZ), London and Wellington (NZ) and Sydney summers, although warmer, can be quite depressing as they are often overcast and wet.

    I would happily move to WA in an instant, but I am anchored here by my wife (she loves the place too much) :-(

  11. Im from Western Australia and have spent a fair bit of time in Sydney this year, I always thought that Sydney weather was good but I gotta say that the weather there is a real pain - if Melbourne has four seasons in one day then Sydney seems to have about six.
    Drizzly rain followed by bursts of sunlight then more rain, then wind, possible thunderstorm etc etc
    Compared to many other places in the world Sydney's weather is great but in comparison to say Perth's sunshine it just doesnt rate.
    It is also very windy on the coast especially around Manly, this of course is not uncommon with many coastal areas particularly in Western Australia but again I had the impression that Sydney weather wasn't like that.
    Still its a great city overall and the harbour is absolutely killer, a top place to visit or live if you like plenty going on.

  12. Contrary to the tourist brochures, its not always sunny in Sydney, but it is sunny for the most part.

    Having lived in Sydney for over 40 years all I can say is, sometimes the weather is all over the place. There are occasionally periods of wet weather lasting 2 weeks but generally you should expect on average 20 sunny or mostly sunny days per month. There are also more clear days in winter than in summer, on average.

    According to the Bureau of Meteorology website, Sydney's active weather station for measuring sunshine is at Sydney Airport. This site records an average of over 2,600 hours of sunshine per year. This is considerably more than London's 1,400 hours per year but notably less than desert areas such as Las Vegas which receive well over 3,000 hours per year. Also, contrary to common beliefs, Sydney is one of the wettest major cities in the world, yet it lays on one of the driest continents.

    In addition to the ocean and beaches to the east, the city is surrounded by large green belts (National Parks) to the north, west and south. You don't get this much greenery without decent amounts of rain.

  13. For major Australian cities, if you like sunshine, Perth is the place to be in summer, with week after week of clear sunny weather. For winter sunshine it is Brisbane followed by Sydney.


    I´m a meteorologist who have lived in several cities around the world. I can say that Sydney weather is positively exaggerated in terms of sunshine and rainfall. You can have cold days in the middle of the summer and the amount of rain and wet days is high all year round.

    The legend about Sydney enjoying a Mediterranean climate is unreal. Although there are several warm days anytime of the year and temperatures do not fall below zero in the inner suburbs.

    News about droughts and floods are sometimes generalised for all the country but it is necessary to know how big is Australia. And Sydney is just a tiny part of a vast country.

  15. Compared to the rest of Australia, Sydney's summers are crap. In fact, much of NSW has far more mild, wet and cloudy summer days than all of the other states, perhaps with the exception of Tasmania. And not to mention the perpetual wind!!!

    I don't why this has happened because, when I was a kid growing up in Sydney, you could always count on weeks of long, hot sunny days throughout Dec-Feb. I now live on the Central Coast, about an hour north of Sydney and I spend most of the year wearing long pants and jumpers. I am so sick of it, I am seriously looking at moving to a state with a warmer, sunnier climate asap.