• Many regions in Queensland recorded the lowest ever maximum temperature for July.
  • Toowoomba in southern Queensland had its coldest July day on record reaching 7.6°C on the 4th.

Queensland endured an unusual cold snap on the 4th and 5th of July 2022. Toowoomba in southern Queensland reached a maximum temperature of 7.6°C on the 4th of July which was the lowest ever daily maximum temperature for this month. During the cold snap daily maximum temperatures were 8-12°C below the monthly average for Queensland, with many sites including Mackay, Townsville, Emerald and Sunshine Coast airport reporting their coldest July day on record. The cold days were accompanied by widespread rainfall pouring down the east coast.

Daily maximum during July 2022. Source: Bureau of Meteorology.

As with many climate extremes during 2022, record cold daytime temperatures resulted from the prolonged presence of a cut-off low pressure system.

In this event, a pool of cold air broke off from a cold airmass in the mid-latitudes and moved over Australia. The cold pool of air was extremely slow moving and was situated over southern Queensland for several days. It extended close to the land surface, allowing for the cold, mid-latitude airmass to penetrate towards the surface resulting in cold day time temperatures over the region. Persistent cloud cover over the Queensland coast further contributed to these cold temperatures and brought widespread rainfall during this period.

Himawari-8 satellite image on 5 July 2022 from the Bureau of Meteorology retrieved from the National Computational Infrastructure. Mean sea level pressure (yellow contours) and 500hPa geopotential height (magenta contours) from ERA5 reanalysis data are overlaid. Source: National Computational Infrastructure.

Main research contact: Dr Yawen Shao | yawen.shao@unimelb.edu.au