ABC Weather / By Kate Doyle. In total, summer 2018–19 was the warmest on record for Australia. SSTs were in the highest 10% of historical observations for large areas around southeastern Australia and across the Tasman Sea throughout the year. Daytime maximum temperatures in particular have been very warm nationally. Several significant fires which had started during January in Victoria in Gippsland and near Mount Baw Baw continued to burn throughout the month, while a fire started near Walhalla in late February. When referencing specific books or chapters of Australian Rainfall and Runoff (ARR), the following format is recommended: Several active tropical systems, including severe tropical cyclone Trevor, brought above average rainfall to parts of northern and western Queensland during the first months of 2019. Southern Tasmania experienced poor air quality from mid-January to early February, including at locations well removed from the actual fires, while smoke from northwestern Tasmania also reached Victoria in the first week of February. In fact, without action, Australia is expected to warm as much as 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2090. Thunderstorms across Victoria during the evening of 6 February led to more than 200 requests for assistance from the SES, mostly relating to building damage around Bendigo and Ararat. This induced a negative phase of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) from late October to late December, shifting the belt of westerly winds over the Southern Ocean northwards towards the equator. Six tropical cyclones reached severe (category 3), the first time since the 2014–15 season. A cool change with very dry air, and very strong and gusty winds led to a worsening of the fire situation with lightning leading to the ignition of many new fires on the 21st. For the Tasman Sea region as a whole, mean SSTs were the third-warmest on record (+0.86 °C for 2019, behind +0.96 °C in 2016, and +0.87 °C in 2018). More details can be found in the Special Climate Statement Widespread heatwaves during December 2018 and January 2019. Extreme temperatures and sudden changes in wind direction and strength produced conditions conducive to bushfires across eastern Victoria in early January. And make no mistake: An increase of 5 degrees Celsius (or 9 degrees Fahrenheit) is a huge deal. The five warmest years in the 1880–2019 record have all occurred since 2015, while nine of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2005. Significant flooding resulted in and around Townsville during late January to early February. Over a metre of snow fell at Spencers Creek during the month, mostly between the 6th and the 13th. Trees were felled, raised dust reduced visibility, and power was lost to 76 000 premises. The transition of the monsoon trough into the southern hemisphere was very late, and the positive IOD persisted beyond the end of 2019. In addition to the very dry second half of the year, parts of Queensland and New South Wales have had significantly below average rainfall for several years. Very heavy rainfall affected the Gold Coast, while Brisbane experienced high winds, and a storm cell produced giant hail 8 cm to 10 cm in diameter at Wolvi and Wilsons Pocket (east-northeast of Gympie), and hail up to 11.5 cm in diameter at Goomboorian. Tides were very high along the west coast and many places experienced beach erosion and inundation. Lightning over the ranges to the east of Melbourne on the last day of February and first day of March, and again on the 4th, sparked multiple new fires. Severe storms also formed on the 13th over southeast Queensland and the Wide Bay region. Values remained above the previous record from mid-September to mid-November. During the 9th, there were sustained strong winds over parts of West and South Gippsland and coastal southwest Victoria. A number of cold fronts and associated low pressure systems brought periods of rainfall to the South West Land Division in Western Australia during the first third of the month. The frequency of extreme heat events has increased approximately fivefold since the 1950s. For the period as a whole July–December rainfall was the lowest on record for the southern half of Australia. Australia's area-averaged mean temperature for 2019 was 1.52 °C above the 1961–1990 average, well above the old record: +1.33 °C in 2013. You can access these datasets on our website. Reports indicated crop damage from the frost events may be the worst for a decade or more. There was significant drought in many parts of southern Africa during the 2018–19 wet season, and parts of Central America also experienced substantially below average rainfall during the first nine months of the year. Australia has warmed by just over one degree since 1910, with most of the warming occurring since 1950. Numerous other fires were also started by lightning early in the month, including at Rosedale, Timbarra, Walhalla, Aberfeldy, and Cambarville. The climate is variable, with frequent droughts lasting several seasons, thought to be caused in part by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. A tornado cut a narrow path of damage through eucalyptus trees on a farming property at Avenue Range, near Lucindale. The background warming trend can only be explained by human influence on the global climate. It also typically means warmer than average winter–spring days for the southern two-thirds of Australia. Large hail around 4 cm to 6 cm in diameter was reported around Caloundra, the Glass House Mountains, Mooloolaba, and Buderim. They were warmest on record for much of southern Western Australia during September, northern Western Australia during October, and for very large parts of the mainland during December. On 2- to 3-year timescales, starting in early 2017, rainfall has been near or below previous record low values over much of New South Wales and southern Queensland, in many regions comparable to records set in 1900–1902 during the Federation Drought. Both of these values exceed the previous record of 40.30 °C set on 7 January 2013. In Western Australia, severe tropical cyclone Veronica caused major flooding in the coastal Pilbara during March. The SES responded to more than 140 calls for help, mostly for downed trees and building damage; around a third of the calls were from Melbourne. Annual mean maximum temperatures were amongst the ten warmest on record for all mainland States and the Northern Territory. Flash flooding and swift water rescues occurred around Black River and Bluewater Creek to the northwest of Townsville, with rainfall totals of more than 200 mm in three hours. Those same dry soils contributed to the relatively low night-time temperatures seen in winter across much of inland Australia. Between 18 and 21 November many high temperature records were set across southern Australia. "Natural variability in extreme rainfall in Australia is inherently very large, making it more difficult to discern climate change influences," the report said. Regardless of where 2019 does place in the final ranks, it will continue a run of very warm years. During spring the IOD index reached the highest weekly values observed in the Bureau's dataset, which extends from 2001. Eleven tropical cyclones were recorded in the broader Australian region during the 2018–19 tropical cyclone season, equalling the long-term average (for all years since 1969–70). The fire at Long Gully Road continued to burn in bushland south of Drake, Tabulam, and the Bruxner Highway, having reached 47 500 hectares. 2019 was Australia's warmest year on record. Veronica moved very close to the coast, west of Port Hedland at category 3 strength on the 24th, and remained near-stationary for the next 24 hours before tracking westwards and weakening to below tropical cyclone strength by the 26th. Waters were warmer than average in parts of the Maritime Continent and western Indian Ocean during the first part of the year, although the effect of tropical activity could be seen in cooler than average waters in the Gulf for February. The last four years—2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018—were the four warmest on record, and although 2019 is unlikely to reach the record set in 2016, this year will almost certainly be in that top group. While the IOD is a natural mode of variability, its behaviour is changing in response to climate change. Parts of east Africa which had previously been affected by drought saw flooding associated with the positive IOD during October and November. The national rainfall dataset commences in 1900. Rainfall for the year was below to very much below average over most of Australia. Fanned by westerly winds on several occasions, the fire had burnt more than 4370 hectares by mid-December. Research suggests that the frequency of positive IOD events, and particularly the occurrence of consecutive events, will increase as global temperatures rise. SSTs were more than two degrees cooler than average in some areas close to Sumatra during October. The average annual temperature in Sydney is 17.6 °C | 63.7 °F. Temperatures in the mid to high 40s were observed across large areas, in cases for several consecutive days, including at Perth where temperatures reached 40 to 41 degrees each day from the 13th to 15th. Subsequent quality control and the availability of additional data may result in minor changes to final values. Large areas were also very much warmer than average for April. Severe drought affected large parts of the country. Records were set in all States and the Northern Territory, but were most numerous in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania. Sydney climate summary The Sydney lies on 27m above sea level Sydney's climate is classified as warm and temperate. As the extremely hot air mass moved eastward, large areas approached or exceeded December daily maximum temperature records across inland and southeastern South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, southeast Queensland, Central Australia, and much of Tasmania. Low visibility from the thick dust created hazardous road conditions and South Australian Police closed the Augusta Highway near Port Wakefield for a period. Floodwaters in the Flinders River spilled into neighbouring catchments and spread across an area some 70 km wide and estimated to be at least 1.5&nbp;million hectares in total. The end of the year was especially dry, with November and December the driest on record for their respective months nationally. The tables below give yearly averages for rainfall at large cities across Australia. This makes 2019 the driest year in the 119 years since 1900. Early reports estimated the damage bill as in excess of one hundred and twenty million dollars. Extremely dry conditions and very much above average temperatures led to increased fire risk across New South Wales and Queensland during spring (see Special Climate Statement Severe fire weather conditions in southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales in September 2019). Hail of such large sizes is very rare in Australia. The year got off to a very warm start for much of the country, as prolonged stable and sunny conditions and a delayed onset of the monsoon in northern Australia led to a build up of heat. Annual rainfall was above average across parts of Queensland's northwest and northern tropics, mostly as a result of very much above average rainfall during the first quarter of the year. Annual rainfall was above average for some areas of Queensland in the northwest, on the northern coast around Townsville, and on the tip of Cape York Peninsula. Feb. 4, 2019 MELBOURNE, Australia — After weeks of unrelenting heat and bushfires across the continent, torrential rain and flooding in northern Australia have forced hundreds of … More than 620 calls were made to the SES, while Mona Vale Golf Club (in the Northern Beaches) recorded 120.8 mm in two hours. An active monsoon trough and a slow-moving low pressure system produced extremely heavy rainfall in tropical Queensland from late January into early February, causing flooding on Queensland's tropical coast between Daintree and Mackay, and parts of the western Peninsula and Gulf coast. In the region near Tenterfield, on 9 October the Long Gully Road fire near Drake joined with the western edge of the Busbys Flat fire near Rappville. The second half of the year was particularly dry across most of the southern half of Australia, and followed several years of below average rainfall over parts of Queensland and New South Wales. For further details see the Significant Weather section of the March Monthly Weather Review. Annual mean temperatures were above average for nearly all of Australia. A very strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) was one of the main influences on Australia's climate during 2019, and contributed to very low rainfall across Australia. The widespread warm and dry conditions, on top of well below average rainfall over multiple months, contributed to elevated fire danger over much of southeastern Australia during summer. Australia's seasons are at opposite times to those in the northern hemisphere. The national area-averaged maximum temperature on the 18th was 41.9 °C, a whole degree above the value for the 17th (40.9 °C). As well as the significant deficiencies affecting New South Wales, southern Queensland, eastern Victoria, and eastern South Australia, rainfall deficiencies intensified throughout the year in Western Australia — including across the South West Land Division. Of the ten warmest years, only one (1998) occurred before 2005. The SES reported more than 800 calls for assistance, mostly due to wind damage. Major flooding occurred in coastal communities between Daintree and Mackay, including flooding in the Burdekin, Ross, Bohle, Haughton, Herbert, and Black rivers, and Bluewater Creek. The dust contributed to ambulance staff attending to a higher than usual number of patients with breathing difficulties. Annual mean temperatures for 2019 were above average for nearly all of Australia, and highest on record for a large area of northern and eastern New South Wales, southeast Queensland, most of Western Australia extending from the Pilbara coast to northwest South Australia, and for an area of the Victoria River District in the Northern Territory. Severe tropical cyclone Veronica was named in the early hours of 20 March while well offshore to the northwest of Western Australia. Numerous sites set records for runs of consecutive days at or above 40 °C while many other sites reported their highest daily maximum or minimum temperature on record for January, or for any month. That puts the annual mean temperature for 2019 on track to be one of the four warmest years on record. In New South Wales there were two significant fires in the northeast of the State: at Tingha, and at Tabulam, west of Casino. Mean maximum temperatures were the warmest on record at 2.09 °C above average, also well above the previous record, which was +1.59 °C in 2013. An extended warm period with multiple heatwaves over much of Australia began in early December 2018 and continued into January 2019. The impact of low rainfall over the period has been exacerbated by record high temperatures, which in turn drive higher rates of evaporation where water is available. By the 25th the Bruthen fire was 850 hectares and the Gelantipy fire 600 hectares, while in the northeast of the State, a 300 hectare fire was burning in the Mount Bogong area. Ahead of the passage of cold fronts, gusty northerly winds combined with very low dewpoints produced severe fire danger situations across inland parts of the SWLD, and several fires were burning out of control on the 6th, including at Jarrahwood. The global mean temperature for January to November 2019 was 0.81 ± 0.1 °C above the 1961–1990 average. A fire at Port Lincoln, on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula, on the 12th burned about 5000 hectares and damaged at least 11 properties. Significant bushfires started in southeastern Queensland and northeastern New South Wales in early September. Given the positive IOD remains so strong, it is likely its influence could persist well into mid-summer. A cold front and a low pressure system that crossed Victoria on 9 and 10 May brought heavy rainfall and flash flooding to Ballarat and Geelong, as well as snowfalls in the Victorian Alps. Flooding was extensive and long-lived in the Gulf Country, with major flooding at Walkers Bend on the Flinders River by 2 February. By the end of 2019 water storage in the Northern Murray–Darling Basin had dropped to less than 7% of capacity. Heavy rainfall continued into early February, with above average monthly totals across northern Queensland. Dry lightning also led to fires in East Gippsland and northeast Victoria towards the end of November. A number of the large fires which had started in September in New South Wales and eastern Queensland continued to burn throughout October. This trend towards wetter years in the north is contributing to a slight increase in mean annual rainfall for Australia as a whole. Unless otherwise noted, all maps, graphs and diagrams in this page are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Australia Licence, This page was created at 09:36 on Saturday 12 December 2020 (UTC), © Copyright Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Bureau of Meteorology (ABN 92 637 533 532) | CRICOS Provider 02015K | Disclaimer | Privacy | Accessibility, Table of annual national rainfall, temperature, and sea surface temperature anomalies and ranks, NOAA Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature dataset, ERSST v5, World Meteorological Organization Provisional statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2019, Creative Commons Attribution Australia Licence, Australia's warmest year on record, with the annual national mean temperature 1.52 °C above average, Both mean annual maximum and minimum temperatures above average for all States and the Northern Territory, Annual national mean maximum temperature warmest on record (2.09 °C above average), Widespread warmth throughout the year; January, February, March, April, July, October, and December all amongst the ten warmest on record for Australian mean temperature for their respective months, Significant heatwaves in January and in December, Nationally-averaged rainfall 40% below average for the year at 277.6 mm, Rainfall below average for most of Australia, Rainfall above average for parts of Queensland's northwest and northern tropics, Much of Australia affected by drought, which was especially severe in New South Wales and southern Queensland, Widespread severe fire weather throughout the year; national annual accumulated Forest Fire Danger Index highest since 1950, when national records began, One of the strongest positive Indian Ocean Dipole events on record; El Niño–Southern Oscillation neutral throughout the year, Warmest year on record; mean temperature +1.52 °C, Warmest year on record for New South Wales and Western Australia; amongst top ten warmest for Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory, Highest annual mean maximum temperature on record for Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, and Hobart, Australia's driest year on record, annual total rainfall 40% below average, One of the strongest positive Indian Ocean Dipole events on record, Late monsoon onset at Darwin in 2018–19 and 2019–20 seasons, Second-warmest year on record for the Northern Territory, Annual rainfall second-lowest on record for the Northern Territory, Significant rainfall deficiencies across the South West Land Division, Frost events in September caused damage to crops in southwest Western Australia, Warmest year on record for Western Australia, Annual rainfall second-lowest on record for Western Australia, Very large bushfires across southeast Queensland from September until the end of the year, Large areas of flooding in Queensland's tropical coast, including around Townsville, from late January into early February; and also in the Gulf Country and western Queensland from February into April, Severe storms with heavy rain and giant hail in southeast Queensland in November, and in early December, Sixth-warmest year on record for Queensland, Annual mean maximum temperature highest on record for Brisbane, Significant rainfall deficiencies across New South Wales and southern Queensland; driest year on record for the Murray–Darling Basin, Very large bushfires across eastern New South Wales from September until the end of the year, Smoke affected many communities for prolonged periods from September, Severe storms across New South Wales in late November, Warmest year on record for New South Wales, Annual mean maximum temperature highest on record for Sydney, Annual rainfall lowest on record for New South Wales, Most significant filling for Lake Eyre / Kati Thanda since 2010–11, Second-warmest year on record for South Australia, Annual rainfall lowest on record for South Australia, Heatwaves in January and December; high temperature records set across much of Australia, including Australia's warmest day on record on 18 December, July–December rainfall lowest on record for southern Australia, Coolest August mean minimum temperatures on record for parts of the inland southeast, Significant rainfall deficiencies for Gippsland, Bushfires in Gippsland and northeast Victoria from summer to autumn, and also for Gippsland from spring into December, Fifth-warmest year on record for Victoria, Annual rainfall tenth-lowest on record for Victoria, Large bushfires across remote and wilderness areas of Tasmania during summer and autumn, Annual mean maximum temperature highest on record for Hobart. For a number of locations records were set for the warmest day for any time of the year. See Special Climate Statement Severe fire weather conditions in southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales in September 2019.
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