IT’S official – January was Australia’s warmest on record.
The mean temperature for January averaged across country exceeded 30 degrees, the first time this has occurred in any month.
Bureau of Meteorology senior climatologist Dr Andrew Watkins said the heat through January was unprecedented.
“We saw heatwave conditions affect large parts of the country through most of the month, with records broken for both duration and also individual daily extremes,” he said.
“The main contributor to this heat was a persistent high pressure system in the Tasman sea which was blocking any cold fronts and cooler air from impacting the south of the country.
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“At the same time, we had a delayed onset to the monsoon in the north of the country which meant we weren’t seeing cooler, moist air being injected from the north.
“The warming trend which has seen Australian temperatures increase by more than one degree in the last 100 years also contributed to the unusually warm conditions.”
Key points from the summaries
- Australia has experienced its warmest month on record in terms of mean, maximum, and minimum temperatures. Rainfall was below average for most areas.
- NSW recorded its warmest January on record for mean, maximum, and minimum temperatures.
Climate outlook, February to April
BOM senior hydrologist Dr Paul Feikema said widespread and extended periods of heat have dominated Australia’s climate so far this summer.
“El Nino is on hold for now, but warmer than average temperatures are set to continue right across the country,” he said.
Dr Feikema said temperatures for February to April are likely to warmer than average, while rainfall predictions are for average falls.
Most of the Central West has a 50 per cent chance of average rainfall.
Temperatures, however, will be warmer with a 75-80 per cent chance of above average temperatures for the next three months.