BoM reveals 2019 was the driest, hottest on record

No reprieve: The Bureau of Meteorology released its Annual Climate Statement 2019, finding that the year was the country's hottest and dries on record. Photo: Amy McIntyre.
No reprieve: The Bureau of Meteorology released its Annual Climate Statement 2019, finding that the year was the country's hottest and dries on record. Photo: Amy McIntyre.

It is official.

Not only was 2019 the driest year on record, but it was also the warmest for Australia, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

On January, 9, BoM released its Annual Climate Statement 2019 and found Australia's mean temperature in 2019 was 1.52 °C above average, making it the warmest on record since consistent national temperature records began in 1910.

Surpassing the previous record of 1.33 °C above average set in 2013.

Meanwhile the national average rainfall total in 2019 was 277 mm, the lowest since consistent national records began in 1900.

The previous record low was 314 mm set during the Federation drought in 1902.

BoM's head of climate monitoring Dr Karl Braganza said the record warm and dry year has been one of the key factors influencing recent and current fire conditions across the country.

"2019 was consistently warm, but it was book-ended by periods of extreme heat," Dr Braganza said.

"At the same time, rainfall deficiencies across large parts of eastern Australia have continued to increase, unfortunately exacerbating both drought conditions and the current bushfires."

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Unfortunately the 2020 outlook is not much better, with the outlook indicating no widespread return to wetter than average conditions over drought and fire affected parts of eastern Australia.

"But with the likely return of the monsoon by mid-January for northern Australia, it raises the chance that we could see some periods of higher rainfall move south in the coming months," Dr Braganza said.

National Farmers' Federation President Fiona Simson said 2019 was a horror year for so much of the agricultural industry.

"With an escalation in the long-running drought bookended by devastating floods and fires," said Ms Simson.

"The bushfires of the past few weeks have laid bare just how hot and dry 2019 was."

Despite the current situation facing Australian's, Ms Simson said the future for agriculture remained bright.

"It's been a sobering start to the 20s for Australian agriculture, but I'm confident the coming decade will be an exciting one for our industry," she said.