Yes, Australia is getting hotter. And experts say it’s likely to continue
Bureau of Meteorology chart shows how temperatures have soared in Australia over the past century
Updated January 14, 2020 08:42:20
Australia just had its warmest and driest year on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, continuing a long-running trend in the country.
- Australia’s climate has warmed by more than 1 degree Celsius since 1910
- BOM says very warm years like 2019 are now more likely to occur
- A rainfall chart shows drying out over the last couple of decades in southern Australia
A chart produced by the bureau and updated with 2019 figures (shown above) displays a stark transformation over the past century.
It shows the anomaly of mean temperature for each calendar year from 1910 to 2019, compared to the average over the standard reference period of 1961–1990.
The colours range from dark blue (more than 3 degrees Celsius below average), through blues and greens (below average), yellow and orange (above average), and then brown (more than 3C above average).
"Australia’s climate has warmed by more than a degree since 1910, which means very warm years like 2019 are now more likely to occur," said Karl Braganza, the bureau’s head of climate monitoring.
Dr Braganza said alongside warmer temperatures, we were also seeing a trend in recent decades towards drier winter and spring seasons in some parts of the country.
Andrew Watkins, manager of long-range forecasting at the bureau, said the hot 2019 — which had an average mean temperature 1.52C above average — was front of mind for many.
"It was the talking point of all last year," he said.
"All the states and territories were in the top handfuls of temperature. Hot everywhere, pretty much.
"Almost by definition if they’re records they are unusual."
The bureau has also produced another chart showing rainfall in each year since 1900.
The colours range from dark red (lowest on record) to white (average) and dark blue (highest on record).
"We’ve seen a warming up, and also a drying out, of southern Australia," Dr Watkins said.
"About 10 to 15 per cent drying over the last couple of decades in southern Australia.
"Hopefully the year will head a bit more towards average rainfall and temperature pattern.
"Probably still a bit warmer than normal though, but gee, it shouldn’t be as bad as ."
First posted January 14, 2020 05:51:38
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January 14, 2020 at 06:03AM