The Australian Bureau of Meterology released the annual Australian climate statement for 2008 last week. Another warm year for Australia, 0.41°C above the standard 1961-90 average…

Overview

  • The mean annual temperature across Australia for 2008 was the 14th warmest on record (0.41°C above normal).
  • A warm year was recorded in most regions, apart from Queensland, northeast New South Wales and the Kimberley (Western Australia).
  • Above average annual rainfall was recorded across the Top End, eastern Queensland, northeast New South Wales and far west parts of Western Australia. Rainfall was average to below average in the remainder of the country.
  • Low rainfall over the southern Murray Darling Basin during 2008 further exacerbated the long dry spell in this region.

A warmer than average year
Data collected by the Bureau of Meteorology indicate that, overall, Australia’s annual mean temperature for 2008 was 0.41°C above the standard 1961-90 average, making it the nation’s 14th warmest year since comparable records began in 1910.

Most regions recorded a warm year overall, apart from Queensland, northeast New South Wales and the Kimberley. Particularly high temperatures were recorded across inland Western Australia and the Northern Territory in January, as well as western Victoria and southern South Australia in March, with a record-breaking heatwave during the first half of the month. Conversely, cool temperatures were recorded in southeast Australia during February and again in April, across most of the country in August, and across the southwest during November.

Australia’s mean temperature for 2008 was slightly lower than that recorded for the previous six years, partly due to a La Niña event that developed in late 2007 and continued into early 2008. Despite the cooling effect of La Niña, Australia has now recorded a warmer-than-average year for the past seven consecutive years. In line with the rest of the globe, Australia has experienced a background warming of about 0.9°C over the last Century.  On 16 December 2008, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) indicated that the global mean temperature was also warmer than normal during 2008 (about 0.31°C above average), making 2008 the globe’s 10th warmest year on record. It is now 23 years since the globe has experienced a cooler than average year.

Australia’s mean temperature for 2008 was slightly lower than that recorded for the previous six years, partly due to a La Niña event that developed in late 2007 and continued into early 2008. Despite the cooling effect of La Niña, Australia has now recorded a warmer-than-average year for the past seven consecutive years. In line with the rest of the globe, Australia has experienced a background warming of about 0.9°C over the last Century.

On 16 December 2008, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) indicated that the global mean temperature was also warmer than normal during 2008 (about 0.31°C above average), making 2008 the globe’s 10th warmest year on record. It is now 23 years since the globe has experienced a cooler than average year.

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