This summer, Australia experienced a range of severe weather including floods, bushfires and ongoing drought, but it was a persistent period of significant heat during December and January that headlined the past three months.
This information comes from the Bureau of Meteorology’s recently released its national, State, and Northern Territory summaries for the recent summer period.
Bureau climatologist Dr Lynette Bettio said the heatwave events during December and January played a major role in the recent summer being Australia’s warmest on record.
“The heat we saw this summer was unprecedented. While the final numbers are yet to be analysed, we know it will be the warmest on record for Australia as a whole, and many individual locations will have broken summer heat records as well,” Bettio said.
“There was a noticeable absence of strong cold fronts that would normally bring relief during summer. A lot of this was caused by persistent high pressure systems sitting over the Tasman Sea that was blocking those fronts from impacting the south of the country, especially during January.
“Rainfall was also well below average for many places, apart from areas in northern Queensland, where we saw a significant rain event during late January to early February.”
The official summer summaries including detailed information on specific towns and location, and final figures, can be accessed here.
Summer summary fast facts.
• For the country as a whole it is the warmest summer on record for mean, maximum and minimum temperatures.
• For the country as a whole, it was among the ten driest summers on record. Only parts of northern Queensland and northwest Victoria had above average rainfall for the summer period.
NEW SOUTH WALES/ACT
• Almost certain to be the warmest summer on record for mean, maximum and minimum temperatures in New South Wales.
• Rainfall was below average for the State as a whole. It was particularly dry across parts of northern NSW.
• Almost certain to be the warmest summer on record for the ACT and Canberra. Summer rainfall was close to average.
• Almost certain to be the warmest summer on record for mean, maximum and minimum temperatures for Victoria.
• Summer rainfall below average for most of the State, particularly across the south, however flooding in western and northern Victoria from storms in mid-December.
• Likely to be among the five warmest summers on record for mean and maximum temperatures for Tasmania. Among the ten warmest for minimum temperatures.
• Tasmania saw very little rain from late December until early February.
• Likely to be among South Australia’s five warmest summers on record for mean temperature. Mean maximum temperature likely to be the warmest on record.
• Drier than average summer across the State.
• Mean and maximum summer temperatures likely to be warmest on record for Western Australia, while minimum temperatures are likely to be in the top warmest on record.
• However, summer was cooler than average in Perth with overnight minimums below average.
• Summer rainfall was below average for most of WA, particularly in the State’s north.
• Mean, maximum and minimum temperatures all almost certain to be warmest on record for summer for the Northern Territory.
• Summer rainfall was below average for most of the Territory, with the onset of the monsoon occurring about a month later than average.
• Likely to be among Queensland’s five warmest summers on record for mean and maximum temperatures. Minimum temperatures likely to be among the ten warmest on record.
• Summer rainfall was well above average for northwest Queensland, the northeast tropical coast and northern Peninsula. In the southern half of the State rainfall was below average.