A cold front and complex low pressure system crossed southeast Australia from 11 July, with the low deepening over the Tasman Sea during the 13th and 14th before moving away to the east during the 15th. For the southern Australian region (south of 26°S) May–July rainfall was the seventh-lowest on record compared to all May–July periods since 1900. Ahead of the front many stations in New South Wales observed their warmest January day on record on the 4th or 5th. You can access these datasets on our website. [92] Summer daytime temperatures range from 32 to 40 °C (90 to 104 °F); winter temperatures run 18 to 23 °C (64 to 73 °F). Total storage volume in the southern Murray–Darling Basin typically decreases until late April as this is the period when the bulk of downriver releases occur, and inflows are on average lower. Above average annual SSTs have been observed for the Australian region for every year since 1995, and have been persistently high for the past decade. There has been a significant decline in April to October rainfall observed over southeast and southwest Australia including in higher rainfall parts of the Murray–Darling Basin in recent decades. Precipitation in Australia averaged 38.39 mm from 1901 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 226.45 mm in January of 1974 and a record low of 5.69 mm in September of 1957. Before this heatwave, the previous record was 35.5 °C (95.9 °F), recorded on 24 January 1982 in Arkaroola, South Australia and again on 21 January 2003 in Wittenoom, Western Australia.[102]. In eastern New South Wales major flooding occurred on the Orara, Hawkesbury/Nepean, and Georges rivers. There are five predominant climatic zones in Queensland,[27] based on temperature and humidity: However, most of the Queensland populace experience two weather seasons: a winter period of rather warm temperatures with minimal rainfall, and a sultry summer period of hot, sticky temperatures and more rain. Visibility was severely reduced with many locations reporting less than 200 m. A very hot air mass brought a period of very high temperatures across southern Australia during the last days of January. A major reduction in rainfall has been observed, with a greater number of rainfall events in the summer months. In stark contrast to 2019, which was dominated by one of the strongest positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) events in the historical record, the main drivers of natural climate variability in Australia were close to neutral for much of 2020. However, nobody died in that storm. December 2019 had been marked by extreme heat and dangerous fire weather conditions. Accumulated heat led to very widespread coral bleaching across the Reef. It favoured reduced rainfall over southwest Western Australia, southern Victoria, and Tasmania during May and June, enhanced rainfall across much of southern Australia during much of August, and reinforced the wet La Niña signal in early November and much of December. Local flooding resulted in various parts of Greater Sydney, and there was coastal erosion on multiple beaches. Strong winds were observed, including gusts in excess of 100 km/h at exposed coastal locations like Byron Bay. Australia needs to plan for and adapt to the changing nature of climate risk now and in the decades ahead. It was the second-warmest year on record for Western Australia as a whole, the fifth-warmest for the Northern Territory and Queensland. The Snowy Mountains region in the south-east falls in the alpine climate or subpolar oceanic climate zone, with cool to cold weather all year around and snowfalls in the winter. November was extraordinarily warm, with both the national mean maximum and mean minimum temperature the warmest on record for November for Australia as a whole. Reduced cloud cover, low humidity, and low soil moisture leads to a large diurnal temperature range (the difference between daily maximum and minimum temperatures), with both higher daytime temperatures and cooler nights. Victoria's main land feature, the Great Dividing Range, produces a cooler, mountain climate in the centre of the state. It was Australia's most damaging cyclone. High Temp: 89 °F. In the desert, the dry air and clear skies give rather large ranges in temperature between day and night. [96] Extreme snow events have also produced snow as far north-west as Longreach in Queensland and in the ranges near Alice Springs, and also in lowland towns such as Dubbo and Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. The northern part of the country has a tropical climate, varying between grasslands and desert. The annual mean maximum temperature was also above average for Perth, Canberra, and Brisbane, close to average at most sites across greater Adelaide, and close to average or slightly below average at most sites across greater Melbourne. Large areas experienced daily maximum temperatures more than 10 degrees above average over a number of days. Only 2015, 2016, and 2017 were warmer. [7] Canberra has cool to cold winters with occasional fog and frequent frosts. Rainfall usually peaks in the summer in most of parts of the state, though the Riverina region, which is in the southern-central part of the state, bordering Victoria, has drier summers and a winter rainfall peak. The CAT’s emissions projections for Australia are 10% to 11% lower in 2020 and 11% to 14% lower in 2030 compared to our previous projections in December 2019, largely due to the impact of the pandemic on emissions. Most of the rain in the southern districts of the State fall during the winter months when the sub-tropical high-pressure belt is displaced to the north over the Australian continent. Further inland, the climate is semi-arid and a desert climate towards the western part of the state. Australia's climate varies greatly throughout the eight states and territories; there are four seasons across most of the country and a wet and dry season in the tropical north. In Victoria snow blanketed parts of the southwest and central highlands, and fell to lower levels in some areas, including at Mount Macedon, the Otway Ranges, Ballarat, Lismore, Ararat, and Mortlake. For more information, please visit NCEI's Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page. Mean minimum temperatures were the fourth-warmest on record at 1.05 °C above average. For Australia as a whole it was the second-warmest September on record. Snow fell in many Canberra suburbs and settled widely above 750 m, with snowfalls continuing in the Brindabella Ranges over the following days. Low humidity, the heat of the sun and lack of water cause vegetation to dry out becoming a perfect fuel for the fire. The most powerful heatwave in the history of south-eastern Australia occurred in January 1939. Eighty-five per cent of the state's runoff occurs in the Kimberley, but because it occurs in violent floods and because of the insurmountable poverty of the generally shallow soils, development has only taken place along the Ord River. Continuing a very warm period in the last days of 2019, the first days of 2020 saw extremely high temperatures across parts of southeastern Australia in northerly winds driven by a cold front and trough (see Special Climate Statement 73 – Extreme head and fire weather in December 2019 and January 2020). Four factors contribute to the dryness of the Australian landmass: The average annual rainfall in the Australian desert is low, ranging from 81 to 250 mm (3 to 10 in). Waters were also warmer than average for most areas around the southern half of Australia, but close to average in a region south of Tasmania and the the southwest of Western Australia. Currently, there are several environmental movements urging action on climate change, including "The Big Switch", Australia's largest community climate change campaign. Australian states battle bush fires every year -- but little has compared to the widespread devastation of this fire season. Heavy rain fell over coastal New South Wales and much of Gippsland, resulting in localised flooding in several areas, including Newcastle, the Lower Hunter, and the South Coast District. Thunderstorms can produce spectacular lightning displays. Snow was also reported in Victoria's Grampians, Dandenong Ranges, Ballarat, and Mount Macedon, while flurries were reported at Beaumaris on the coast in Melbourne's southeast. Hence, rain clouds are sparsely formed and rarely do they form long enough for a continuous period of rain to be recorded. Summers in southern Australia are generally dry and hot with coastal sea breezes. While short-term rainfall deficiencies for periods less than one year in length diminished across the first half of the year, and were largely removed by late winter, the multi-year deficiencies persisted with much less significant change. A strong cold front which crossed Victoria on 3 April brought a sharp decrease in temperatures and considerable rainfall to parts of Victoria and the southeast between the evening of the 3rd and 5th. The climate of the coastal strip is influenced by warm ocean waters, keeping the region free from extremes of temperature and providing moisture for rainfall.[26]. Australia's area-averaged mean temperature for 2020 was 1.15 °C above the 1961–1990 average. As the Pacific Ocean began to lean towards La Niña in late winter conditions again turned wetter, with above average rainfall over large areas during August, September, and October. Top Stories. Central Australia receives less than 250 mm (10 in) of annual rainfall. [4] According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), 80% of the land receives less than 600 mm (24 in) of rainfall annually and 50% has even less than 300 mm (12 in). Light snow generally falls every winter in Canberra, and other cities that may receive regular seasonal snowfalls include Orange, Oberon, Lithgow and Katoomba in New South Wales. Following Australia's driest year on record in 2019, at the start of 2020 there were significant multi-year rainfall deficiencies across much of Australia. 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