Australia's third hottest year on record

06 Jan, 2015 02:30 PM
A number of prolonged and geographically extensive warm spells affected Australia during 2014

AUSTRALIA has capped two years of extraordinary warmth with 2014 declared the third hottest on record just 12 months after 2013 smashed annual highs, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Mean temperatures across the country in 2014 came in 0.91 degrees above the 1961-1990 average, behind only 2013 and 2005.

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  • No year since 1985 has observed a below-average global mean temperature and all of the 10 warmest years have occurred between 1998 and the present.

    Melbourne posted its equal warmest year on record in 2014, while Sydney's average mean temperatures were 1.6 degrees above average, placing it behind only 2013.

    "in 2014, we had quite a few heatwaves that contributed to those very warm conditions," said Agata Imielska, senior climatologist at the Bureau in Sydney. "There have been a lack of cool outbreaks."

    Among the states, NSW had its hottest year for means on record last year, while Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia all posted their second warmest years. Only the Northern Territory missed out on a ranking among the four warmest years.

    "A number of prolonged and geographically extensive warm spells affected Australia during 2014, resulting in monthly records for highest temperature being set at numerous locations," the bureau said in its annual climate statement.

    The unusual warmth over the past two years has come despite the absence of a full El Nino in the Pacific, a climate pattern that tends to push up temperatures across much of Australia and south-east Asia.

    Climatologists say background conditions are warming as a build-up of greenhouse gases traps more of the sun's heat in the atmosphere, making it increasingly likely that heat rather than cold records get broken.

    "Global warming is contributing to these heat records, and it's very unlikely that we would have seen the proliferation or the frequency of these heat records around the world without the influence of global warming," head of climate monitoring at the Bureau Karl Braganza said.

    "The climate system we live in...that's all about 1 degree warmer than it used to be," Dr Braganza said.

    Warming up

    Tuesday's release of the annual survey comes a day after Perth reported its hottest January day for that site, with 44.4 degrees, and fire crews in South Australia continue to battle bushfires across the state as a second heatwave in less than a week laps over the region.

    With 2014 likely to be declared the warmest year on record globally, the Japan Meteorological Agency made the call this week and other agencies are expected to follow suit later this month.

    "No year since 1985 has observed a below-average global mean temperature and all of the 10 warmest years have occurred between 1998 and the present," the Bureau of Meteorology said in the statement.

    While last year was a warm one for most of the country, rainfall levels varied significantly. National rainfall came in at 478 millimetres, or 3 per cent above average, thanks largely to a wet year in northern Australia.

    Much of western Victoria, south-eastern South Australia, northern NSW and south-eastern Queensland were in their lowest 10 per cent of years for rainfall.

    "National rainfall totals during 2014 reinforce the pattern of recent decades, with above-average rainfall during the peak of the summer monsoon season and below-average rainfall during the cooler half of the year," the report said.

    The shift towards a drying out of the winter season in southern Australia is forcing farmers to alter their harvesting practices.

    Victoria has been notably drier, with 15 of the past 18 years drier than the long-term average. The relatively wet years - 2000, 2010 and 2011 - were all La Nina years, when conditions in the Pacific favour rainfall and cooler conditions over eastern Australia.

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    15/01/2015 11:14:40 AM

    nico - That is why the words 'Nullius in verba' are carved in stone over the Royal Society door way. Real science doesn't need politics it relies on 'verifying all statements by an appeal to facts determined by experiment’
    15/01/2015 11:43:31 AM

    Cant handle it BB, you are just a keyboard Bully.
    15/01/2015 11:56:22 AM

    Why are 90% of scientists leftist?
    Albert Einstein
    15/01/2015 12:17:37 PM

    And that experiment being played out on the real world climate scene, Nico, shows enphatically that GHGs are not heating the atmosphere dangerously or even measurably for that matter. In fact it would be a safe bet to say if anything that CO2 is entirely beneficial. Unless of course you can show otherwise....we are all still waiting....come Nico, your moment is here.......
    15/01/2015 1:59:42 PM

    Qlander, you are quite right, whether you consider psycho-sociology to be "science" or no. The experiment I cited showed that for most people, the science is based, as it should be, on observation and measurement, independent of their politics. However for the Republican sample in the survey, the consequences of the science affected their perception of the science itself. The researchers called it "solution aversion." I don't like the solution to the problem, so the problem is not there. Jacky, evidence please for your implied statement.
    15/01/2015 4:33:57 PM

    nico - 'political' research is just that.
    16/01/2015 6:51:07 AM

    Too easy, Qlander. Your flip sentence is a cop-out. You have no grounds for your opinion except a refusal to look at what is presented as evidence in a reputable scientific journal. I have no idea if the conclusions reached are valid or no, but your phrase "political research" suggests firstly that, coming from a fixed position, you failed to look at the research in question, and secondly that you failed to understand it. Jacky, evidence please for your implied comment.
    16/01/2015 8:29:43 AM

    Nico I've seen the piece of crap you're referring to, and the fact that you even reference it. Says everything about you that needs to be said.
    16/01/2015 8:45:29 AM

    Nothing can be hidden from real science. Political activists might try and hide behind the 'scientist' title, but the scientific method exposes them for what they are.
    16/01/2015 9:53:49 AM

    The gunman on the Dallas grassy knoll. The US Gov blew up the World Trade Centre. 90% scientists back human induced global warming.
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