Last week the Bureau of Meteorology released their 2013 climate summary. It was no surprise that Australia experienced its warmest year since 1910, when records began. Globally 2013 was the sixth-warmest year on record. The annual global mean temperature has not been below average since 1985. Continuous periods of hotter than average days signified the year, even during winter. While rainfall along the east coast and parts of WA were above average the interior and eastern parts of the country saw a return to drought conditions. Australia witnessed some severe weather in 2013, records were broken and the impact of weather on our lives, properties and businesses has never been more apparent. Here is a recap of the year that was and a possible view into what the future holds:
- Heat Waves were synonymous with the summer of 2013. The national mean was 1.2 °C above average and has been declared the hottest year on record. 2013 also recorded the warmest Australia wide average day on record at 40.3 °C and the warmest winter day on record at 29.9 °C.
- Bushfires affected large areas of Tasmania, NSW and Victoria burning a total of 234 500 ha, and damaging over 500 properties.
- Ten tropical cyclones (TC) were reported in Australian region, one below the long term average. Four of these made landfall.
- Remnants of TC Oswald caused wide spread flooding from Rockhampton to northern NSW. TC Rusty caused flooding in the Pilbara and the western Kimberley. Flooding was also caused by intense rainfall in WA, South East Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.
- Sea surface temperature (SST) in the Australian region was 0.5 °C above average. SST has been above average since 1994. January and February recorded the highest SST anomalies on record and November was the second highest.