Australia's record-breaking summer

Sydney and Brisbane hot, Perth wet, Kimberley flooded, and Uluru spurting waterfalls.


    The climatological summer has ended in the southern hemisphere. The three months of December, January and February have been consistently used as a record of summer statistics and once again show newly broken records.

    In Australia, significant rain fell in much of the desert interior and the west, preventing Perth from enjoying a hot summer. In fact it has been the city's wettest summer on record: 193mm of rain fell during the three months. This beats the standing record of 180mm, set in 1954-55 and represents five times the summer rainfall average.

    Unsurprisingly, this has also been Perth's coolest summer in 11 years, but still sits around the long-term average for summer. There have been only 18 days measuring a temperature above 35 degrees Celsius this season, which is the second lowest number in a decade.

    The Kimberley, the northernmost region of Western Australia, has been particularly wet. On average, between 200mm and 600mm more-than-usual depth of rain has fallen. That represents at least 150 percent of the summer average rainfall.

    Further south in Western Australia - in the wheatbelt region around Perth and in the hot and dry Goldfields-Esperance area - rainfall this summer has been about 400 percent of the annual average.

    Sydney and Brisbane fared differently, both recording the hottest summer since beyond living memory.

    Sydney has been keeping climate records since 1861, so an unprecedented 26 days at or above 30C in the city is notable. In fact, Sidney also made new highs for average minimum (20.9C), average maximum (28.7C), and 24 hour average (24.8C) temperatures this summer.

    These were not just new records, they were statistically significant being 2C to 3C above the long-term average.

    According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Brisbane too has had its hottest summer on record, with February's average maximum temperature at 32.6C.

    Meteorologist Janine Yuasa said: "During summer we've set a new record for the number of consecutive days above 30 degrees." It was, coincidentally, 30 days. Temperature data in Brisbane are available for the past 130 years.

    We have now started the statistical autumn and, you might think to prove a point, Perth is forecast to hit 39C by Sunday. That is 10 degrees above average and only 3 below the record.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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