Australia's extreme weather

Excessive or insufficient, the amount of rain is never just so.

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    The bushfire has been brought under control in Western Australia, but the flames are still burning in Queensland [EPA]

    Just as 2011 was confirmed as its third-wettest year on record, fires raged across parts of the country.

    One wildfire has now been brought under control, but not before it ripped through 0.65sq km of land near Perth airport.

    On Wednesday, homes were at risk in the suburb of Cloverdale, and this led to the evacuation of residents.

    Although the blaze has now been contained, it continues to smoulder, and the locals have been warned to remain on alert.

    Another wildfire continues to burn on an island off southeast Queenland, and this one is proving harder to contain. 1.6sq km has already been destroyed in the fire.

    The blaze broke out on Wednesday just north of Cowan, the popular tourist destination on Moreton Island.

    The news of these wildfires comes as Australia confirms that 2011 was the third wettest year on record. Many eastern parts of the country were flooded early in the year, as unrelenting rains poured across the region. As the flooding swept away homes in Brisbane, 30 people lost their lives.

    The total rainfall in 2011 was 699mm, well above the average of 465mm.

    The excessive rain also ensured that 2011 was a chilly year for the country, with temperatures 0.14 C below the 1961 - 1990 average of 21.81 C.

    This might sounds like an insignificant amount, but it was the first time since 2001 that the temperature had been below the 1961-1990 average.

    The natural La Nina phenomenon is largely to blame for the severe floods which struck at the beginning of 2011, and the subsequent cool weather.

    With La Nina conditions in force, Australia would normally expect the average to be lower than this. However, the average temperatures in Australia have been steadily climbing over the past few decades, as they have been elsewhere in the world.

    The overall trend for Australia’s temperatures is upwards.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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