Thursday, January 2, 2020

2019 goes out with many bangs - Australia's hottest year and hottest decade on record

Sou | 9:22 AM Go to the first of 16 comments. Add a comment
Australia has just had another "hottest year" on record beating the last by quite a way. The average mean annual temperature was a huge 1.52 C above the 1961-1990 mean. The average maximum was a whopping 2.09 C above and the average minimum (not a record) was 0.95 C above the 1961-1990 mean.

I've plotted all these on the same vertical axis for comparison. Scroll over the charts to see the data labels:

Figure 1 | All Australia annual maximum surface temperature anomaly. The base period is 1961-1990. Data source: Bureau of Meteorology, Australia

Figure 2 | All Australia annual mean surface temperature anomaly. The base period is 1961-1990. Data source: Bureau of Meteorology, Australia

Figure 3 | All Australia annual minimum surface temperature anomaly. The base period is 1961-1990. Data source: Bureau of Meteorology, Australia

The trend in the maximum temperature since 1951 is 2.2 C / century, in the mean is 2.0 C/century and in the minimum is 1.8 C/century. I figure that means our days are heating more quickly than the nights and heat waves are getting hotter. Well, we know heat waves are getting hotter. We've just had the record broken twice in one week, and by a long way. It could also reflect seasonal changes. I'll see if I can find out more from the good people at the Bureau or do some more digging myself.

The chart below shows the change in the decadal temperature for maximum, mean and minimum. Notice how the position of the maximum shifts - it's now rising fastest of the lot. Not good.

Figure 4 | All Australia decadal temperature anomalies. The base period is 1961-1990. Data source: Bureau of Meteorology, Australia

The "bangs" in the title is a reference to the horrific fires here. People in seaside towns along the coast in eastern Victoria and south-eastern NSW could hear the LPG gas bottles exploding along with houses and trees, as the fires tore through the townships. (In places where there's no natural gas piped in, people usually have gas cylinders next to the house.)


  1. Not much changes from year to year. Australia is a big country, surrounded by water, big water, ocean water.

    1. Do you live in Australia Victor?

    2. Victor was being facetious, Nathan. He understands the dire situation we're in.


    3. I live in Germany, Nathan. The big water was naturally a Trump imitation. He is an entertaining fool.

      But the year to year variability of Australia is really low. That is why you see the trend so well. (They are two different things for me, I could have been clearer.)

      Every year we have on WUWT a post about either Russian steam pipes (when it is warm in Siberia and they claim the measurement is wrong) or about global warming being canceled (when it it cold in Siberia and the measurements suddenly fine). The year to year variability in this region is several degrees Celsius. It looks to be about 0.4°C for the Australian average temperature (estimated by eye from the above graph).

    4. I wasn't sure! But thanks for your thoughts.
      Pretty awful here right now, we're the poster child for global warming... I guess we export so much coal that maybe we deserve it. I feel very sad for the animals though... or as some would say...

    5. The next denier meme will be "warming is not caused by CO2, its all those fires that are warming up the planet".

    6. @ Andy MitchellJanuary 2, 2020 at 6:47 PM

      "warming is not caused by CO2, its all those fires that are warming up the planet".

      Please give a warning, I had just put down my tea.

      Trump will be using this within days.

    7. We are surrounded by water (we have the best water...) but we're also large so I am a little surprised that the ocean seems to moderate the variation across the land as much as it does. I might have a bit of a poke around spatial autocorrelation at different scales to see how much the sea affects our fluctuations in degrees C...

      Of course Joanne Codling would foster the myth that the Australian Bureau of meteorology is fabricating the weather station data, so of course they're going to neatly deminstrate global warming. I'm a little surprised (again) that one of her useful idiots hasn't apparated to try that canard...

      Stay safe Sou. When the dust and ash settle there's going to be a staggering amount of social and ecological damage in evidence, and there will be a concerted campaign to distract from the fundamental problem that the conservative governments across Australia have for decades deliberately participated in a campaign of delay and denial, and we'll need many strong voices at the ready to presss home the LNP's gross dereliction of duty.

  2. VV said : "But the year to year variability of Australia is really low."

    Is that true considering that Australia is bounded by the strong variability of ENSO (to the NE), IOD (to the NW), and SAM/AAO (to the south)?

    1. Here are some other countries for comparison.

      Tropical countries have less year to year variability, but otherwise Australia is looks to be quite low in variability.

    2. Variability is hard to quantify, but I would suggest our exposure the Indian Dipole, ENSO and SAM put us in the "high" category:

  3. Wishing you and your town all the best for the coming weekend, Sou. Stay safe.

    1. Thanks Nick. Being careful. All good here at the moment if a tad smoky. It's not as quiet in some areas close by, as you'd know.


  4. Fake news. I know warming better than anyone. It's been not warming like you wouldn't believe. People are saying that all this warming is a hoax. Like the Russia hoax. No collusion. No curruption. As you know better than anyone, that's like no water pressure. That's why people have to flush 19-12 times.

  5. Stay safe Sou.

    And those poor animals. 500,000,000 burnt alive. Heartbreaking. I'm furious. I can only imagine the emotions of people like yourself warning about this for years.

    I know many of the electorates affected have climate denier leaders. Hopefully this is the catalyst for change. No denier types at my work have used the words chicken little or alarmist in the past few weeks.

    1. Thanks, Dirk. I'm in a Watch & Act zone and leave when advised then come home again when things calm down a bit. Lots of people have left town particularly families with young children, not just visitors, so it feels strangely quiet for this time of year. It's meant to be the height of the tourist season.

      We've had huge fires here before that lasted for weeks, as I said, but these ones are the worst yet. Thankfully they aren't as close to our town (so far) as previous ones.


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