What you will find on this page: State of the Climate 2018 report; Special Climate Statement 64 – record warmth in Tasman Sea; Special Climate Statement 62 – record heat in September; Special Climate Statement 61 – exceptional heat; Annual Climate Statement 2016 (video); State of the Climate Report 2016 (video); record September rains; climate zones on the move; Australia’s changing rainfall zones; BOM UPDATES: ENSO Wrap-up (El Nino/La Nina); climate outlook update (video); climate outlook – monthly & seasonal; latest drought statement; heatwave outlook; Water in Australia 2014-2015 Report; monthly water update; Australian landscape water balance; Special Climate Statements;
Where the rubber hits the road – what IS the weather doing?
The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere “behaves” over relatively long periods of time. (NASA)
The Climatedogs animation series is an award winning series of short animated videos produced by DEPI. The animations explain what drives the climate in Victoria, and how climate drivers are changing over time. Access here for more information
- Oceans around Australia have warmed by around 1 °C since 1910, contributing to longer and more frequent marine heatwaves.
- Sea levels are rising around Australia, increasing the risk of inundation.
- The oceans around Australia are acidifying (the pH is decreasing).
- April to October rainfall has decreased in the southwest of Australia. Across the same region May–July rainfall has seen the largest decrease, by around 20 per cent since 1970.
- There has been a decline of around 11 per cent in April–October rainfall in the southeast of Australia since the late 1990s.
- Rainfall has increased across parts of northern Australia since the 1970s.
- Streamflow has decreased across southern Australia. Streamflow has increased in northern Australia where rainfall has increased.
- There has been a long‑term increase in extreme fire weather, and in the length of the fire season, across large parts of Australia.
27 March 2018 – Sea surface temperatures in the southern Tasman Sea rose to exceptionally high levels in late 2017 and early 2018. These temperatures were far above any others previously observed at that time of year in the region, and extended west from New Zealand to Tasmania and mainland southeast Australia. In parallel with this, land temperatures were well above average in areas near the Tasman Sea warm anomalies, with many records set both in New Zealand and in southeast Australia (especially Tasmania).Access full report here
5 October 2017 – On 22 September 2017, Australia as a whole had its warmest September day since national area-averaged temperature records began in 1911. In the following week, New South Wales and Queensland had their warmest September days on record, and South Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory each had days in their top-10 warmest for September. More than 20% of Australia by area recorded its hottest September day on record during 22–29 September. Access full report here
22 February 2017 – Summer 2016–17 saw prolonged and, at times, extreme heat over New South Wales, southern Queensland, South Australia and parts of northern Victoria. January 2017 saw the highest monthly mean temperatures on record for Sydney and Brisbane, and the highest daytime temperatures on record for Canberra. In January and February, there were three distinct heatwaves in southeast Australia, with the highest temperatures recorded over 9–12 February 2017. The periods between the waves of extreme heat also saw above average temperatures over large areas of east and southeast Australia. It was the consistency of high temperatures more than the extreme temperatures themselves that made early 2017 an exceptional event. Access full report here
The Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO play an important role in monitoring, analysing and communicating observed changes in Australia’s climate. This fourth, biennial State of the Climate report draws on the latest monitoring, science and projection information to describe variability and changes in Australia’s climate, and how it is likely to change in the future. Observations and climate modelling paint a consistent picture of ongoing, long-term climate change interacting with underlying natural variability. Read more and to access full report here & access commentary here
Rule of Thumb; For every one degree increase in global average temperature the climate zones can move 150kms.
As the planet warms, Earth’s climate zones are shifting at an accelerating pace….The acceleration of change means that the species inhabiting each zone have less time to adapt to the climatic changes…. “The warmer the climate gets, the faster the climate zones are shifting. This could make it harder for plants and animals to adjust.” Read More here & here
According to research in Nature Climate Change, with a warming of 2°C, about 5% of land would shift into a new climate zone. As the temperatures rise another 2°C, 10% of the land area shifts to a new zone.
The results of a study published in the journal Biological Conservation recently concluded that in Australia, the climate is warming to an extent that many specialised tree species that require cooler climates are struggling. Typically, these trees would start to shift to cooler environments, but as Craig Costion explained “they already live on mountain tops…they have no other place to go.”
The Bureau of Meteorology Newsroom has been designed to provide material that can be easily sourced and referenced by journalists in media coverage of weather, warnings and other information of public interest. Access Newsroom here
Issued on Next issue
ENSO Outlook lowered to El Niño WATCH Recent observations and climate model outlooks suggest the immediate risk of El Niño has passed. However, there remains an increased likelihood that El Niño will develop later in 2019. The Bureau’s ENSO Outlook has therefore moved to El Niño WATCH, meaning there is approximately a 50% chance of El Niño developing during the southern hemisphere autumn or winter. Tropical Pacific sea surface and sub-surface temperatures remain warmer than average, but since late 2018 they have cooled from El Niño-like values towards ENSO-neutral values. Atmospheric indicators such as cloudiness, trade winds and the Southern Oscillation Index all continue to generally remain within the ENSO-neutral range. While most climate models indicate ENSO-neutral conditions for the immediate future, the current ocean warmth and likelihood of ongoing warmer than average conditions mean the risk of El Niño remains. Three of eight models suggest that El Niño may establish by mid-2019. The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is neutral. The IOD typically has little influence on Australian climate from December to April.
Climate outlook overview (access full outlook here)
- The February to April 2019 climate outlook, issued 17 January 2019, indicates a drier than median three months is likely for most of WA, western parts of northern NT and SA, and much of eastern mainland Australia. The rest of the country shows no strong push towards a wetter or drier than median season.
- Warmer than median days and nights are likely for almost all of Australia for February to April. For daytime temperatures, the chances of being warmer than median are very high, greater than 80% for most of the country.
- Tropical Pacific waters are neutral, but near El Niño levels. The atmospheric component of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation has not responded to the warmer waters yet, meaning an El Niño event has not become established. The Bureau’s model suggests tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures are likely to reach El Niño levels through early autumn and then return to neutral.
- This outlook is showing little signal from any of the typical Australian climate drivers, with most in a neutral phase. Therefore, local effects, such as the ocean temperatures around Australia, are likely to influence the outlook.
The Heatwave Forecast is a Bureau of Meteorology product that shows the location of heatwaves, severe heatwaves and extreme heatwaves for the last two three-day periods and the next five three-day periods. It uses some analysis Numerical Weather Prediction model data, not the Official Forecast data. Please refer to official Bureau of Meteorology products for information on how hot each day and night will be during the three day period. Click on image to access BOM site.
April 2016: Just when we thought summer was coming to an end, a prolonged heatwave affected much of Australia during late February and March 2016. A Special Climate Statement includes information and maps about this extended heatwave.
It developed in northern Australia during the second half of February, where temperatures were well above normal from the second week of February onwards. For example, at Julia Creek in Queensland, a run of 21 consecutive days of 40 °C or above began on 12 February, peaking in the last few days of the month. Over the final fortnight of February, maximum temperatures were at least 2 °C above average over most of tropical Australia, and 4–6 °C above average over parts of northwestern Queensland. Read More in BOM’s Special Climate Statement
Water in Australia – 2014-2015 BOM Report
Water in Australia 2014–15 describes the characteristics of the country’s water resources, availability and use from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015 in the context of climatic conditions, and past water availability and use. In 2014–15, Australia generally experienced below-average rainfall (10 per cent less than the national average since 1910–11) with large seasonal and regional variation, including below-average rainfall throughout the east, and above-average rainfall in the central north, northwest and southeast. Mainly in the eastern parts of Australia, these patterns were influenced by near-El Niño conditions in spring 2014, evolving into El Niño by May 2015. Read More here
BOM Monthly Water Update
The BOM Monthly Water Update provides an overview of rainfall patterns and streamflow status across Australia. Rainfall is a key driver of streamflow and is shown alongside flows from over 222 gauging stations, across 9 of the 13 topographic drainage divisions in Australia. The Monthly Water Update interprets the hydrological status of surface water flows each month using provisional information from data providers.
BOM Australian Landscape Water Balance
Details accessed through date and location – go here The landscape water balance is the sum of the hydrological processes that keep water moving through a landscape—recharging groundwater, filling streams and flushing water through wetlands. This water balance also determines how much moisture is in the soil—a vital input for seasonal planting and crop production decisions.