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2018 among hottest and driest years so far in parts of Australia

Posted by On 11:53 PM

2018 among hottest and driest years so far in parts of Australia

Australia weather 2018 among hottest and driest years so far in parts of Australia

Bom report highlights warmer temperatures as authorities warn about bushfire burning in Canberra’s southern suburbs

A water bombing airplane
A water bombing airplane drops fire retardant at the Pierces Creek bushfire near Canberra on Friday. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

As a bushfire burned out of control south-west of Canberra and temperatures in Sydney climbed towards the high 30s, new data showed 2018 had so far been among the hottest and driest years on record for parts of Australia.

The months from January to October were some of the driest on record for New South Wales, Victoria and the Murray Darling basin regions, despite the recent rainfall.

The monthly drought statement from the Bureau of Meteorology (Bom) also says Australia’s maximum temperatures so far this year have been the second warmest on record â€" 1.41C above average.

New South Wales had its hottest January to October period on record at 2.2C above average, and Victoria equalled its 2014 record of 1.48C above average.

Quick guide

How drought is affected by climate change in Australia

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According to the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO, Australia has warmed by 1C since 1910, and temperatures will increase in the future.

So how will climate change affect drought in Australia, and what effect has it already had?

Andrew King, a climate scientist at the University of Melbourne, says climate change is already making droughts worse, but not necessarily longer.

"In general climate change is exacerbating drought, mainly because in a warmer world we experience more evaporation from the surface, and we project for that to continue in the future," he says.

"So when it does rain, more of that water is likely to be lost to the atmosphere through evaporation than before human-caused climate change".

The CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology have compiled different models for predicting the outcome of climate change in Australia to produce a guide to how different regions will likely be affected.

They found that droughts were predicted to increase in many parts of southern Australia, though the projection has a "medium" level of confidence in most areas (all of the projections are assigned a confidence level based on evidence, and amount of agreement between various bits of evidence).

While predictions around rainfall are quite variable, the predictions ar ound temperature and evaporation are much clearer: every part of Australia will continue to experience increases in average temperature, and will have a higher frequency of hot days.

This will also result in higher evaporation across the country, which will continue to make drought conditions worse in the future.

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The capital cities experienced more warm conditions this week â€" Sydney was expected to reach 38C on Friday and Canberra and Melbourne recorded temperatures in the low and mid-30s during the week.

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A large mass of hot air moving across NSW on Friday was responsible for driving temperatures up, prompting the rural fire service to raise the fire danger to severe for the Southern Ranges, Illawarra, Greater Sydney and Hunter regions at lunchtime on Friday. Total fire bans are in place across those regions.

Further south, authorities were warning about a bushfire burning in Canberra’s southern suburbs.

The bureau said the year to date had been exceptionally dry over mainland southeast Australia and “significant rainfall deficiencies” continued to affect large parts of east Australia.

“Compared to other January to October periods since 1900, year-to-date rainfall has been the third-lowest on record for the Murrayâ€"Darling Basin, fourth-lowest for New South Wales, and eighth-lowest for Victoria,” the Bom statement said.

It noted that October had been wetter than average for much of Australia but this had had little impact for areas affected by drought since the start of the year.

South-east Australia recorded below-average rainfall during October.

“Meteorological drought is rarely broken in a single event or month; typically regular rainfall over a period of several months is required to remove rainfall deficiencies o f the magnitude of those currently in place,” the bureau said.

On Friday afternoon it published a special climate statement on the abnormally dry period eastern Australia has experienced since the start of 2017.

Blair Trewin, a senior climatologist at the Bom, said that for the Murray Darling basin regions, in particular, it had been “one of the most significant dry periods on record”.

Through the Murray Darling basin, rainfall for January to September this year was the second lowest for that period since 1902.

January 2017 to the end of September 2018 was the third lowest rainfall on record for that 21 month period after 1902 and 2006-07.

In eastern Victoria, parts of the Gippsland region had their driest January to September on record this year.

Finally, Trewin said the Illawarra region of NSW, and parts of Sydney and the southern highlands, had recorded their lowest rainfall on record for the 15 month period from July last year to S eptember 2018.

“This drought has been accompanied by very high temperatures,” Trewin said.

“NSW, during the first 10 months of this year, has had its hottest January to October on record.

“The fact that you’ve got the warmer temperatures increases the impact of the dry conditions.”

Topics
  • Australia weather
  • Drought
  • Sydney
  • Canberra
  • Melbourne
  • news
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Source: Google Australia | Netizen 24 Australia

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