The Australian Bureau of Meteorology this week put out one of what it calls “The Bureau’s Special Climate Statements”. Such statements are “produced on an occasional basis for weather/climate events which are unusual in the context of the climatology of the affected region.” And this time the unusual event is about Australia’s warmest spring on record.
Spring 2014 was Australia’s warmest on record, the ABM reported. Seasonal mean temperatures, averaged nationally, were 0.1 °C warmer than the previous record set just 12 months ago, during spring 2013. Temperatures were 1.67 °C above the 1961–1990 average, the largest such departure from the long-term average observed since national records began in 1910. The previous record positive seasonal departure, set during autumn 2005, was 1.64 °C above the average.
And more hot weather appears to be on the way. The latest ENSO Wrap-Up, released yesterday, says many climate indicators remain close to El Niño thresholds, with climate model outlooks suggesting further intensification of conditions likely. The Bureau’s ENSO Tracker status is currently at ALERT, indicating at least a 70% chance that El Niño will be declared in the coming months.
Regardless of whether an El Niño is declared, El Niño-like effects are likely, as shown by the Bureau’s December–February Climate Outlook, which shows a drier and warmer summer is likely for many parts of Australia. Some El Niño-like impacts have already been seen this spring in Australia and several regions around the globe, including Asia, South America and southern Africa.
And experience shows that a drier and warmer summer makes people much more likely to believe that global warming is occurring and that governments should be doing something to try and stop it. That will be further bad news for Tony Abbott and his Coalition government and their association with the climate change deniers.
The Key points from the Special Climate Statement:
A number of significant national temperature anomalies have been reported during spring,
• Australia’s warmest spring for mean (+1.67 °C) and maximum (+2.33 °C) temperatures
• Australia’s largest positive mean temperature anomaly for any season (surpassing +1.64 °C set in autumn 2005)
• Australia’s largest positive maximum temperature anomaly for any season (surpassing +2.17 °C set in autumn 2005)
• Australia’s warmest October for mean (+1.91 °C) and maximum (+2.76 °C) temperatures
• Australia’s October maximum temperature anomaly (+2.76 °C) is the fourth-largest positive maximum temperature anomaly for any month
• Australia’s warmest November for mean (+1.88 °C) and maximum (+2.19 °C) temperatures
• Australia’s third-largest positive 3-month maximum temperature anomaly for any three month period (behind +2.70 °C in July–September 2013 and + 2.51 °C in August–October 2013)
• Australia’s third-largest positive 3-month mean temperature anomaly for any three month period (behind +1.94 °C in July–September 2013 and +1.93 °C in August–October 2013)
A significant daily maximum temperature record was also set during spring 2014:
• Australia’s warmest October day on record (36.39 °C on 25 October)The spring period resulted in numerous State and Territory temperature records including:
• The warmest September maximum temperature for Western Australia (with an anomaly of +2.74 °C)
• The warmest October mean temperature anomalies for New South Wales (+2.58 °C), South Australia (+2.81 °C) and Western Australia (+2.45 °C)
• The warmest October maximum temperature anomalies for New South Wales (+4.06 °C), South Australia (+4.14 °C) and Western Australia (+2.86 °C)
• The warmest October minimum temperature anomaly for Western Australia (+2.05 °C)
• The warmest November maximum (+2.83 °C), minimum (+2.33 °C) and mean temperature (+2.58 °C) anomalies for Queensland