National temperature records have been broken and broken again this week as temperatures soared across the country.
On Monday, the national average (minimum and maximum) temperature calculated by the National Climate Centre was 32.22 degrees, exceeding the previous record of 31.86 set in December 1972. However, while the previous record lasted 40 years, Monday's only stood for one day.
Tuesday became even hotter, averaging 32.32 degrees and becoming Australia's hottest day on record.
Throughout December, high atmospheric pressure dominated much of the nation, leading to a reduction in cloud cover. Meanwhile, warmer than usual sea surface temperatures surrounding country helped heat to build over the interior and west. This hot air mass has lingered into the new year, periodically making its way towards the coast.
Perth was the first southern capital city to experience the extreme heat, withstanding a record heatwave at the end of 2012. The last week of December was Perth's hottest for the month in 116 years of records, ending with a scorching 42.1 degrees on New Years Eve.
Temperatures then soared across southern Australia as the hot air mass crept east. Adelaide reached 45 degrees on Friday 4th January, 16 above average, with Melbourne recording 41.1. Hobart climbed to 41.8 degrees, making it the hottest day on record. The hottest day for Sydney came on Tuesday 8th, when the Mercury tipped 42.3.
The average maximum temperature across Australia reached 40.33 degrees on Monday this week, breaking the previous record of 40.17, set during December in 1972.
Looking ahead, the build-up of heat will linger over central parts of the country during the coming weeks. The remainder of summer is likely to be warmer than usual for most of Australia as a result, with more hot days expected for most places, including southern and eastern capital cities.
© Weatherzone 2013
23:48 EST The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has begun a cash-for-work scheme to provide immediate assistance for people worst-affected by Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu.