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Anthony Sharwood, 01 Mar 2024, 4:55 AM UTC

Australia's 3rd-hottest summer on record

Australia's 3rd-hottest summer on record

Australia has just sweated through its 3rd-hottest summer on record, a statistic which will come as a surprise to some people as it was also a slightly wetter than usual summer nationwide.

Mean temperatures (the combination of both maximums and minimums) averaged across Australia in the 2023/34 summer were 1.62°C above the 30-year average from 1991-2020.

You can see historical temperature anomalies illustrated on the chart below, in which temps in the 2023/24 summer are represented by the red bar on the right.

Source: BoM.

The warm summer was relatively uniform across the country, with all states and territories experiencing above-average mean temperatures in the 2023/24 summer. Western Australia was a stand-out, enduring by far its hottest summer on record.

Again, that's illustrated by the red bar on the right of the chart below. Western Australia as a whole was 1.56°C above the 30-year average.

Source: BoM.

As mentioned earlier, the 2023/24 summer was also slightly wetter than average Australia-wide, although rainfall was far from uniform in terms of both when and where it fell.

Below is the map of rainfall deciles across Australia over the course of the summer of 2023/34. It tells an unusual story which only reveals itself when you break the season down into separate months.

Image: Summer rain (No, not the old Belinda Carlisle song.) Source: BoM.

While large parts of eastern Australia were considerably wetter than usual over the three months of summer, most of it came early in the season, especially in Victoria and southern SA.

To illustrate that with just one state as an example, check out the two maps below for SA.

The first shows January, the next one February when many places including Adelaide had a bone dry month – although the NE of the state received some moisture from systems originating in the tropics.

Source: BoM.

Source: BoM.

Meanwhile the BoM issued its 2024 Autumn Long-Range Forecast on Thursday, predicting that warmer-than-usual days and nights lie ahead, with most of Australia having at least an 80% chance of above-average temperatures this autumn.

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