Australia’s Bureau Of Meteorology Declares 2009 Second Hottest Year For Nation; South Australia 1.3 ºC Above Average Temperatures
Data collected by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology indicates that the annual mean temperature for 2009 was 0.9 ºC above the 1961-1990 average, making last year the nation’s second warmest year, after 2007, since precise instrumental record-keeping began throughout the country in 1910. The decade ending in 2009 also set a record as Australia's warmest recorded decade.
Every decade since the 1940s has seen a progressively warmer Australia than the preceding decade, suggesting a potential shift in decadal temperature variations. By contrast, no particular trend in natural variability prior to that time has been identified.
|“2009 will be remembered for extreme bushfires, dust-storms, lingering rainfall deficiencies, areas of flooding and record-breaking heatwaves.”|
—Bureau Of Meteorology, Australia
The year began with extreme heatwaves spreading across much of southern Australia through late January and early February, with record temperatures seen in Melbourne (46.4 ºC/115.5 ºF), Victoria state (48.8 ºC/119.8 ºF, in Hopetoun), and Tasmania state (42.2 ºC/108 ºF, in Scamander). The heat, which was often unprecedented in both temperature and duration, disrupted urban energy and transport systems and contributed to the severity and spread of the season’s bushfires, which killed 173 in Victoria. Most of the deaths occurred on 7 February 2009, known as “Black Saturday.”
A rare winter heatwave occurred in August across Australia’s inland areas, contributing to the nation’s warmest August on record. A third heatwave prevailed in November, covering much of central and southeast Australia and contributing to temperatures greater than 35 ºC (95 ºF) for eight consecutive days in Adelaide. Overall, 2009 saw particularly high temperatures in the Southeast during the second half of the year, with the states of New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria as well as the nation seeing the hottest July-December periods on record.
South Australia’s mean temperature was 1.3 ºC above average last year, and marked the seventeenth consecutive year in which the state saw mean temperatures above the historical average.
“Based on the analysis of daily maximum and minimum temperature data above and below set thresholds,” the Bureau of Meteorology observes, “there are clear upward trends in the number of hot events, and downward trends in the number of cold events over the period 1960 to date, consistent with the background of global warming.”