Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology

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Bureau report confirms 2015 warmer and drier Australia


The Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed that 2015 was Australia’s fifth-warmest year on record, with the release of its final Annual Climate Report 2015 this morning.

The finding was first published in the Bureau's preliminary document, the Annual Climate Statement 2015, last month.

Assistant Director for Climate Information Services, Neil Plummer, said the strong El Niño contributed to the drier and warmer year in 2015.

"Australia experienced a number of notable heatwaves, and record-breaking temperatures from October to December."

"The Australian mean temperature for 2015 was 0.83°C above the 1961–1990 average," he said.

All capital cities recorded warmer-than-average maximum temperatures. Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales ranked in the ten warmest years on record.

Other climate facts and events of significance in 2015 included:

  • Australian mean rainfall was only 4 per cent below average nationally, but it was drier in some parts than others. Long-term drought continued in Queensland and increased in parts of the south.
  • September 2015 was the third-driest September on record nationally.
  • Global sea surface temperatures set a new record for the calendar year, at 0.60 °C above average, influenced by record warmth in both the Pacific and Indian oceans.
  • A record autumn hot spell occurred across large parts of northern and central Australia during March.
  • An East Coast Low in April caused severe weather and flooding throughout the Sydney, Hunter and Central Coast regions of New South Wales.
  • A significant cold outbreak occurred over south-eastern Australia between 11 and 17 July, with snow falling on the Great Dividing Range in southern Queensland.
  • Significant bushfires occurred in South Australia in January, Victoria and South Australia in October, Western Australia and South Australia in November, and Victoria in late December.
  • Seven tropical cyclones occurred during 2015: Lam, Marcia, Olwyn, Nathan, Ikola, Quang and Racquel.

Globally, the World Meteorological Organization ranked 2015 as the warmest year on record.

The Annual Climate Report 2015 is available on the Bureau's website.