Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology

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2013 confirmed as Australia's hottest year on record


Today's release of the Bureau of Meteorology Annual Climate Statement 2013 confirms Australia has recorded its hottest calendar year on record.

Average temperatures were 1.20°C above the long-term average of 21.8°C, breaking the previous record set in 2005 by 0.17°C.

All states and territories recorded above average temperatures in 2013, with Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia breaking their previous annual average temperature records.

The year started with a persistent heatwave in January, with Australia recording its hottest day (7 January), hottest week, and hottest month on record. A new record was set for the number of consecutive days the national average temperature exceeded 39°C - seven days between 2 and 8 January 2013, almost doubling the previous record of four consecutive days in 1973.

Other significant climate events of 2013 include:

  • Ex-tropical cyclone Oswald caused heavy rain and flooding along the east coast in late January, with many coastal areas from Sydney to Cape York receiving more than 200mm of rainfall in 24 hours, and Upper Springbrook in the Gold Coast hinterland receiving 1496mm in eight days.
  • The highest temperature recorded during 2013 was 49.6°C at Moomba in South Australia (12 January), the highest temperature in Australia since 1998.
  • The January heatwave saw a number of severe bushfires in south eastern Tasmania and in Victoria, where bushfires were particularly widespread.
  • Tropical cyclone Rusty was the most intense tropical cyclone to make landfall in 2013, causing flooding in the Pilbara and Western Kimberley in late February.
  • An early start to the fire season saw major bushfires in the Blue Mountains during October, the most destructive in the region since 1968.
  • Tropical cyclone Alessia crossed the coast near Darwin in late November, the earliest tropical cyclone to make landfall in the Northern Territory in 40 years.

Nationally, Australian temperatures have warmed approximately 1°C since 1950, consistent with global climate trends. Globally, each of the past 13 years (2001 to 2013) have ranked among the 14th warmest on record.