Australia

2018 Australia's third hottest year on record

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Australia experienced its third-warmest year on record in 2018 and below average rainfall, according to the Bureau of Meteorology's annual climate statement.

Last year was Australia's third-warmest year on record, with every state and territory recording above average temperatures in 2018.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology's annual climate statement, the nation's average temperature last year was 1.14C above the average for 1961-1990, making 2018 slightly warmer than 2017.

"When we look across all of Australia in 2018, we can see that every single state and territory had above average day and night-time temperatures," the bureau's senior climatologist Lynette Bettio said in a statement on Thursday.

Nine of the 10 warmest years on record in Australia have occurred since 2005.

Map
BOM

Dr Bettio said the only part of the country to buck the trend for above average temperatures was WA's Kimberley region, which had cooler than average nights for the year.

The Bureau of Meteorology also said rainfall totals in Australia in 2018 were the lowest since 2005.

The total was 11 per cent below the 1961-1990 average, but many areas experienced significantly lower average rainfalls, the bureau found.

Beach goers sunbath on the sands of Henley Beach during a hot day in Adelaide, Thursday, January 3, 2019. Temperatures soared across South Australia today, climbing close to 50C in some regional towns. (AAP Image/Kelly Barnes) NO ARCHIVING
Beach goers sunbath on the sands of Henley Beach during a hot day in Adelaide, Thursday, January 3, 2019.
AAP

Dr Bettio said large areas of southeast Australia had rainfall totals in the lowest 10 per cent on record.

NSW had its sixth-driest year on record while the Murray-Darling Basin had its seventh driest.

However, some parts of northern Australia and southeast Western Australia received above average rainfall totals.

The bureau's statement follows a run of exceptionally high temperatures around the nation late last month, along with a prolonged heatwave in Queensland in late November and early December.

Globally, 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, according to the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service assessment, released on Tuesday.

The last four years have seen the highest average temperatures globally since records began in the 19th century.

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