2019: The Warmest And Driest Year On Record
Australia's mean temperature in 2019 was 1.52 °C above average, making it the warmest on record since consistent national temperature records began in 1910 and surpassing the previous record of 1.33 °C above average set in 2013.
Meanwhile, the national average rainfall total in 2019 was 277 mm, the lowest since consistent national records began in 1900. The previous record low was 314 mm set during the Federation drought in 1902.
Bureau of Meteorology head of climate monitoring Dr Karl Braganza said the record warm and dry year was one of the key factors influencing recent and current fire conditions in large parts of the country.
"January last year was the warmest month Australia has ever recorded, while just a few weeks ago in December, we saw the Australia-wide record hottest daily average maximum temperature broken multiple days in a row.
"At the same time, rainfall deficiencies across large parts of eastern Australia have continued to increase, unfortunately exacerbating both drought conditions and the current bushfires."
Dr Braganza said there were multiple factors influencing Australia's weather patterns in 2019.
"Most of this year, Australia's climate has been dominated by a very strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole, which acted to both warm and dry Australia's landscape, particularly from around the middle of the year.
"We also saw the influence of a rare Sudden Stratospheric Warming event high above the south pole, which acted to push our weather systems northward and compound the warmer and drier than average conditions over southern Queensland and New South Wales during spring, amplifying the fire weather.
Last year also saw some periods of significant rain in northern Queensland and northwest Western Australia.
"In January and February, we saw exceptional rainfall have a major impact on communities in northern Queensland, particularly around Townsville," Dr Braganza said.
In recent weeks, some of the key drivers of the recent warm and dry patterns over Australia have eased. As a result, rainfall for the coming months is expected to be average to below average in the east, while wetter than average conditions are possible for much of Western Australia and South Australia.
-Sixth-warmest year on record for Queensland as a whole, with the mean temperature 1.27 °C above average.
-Persistently dry in southeast Queensland, with many sites having their driest year on record.
-Flooding across northern Queensland and the Gulf Country in January and early February.
-Brisbane's mean temperature and mean maximum temperature both warmest on record.
-Brisbane's total annual rainfall well below average.