UK & World News

  • 3 January 2014, 20:56

Australia Records Hottest Year Ever In 2013

Australia experienced its hottest year on record in 2013, beginning the year with a record number of consecutive days that exceeded 39C.

Confirmation of the record comes as much of the country continues to battle soaring temperatures as 2014 begins.

A heatwave moving east across Australia, prompted health warnings on Friday in some of the biggest cities while firefighters were battling bushfires elsewhere and farmers are slaughtering cattle in drought hit central and northern Australia.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology, in its Annual Climate Statement, said a persistent heatwave in January 2013 saw the hottest day of the year recorded on January 7.

The month also saw the hottest week and the hottest month on record along with the highest temperature.

The thermometer reached 49.6C at Moomba in South Australia on January 12, 2013 the highest temperature in Australia since 1998.

Seven days of national average temperatures exceeding 39C - between January 2 and 8 - almost doubled the previous record of four consecutive days in 1973.

In its report, the bureau said: "Average temperatures were 1.20C above the long-term average of 21.8C, breaking the previous record set in 2005 by 0.17C.

"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."

Nationally, Australian temperatures have warmed approximately 1C 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.

Australia saw several other significant climate events in 2013.

:: 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 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 storm of its type 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.

The 2013 figures were released as firefighters continue to battle bushfires still burning in parts of North Stradbroke Island in Queensland.

The blaze, sparked by lightning on Sunday, has burnt through more than 3,000 hectares (7413 acres) of bushland, local media reported.

:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.