Jan 9, 2019

Drought-hit Australia has third-warmest year on record in 2018

by
Sonali Paul
,
Reuters
A lone tree stands near a water trough in a drought-effected paddock located on the outskirts of the town of Walgett, in New South Wales, Australia, July 20, 2018. Photo: David Gray, Reuters
A lone tree stands near a water trough in a drought-effected paddock located on the outskirts of the town of Walgett, in New South Wales, Australia, July 20, 2018. Photo: David Gray, Reuters

Australia had its third warmest year on record in 2018, a year marked by severe drought in parts of the country and a prolonged bushfire season, the Bureau of Meterology said, with the dry conditions expected to persist in coming months.

Maximum temperatures across Australia were the second-warmest on record at 1.55 degrees C (2.8 degrees F) above average, just behind the hottest year in 2013.

The average temperature across Australia in 2018 was 1.14 degrees C above the average for 1961 to 1990, making nine of the past 10 years hotter than average, the bureau said in its annual climate statement.

Annual rainfall was the seventh lowest on record over the southeastern quarter of the country.

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Global warming is largely to blame for Australia’s bushfire season tending to start earlier in spring and extending into autumn, as opposed to just being during the hottest months in summer, Braganza said.