Australian Heatwave

Thursday 17th Jan 2013 by theWeather Club

Large parts of central and southern Australia have been under the influence of a persistent and widespread heatwave event.

The last four months of 2012 were abnormally hot across Australia, the national maximum temperatures at their highest on record with an anomaly of +1.61°C, slightly ahead of the previous record of +1.6 °C set in 2002 - Australian records go back to 1910. This hot weather has been exacerbated by very dry conditions affecting much of Australia since the middle of 2012 and a delayed start to a weak Australian monsoon.

The heat reached its peak on the 12th January in the eastern states, with Moomba Airport in Southern Australia (SA) recording 49.6°C, the highest temperature in SA outside of January 1960.

In parts of New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland fire crews tried to tackle bushfires, which were out of control. The heatwave during the first two weeks of January has been a key factor to the cause of the fires. On 7th January, the country experienced its hottest day on record, with an average high temperature across the continent of 40.3°C, surpassing the 1972 record of 40.1°C.

The first nine days of 2013 recorded average maximum temperatures of more than 39°C making the length, severity and extent of the heatwave unprecedented, according to the climate commission's special report on the heatwave.