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Australia Is Set to Swelter Through (Another) Warmer-Than-Average Autumn

Don't pack away your pedestal fans just yet.
By Libby Curran
February 14, 2020
By Libby Curran
February 14, 2020

Last year was hot. We sweltered through Australia's warmest summer on record, a hotter-than-standard autumna warmer-than-usual winter and a spicy spring as well. To the surprise of no one, the next few months look set to continue the trend.

This week, BOM released its climate outlook for the March to May period, revealing that most of the country is in for warmer days and stickier nights than we usually see at this time of year. Yep, the soupy weather is set to continue.

In fact, across the majority of Australia, there's a 60–80 percent chance autumn temperatures will be a whole lot warmer than the median.


To give an idea of exactly what that all means, the average daily maximum temperature for March sits at around 23.9 degrees in Melbourne, 24.8 in Sydney and 28 in Brisbane. In May, it's around 16.7 degrees for Melbourne, with 19.5 for Sydney and 23.2 for Brisbane. The BOM is forecasting that we'll see warmer than that across the three months.

Unfortunately for farmers, parts of Queensland are looking to struggle through drier-than-average autumns, too. Elsewhere, it's likely rainfall will be relatively average. While recent heavy rainfall across NSW and southeast Qld has helped ease the dry in some areas (and increase Sydney's water storage by a whopping 30 percent), BOM is saying some regions require "several months of above average rainfall" to bring them out of drought — which doesn't look likely to happen this autumn.

The recent spate of heavy rain has also helped — thankfully — to ease some of the catastrophic bushfires that have been burning across the country, with the NSW RFS today announcing that for the first time this season all bush and grass fires in NSW are now contained. While that is unquestionably great news, it might not be the case for long, with BOM saying the warmer-than-average days and nights predicted over the next four months will increase the chance of heatwaves and elevate bushfire risk.

Image: Kenny Lover by Julia Sansone

Published on February 14, 2020 by Libby Curran

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