BOM: 2018 was third hottest year on record

by Chris Becker

Aussie Aussie Aussie! Another record for the ages with the Bureau of Meteorology revealing that 2018 was the third hottest year on record, with global temperatures in 2018 to be the fourth-warmest year on record since 1880 (2015-2017 being the warmest):

Drought prevention and relief, plus water security issues have never been more important, but I’m sure the non-realists in the Coalition are going to put the “fake news” spin on the BOM’s full report, available here:

Australia’s area-averaged mean temperature for 2018 was 1.14 °C above the 1961–1990 average. Maximum temperatures were the second-warmest on record at 1.55 °C above average, coming in behind +1.59 °C in 2013. Minimum temperatures were 0.73 °C above average, the 11th-warmest on record.

2018 Australian mean temperature decile map
2018 annual mean temperatures compared to historical temperature observations. See also maxima and minima.

The 11-year mean temperature for 2008–2018 was the highest on record at 0.77 °C above average. Only one of Australia’s warmest ten years occurred before 2005, and nine of the last ten years have been warmer than average. Warming associated with anthropogenic climate change has seen Australian annual mean temperatures increase by just over one degree since 1910. Most of this warming has occurred since 1950.

The Indian Ocean exerted a strong influence on Australia’s climate during 2018. Dry conditions persisted over most of Australia during spring, associated with the positive phase of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). The tropical Pacific Ocean had less of an influence, starting the year with a very weak La Niña that decayed during February, and had little impact on Australian rainfall, before moving into neutral conditions (neither El Niño nor La Niña). While there were signs of a developing El Niño from late winter, conditions failed to progress to a fully-fledged event by year’s end.

Annual mean temperatures for 2018 were above average for nearly all of Australia, and very much above average for most of the mainland except parts of Western Australia, mostly in the north and west, and parts of eastern Queensland. It was amongst the six warmest years on record for all States and the Northern Territory, and the warmest on record for New South Wales.

All capital cities except Melbourne and Perth ranked amongst the eight warmest years on record for annual mean temperature. Hobart had a particularly warm year, with annual mean temperatures the second-warmest on record.

Days were exceptionally warm for Canberra (annual mean maxima warmest on record) and Darwin (second-warmest on record), and also warm for Brisbane (fourth-warmest on record) and Sydney (fifth-warmest on record). Nights were warmer than average for each of those cities, but not especially so. Both days and nights were much warmer than average for Adelaide (maxima eighth-warmest on record, minima eleventh-warmest on record), and warmer than average for Melbourne, although outside the top ten. In Perth days were warmer than average.

2018 Australian rainfall decile map
2018 annual rainfall compared to historical rainfall observations. About deciles.

Nationally-averaged rainfall for 2018 was 412.8 mm, 11% below the 1961–1990 average of 465.2 mm, making it Australia’s 39th-driest year in a record spanning 1900 to the present.

Rainfall for the year was very low over the southeastern quarter of the mainland (seventh-lowest on record), with much of the region experiencing totals in the lowest 10% of historical observations. Annual rainfall was above average between the northwest coast of Western Australia and the southeast of that State. Rainfall was particularly low over the mainland southeast from April, with rainfall deficiencies increasing during the year for many areas. September was record-dry, but the final three months of 2018 were wetter in some areas.

The dry conditions over the southwest of Western Australia and the southeast of the continent during 2018 were likely driven by both natural variability and climate change. While low rainfall has persisted over many areas of the southeast for more than 12 months, the positive IOD in spring significantly exacerbated drought conditions across parts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. The dry conditions were also somewhat consistent with long-term rainfall trends, as detailed in the 2018 State of the Climate Report. Persistent very high temperatures throughout the year also contributed to record high rates of observed pan evaporation for winter and spring in New South Wales and Queensland.

The year was particularly dry for Melbourne, its 27th-lowest annual rainfall on record, in 161 years of observations. Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, and Canberra all experienced a drier than average year. For Darwin, the year was slightly wetter than average, while annual rainfall was near average for Hobart and Perth.

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  1. That’s why I only hire illegal Mexican labourers to do my work for me. They move rocks cheaply, without using nasty fossil fuels, and the low wages I pay them ensures they live at subsistence level without having money to waste on environmentally hurtful luxuries.

  2. Fake news. I remember this one day that was cold. Take that greenie filth.

    Vote one, vote Mouth Breathing Party

    • Yeah, and if you take the last three data points – ignoring all the statistical “noise” before it – we’re actually cooling. Coal-fired aircon Opal Towers to the moon.

    • I noticed that you are joking.. But, you’re not being sarcastic enough:

      I remember listening to RN one morning. And an old fella called up to talk about climate change. He reckons in all his life swimming in port Phillip bay, he’s not noticed the water level rise at all. He was dead serious.

      Another time I was chatting to a girl about climate change, and what we need to do, and I think it got too heavy for her, and she kind of snapped and said: “well it doesn’t bloody matter anyway, if the ozone hole gets any bigger, we’re all gonna get sucked into space.” again, she was serious…

  3. Clickbait issue.

    The Tories have no intention of doing anything about climate change. I thought their opposition was a rearguard action by fossil fuel producers to protect stranded assets while running them off for cash. I was wrong: their resistance is visceral and based on instinct.

    Fortunately, the economics of solar, wind and electric cars Trump fossil fuels.Whether this is a sufficient response remains to be seen. We may or may not be blundering into an apocalypse; we are definitely blundering.

  4. if we can only get to the top place for private debt.. and if it wasn’t for labour to force the RC we probably would have by now.
    #1 for money laundering
    #1 environmental vandals
    #1 private debt
    #1 slave labour (aka 457s visas) employers

  5. Everyday people have no intention of doing anything about Climate Change (and most oddly, those with skin in the game, parents).

    We are the L’oreal Crowd. We honestly think we are worth it.

    They will still want their Media Roomed McMansions, their SUVs & 4WDs, their ‘on trend’ fast fashion that falls apart in half a season; they want to buy every possible unicorn themed novelty product for their kids, just because. They are happy to create hyperconsumerist monster offspring.

    Most people, if they are honest, are virtue signallers when it comes to Climate Change – no substance when it comes down to it.

    • and most oddly, those with skin in the game, parents

      Fact: humans really don’t care about descendants they don’t personally know.

      Sad, bigly

  6. Everyday people have no intention of doing anything about Climate Change (and most oddly, those with skin in the game, parents).

    They will still want their Media Roomed McMansions, their SUVs & 4WDs, their ‘on trend’ fast fashion that falls apart in half a season.

    Most people, if they are honest, are virtue signallers when it comes to Climate Change.

    • There might be some sad truth to that, but I think there’s more than just a few “everyday” people trying to do their best. Given that nearly 70% of all emissions comes from electricity and transport, reducing those via upgrading to renewables like electricity would be a lot easier for households if the fossil fuel industry wasnt so well subsidised and carbon was properly priced. Or if for example, a federal government would actually fund a renewable energy grid, including nationalising the dirtiest coal power plants and instituting a gas reservation policy in the interim as the renewable grid came online.

      • I have put solar on our roof and pay the renewable energy surcharge for the small percentage I pull from the grid. I work from home to save cost and now only fill our car up once a month. There are people doing things, they are just disparate which gives the impression that no one is. It is easy to do your part.

      • 70% of emissions come electricity and transport which makes the second Sydney airport an act of environmental vandalism. Air traffic is an area of rapidly growing emissions and yet there is no outrage about its impact. Agree with Chase that everyone wants their cars and houses, but add in overseas holidays as well. Really, this planet has no chance as the cuts that we need to make would really crimp our lifestyles and few people want to make them.

      • Same, solar HW and PV cells on our roof, we dont have air conditioning and cut back our electricity use AMAP – we only pull about 60kWH per month from the grid during winter and are net providers during summer. Hopefully next car purchase will be electric too.
        Thank Dog below this summer hasn’t been too hot here in QLD….

      • Airports are also huge sources of other pollution, nasty jet fuel chemicals, noise, etc. I’m just waiting for someone to sue them for health damages

  7. It makes you wonder how much longer people like Andrew Bolt will go on rejecting these sort of sober reports from reputable agencies. In the old days they’d have suffered a credibility crisis by insisting that its not real. But apparently credibility requires sticking to the story despite it departing long ago from reality.

  8. “It makes you wonder how much longer people like Andrew Bolt will go on rejecting these sort of sober reports from reputable agencies.”

    As long as the Fossil Fuel Industry continue to pay people to do so!

  9. Climate change deniers remind me of Yes Prime Minister and the Standard Foreign Office response in time of crisis. 4 steps. 1. Say nothing is going to happen. 2. Say something may be about to happen but we should do nothing about it. 3. Say maybe there is something we should do but there is nothing we “can” do. 4. Say maybe there was something we could have done but its too late now.
    Bolt seems to argue 1 & 2 for now but the way its going oops will occur in my lifetme and we will reach step 4.

  10. Big Elephant here is humans have over populated the earth.

    If any other animal was as over populated as humans and destroying the environment like we are they would be killed to reduce numbers.

    Instead we humans think we are so great that we must find cures to diseases before a cure for our environmental destruction. Which one is putting the human race at risk of extinction?