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More to come after July gives Australia record hot days
The average maximum temperature across the country as a whole last month was the highest since reliable records began in 1910, the BoM reported today. At 2.62° above average, it resoundingly beat the former record of 1.96 above the norm set in 1975.
QLD, WA and the NT all experienced their hottest daytime averages for July since records began 108 years ago, with QLD's 3.03° above normal breaking a record that has stood since 1915. NSW had its second-hottest July days on record, SA its third-hottest and VIC its sixth-hottest. Only TAS bucked the trend with regular cool to cold westerly changes keeping daytime temperatures to 0.11° below average.
Dominant high pressure over the southern half of the continent produced generally calm weather, allowing days to heat up and night-time temperatures to drop, especially in southeastern states. NSW, VIC and TAS all showed below average minimum temperatures, with NSW having its coldest July nights since 2002. The west and north, however, had above average nights with QLD posting its tenth highest July average minimum and the NT their seventh highest.
Rainfall in July was again well below average. A broad band of the continent running from the W and NW coasts of WA through to coastal NSW and eastern VIC had less than 40%, and in many places less than 20% their normal July rain as the persistent high pressure kept the westerlies and cold fronts that normally bring winter rains to southern Australia well to the south. The rainfall deficiency "drought" map for the three months May to July show most of western WA, southern SA, central NSW and the eastern half of VIC with severe deficiencies, and large areas in bright red indicating their lowest rainfall on record for those three months.
Both the increasingly warm daytime temperatures and the southern movement of winter rain away from important cropping areas are consistent with climate warming. BoM meteorologist Greg Browning told ABC News it was "basically this background warming signal that we're seeing right across the globe associated with global warming. It seems like the warming conditions we've seen right across the globe are just becoming commonplace, and we're seeing them in monthly temperatures on a regular basis."
The Bureau's Climate Outlook for August to October offers little change from the warm, dry conditions in the west and south with the main difference being warmer nights. While rainfall across the three months should be closer to normal in TAS, QLD, and the northern NT, daytime temperatures in August are given the unusually high 80% chance of being above normal across most of the country, so prepare for some pre-spring heat. The latest full Climate Outlook, where you can click on the maps to get detailed information for your area, together with the outlook video are here.