The Bureau of Meteorology says 2020 was the fourth-warmest year on record for Australia, with the nation’s temperature for the year 1.15 °C above the 1961–1990 average.
Australia had its warmest spring on record in 2020.
While rainfall for 2020 was close to average overall, easing drought conditions in many areas (2019 was Australia’s driest year on record), some regions received below average rainfall, including the west of Western Australia, southeastern Queensland, and western Tasmania.
In the Murray–Darling Basin, southern water storages saw significant increases during 2020 – rising from 36.8% in March 2020 to 68.8% at the end of November.
In the northern Basin, water storage levels also increased from a record low of 5.4% to around 25% at the end of December.
Senior Climatologist Dr Lynette Bettio, said, ‘The mean temperature for the 10 years from 2011 to 2020 was the highest on record, at 0.94 °C above average, and 0.33 °C warmer than the previous 10 years.’
She noted that daytime temperatures were especially warm for Sydney, Hobart, and Darwin.
The annual mean maximum temperature was above average for Perth, Canberra, and Brisbane; close to average at most sites across greater Adelaide; and close to average or slightly below average in Melbourne.
Nights were especially warm in Sydney, Darwin, Hobart, Canberra, and Brisbane.
An alarming trend
Dr Bettio said, ‘Globally, every year from 2013 onwards has been among the ten warmest on record, with 2016 and 2019 being the hottest.
‘2020 was among the top three, despite the onset of La Niña which has a suppressing effect on global temperatures.’
The BOM has also been in the news for the wrong reasons in 2020, with allegations that their climate findings have been manipulated to some degree to favour major gas producers and ‘customers’ such as Shell, Santos, Woodside and Chevron.