Australia felt the heat again in 2020

Bureau of Meteorology report reveals 2020 one of our hottest years.

Australia experienced its fourth-warmest year on record in 2020.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) Annual Climate Statement 2020 said the average mean temperature was 1.15 °C above the 1961–1990 average.

The mean maximum and minimum temperatures were above average for all states and the Northern Territory.

Mean maximum temperatures were above average across Queensland, with small areas of the northern tropics the warmest on record.

2020 climate snapshot

Brisbane's mean maximum and mean minimum temperatures were slightly warmer than average.

Australia's warmest year on record was 2019 at 1.52°C above average, well above the second warmest of 1.33°C above average in 2013.

Australia had its warmest spring on record in 2020.

2020 TEMPERATURE  MAP

2020 temperature map.

While rainfall for 2020 was close to average overall, easing drought conditions in many areas, some regions received below average rainfall, including south-eastern Queensland.

BOM 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.

"Rainfall for Australia was close to average for the nation as a whole at 483.4 mm – 4% above the 1961–1990 average of 466.0 mm," Dr Bettio said.

Flooding impacted eastern Australia during February and March, particularly through Queensland and New South Wales.

2020 RAINFALL MAP

2020 rainfall map

The annual mean maximum temperature was above average for Brisbane, Perth and Canberra; close to average at most sites across greater Adelaide; and close to average or slightly below average in Melbourne.

All capital cities, except Adelaide, observed warmer than average annual mean minimum temperatures. Nights were especially warm in Brisbane, Sydney, Darwin, Hobart and Canberra.

"Globally, every year from 2013 onwards has been among the 10 warmest on record, with 2016 and 2019 being the hottest and 2020 was among the top three, despite the onset of La Nina which has a suppressing effect on global temperatures," Dr Bettio said.

Eight tropical cyclones were recorded in the broader Australian region during the 2019–20 tropical cyclone season, below the long-term average of 11 (for all years since 1969–70). 

Three tropical cyclones reached severe (Category 3) and three crossed the coast – Blake (WA), Damien (WA) and Esther (QLD/NT).

Queensland 2020 weather facts

  • Rainfall was below average across much of southeastern and parts of east coast Queensland, and close to average elsewhere in 2020.
  • Mean maximum temperatures were above average across Queensland, with small areas of the northern tropics the warmest on record.
  • Mean minimum temperatures were above to very much above average across the state.
  • Many catchments experienced flooding in early March from the remnants of Cyclone Esther.
  • Brisbane's rainfall was close to average in 2020.
  • Brisbane's mean maximum and mean minimum temperatures were slightly warmer than average.

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