What we experienced in Australia

The Bureau of Meteorology has released its annual climate statement, highlighting the following points:

* Last year was Australia's third-warmest year on record, with the annual national mean temperature 0.95 °C above average.

* The maximum and minimum temperatures were warmer than average; particularly maxima, which were the second-warmest on record (1.27 °C above average).

* Widespread warmth persistent throughout the year, with March, July, August, October, and December all amongst the ten warmest on record for Australian mean temperature for their respective months.

* However, winter nights cooler than average for the southern mainland as positive Southern Annular Mode and strong subtropical ridge contributed to clear skies and below average winter rainfall.

* Nationally-averaged rainfall was 8% above average for the year, at 504.06 mm (1961–1990 average 465.2 mm).

* Rainfall was however below average for much of eastern Australia – for areas between central Queensland and eastern Victoria, all of Tasmania, and along the west coast of Western Australia.

* The rainfall was above average for central to eastern Western Australia, much of the Northern Territory, and western South Australia.

* Although the El Niño–Southern Oscillation was neutral for most of the year, the tropical Pacific Ocean cooled steadily from mid-winter and La Niña was declared at the start of December.