Sydney had its hottest year on record in 2016, a year marked nationally by extreme weather, including storms, floods and bushfires.
Most months in Sydney were about 1 degree Celsius above average temperatures and Australia’s biggest city recorded more days above 25 Celsius than any other year.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Annual Climate Statement, the year was Australia’s fourth-warmest on record.
The national mean temperature was 0.87 degrees above average and sea surface temperatures hit a record.
Extreme events included large bushfires in northwest Tasmania, the Great Ocean Road in Victoria and in southwest Western Australia.
A major east coast storm caused coastal flooding and erosion in New South Wales in early June, with flooding also affecting Victoria and large areas of Tasmania.
Western, central and southern Queensland were also hit by flooding following the state’s second-wettest winter on record.
After a dry start to the year, it was the wettest May–September on record with flooding in multiple states. National annual rainfall was 17% above average.
Maximum temperatures were 0.70 Celsius above average and minimums 1.03 Celsius higher. Minimums were the second warmest on record behind 1998.
Seven of Australia’s ten warmest years have occurred since 2005.
Sea surface temperatures in the oceans around Australia were also very warm during 2016, with the annual mean the warmest on record at 0.73 Celsius above average.
The warmth around the north and east coasts of Australia brought records for several of Australia’s major cities.
Darwin and Sydney had their warmest years on record for both maximum and minimum temperature.
Hobart had its warmest nights on record and warmest annual mean temperature. Brisbane had its warmest annual mean temperature.
It was the equal third-warmest year on record for Canberra. Perth had its coolest since 2005. Adelaide was a little warmer than average and most sites across metropolitan Melbourne were warmer than average.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Annual Climate Statement, the Australian climate in 2016 was influenced by a combination of natural drivers and climate change.
“The pattern of above average temperatures over land and in the oceans reflects the background warming trend,” the Bureau says.
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