The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a special climate statement on the extended warm spell in May.
We have now recorded above average national mean temperatures for 21 of the last 22 months.
The unusual warmth was concentrated in the southeast of the continent including Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Hobart.
May monthly temperatures were well above normal despite a cool first week of the month.
Daytime temperatures were 4 to 6°C above average over a large area encompassing most of South Australia, the western half of New South Wales, northwestern Victoria, southwestern Queensland and the southern Northern Territory.
Monthly mean temperatures ranked in the five highest on record for Victoria (3rd), New South Wales (4th) and Western Australia (5th).
Numerous records were set in May, including:
- Melbourne: 13 consecutive May days above 20 °C (previous record 11)
- Sydney: 19 consecutive days above 22 °C (previous record 9)
- Adelaide: 16 days in a row above 20 °C (previous record 15)
- Warmest May on record for South Australia with mean temperatures 2.67 °C above the
The weather bureau says:
Australian annually averaged temperature has warmed by 0.9 °C since 1910, and the month of May has warmed by a similar amount. The annual warming trend is consistent with that observed for the globe.
The current warm event is the latest in a sequence of prolonged or intense warm spells which have affected a large part of the continent roughly every six weeks since the end of 2012.
This coincides with record-breaking or well-above-average temperatures which have persisted across Australia for the past 22 months.
The 12 months ending January 2014, February 2014, March 2014, April 2014 and May 2014 have all been record-warm for Australia.
The year-to-date (January to May) temperature anomaly for Australia at May 31 was +0.84 °C. This will mean 2014 ranks in the top five warmest starts to a year on record behind 2005 (+1.17 °C), 1998 (+1.05 °C), 2013 (+1.04 °C) and 2007 (+0.96 °C).
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