Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Australia enjoys warmest winter ever

Weather records have been smashed from one end of the country to the other as Australia swelters through its warmest-ever winter.

The Bureau of Meteorology has taken the unusual step of issuing a "special climate statement", confirming what many of us already knew - this winter has been very mild.

"Abnormal heat" has seen some temperature records broken by more than five degrees.

Some regions had their warmest 2009 day in the winter month of August - hotter than any summer day.

Nationally, the average winter maximum temperature is more than 1.6 degrees Celsius above average.

"Average winter maximum temperatures over Australia are likely to be the highest on record," said the Bureau's statement, issued on Wednesday.

And August was particularly warm - more than three degrees above average across the country.

"August 2009 has seen highly abnormal heat over large parts of Australia," the statement said.

The mercury soared above 37 degrees Celsius in some areas during August.

The Bureau says the hot weather was caused by a lack of cold outbreaks bringing air from the Southern Ocean, as well as clear skies and a lack of moisture.

And it's not over yet. The Bureau says the new temperature records may be broken afresh when more hot weather hits later this week.

Spring is also set to be hot.

Almost all of the country is forecast to be warmer than normal, with northern and western regions to be hardest hit.

It's also expected to be a drier spring than usual, especially in the south of the country.