SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia recorded its warmest winter on record, its weather bureau said ahead of a widely anticipated decision over whether to declare El Nino conditions, which typically bring hotter, drier weather.
The June-August season’s national mean temperature was 1.53 centigrade above the 1961 to 1990 average, and the highest since records began in 1910, the Bureau of Meteorology said on its website.
Winter rainfall across the country was meanwhile 4.2% below the 1961 to 1990 average, although the northern parts of Western Australia state, western Queensland and large parts of northern and eastern South Australia bucked that trend.
The end of an unseasonably hot southern hemisphere winter sets the stage for the potential declaration of El Nino. The Bureau of Meteorology has previously said the weather pattern is likely to develop between September and November.
El Nino is associated with extreme weather phenomena, from wildfires to tropical cyclones and prolonged droughts.
The World Meteorological Organization said last month the weather pattern had emerged in the tropical Pacific for the first time in seven years.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has so far only issued an El Nino alert, which it says has historically led to the event around 70% of the time.