2019 was the hottest and driest year on record for Australia

It’s been revealed that Australia is hotter and drier than ever before, according to new data released by the Bureau of Meteorology.

The Bureau’s 2019 Annual Climate Statement has been released today, delivering a few alarming records.

For instance, it’s been the country’s warmest year on record with the annual national mean temperature 1.52 °C above average.


It’s also been the country’s driest year on record, with nationally-averaged rainfall 40 percent below average for the year at 277.6 millimetres.

The National Rural Health Alliance, the peak body for rural and remote health in Australia, says these findings highlight the urgent need for a climate and health strategy and immediate action to reduce carbon emissions.

“The Bureau of Meteorology report today shows that the country is getting warmer and hotter at unprecedented levels,” said National Rural Health Alliance CEO Dr Gabrielle O’Kane.

“It’s also a timely reminder that climate and health are inextricably linked and that public health policy needs to consider the effects of climate change.

“We know that climate change affects everyone but that rural Australians are often hit the hardest.

“Rural Australians are more likely to be exposed to extreme weather events and the physical and mental health effects that come from bushfire and drought.

“Issues like food insecurity, water scarcity and the spread of disease are all made worse by climate change and all hit rural Australia particularly hard.

“Now should be the time to take urgent action to tackle climate change and the first step should be the creation of a climate and health strategy, in consultation with experts,” Dr O’Kane said.

Other findings from the statement include the following:

  • Australia’s warmest year on record, with the annual national mean temperature 1.52 °C above average
  • Both mean annual maximum and minimum temperatures above average for all States and the Northern Territory
  • Annual national mean maximum temperature warmest on record (2.09 °C above average)
  • Widespread warmth throughout the year; January, February, March, April, July, October, and December all amongst the ten warmest on record for Australian mean temperature for their respective months
  • Significant heatwaves in January and in December
  • Australia’s driest year on record
  • Nationally-averaged rainfall 40% below average for the year at 277.6 mm
  • Rainfall below average for most of Australia
  • Rainfall above average for parts of Queensland’s northwest and northern tropics
  • Much of Australia affected by drought, which was especially severe in New South Wales and southern Queensland
  • Widespread severe fire weather throughout the year; national annual accumulated Forest Fire Danger Index highest since 1950, when national records began
  • One of the strongest positive Indian Ocean Dipole events on record; El Niño–Southern Oscillation neutral throughout the year

For more information on the 2019 Annual Climate Statement, click here.