THE CLIMATE KELPIE BLOG: 2017/18 summer second hottest on record

Posted by BCG on 8th March 2018

Last week the Bureau of Meteorology released its summer 2017/18 report saying this past summer has been the nation’s second hottest.

This summer was 1°C above the long-term average which BoM reports was due to “prolonged, widespread, low-intensity warm weather rather than individual heatwaves.”

The hottest summer on record was only five years ago in 2013. It was not only the hottest summer but the hottest year on record coming in at 1.27°C above average.

Western Australia was the outlier during the 2017/18 summer experiencing cooler than average daytime temperatures in the north-west and interior.

We have to look back to October 1975 when as a nation we broke the coldest national temperature record.

Agriculture Victoria’s seasonal risk agronomist Dale Grey explained at the 2017 BCG Trials Review Day, that areas of the Wimmera and Mallee from the start of November to the end of January, experienced closer to 3°C and 4°C higher than average maximum temperatures.

“Growers need to be mindful that these intense heat periods as they will have resulted in some evaporation, causing soil moisture levels to decrease,” he said.

The Agriculture Victoria soil probe network is one place growers can go to get a better understanding of the soil moisture levels in their district. This information can be accessed via intelliweb.mait.com.au, username dpi, password dpi, or by following Agriculture Victoria’s Dale Boyd on Twitter.

Rainfall over the summer period have been quite variable with parts of Western Australia and the Top End of the Northern Territory, both areas experiencing above average rainfall.

Western Australia experienced their tenth-wettest summer on record, with some stations in the north and southwest of Western Australia experiencing their highest total summer rainfall on record.

Through rainfall resulting from tropical cyclone Joyce and Kelvin, Broome has surpassed its highest annual rainfall record, even though we are only starting the third month of the year.

This is in contrast to most of eastern Australia that have experienced below average rainfall. Overall, nationally it was a near average rainfall period.

Central and western Queensland experienced below average rainfall, with some areas recording the lowest summer rainfall on record. This is not helpful for areas which rely on monsoon tropical rainfall in summer.

BoM has also released their autumn forecast last week indicating that the models are predicting warmer than average day and night temperatures.

More information about the autumn forecast including minimum temperatures and rainfall, visit the BoM website, http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/outlooks/#/rainfall/summary.

BCG and the Bureau of Meteorology are working together on projects including Rural Research and Development for Profit ‘Improved use of seasonal forecasting to increase farmer profitability’ and ‘Forewarned is forearmed: managing the impacts of extreme climate events’.

For more information about these projects visit the website, www.bcg.org.au, or contact the office on 03 5492 2787.

This article was first published in the Stock and Land, 8 March 2018.