Jan 8, 2013

2012: Australia’s year of weather contrasts

The influence of extremes is a key talking point, with maximum temperatures on the rise and minimums on the decline. That's one takeout from the latest data, writes Climate Spectator's Daniel Palmer.

While much of the country swelters through a nasty heatwave, the official 2012 weather report has been delivered. And on the surface it was a pretty average year, with average rainfall and slightly above average temperatures. But averages don’t reveal the true story.

A wet and cold start to 2012 was counteracted by a hot and dry finish, leading to nationally averaged rainfall 11mm above the 1961–1990 mean of 465mm and temperatures 0.11 degrees above the average, the Bureau of Meteorology found in its annual Climate Statement. The degree of variation in rainfall is shown starkly in the below graph, with March nearly doubling the average, while the following nine months saw below average readings for all bar June.

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9 thoughts on “2012: Australia’s year of weather contrasts

  1. Jimmy

    Good thing all that carbon in the atmosphere is promoting all that plant life hey Rupert.

  2. wayne robinson

    Early forecasts are that 2013 will be the hottest on record.

    My forecast is that Tamas will soon write a comment noting that there has been 0.7 degrees Celsius of cooling from 1980 to 2012, starting with a warm peak in 1980 and finishing with a ‘cool’ period in 2012.

  3. Liamj

    What do we tell the kids?

  4. haines

    What do we tell the kids?

    The same as always for the last 150 years or so.
    If it’s not pissing down rain it’s going to be hot.
    It is summer turkey.


  5. Steve777

    Those Climate Change deniers who accept that warming has taken place point to sunspot cycles, solar minima/maxima, etc. as if the climate effects of these were understood. They are not, and while the detailed effects of proven anthropogenic changes to the atmosphere can of be predicted with certainty with respect to amount of warming or times scales. the effects are unlikely to be benign. A three degree warming is the difference between Sydney and Brisbane. So what? Well if rainfall patterns have a corresponding shift we lose most of the Wheat belt. A precautionary principle is I believe the only sensible approach to deal with what is almost certainly human-induced warming.

  6. Steve777

    Sorry – typo. I meant ‘the detailed effects of proven anthropogenic changes to the atmosphere CANNOT be predicted…’ . My fingers are too fat and clumsy to use the tiny keypad on an iPhone.

  7. AR

    WayneR – pleeez do not stir up the Tamasaurus Colderwouldii, it’s been relatively quiet recently, presumably due to the collision of reality & phantasy.

  8. PCPete

    As usual for eastern states media, not a word about WA (except for the last bullet point). South West WA is being severely affected by climate change and this winter was the equal driest on record – doesn’t that rate a mention? We have been setting records for dryness and heat for the past few years – move along please, nothing to see here from the eastern press. SW WA is desiccating. The water table is dropping and old forest trees are dying. We had the equal hottest run of days ever between Xmas and New Year. No mention. Major changes in ocean currents off WA – no mention. WA doesn’t count.

  9. Hamis Hill

    Yes those coastal ocean currents, even on the east coast, are not mentioned.
    At the turn of the century a new summer phenomenon of offshore thunderstorms manifested itself on the NSW South Coast, providing a predictable evening lightshow not really seen in earlier years, and provoking curiosity as to a probable cause.
    And what with Coconuts from North Qld washing up in the shallows of Jervis Bay perhaps this is what terrorised the local retirees into believing that Boat People from the “North” might start drifting ashore at their beachfront bungalows as well.
    Even so, beyond such predictable, parochial reactions from benighted (Liberals own the local paper) reactionaries, where is the information on Australia’s coastal currents and some discussion of inland climate effects which must inevitably follow?
    Surely the palace eunuchs of the press recognise an reasonable, intelligent adult interest in such changes?
    Or have all such reasonable speculations been put into Abbott’s “It’s all Crap” handbasket of mindless, anti-science stupidity.
    Be careful what you vote for: the “Abbott Apocalypse” is, at least, avoidable.

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