Weather

Australian climate update: June 2019

Ben Domensino, 5 June 2019

Australia just had one of its warmest autumns on record, continuing an exceptionally warm start to 2019 in some parts of the country.

Despite a flurry of cold fronts in southeastern Australia at the end of May, the country registered its third warmest autumn in 110 years of records based on the national mean temperature. This rounded out Australia's warmest January to May period on record.

Queensland was the only state to see above average rain during autumn, with large areas of western and southern Australia continuing to see relatively dry weather.

Parts of Australia's west coast experienced their driest autumn in more than a century of records, including Denham (1.6mm) and Nabawa (8mm).

While Perth only had its lowest autumn rain in 10 years, the city endured its second driest May in records dating back to 1876.

According to Monash University's Climate Change Communication Research Hub, May rainfall at Perth Airport has decreased by more than 50mm during the last 75 years. This trend reflects a broader shift towards drier weather in southwestern Australia during the middle of the year, in response to our planet's changing climate.

While May saw some welcome rain falling in parts of southern Australia, many areas were still running well below their year-to-date averages at the start of June.

As a result of prolonged drier-than-usual weather, water storage levels at the end of May were lower than the same time last year in every capital city except for Perth. Sydney and Melbourne both reached their lowest water storage levels in nine years last month.

So, what types of weather can we expect to see around Australia during the next few months?

Winter is typically a time of year when rainfall increased over southern Australia, while northern Australia is in its dry season. However this season may be drier than usual for most of the country, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The main reason for this dry outlook is a developing positive Indian Ocean Dipole. This simply refers to a pattern of sea surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean that usually cause reduced rainfall in parts of Australia during winter and spring.

The Bureau also anticipate warmer-than-usual daytime temperatures across most of the country this winter. However, drier weather can help lower minimum temperatures and enhance frosts in some parts of the country.

It's worth noting that even if this winter is warmer or drier than usual, there will still be outbreaks of cold and wet weather throughout the season.