Australia has recorded the hottest winter on record and is going into a warmer than usual spring.
Bureau of Meteorology data showed this year’s national winter average was 1.54 degrees above the 1961 to 1990 average.
It is the warmest winter since 1996, which previously set the record at 1.46 degrees above the average.
New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania experienced the hottest rise in their recorded history.
Meanwhile, average temperatures in all other states and territories were in the top 10 warmest on record.
BoM Climate Services Manager Dr Karl Braganza said experts are also forecasting spring to be warmer than usual this year.
“This spring, the forecast shows most areas have a high chance of below-average rainfall, and many areas have an increased chance of an unusually dry spring,” he said.
Areas expected to feel hotter temperatures include Australia’s south-west and parts of the east.
The forecast has consequently heightened the threat of dangerous and destructive fires in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory this spring.
Authorities and emergency services are on high alert this bushfire season after BoM issued an El Niño alert.
In the latest update on Tuesday, experts anticipate the warm weather event is likely to hit Australia during spring.
“When El Niño Alert criteria have been met in the past, an El Niño event has developed around 70% of the time,” BoM said.
El Niño is being driven by higher than normal sea surface temperatures. However atmospheric conditions are not yet demonstrating patterns associated with the event.
BoM said Australia has experienced more days with extreme heat since the climate started warming when national records began more than a century ago.
“Globally, each decade since 1980 has been warmer than the last,” BoM said.
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