SYDNEY – Australia registered its third warmest year on record in 2017, with an average temperature of 0.95 degrees Celsius above the 1967-to-1990 average, official sources announced on Wednesday.
The Bureau of Meteorology stated in its annual report that the previous year’s temperatures were high despite the absence of El Niño, a natural phenomenon associated with rising temperatures, and the Indian Ocean Dipole, which remained neutral during the year.
The BOM added that the warming associated with anthropogenic climate change has occurred since 1950 and the Australian annual mean temperature has increased by approximately 1.1 degrees since 2010.
“Seven of the 10 warmest years on record have been recorded since 2005 and only one year was below the 1961 to 1990 average in the past decade,” BOM head of climate monitoring Karl Braganza said in a press release.
According to the BOM, the hottest day in 2017 was the second hottest ever recorded since 1910, with the temperature in Tarcoola, a town in the state of South Australia, reaching 48.2 degrees on Feb. 9.
On the other hand, the coolest night was recorded on July 16 in Perisher Valley, in New South Wales, with temperatures dropping to -12.1 degrees.
Australia’s wettest day in 2017 was registered at Mt. Jukes, Queensland, on March 28 with over 635 millimeters of rainfall, while Hamilton Island in Queensland was hit by 263 kilometer-per-hour winds two days later on March 30, marking the country’s windiest day of the year.
The BOM also said that the sea surface temperature surrounding Australia marked its eighth warmest in 2017.
The agency also confirmed that the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef located in the Australian Northeast, suffered two consecutive years of mass coral bleaching, marking the first ever back-to-back mass bleaching events.
“Prolonged high sea surface temperatures were associated with significant coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef during early 2017, following significant bleaching the previous summer,” said Barganza.