Map showing Australia maximum temperatures for January 2019. The average temperature in January 2019 nationwide was 30C — a record. Graphic: Australia Bureau of Meteorology

By Rod McGuirk
31 January 2019

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Australia sweltered through its hottest month on record in January and the summer of extremes continued with wildfires razing the drought-parched south and flooding in expanses of the tropical north.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology confirmed the January record on Friday as parts of the northern hemisphere had record cold.

Australia’s scorching start to 2019 — in which the mean temperature across the country for the first time exceeded 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) — followed Australia’s third-hottest year on record. Only 2005 and 2013 were warmer than 2018, which ended with the hottest December on record.

Heat-stressed bats dropped dead from trees by the thousands in Victoria state and bitumen roads melted in New South Wales during heatwaves last month.

New South Wales officials say drought-breaking rains are needed to improve the water quality in a stretch of a major river system where hundreds of thousands of fish died in two mass deaths during January 2019 linked to excessive heat. A South Australia state government report [Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission] on Thursday found that too much water had been drained from the river system for farming under a management plan that did not take into account the impact of climate change on the river’s health.

The South Australian capital Adelaide on Jan. 24 recorded the hottest day ever for a major Australian city — a searing 46.6 C (115.9 F).

On the same day, the South Australian town of Port Augusta, population 15,000, recorded 49.5 C (121.1 F) — the highest maximum anywhere in Australia last month.

Bureau senior climatologist Andrew Watkins described January’s heat as unprecedented.

“We saw heatwave conditions affect large parts of the country through most of the month, with records broken for both duration and also individual daily extremes,” Watkins said in a statement. [more]

January was officially Australia’s hottest month on record


Map showing Australia rainfall for January 2019. Graphic: Australia Bureau of Meteorology

By Benedict Brook
1 February 2019

(news.com.au) – In January, the days were sweltering, the nights were sticky and the humidity meant we were all a hot mess — just another summer in Australia, right?

Well no. January 2019 was not just the hottest January ever recorded, it was the hottest month ever recorded in Australia, weather boffins at the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said today.

The scorching January followed on from the hottest December ever which means Australia is possibly having its hottest summer ever. Last year was Australia’s third hottest year on record.

The mean temperature last month, averaged across the country, exceeded 30C for the first time ever for any month. For five days in the middle of the month the overall average temperature nationwide was above 40C.

BOM senior climatologist Andrew Watkins said January’s heat was unprecedented. “For Australia the exceptional story here was temperature: maximum temperatures, minimum temperatures, and mean temperatures and those records go back to 1910,” he said. [more]

January 2019 was Australia’s hottest month ever recorded

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