According to the Australian Actuaries Climate Index (AACI) measure of extreme values, winter 2019 was among the driest since the beginning of the reference period (1981-1990). Acute dry conditions affected parts of Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales, which experienced the driest or second driest winter since 1981.
In addition to dryness, winter 2019 was the seventh consecutive one to show extreme high temperatures that exceeded those of the reference period. This continues a trend across all seasons of the year, as most of the country has experienced above average extreme high temperatures for much of the past five years. Some parts of NSW have not experienced a single season below the reference period average in the past four years.
“Our latest findings show that extreme temperatures were above average nationally, except in North Queensland. We saw lower rainfall across most of the country and it’s clear that extreme weather is more prevalent than ever,” said Rade Musulin, leader of Finity’s climate practice and collator of the AACI.
“These dry conditions reflect the extreme drought that parts of Australia have experienced since 2017. Unfortunately, all data indicates that these patterns will continue across the country throughout the summer.”
Read the complete media release here.
The Australian Climate Index, built by Finity Consulting for The Actuaries Institute provides an objective measure of extreme weather conditions and changes to sea levels. The index purpose is to help policymakers and Australia's businesses assess how the frequency of weather extremes is changing over time.
The index, which measures extreme weather conditions and sea levels across Australia, and how these vary over time, was launched in November 2018 and is updated quarterly. The Index shows changes in the frequency, or rate of occurrence, of extreme high and low temperatures, heavy precipitation, dry days, strong winds and changes in sea levels.