Australia has been hit with its driest month since 2002, during the Millennium Drought, along with experiencing the second hottest July on record (for mean maximum temperatures), according to new data.

The horrific drought is biting over the majority of Australia after the lowest July rainfall nationwide in 16 years combined with consistently high temperatures.

The latest Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) report ‘Australia in July 2018’ shows it was the driest July nationwide since 2002, with below average rainfall recorded across mainland Australia. The monthly statement also highlighted it was exceptionally warm across the nation as a whole, while also becoming the second-warmest on record (for mean maximum temperatures), reaching 2.22 °C above average.

Climate Council Acting CEO, Dr Martin Rice, said accelerating climate change continues to drive soaring temperatures and extreme weather events including drought conditions, as a result of the nation’s rising greenhouse gas pollution levels.

“This is the driest July experienced across Australia, since the long-running Millennium Drought,” he said.

“Just like dominos, we continue to see climate records continue to fall, as climate change intensifies due to the ongoing burning of coal, oil and gas.”

“In July alone, parts of South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland experienced their warmest July minimum or July maximum temperature on record.”

“These record conditions are following in the footsteps of those experienced in 2017, after the nation recorded its hottest winter on record, with more than 260 heat and low rainfall records smashed.”

KEY POINTS:

  • Daytime temperatures exceptionally warm for Australia as a whole, second-warmest on record (for mean maximum temperature)
  • The mean maximum temperature for Australia as a whole was the second-warmest on record for July at 2.22 °C above average.
  • Maximum temperature for Western Australia was 2nd highest on record.
  • Maximum temperature 3rd highest on record for Northern Territory.
  • Several sites in South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland experienced their warmest July minimum or July maximum temperature on record.
  • Nationally, the driest July since 2002 with below average rainfall recorded for all of mainland Australia (51% less than the mean rainfall for July).
  • Especially dry conditions were experienced in New South Wales with over 80% of the State recording very much below average rainfall and the State as a whole having its fifth-driest July on record, and the driest since 2002.