Australia records hottest January on record

Australia has sweltered through the hottest January since records begun, with the mean temperature throughout the country exceeding 30 degrees for the first time in recorded history.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s senior climatologist, Dr Andrew Watkins, said that the heatwave was unprecedented in its severity and duration.

"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," Dr Watkins said. "The main contributor to this heat was a persistent high pressure system in the Tasman sea which was blocking any cold fronts and cooler air from impacting the south of the country. "At the same time, we had a delayed onset to the monsoon in the north of the country which meant we weren't seeing cooler, moist air being injected from the north. "The warming trend which has seen Australian temperatures increase by more than 1 degree in the last 100 years also contributed to the unusually warm conditions."

Rainfall was also well below national average, despite monsoonal conditions affecting large swathes of northern Queensland late in the month.

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