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Australia has just witnessed its driest spring in 120 years of recorded history, new data released by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has disclosed this week.

The bureau’s spring summary report showed an average of 27.4 millimeters of rain fell across the country during the Australian spring season of September, October, and November. The average figure sits at 62% — or almost two-thirds — below the long-term average rainfall. 

Spring 2019 was also second-hottest in relation to maximum temperature reached and fifth hottest overall. 

"Rainfall for spring was below to very much below average for most of Australia, and overall it was Australia's driest spring on record,” the report stated. “The prolonged abnormally low rainfall experienced over eastern Australia continues to have significant impact on communities and the environment.”

The past three months follow on from other extreme Australian weather patterns. 

Australia witnessed the hottest ever summer between December 2018 and February 2019, as well as the hottest March on record, hottest month ever on record in January, and driest ever November. 

The bureau said the record-breaking heat and exceptionally dry conditions have led to the nation’s recent severe bushfires, which caused devastation through New South Wales in November — claiming six lives and 673 homes.

The bureau also writes that the aggression of the bushfires and the recent extreme weather has been compounded by global warming from human-driven climate change. 

"Climate change is influencing the frequency and severity of dangerous bushfire conditions in Australia,” BoM writes on its website. “Including through influencing temperature, environmental moisture, weather patterns, and fuel conditions.”

The bureau’s findings echo a recent Climate Council report, entitled This Is Not Normal, which revealed that bushfire risk was “exacerbated by record-breaking drought … and record-breaking heat.” 

"All of these factors have been aggravated by climate change,” the report writes. “The burning of coal, oil, and gas is driving up global temperatures, leading to hotter Australian conditions. The government must develop an urgent plan to … rapidly phase out the burning of coal oil and gas, which is driving more dangerous fires.”


Defend the Planet

Australia Just Endured Its Driest Spring on Record

By Madeleine Keck