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Sunday 31 December 2000
year of rainfall extremes across the nation
Year 2000 temperatures go against the trend
Significant rainfall records broken for December in Qld/NT
A notable record was set on the summit of Bellenden Ker which recorded the highest annual rainfall total ever measured in Australia. The mountain summit, southwest of Cairns and 1555 metres above sea level, recorded 12,461mm of rain in 2000, breaking its own 1999 record of 11,852mm by 609mm. 1050mm fell in three days at the end of February during the passage of Tropical Cyclone Steve, though the wettest day was 6 December when 468mm fell.
The map above (click for a large copy) shows that most of the northwestern half of the continent experienced annual totals in the top 10% of all recordings, while totals in parts of WA, NT and Qld were the highest on record. Capital city residents, however, are unlikely to have noticed, with most capitals recording average or below average rainfall. Southeast Queensland, including Brisbane, experienced record or close to record low rainfall for the year. Among the locations to report their driest years on record are Brisbane Airport with 574mm (only half its annual average), Amberley 390, Boonah 360 and, on the Darling Downs, Tara with 234mm.
The wet conditions and greater than normal cloud cover resulted in the average temperature for the country as a whole being 0.22° below the 1961 to 1990 average, the first time since 1984 that the Australian mean annual temperature has been below average. The mean maximum temperature was the main cause of the anomaly, being 0.44° below normal, while the mean minimum temperature was close to normal.
While 2000 was cool, the graph at left shows that most of Australia's warmest years on record occurred during the 1980s and 1990s. Global mean temperatures have also risen over the past century. According to preliminary estimates released by the World Meteorological Organization on 19 December 2000, the global mean temperature for 2000 was the fifth warmest on record, with Australia being one of the few regions recording a cooler than average year.
Some significant monthly rainfall records
were broken in the Northern Territory and Queensland for
December. In the following table, the first figure is December 2000 rainfall,
second figure is previous record, third figure is the number of years
of record at the station.
These figures haven't been quality controlled yet, but give some idea of the unusual rainfall in western Qld/eastern NT of the past few weeks. To have >100 year records fall over such a wide area is remarkable.
Today's highest rainfall totals for the 24 hours to 9am
101.4 Ingham Qld
High falls for other periods:
Today's highest & lowest temps
Wind (mean refers to the average windspeed over 10 minutes; gust is the highest speed recorded):
Records set this day
42.7 Paraburdoo AP WA
Troughton Is WA
27.6 Willis Is Qld
Cape Bruny LH Tas
15.9 Mt Boyce NSW
|-4.7 Charlotte Pass NSW
Greatest variations from normal
38.3 Elliston SA
38.5 Polda Basin SA
24.5 Nonning SA
20.8 Mt Seaview NSW
-4.7 Charlotte Pass NSW
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