Australia records second-hottest February

OREANDA-NEWS. February was the second warmest on record in Australia with the mean average temperature last month 1.67°C above its long-term average, while the maximum average temperature was 2.35°C above the long-term average.

Minimum temperatures were the fifth warmest on record for February with temperatures 1.0°C above the average, according to the Australia Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). Maximum temperatures were above average everywhere except along parts of the east coast, the far northern tip of Queensland and an area around the central Northern Territory.

The hottest February was recorded in 1983. Western Australia (WA) was the only state that also recorded the second hottest February on record on a mean temperature basis.

Minimum temperatures were above average for most of the country, especially so in large parts of WA, BoM said.

February rainfall was 51pc below average nationally, although some areas of coastal southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales and parts of WA on the central west coast and southeast coast recorded above-average rainfall for the month.

Last year was the third warmest in Australia since observations began in 1910, the BoM said. Last year followed the warmest year on record in 2013. Seven of Australia's 10 warmest years on record have been in the 13 years from 2002, with only 2011 recording the one cooler than average year in the past decade. The 10-year mean temperature for 2005–14 was 0.55°C above average, the highest on record.

But rainfall was near average last year, BoM said.

Higher temperatures are normally associated with increased electricity consumption as demand increases for air-conditioning, in turn boosting potential demand for power generation fuels such as coal and natural gas.

The BoM also raised its estimate for a possible El Nino weather event this year to about a 50pc change of it forming in 2015 because of central and western regions of the tropical area of the Pacific Ocean warming in the past two weeks. BoM warned last year that an El Nino event would occur but it never did.

El Nino is a phenomenon associated with warmer tropical Pacific Ocean weather and tends to lead to drier conditions on the east coast of Australia, reducing the chances of rain and flooding that would slow mining, rail and port operations.