Good weather to get out and about. Photo: Brianne Makin Weather models point to central Australia warming up by next Sunday.
Winter’s over before it barely bit. Photo: Jonathan Carroll
So much for winter.
With only a handful of days to the end of the month, Sydney is all but certain of registering its warmest winter on record.
The Harbour City averaged daily maximums of 19.5 degrees in July and is likely to fall just short of 21 degrees for August. That compares with long-term averages of 19.4 and 20 degrees for May and September, respectively, said Rob Sharpe, a meteorologist with Weatherzone.
“July and August were more like the end of autumn or the start of spring than winter,” Mr Sharpe said.
The outlook for the first couple of weeks of September is also for above-normal temperatures. “We’re going to blitz [the average],” Mr Sharpe said.
Australia-wide, temperatures have been considerably warmer than average since last spring. The September-August period looks likely to be Australia’s warmest 12-month period on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
For the winter as a whole, Sydney is running just above the previous record average maximum of 19.4 degrees, set in 1995, with each of the remaining days of the month to reach between 21 and 25 degrees. Minimums may also beat the previous high of 10.3 degrees.
The city’s weather has been remarkable for its long spells of pleasant, mostly dry conditions.
“We haven’t had those really hot days but we’ve definitely missed out on the cooler days,” said Acacia Pepler, a climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology.
If the weather forecasts are accurate, Sydney will notch 20 days of 20-degree or warmer weather for August, beating the previous record of 18 set in 2009. All up, the winter is likely to register 39 such days, eclipsing the previous record of 37 set in 2005.
With the weather likely to heat up in coming weeks, particularly over central Australia, the prospects of a late-season rescue for the ski industry aren’t looking good.
Good snowfalls in recent weeks have only gone part way to make up for a poor start to the season. An outlook for warmer conditions and some rain in the next week or so will probably see much of the snow bank start to melt.
“It’s going to peter out pretty quickly – a lot of the snow’s going to heading into slushy,” Mr Sharpe said. “It won’t be prime conditions for skiing.”
Meteorologists say climate change tied largely to humans burning fossil fuels has been nudging temperatures higher for decades.
Sydney, where reliable records go back to 1858, has not had a below-average winter in terms of mean temperatures – running at 12.9 degrees – since 1978, both Ms Pepler and Mr Sharpe confirm.
“Definitely, if you look at the averages over time for Sydney, it’s bit a cooler when you look at the first half of the 20th century,” Ms Pepler said.
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