icon1995 - Another warm year for Australia

Media Release, 4 January, 1996

Australian temperatures in 1995 were not as warm as some recent years yet remained above average compared to the post-1910 record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology's National Climate Centre. A high quality historical temperature data set jointly developed by the Bureau of Meteorology and the University of Melbourne shows that the 1995 Australian average temperature was 0.08°C above the average for the 1961-1990 reference period and 0.28°C above the 1910 -1990 average. The year was characterised by some cooler spells - particularly in the south during Autumn and again in December.

Based on data from the continental stations of the Bureau's Australian Reference Climate Station network temperatures over Australia have been warming since the mid-1950s. Recent years have been exceptionally warm: more than half of the top twenty warmest years since 1910 have been in the 1980s or 1990s and 1995 was the 23rd warmest year.

Australia's ten warmest years since 1910 were (in descending order):
1988, 1980, 1973, 1991, 1983, 1990, 1938, 1979, 1993, and 1914

Below is a graph showing the variations from average temperature over Australia.

Australian annual mean temperature anomalies since 1910

Many Australians may not remember 1995 as a particularly warm year. This is because the warmth was largely a consequence of warm nights, since daytime temperatures were slightly below average compared to the 1961-1990 period. Overnight minimum temperatures have warmed more than daytime maximum temperatures since the middle of the century.

Preliminary data from the UK Meteorological Office and the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit indicate that 1995 is likely to have been the globe's warmest year since 1860, when sufficient instrumental records became available to provide a global picture. Information from ice cores from around the globe suggests that 20th century temperatures have been at least as warm as any century since at least 1400.

The continuation of warm global temperatures is consistent with climate change projections from advanced computer simulations incorporating enhanced levels of greenhouse gases. While there is still insufficient evidence to link beyond any doubt the rise in temperatures to an enhanced greenhouse effect, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently concluded that "the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate."

Inquiries: Neil Plummer phone (03) 9669 4457
Mary Voice phone (03) 9669 4085