2014 third driest season

Jo FulwoodThe West Australian

Last year will go down in Australian history as the third warmest on record.

Statistics revealed last week in the Bureau of Meteorology's Annual Climate Report reveal the record comes on the back of 2013 being the warmest year recorded to date.

According to the report, the area-averaged mean temperature for 2014 was 0.91C above the 1961-1990 average, making it the third warmest year since national records began in 1910.

The report also ranks 2014 as the warmest global year on record since global observations started in 1880.

While average rainfall across the country was 18.3mm above the long-term average of 465.2mm, an above-average amount fell during the peak monsoonal summer period, with below-average rain falling during the cooler months of the year.

An El Nino-like pattern during 2014 created drier-than-average conditions in much of eastern Australia, but Western Australia appeared to fare slightly better, with a wetter-than-average May.

June was the seventh-driest on record for WA, and rainfall was above average in November.

Numerous records were broken in 2014, with Kukerin receiving its highest daily rainfall recording of 120mm on October 20, breaking the previous record of 94mm on March 9, 1934.

Record high annual mean temperatures were also recorded in Mullewa, Bencubbin, Narrogin, Corrigin and the Salmon Gums Research Station.

BOM assistant director for climate information services Neil Plummer said 2014 was characterised by frequent heatwaves and warm spells, and a reduction in cold weather.

"Particularly warm conditions occurred in spring 2014, which was Australia's warmest spring on record," he said.

According to BOM, sea surface temperatures around Australia were unusually warm, with 2014 the equal-third warmest year on record at 0.51C above average.

Nationally, Australian temperatures have warmed about 1C since 1950.

Four tropical cyclones made landfall during 2014, with tropical cyclone Ita, the most intense, crossing the coast near Cooktown as a category four, bringing rainfall totals of more than 300mm.

Six significant heatwaves and warm spells occurred throughout the year, including one of south-east Australia's most prolonged heatwaves in mid-January.

To download the Annual Climate Report 2014, go to www.bom.gov.au/climate/ annual_sum/2014/.

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