Continued anomalous warming in Australia



[1] Previous work, using high-quality temperature and rainfall data sets averaged across Australia, has demonstrated that the relationship between annual mean maximum temperature and rainfall changed in the early 1970s. The relationship was still strong and negative (i.e., high temperatures tended to accompany droughts) but the temperature in the period 1973–1992 tended to be higher, for any value of rainfall, than had been the case in the earlier years. This study again uses high-quality data averaged across Australia and the year, and demonstrates that this “anomalous warming” has intensified. Since 1993, temperatures have tended to be higher, for a given rainfall, than was the case in the 1973–1992 period (which in turn was relatively warmer than previous years). Thus the warming observed over Australia over the last few decades does not reflect changes in rainfall.