Weather

Hot and dry conditions continued until February but returned to normal thereafter.

 

National average rainfall was slightly above average after a record dry 2019. Average rainfall was 536 mm: 79% more than the previous year and 10% above the 2000–2019 average.

Annual rainfall across Australia
Annual rainfall across Australia

Above-average rainfall occurred over most of NSW, Victoria and South Australia as well as parts of inland WA and Queensland. Rainfall was highest since at least 2000 along the coast of NSW. 

Parts of coastal northern and Western Australia received below average rainfall.

Rank of 2019 rainfall by local government area
Rank of 2019 rainfall by local government area

Temperatures were also lower than in the record hot year 2019, but remained well above average in line with global warming. National average temperature was 0.43°C above the 2000– 2019 average and 1.15°C above the 1961-1990 average.

Maximum temperatures were also lower than those of the previous year but well above average: the average maximum temperature was 42.6 °C or 0.66 °C above the 2000–2019 average.

Annual maximum temperatures were the highest since at least 2000 in southern NSW, the ACT and parts of WA and Tasmania in early 2020. Western Sydney experienced a new record of 48.9 °C on January 4. August and November were also unseasonally warm.

The number of days exceeding 35°C was lower than previous year. Nationally there were an average 88 hot days: 11% or 9 days more than the 2000–2019 average.

Average number of days above 35 °C
National average number of days above 35 °C

Nights were the warmest since 2013 and higher than the previous year as greater cloud cover and wetter soils enhanced the underlying warming trend. The national average minimum temperature was 0.81°C above the 2000–2019 average.

In contrast to the warmer nights overall, the SA- Victoria border region experienced the largest number of frosty nights since at least 2016.

Snow cover was below average, for the third year in a row, and was 24% below the 2000-2019 average.

Smoke caused major air quality problems that had begun with bushfires in late 2019, with especially poor conditions in southern NSW and the ACT in January and February. Canberra was ranked as the city with the most dangerous air quality in the world for several days.

Average number of days with PM2.5 exceeding threshold
Average number of days with PM2.5 exceeding threshold at 52 NSW locations  (NSW Dept. of Planning, Industry and Environment)