Australia heats up to record the sixth warmest year in 2007

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Melbourne, Jan 3 (UNI) Even as top world leaders geared up to fight the menace of global warming, Australia's warmer and wilder weather in 2007 was in line with international projections for man-made climate change.

Australia experienced its sixth warmest year on record - more than half a degree above the annual average temperature.

The Bureau of Meteorology, in its annual Australian Climate Statement released today, said the annual mean maximum temperature for 2007 of 28.6 degrees Celsius was 0.73 degrees Celsius above normal.

The average annual mean temperature was 21.8 degrees Celsius, with the annual mean minimum temperature 0.61 degrees Celsius above normal.

Highest-on-record annual mean and maximum temperatures were recorded across much of the south and it was the warmest year on record for the Murray-Darling Basin, South Australia, NSW and Victoria.

The bureau said there was average to above-average annual rainfall across northern and central Australia, average to below-average annual rainfall in the south-west and mixed results in the remainder.

The report said La Nina conditions, which typically bring better rains, failed to deliver in 2007.

La Nina conditions developed in the tropical Pacific Ocean during 2007. Such conditions are usually associated with above-average rainfall across much of Australia.

This year's La Nina event was slow to develop and its influence during winter and spring was confounded by a counter influence from the Indian Ocean." The bureau said despite some promising rains during the first half of the year, July to October was particularly dry across the south with widespread above-average rainfall not returning until November.

''Patchy rainfall across southern Australia means that long-term droughts persist in the far south-west and in the south-east, including the Murray-Darling Basin, all of Victoria and northern Tasmania.'' UNI XC SYU GC1926

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