In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued an urgent plea to world leaders: in order to prevent irreversible damage to the planet, we need to do whatever we can to cap the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celcius above pre-industrial levels.
To do see global temperatures surpass that barrier would be environmental suicide, the IPCC said, with extensive droughts and intense bushfire seasons likely to ravage nations like Australia.
Now, as a parched nation endures an unprecedented bushfire crisis, The Bureau of Meteorology has released its 2019 climate summary. The report, released this morning, shows the national mean temperature was 1.52C above the norm.
That means 2019 was officially Australia’s hottest year on record, with unprecedented average mean maximum and minimum temperatures in all states and the Northern Territory.
It was also the nation’s driest year since record-keeping began, with national average rainfall topping out at 277mm. If that’s still a bit abstract, the BoM put it this way: in the years spanning 1961 to 1999, the national average rainfall was 465.2mm.
The Bureau of Meteorology points to trends in oceanic temperatures as a major driver of those adverse conditions, but makes no qualms about the underlying causes of those temperatures.
“The background warming trend can only be explained by human influence on the global climate,” the BoM states.
The report serves as a pretty horrific example of what Australia is likely to face in the future if temperatures continue creeping upwards.
As it stands, we’re sailing towards temperatures between 3C and 5C above pre-industrial levels before the end of the century.
You can read the full report here.Image: Darrian Traynor / Getty Images / Bureau of Meteorology