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Media Release
The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray

3 January 2002

2001 Wet but Temperatures Near Normal

Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment and Heritage today announced the release of the Australian Climate Summary for year 2001, in Sydney - a city experiencing one of the hottest, windiest and driest spells in its history. Despite Sydney's devastating summer of fires, fanned by the difficult conditions, the average Australian temperature was 0.09C below normal and national rainfall was well above normal, Sharman Stone said.

"Although most of the western two thirds of the continent experienced a wet year in 2001, Australia was one of the few parts of the world that did not, on average, experience significantly above normal temperatures over the past year", Dr Sharman Stone, said today.

Dr Stone was commenting on the main findings of the Annual Australian Climate Statement just issued by the Bureau of Meteorology's National Climate Centre (copy attached). "The past year is particularly interesting in that it highlights both the year to year variability of climate, the in-country variability, and the anomalous patterns of Australian climate compared with the rest of the planet", Dr Stone said. "Australian temperatures were slightly below normal while the average temperature over the globe was the second warmest on record. In future years, however, we could experience a catch up effect with Australia being relatively much warmer that the rest of the world". Australia's mean temperature has been showing a general warming trend over the last 100 years.

The rainfall and temperature records, on which the Australian averages are based, were assembled by the National Climate Centre from observations taken by the Bureau of Meteorology's observing offices, a large network of cooperative observers and many thousand volunteer rainfall observers. Their special contribution was honoured in 2001, the International Year of Volunteers.

"The routine monitoring of global climate is a vitally important task undertaken through extensive cooperation amongst the National Meteorological Services of some 185 Member countries of the World Meteorological Organization", Dr Stone said. "The Bureau of Meteorology, through its National Climate Centre, plays a key role in the global effort".

For further information please contact:

Simon Frost (Dr Stone's office): 0419 495 468
Neil Plummer (National Climate Centre): (03) 9669 4086

3 January 2002

Commonwealth of Australia