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Media Release
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Greg Hunt MP

11 March 2005

Bureau releases annual climate report for 2004

Mr Greg Hunt, Parliamentary Secretary with responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has released the 2004 Australian Climate Summary by the Bureau's National Climate Centre.

"Key observations of the Annual Summary are that over the course of 2004, there was higher than average rainfall in the Northwest and higher than average temperatures overall," Mr Hunt said.

Mr Hunt said the annual summaries have steadily grown in stature and quality since first issued in 1994 and provide a concise and easy-to-read reference on Australia's climate.

"The 20-page colour booklet greatly expands on the brief Annual Climate Statement issued in the first week of January," Mr Hunt said.

"It highlights the diverse nature of Australia's climate, and the extremes it can produce. Notable events in 2004 include the country's most intense February heatwave on record, a strong cold snap in southern WA in September and a prolonged period of stormy weather during the first half of December across much of eastern Australia.

"There are data on long-term climate trends; maps showing monthly variations in rainfall and temperature across the nation, and graphs putting the annual values into historical context; State statistics on extremes, and weather observations for all capital cities.

"The variable nature of Australia's climate highlights the need to maintain high-quality climate observations.

"It also underscores the benefits of international exchange of climate data, not only for monitoring global climate trends, but also for better understanding of phenomena like the El Niño-Southern Oscillation - allowing Australians to be better prepared for the seasons ahead."

Each of Australia's 6000 volunteer weather and rainfall observers receives a booklet in recognition of their essential community service in contributing to the data underpinning the publication. Copies are available from the Bureau's Head Office in Melbourne or from the Regional Offices in other State capitals.

For the full story - in graphics, text and tables - check the Bureau's web site: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/annual_sum/2004/index.shtml.

Media Contact:
Fiona Murphy (Mr Hunt's office) 0423 577 045

Commonwealth of Australia