Bar Beach in autumn. Picture: KaryanneNewcastle has recorded its warmest ever autumn in over a century of records,according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
A seemingly endless run of balmy days and mild nights saw an average daytime temperature of 24 degreesat Nobbys Head,about 1-and-a-half degrees above the long term average.
That made it Newcastle’swarmest autumn since the beginning of theofficial data record in 1910 and broke the previous record for maximum daytime temperatures set in 1922.
The warm spell also toppled the autumn records for theWilliamtown, Nelson Bay, Cessnock and Scone weather stations.
The warmest days were recorded in Scone, where the average was 27.6 degrees,and the warmest nights were recorded in Nelson Bay.
It was unseasonably dry, particularly in inland areas,with Cessnock, Maitland and Paterson receiving only about a quarter of their normal autumn rainfall totals, leaving rural property owners in those areas with severe shortages of on-farm water.
Newcastle, Williamtown, Singleton and Scone received closer to half their usual rainfall totals.
167 millimetres of rain fell in Newcastle over the pastthree months, compared to a long termaverage of 353 millimetres for autumn.
The result was a far cry from the sametime last year, when Newcastle was drenched with 468 millimetres of rain, largely as a result of the April east coast low.
Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Felicity Gamble said the warm and dry conditions could be put down to an El Nino event which was now drawing to a close.
She said the El Nino had come on top of a“significant warming trend” in Australian and global temperatures in at least the last 100 years.
“You’ve got the year-to-year variations, caused by climate drivers such as El Nino, laid on top of the long term trend of warming global temperatures,” Ms Gamble said.
However she said there wereearly indications the coming winter would be wetter than average.
Winter also signalled its arrival on Monday morning as temperatures plunged to -3.5degrees at Cessnock.