A chilling outlook

The Bureau of Meteorology announced it was the country’s warmest winter on record, and experts say it’s only getting hotter from here.

This July saw an increase in temperature, compared to the average, across most of the country. Graphic: Bureau of Meteorology.

The last day of August peaked at 29.7°C in Perth, the warmest winter day since the end of August 2019.

This year, the nation’s overall average temperature during winter was 1.54°C above the 1961-1990 average.

Released on the last day of winter, the Bureau’s long-range spring forecast expects below average national rainfall levels from September to November.

The Bureau says WA will experience unusually warm spring days which will also be felt across the country.

University of Melbourne climate science geography lecturer Andrew King says there is a clear trend of warmer winters due to climate change.

Dr King says a dry winter coupled with a warmer than average forecast for spring and summer will affect the farming industry.

Graphic: Climate Council.
Dr King talks of the need to become more sustainable.

“Some areas of our economy are more weather and climate sensitive,” he says.

“So, extreme weather events which we are expecting to become more common like heatwaves are particularly problematic for these weather sensitive industries.”

WA Farmers Association president John Hassell says there are farmers across the state experiencing a really hard time, and though June saw quite a lot of rainfall, consistency and timing are crucial.

“You have to have a certain minimum [rainfall] to make sure that the crop will grow, but in some instances, there hasn’t been enough to get any decent crop,” he says.

Mr Hassell says the season isn’t shaping up well and he “hopes like hell” to get some more rainfall.

Mr Hassell is concerned with how poor crop yields may affect farmers mental health.

As the effects of climate change become more prevalent, younger people are becoming more engaged with the issue.

Ms Bicanic is in her final year studying property development and valuation. Photo: Andrew Williams.

Curtin Sustainable Collective president Jacquie Bicanic created the club after participating in the university’s inaugural sustainability challenge. 

Ms Bicanic says the nationally increasing average temperature is worrying and while corporations need to do more, she thinks individuals need to make more of an effort to reduce emissions as well.

“I think we need to be more conscious of where our food is coming from, so doing simple things like trying to buy WA local produce instead of having thing shipped from over east or other countries. Just supporting our local farmers as best as we can,” she says.