WMO annual report highlights inconsistent weather

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In an announcement unlikely to surprise too many people, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has released its annual Statement on the Status of the Climate report with the news that 2015 shattered temperature records across the globe.

With global temperatures 0.76 degrees Celsius above the 1961-1990 average, the El Nino pattern observed over the past several months has had a huge impact on the world's weather. While the report only covers last year, Director of the World Climate Research Programme David Carlson made a point of mentioning that 2016 is already on track to be another record-breaker.

"The startlingly high temperatures so far in 2016 have sent shock  waves around the climate science community. Our planet is sending a powerful message to world leaders to sign and implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and cut greenhouse gases now before we pass the point of no return," he said.

Australia's time in the sun

The impact of the inconsistent climate is being felt across Australia, something those keeping a close eye on their water storage have no doubt noticed. According to the report, the country experienced conditions approximately 4 per cent drier than average. The month of October in particular was a concern as not only the warmest on record, but with a temperature anomaly more pronounced than any since records began.

With that said, the exceedingly dry conditions weren't experienced everywhere. In fact, findings from the WMO suggest that, for every region of the nation that had record-low rainfall, another region had record-highs. Those with water tanks in Darwin, for example, may find themselves with much more supply than those in Brisbane.

If there's one takeaway from the WMO's report, it's that when predicting the weather, be prepared for the unpredictable. There's one sure thing, however – harvesting the rainfall that does arrive in Australia, whether the tiniest sprinkling or a torrential deluge, is a smart move for the future. 

By Gerald Beckton

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