Abnormal Autumn 2016

Australia had its warmest Autumn on record as climate change supercharged El Nino to create unprecedented temperatures.

Our new report reveals that a slew of records were broken during autumn, with Australia experiencing its warmest March, second-warmest April and second-warmest May on record.



Climate change continues to drive abnormally warm conditions with autumn 2016 being the warmest on record for Australia.

  • Australia experienced its warmest March, second warmest April and second warmest May on record.
  • Nearly every day in April was above average in Sydney, Darwin, Canberra and Brisbane.
  • Globally March and April this year were the warmest on record, with May likely to follow this trend.

Sydney was particularly affected by the abnormal heat.

  • The average maximum temperature for the first half of May was 24.3°C, almost 5°C above the monthly average.
  • On the 17th of May, only two weeks from the start of winter, inner-Sydney temperatures reached 28.2°C, warmer than the average maximum temperature for January.

The abnormally high ocean temperatures wreaked havoc on marine life.

  • Very high ocean temperatures to the northeast of Australia during February and March resulted in a catastrophic coral bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef, particularly the northern part.
  • A marine heatwave off eastern Tasmania devastated the aquaculture industry throughout early Autumn.

Climate change, driven by greenhouse gases from the ongoing burning of fossil fuels, is driving these abnormal autumn temperatures.

  • Coal-fired power stations must be phased out and renewable energy scaled up rapidly to meet the challenge of climate change.