Hot weather records broken at two Northern Rivers towns
IT WAS a hot and dry 2016 on the Northern Rivers, with two towns having their hottest years on record.
Most of the country experienced well-above average rainfall, but the Northern Rivers was one of the few regions that fell short, according to the Bureau of Meteorology's annual climate report.
The region experienced 200-400mm less rainfall than average and temperatures were one degree higher than average.
Senior climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, Agata Imielska, said there were also records broken for day and night high temperatures.
She said 2016 was the hottest year on record for Casino and Ballina, which have been recording weather history for 21 and 23 years respectively.
It was also one of the hottest years on record for the Far North Coast.
"Daytime temperatures over the year were in the top 10% of the warmest on record," Ms Imielska said.
She said most of the country experienced a hot year, but what particularly stood out was the Far North Coast's dry conditions.
"Quite large parts of New South Wales experienced above average rainfall," Ms Imielska said.
"That was influenced by a climate driver called the Indian Ocean Dipole. We're in a negative phase.
"What happens is moisture comes from the north west of Australia but the Great Dividing Range acts as a physical block, so there's almost a rain shadow over the east coast."
The state experienced its sixth-warmest year on record with mean temperatures 1.08 degrees above the historical average.
The World Meteorological Organization figures also showed that 2016 was very likely to have been the warmest year on record for global mean temperatures.
Looking ahead, Ms Imielska said the Northern Rivers wasn't likely to see a break from the hot, dry conditions.
"The outlook for January to March is still favouring drier and warmer conditions over eastern NSW," she said.
Ms Imielska said it was too soon to predict weather events from March onwards, but the picture would become much clearer by autumn.