Queensland and the Northern Territory have recorded their hottest March days on record in area-averaged terms according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
According to a Special Climate Statement issued by the Bureau today, the heat wave was also notable for recording the, “…highest temperature ever observed in Australia in the second half of March.”
Birdsville topped the thermometer stakes in Queensland, and the entire country, recording a blistering 46.5 degrees on 20 March.
Jervois took out top honours in the Northern Territory reaching 44 sweltering degrees on 19 March.
In the Statement the Bureau says the extremely high temperature were unusual for the month of March, as that time of year usually constitutes the end of the wet season.
The extreme heat was caused by “long-term rainfall deficiencies” in Western Queensland which led to “…already dry deep soils being matched by drier shallow soils, resulting in a reduction in the evaporative cooling
at a time when normally the wet is reaching a peak,” according to the Bureau.
“Likewise, reduced vegetation due to the persistent dry would have resulted in lower transpiration.”