Australia has a near-record warm year

Lightning strike over Sydney

Lightning strike over Sydney

Australia had its third-hottest year on record in 2017, the country's weather bureau said on Wednesday (Jan 10), as global warming changed the continent's climate and farmers warned unpredictable seasons are hurting the US$47 billion (S$62.7 billion) agricultural sector.

NOAA and NASA will release their global temperature report next week.

Here are some highlights from the new NOAA report.

Last year, the US experienced 16 weather and climate disasters each with losses exceeding $1 billion, totaling approximately $306 billion - a new USA record.

The national mean temperature was almost one degree Celsius above average, with the heat "mostly associated" with human-caused global warming that also reduced rainfall in Australia's south, the bureau's statement said.

The national mean temperature of 22.75C was nearly 1C higher than a 1961-1990 baseline, its annual report revealed.

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"Not everywhere was warm, but when we do average those temperatures across the entire USA, it ranked as the third-warmest on record", Jake Crouch, a NOAA climate scientist, said at the briefing. Last year, the USA was 2.6 degrees above its 20th-century average. For the third consecutive year, every state across the contiguous US and Alaska experienced above-average annual temperatures.

Since 1980, the USA has sustained 219 weather and climate disasters that have exceeded $1.5 trillion in overall damages to date.

Only 2005 and 2013 were warmer, based on records kept for about a century.

The biggest newsmakers include the western USA wildfires that caused damages tallying $18 billion - triple the previous US record. The low in Worcester was -9 degrees, a new record. Hurricanes Maria and Irma had total damages of $90 billion and $50 billion, respectively.

A year ago was also the most expensive wildfire season, with a price tag of $18 billion, Smith said, tripling the cost of the previous wildfire record from 1991.

In Massachusetts, previous year was close to average for overall precipitation. The year started with a very wet winter for the Northwest, but ended with the ninth-driest December on record.

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