Australia: Climate and Environment
Australia has a relatively warm climate. However, extreme temperatures have been recorded such as:
- 53°C at Cloncurry (Queensland) in 1889,
- -23°C at Charlotte Pass (NSW) in 1994.
Summers tend to be hotter and more humid in the north and winters are usually colder in the south. These temperature differences are revealed in the average temperatures for Australia’s capital cities in this table (from the Australian Bureau of Statistics):
|AUSTRALIAN CITY||Max (°C)||Min (°C)||Max (°C)||Min (°C)|
- Overall Australian cities tend to have mild climates in comparison to other cities in English-speaking countries.
Australia has a low average annual rainfall but high falls occur in the north. Northern and Eastern regions have wet summers and central Australia is very dry. This is revealed in the data of the rainfall in Australian cities (from the Australian Bureau of Statistics). Darwin in the tropical north has the highest summer rainfall and highest annual rainfall.
Australia has a wide variety of unique distinctive flora and fauna. The major reason for this is related to its geological history. Initially, Australia was part of a larger continent but about 40 million years ago it separated fully and became an isolated continent.
After this separation, marsupial mammals best adapted to the Australian environment and eventually dominated it. Australia is one of the few places on Earth to have such a large number of marsupials, and to have the only two monotreme mammals. These two types of fauna can be explained as follows:
- Marsupial mammals give birth to their young and carry them in a pouch.
Examples – Kangaroo, Koala, Wombat.
- Monotreme mammals lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young.
Examples – Platypus, Echidna.
Despite its long history, Australia’s biodiversity has changed dramatically in the last 200 years. Since European settlement many ecosystems have been radically simplified and fragmented. Also, many plants and animals have been introduced from around the world, and they have had serious environmental consequences.
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