The Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed that the summer just finished was Australia's hottest on record.
Average temperatures across the country came in at 28.6°C, 1.1°C above normal, and exceeding the previous record set in the summer of 1997-98 by more than 0.1°C. A new daytime maximum temperature record was also set at 35.7°C, or 1.4°C above normal, and 0.2°C above the 1982/83 record.
The most extreme heat occurred in the first three weeks of January during an exceptionally widespread and prolonged heatwave. The highest temperature recorded during the heatwave was at Moomba in South Australia at 49.6°C.
Of the 112 locations used in long-term climate monitoring, 14 had their hottest day on record during the summer of 2012/13 – the largest number in any single summer. Record temperatures were also set in two capital cities; Sydney with 45.8°C and Hobart with 41.8°C.
A new record was also set for the number of consecutive days the average maximum daily temperature for Australia exceeded 39°C – seven days between 2 and 8 January 2013, almost doubling the previous record of four consecutive days in 1973.
Despite heavy rainfall on the east coast, compounded as ex-tropical cyclone Oswald cut a steady path down the eastern-seaboard, for most of Australia it was a dry summer.
Nationally, summer rainfall was at its lowest since 2004-05. Victoria had its driest summer since 1984-85 and South Australia since 1985-86.
This summer follows a pattern of extremely hot summers in various parts of the world over the past few years.
While the final numbers for the Southern Hemisphere summer will not be confirmed until mid-March, it was the hottest December on record for land areas of the Southern Hemisphere, followed by the hottest January. Large parts of southern Africa recorded their hottest January on record.
Hotter temperatures were also recorded in large parts of Argentina, Chile and Brazil, while temperatures in parts of Patagonia were more than 4°C above normal in January.