UPDATE January 2023
The Australian Actuaries Climate Index recorded the third highest index value in Spring 2022 since the Index began.
This was primarily driven by extreme rainfall, especially in the south-eastern parts of the country. The Central Slopes, which covers inland parts of NSW and QLD, and the Southern Slopes (Tasmania) both recorded the highest ever extreme rainfall index value, due to a combination of cyclical climate drivers – a La Niña event, a negative Indian Ocean Dipole and a positive Southern Annular Mode.
On the ground this was experienced as storms and floods that generated more than 17,000 claims with estimated insured losses of $477 million1. This follows $250 million of claims arising from the flooding in western Sydney in July, and $5.65 billion due to flooding in February and March.
The sea level index for Australia as a whole was also the third highest value ever in Spring 2022, and particularly pronounced in south-eastern Australia. However, it largely went unnoticed due to the flooding events along the east coast.
View the media release (19 January 2023)
UPDATE october 2022
The Australian Actuaries Climate Index for Winter 2022 reflected a brief reprieve in the rain-bearing La Niña phase which is again causing havoc across Eastern Australia.
The Index was 0.32 in Winter 2022 compared with 1.10 in Autumn 2022 and 0.40 last Winter. A positive value for the Index indicates weather extremes being above the 1981-2010 historical average used as the AACI baseline.
The latest AACI report also showed North Queensland recording its second highest extreme rainfall index value during Winter 2022, while a cold snap in July resulted in falling extreme warm temperature index values in Victoria, Tasmania, and parts of South Australia.
Winter 2022 is the 46th of 47 seasons to show the frequency of extreme weather across Australia and as a whole remains elevated above the AACI baseline.
View the media release (27 October 2022)
UPDATE JULY 2022
The Australian Actuaries Climate Index reached a record level across Australia during autumn, driven by extreme rainfall across the east coast and high temperatures in northern Australia.
The East Coast South region, which covers Sydney and most of the NSW coast, set a record for extreme rainfall. The Wet Tropics region, which includes the northern most parts of Queensland, recorded the second highest index value for extreme rainfall since the index began. This was influenced by the ongoing La Niña weather system that stayed in place throughout the season. The rainfall was enhanced by an east coast low that affected the region in early March.
On the ground there was a continuation of the severe flooding that started in the previous season. Schools were closed, evacuations took place and supply chains were disrupted. The combination of saturated soil conditions and continued heavy rainfall throughout the season meant flooding persisted throughout the period for much of QLD and NSW. This continues in winter.
View the media release (28 July 2022)
UPDATE APRIL 2022
The summer of 2021/22 continued the trend set by a wet spring, with an ongoing La Niña event leading to increased rainfall and warm ocean temperatures on the east coast of Australia.
There was significant flooding in parts of QLD and NSW in late February that led to the deaths of 22 people and an estimated $2.5 billion of insurance claims as at 14 April (noting this figure is subject to revision and includes losses incurred in summer 2021/22 and autumn 2022 as heavy rainfall and flooding continued into that season)1. However, despite what was seen on the ground, no climate index records were set for the East Coast North and East Coast South clusters for the summer of 2021/22.
This is due to the fact that the index captures information over a time span of 3 months and across large geographical areas. It therefore reflects overall climate trends as opposed to localised catastrophes.
View the media release (28 April 2022)
UPDATE February 2022
Australia experienced above average rainfall in the Spring of 2021, with the Bureau of Meteorology
(BoM) flagging it as the wettest Spring since 20101. This was reflected in the extreme rainfall component
of the Australian Actuaries Climate Index, which was above reference period averages for all regions
High volumes of rainfall marked November, which was the wettest November in 122 years nationally,
according to the BoM. Parts of NSW and QLD suffered flooding. Some residents were evacuated after
areas experienced up to 40mm of rain in 30 minutes. Greater Sydney dams collected almost four times
as much water as in November of 2020.
The high level of rain towards the end of the season was likely influenced by the El Niño-Southern
Oscillation (ENSO) weather system entering a La Niña phase on November 105. This leads to wetter than
usual weather for eastern, northern and central parts of Australia, said Rade Musulin, Convenor of the
Actuaries Institute’s Climate Risk Working Group and lead researcher on the Index.
Despite these events, no records were set for the extreme rainfall index. This is in part because the index
measures the frequency of extreme weather, from September to November, while many other metrics
focus on averages.
View the media release (21 February 2022)
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2021
On the third anniversary of its launch, the Actuaries Institute today said its Climate Index shows that 42 of the last 43 seasons recorded extreme weather, including high or low temperatures, high rainfall, strong wind, or rising sea levels.
The Australian Actuaries Climate Index is released quarterly, shortly after the end of each Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn, using data from the Bureau of Meteorology.
The data tracks 12 regions across Australia, measuring extreme weather or sea levels that can have catastrophic impacts on individuals, businesses, and communities. It shows how the occurrence of extremes is changing over time.
Each season is compared to the same season in previous years, and against a reference period from 1981-2010.
Since 2011, only one season, Winter 2015, recorded weather that is outside what is historically considered extreme.
View the media release (1 November 2021)
UPDATE AUGUST 2021
The latest update to the Australian Actuaries Climate Index shows Autumn began with lower temperatures and higher levels of rainfall compared with the historical reference period of 1981-2010.
Eastern Australia experienced widespread flooding in March, after extreme rainfall.
Extreme high temperature and extreme low temperature were both below the reference period average.
The sea level index continues its rising trend, with all geographic clusters recording a positive value. The Rangelands North region recorded the highest ever sea-level index value.
View the media release (4 August 2021)
UPDATE APRil 2021
The Australian Actuaries Climate Index saw a mild summer with moderate temperatures and unusually low levels of wind.
Australia experienced the first below reference-period average extreme high temperature since 2012; however, the low temperature index indicated ongoing warming.
Extreme wind gusts have been significantly lower, with new low records being set in several parts of the country.
La Niña brought more rainfall than usual, but no new records were set for extreme rainfall this summer; the extreme precipitation that led to flooding in eastern Australia occurred after the close of the period.
Despite the mild summer, rising temperatures and the management of major weather events remain high on the agenda.
View the media release (29 April 2021)
UPDATE FEBRUARY 2021
The Australian Actuaries Climate Index (AACI) shows Australia experienced an extreme Spring in 2020, with the highest ever index value for the season.
This was primarily driven by extreme high temperatures and sea levels. This Spring, all regions except the Wet Tropics recorded extreme high temperatures above the reference period average.
La Niña continues to have an impact, contributing to a less severe bushfire season so far. Note that even if overall conditions are less severe, regional bushfire outbreaks can occur, as is currently being seen in areas around Perth.
View the media release (5 February 2021)
UPDATE OCTOBER 2020
The Australian Actuaries Climate Index showed winter was relatively benign across most of Australia, with the Index falling to levels not seen since winter 2015.
Through winter, it shows temperatures were more benign than the reference period average (1981-2010). Extreme high temperatures occurred less often.
However, the extreme low temperature index continued to be positive, indicative of minimum temperatures being warmer than the reference period average.
Only four out of the 12 regions experienced extreme rainfall that was above the reference period average.
The reprieve from wild weather may be short-lived; above average rainfall and a 66% chance of more tropical cyclones than average have been forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology as we move into summer 2020/21.
View the media release (21 October 2020)
UPDATE JULY 2020
The Australian Actuaries Climate Index shows weather conditions in Autumn 2020 in Australia returned to typical levels after a period of extremely destructive bushfires and storms.
While the record-breaking extreme high temperatures, dryness and rainfall of the summer have subsided, a clear long-term trend towards an increasing frequency of extreme weather remains.
The overall index value for Australia breaks no records in terms of its magnitude, but it is the 19th consecutive season that has a positive index value for the country as a whole.
This shows that while extreme weather events do not occur every season, a long-term trend towards a more extreme climate can be observed.
View the media release (15 July 2020).
UPDATE - MAY 2020
The latest Australian Actuaries Climate Index shows records were set across Summer 2019/20 for extreme high temperatures and consecutive dry days. In parts of NSW, extreme wind levels and consecutive dry days were the highest ever.
The combination of extreme heat, dryness and wind resulted in the third highest climate index value for Australia. These extreme weather conditions enabled the destructive bushfire season that resulted in $2.3 billion of insurance losses and claimed 34 lives over the Summer.
The conditions also show the extreme rainfall that accompanied severe hail in ACT, NSW, and VIC in late January. Greater Sydney dam levels rose from historically low levels at 44.1%, to 64.0% capacity in a single day due to the extreme rainfall.
View the media release (4 May 2020).
UPDATE - february 2020
The latest update, shows every region experienced above reference period average extreme high temperatures and several regions broke records. Above reference period average consecutive dry days were also observed in every region except Tasmania. Extreme wind levels for Australia as a whole were the fourth highest. The combination of extreme heat, dryness and high levels of wind are likely to have laid the foundations for the severe bushfires observed in recent months.
View the media release (6 February 2020)
Update - november 2019
View the media release (19 November 2019)
PRESENTATION - November 2019
AACI Presentation to Climate Change Forum by Rade Musulin on 6 November 2019.
update - september 2019
This update shows Autumn 2019 continued the pattern of extreme weather. Last Autumn ranked as the second most extreme in the number of hot days ever recorded in the three months from March, and the third when ranked against all seasons. Only the Autumn of 2016 and the Summer of 2018/2019 showed more extreme high temperatures.
View the media release (12 September 2019)
View latest media coverage.
UPDATE - MAY 2019
The Australian Actuaries Climate Index (AACI), updated for the summer of 2018-19, shows the component indices reaching record levels for extreme high temperatures, rainfall in the northern tropics and drought in central regions.
View the media release (30 May 2019).
UPDATE - MARCH 2019
The Australian Actuaries Climate Index (AACI), updated for the first time since its launch in late 2018, shows the number of extreme hot days was above historical levels in both Winter and Spring 2018, and portions of Australia remained extraordinarily dry showing distinct signs of drought.
View the media release
(13 March 2019).
To explore the AACI select Component Graphs
under the Explore menu
LAUNCH - November 2018
View the media release (12 November 2018).