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Climate The climate of Australia varies greatly from region to region, but the continent is not generally subject to marked extremes of weather. The climate ranges from tropical (monsoonal) in the north to temperate in the south. The tropical region, which includes about 40 percent of the total area of Australia, essentially has only two seasons: a hot, wet period with rains falling mainly in February and March, during which the northwestern monsoons prevail; and a warm, dry interval characterized by the prevalence of southeastern winds. Many points on the northern and northeastern coast have an average annual rainfall of 1,500 mm (60 in); in parts of Queensland average annual rainfall exceeds 2,500 mm (100 in). On the fringe of the monsoonal region are the drier savanna grasslands, where the low, unreliable rainfall is supplemented by artesian water. In central and northern Australia average summer temperatures range between 27° and 29°C (80° and 85°F). The deserts of central and western Australia, making up more than two-thirds of the area, have an annual rainfall of less than 250 mm (10 in).The warm, temperate regions of southern Australia have four seasons, with cool winters and warm summers. Because Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, seasons there are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere. January and February are the warmest months, with average temperatures varying between 18° and 21°C (65° and 70°F). June and July are the coldest months, with an average July temperature of about 10°C (about 50°F), except in the Australian Alps, where temperatures average 2°C (35°F). The eastern coastal lowlands receive rain in all seasons, although mainly in summer. The warm, temperate western and southern coasts receive rain mainly in the winter months, usually from prevailing westerly winds. Tasmania, lying in the cool temperate zone, receives heavy rainfall from the prevailing westerly winds in summer and from cyclonic storms in winter. Over the greater part of the lowlands, snow is unknown; however, in the mountains, particularly the Australian Alps in southern New South Wales and the northern part of Victoria, snowfall is occasionally heavy.All of the southern states are exposed to hot, dry winds from the interior, which can suddenly raise the temperature considerably. In most years, parts of the continent experience drought conditions and smaller localities are ravaged by floods and tropical cyclones. Southeastern Australia, including Tasmania, has among the highest incidences of serious bushfires in the world, along with California in the United States and Mediterranean Europe. In 1994, notably, bushfires swept through New South Wales and destroyed several hundred homes in suburban Sydney