An annual climate summary released by the Bureau of Meteorology for 2019 has painted a picture of a turbulent year for Queensland as drought continues to bite across the country.
The annual rainfall was 20 per cent below average for Queensland overall, with large areas of inland south east Queensland reporting their driest year on record.
It comes as Australia recorded its hottest and driest year on record, but heavy rain in Queensland's northern tropics and north west part of the state and the resulting devastating floods prevented rainfall totals dipping as low on a state level.
Large parts of the Warrego, Maranoa, Darling Downs and Granite Belt reported their driest July to December period on record.
The state's mean temperature for the year was 1.27 °C above average, and the sixth-warmest on record, but a cool snap in May saw Stanthorpe, Applethorpe, Oakey, Warwick and Dalby all report their coldest May temperature on record on May 31, with Stanthorpe dropping to -6.9 °C.
The year also saw dangerous fire weather conditions in Queensland throughout spring and into December.
Bureau of Meteorology head of climate monitoring Dr Karl Braganza said trends showed Australia was getting warmer, the fire season was getting longer, and the conditions during the fire season were becoming more extreme.
"When we look at the projections that we do for climate change, certainly Australia should be preparing for those trends to continue," he said.
"The science has been quite clear that we're preparing for an increase in the risk... so an increase in the risk from heat waves and bush fires, from extreme temperatures, and also an increase in the risks of drought.
"While the natural drivers such as the changes in the Indian Ocean would normally mean a drier and warmer year, when you add climate change on top, that's when you break the records the way we've seen."
Birdsville was the driest town in Queensland for 2019, with just 40.4mm of rain recorded at Birdsville Airport.
But the figures only tell part of the story, with dry flooding following the north west rain event reinvigorating pastures.
Diamantina Shire mayor and cattle producer Geoff Morton said his property Roseberth Station was also an official recording station and had just 23mm of rain last year. The average for Roseberth Station is 152mm.
"Fortunately, we had the dry flood and that's given us plenty of ground cover to sustain us through until February," he said.
"It's not as grim as the figures make out... the dry flood saved us, as it did a lot of people along river country."
- VICTORIA NUGENT