The Illawarra is on trend for more severe weather events, hotter days and longer dry spells, according to a climate expert.
Despite La Nina being declared in September and bringing a never-ending supply of rain clouds, climatologist Greg Browning from the Bureau of Meteorology said Australia's climate overall was heating up.
Mr Browning said the nation's temperatures were overall up about 1.4°C since 1910, and the Illawarra wasn't far behind that - though coastal areas were warming at a slightly slower rate.
"The Illawarra has seen a mean temperature increase of approximately 0.9°C since about 1960," he said.
For NSW as a whole, the annual mean temperature was 0.91°C above average in 2020, the coolest year since 2012.
Australia had its warmest spring on record in 2020, as well as its fourth-warmest year on record, with the annual national mean temperature 1.15°C above the 1961-1990 average, according to the Bureau.
Warmth was persistent throughout the year, with six of 12 months placing in the ten warmest on record for each of mean, maximum, and minimum temperatures for their respective months their data showed.
Most of NSW had above average rainfall last year, with Sydney's rainfall 28 per cent above average for the year.
However, rainfall in November was 54 per cent below average, the driest November for the State since 2002.
Globally, every year from 2013 onwards has been among the ten warmest on record, with 2016 and 2019 being the hottest and 2020 was among the top three, (despite the onset of La Nina which has a suppressing effect on global temperatures), according to the Bureau.
After analysing climate data specific to the South Coast, Mr Browning said over the next 10-50 years the Illawarra would see average temperatures continue to increase with all seasons, meaning more hot days and "warm spells" projected as well as fewer frosts.
"Decreases in winter rainfall are projected with medium confidence," he said.
"Mean sea level will continue to rise and height of extreme sea-level events will also increase."
Mr Browning said climate models also suggested the region would see more intense rainfall events - such as flash flooding - and harsher fire weather climate in the future.
Meanwhile, the Bureau's three-month climate outlook suggests La Nina likely near its peak strength.
"With La Nina still active, there is likely to be above-average rainfall for the Illawarra for the remainder of summer, likely continuing into early autumn 2021," Mr Browning said.
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