Following close on the heels of the hottest summer in United States history, we now have the hottest summer in Australian history, 1.1oC (2oF approx.) hotter than the 1961-1990 average. Daytime maximum temperatures were 1.4oC (2.5oF) hotter than average.
And this record-breaking summer happened courtesy of global warming alone, without a leg up from El Niño, a climate event which characteristically boosts temperatures worldwide, and which was present during Oz’s prior three hottest summers.
The warming this summer was widespread, rather than being boosted up by regional heatwaves, which is what usually happens. Nearly 2/3rds of the continent experienced summers in the top 10%. Previous heatwaves have never pushed even ½ the continent into the top 10% category.
January, 2013, was also the hottest month in Australia since reliable records started to be kept in 1910.
Birdsville, Queensland, experienced 31 days in a row above 40oC (104oF).
Alice Springs, Northern Territory, experienced 17 such days in a row.
Sidney set a new high temperature record at 45.8oC (114.4oF) on January 18th. Hobart, Tasmania, reached 41.8oC (107.2oF) January 4th. Moomba, South Australia, reached 49.6oC (121.3oF approx.) the highest temperature reached in Australia since 1998 (an El Niño year.)
Six of the ten hottest Australian summers on record have occurred in the last eleven years, eight of the ten since 1990.
The climatic forecast? Much much more of the same. This record-breaking summer will become normal in Oz in forty years, under mid-to-high carbon emission scenarios, and under those same scenarios will be the cooler end of normal by 2100. Grandpa’s unbearably hot summer will become grandchild’s cool summer.
We don’t know hot until we see the hot that’s going to come if we don’t change our ways.
Time to switch to alternative energies and tax tax tax carbon. Drive those emission scenarios down into the ground. Where fossil fuels belong.