Heat puts Australia climate 'on steriods'

2013-03-04 08:33
Dangerously hot summer days have become more common across the US Midwest. (AP)

Dangerously hot summer days have become more common across the US Midwest. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - Australia's weather went "on steroids" over a summer that saw an unprecedented heat wave, bushfires and floods, the climate chief said on Monday, warning that global warming would only make things worse.

The Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed the three summer months ending 28 February were the hottest season ever recorded in Australia, leading the government's Climate Commission to label it the "Angry Summer" in a new report.

"The Australian summer over 2012 and 2013 has been defined by extreme weather events across much of the continent, including record-breaking heat, severe bushfires, extreme rainfall and damaging flooding," the report said.

"Extreme heat waves and catastrophic bushfire conditions during the 'Angry Summer' were made worse by climate change."

The agency's chief commissioner Tim Flannery said the summer had been one of extremes, and was in some ways like an athlete who improves their baseline performance by taking steroids.

Maximum temperature

"The same thing is happening with our climate system," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"As it warms up we're getting fewer cold days and cold events and many, many more record hot events. So it is - in effect it's a climate on steroids is what we're seeing."

Australia experienced its hottest ever average national maximum temperature on 7 January of 40.30°C, while 44 sites, including Sydney and Hobart, recorded all-time high temperatures in the summer.

The report said there have only been 21 days in 102 years where the average maximum temperature for the whole of Australia has exceeded 39°C and eight of these happened in the summer just gone.

The Climate Commission said it was "highly likely" that extreme hot weather would become even more frequent and severe in Australia, and around the globe, over the coming decades.

In addition to the heat wave, Australia also experienced dangerous bushfires in several states, including New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania where more than 100 homes were lost in January.

Later that month, ex-tropical cyclone Oswald brought extreme rainfall over the east coast to Queensland and New South Wales, resulting in severe flooding in many areas.

Flannery said many communities, such as those in flood-prone parts of Queensland which were still recovering from an epic 2011 deluge, were experiencing a sense of exhaustion from dealing with weather events.

"And we're seeing the actual costs now of inaction, of global inaction to deal with this problem," he said.
Read more on:    australia  |  climate change

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Amazing solar inventions!

Solar power is lighting up the world, and not just on rooftops anymore.



Prince George the green prince?
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa
China's air pollution at doomsday levels
Keep food fresher for longer

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

The full moon energy can be quite intense today as your emotions fight against reason. It is important to ground your ideas and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.