Sunday, March 9, 2014

Climate action call as 'another angry summer' breaks 156 heat records

Climate Council says the summer was 'another example of climate change tearing through the record books'  

Oliver Milman

The Guardian, Monday 10 March 2014

The Climate Council report is available here -

More than 150 temperature records were broken in Australia during "another angry summer" that highlighted the need for deep reductions in greenhouse gases, a new report has said.

The analysis, by the Climate Council, found that Sydney experienced its driest summer in 27 years, while Melbourne sweltered through its hottest ever 24-hour period, averaging 35.5C. The Victorian capital also had four days in a row above 41C.

Elsewhere, Adelaide had a record of 11 days at 42C or hotter during the summer, while Perth had its second hottest summer on record.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given that 79% of Queensland is now considered to be in drought, the Climate Council findings showed it was the driest summer on record for 45 locations in the state.

In New South Wales, where more than half of the state is in the grip of drought, 38 locations had their driest ever summer.

The highest temperature recorded in the summer was 49.2C in Emu Creek, Western Australia. Overall, 156 temperature records were broken in the 90 days of summer.

Eight of the hottest summers on record have occurred in the past 15 years, the council's report showed. It states it is "virtually certain" that extreme hot weather will become even more frequent and severe in Australia in the coming decades.

Rising temperatures driven by the release of heat-trapping carbon dioxide place Australians at increased risk from extreme weather events, including heatwaves, drought and bushfires, the report stated.

The summer heat followed what was Australia's hottest ever year on record in 2013.

"The latest summer was an another example of climate change tearing through the record books," said the Climate Council's Tim Flannery. "It's not just about one summer but an overall trend to more extreme weather.

"Things are getting bad and if we want to stop them getting worse this is the critical decade for action. We need to cut the emission of greenhouse gases and we need to do it urgently."

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