Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Australia's angry summer

The Australian Climate Commission* has just released a report titled the Angry Summer which confirms what many of us already knew- that Australia’s record-breaking summer heatwave was made worse by climate change. 

It was the hottest summer ever, capped by the longest and most extreme heatwave on record. Sydney, Newcastle and Hobart experienced their hottest days on record. Rainfall records were smashed along eastern Australia, tropical cyclones wreaked havoc, bushfires raged in every state and territory and tornadoes hit parts of Queensland. 123 records were broken throughout Australia in 90 days.

The report says warmer and more moist conditions have caused weather patterns to change, and while Australia has always experienced extreme weather events, they are hitting harder and more often.It goes on to say;

Australia’s Angry Summer shows that climate change is already adversely affecting Australians. The significant impacts of extreme weather on people, property, communities and the environment highlight the serious consequences of failing to adequately address climate change".
The 12-page report, by the body set up to provide independent advice on the science of climate change, points to a record-breaking stretch of seven days in January when daily temperatures across the country averaged above 39C.

The Report argues that it is virtually certain that extreme hot weather will continue to become even more frequent and severe around the globe, including Australia, over the coming decades The authors write:

"Climate change has made the extreme heat conditions worse, with the length, extent and severity of the January heatwave unprecedented since records began.......All of the extreme weather events of the Angry Summer occurred in a climate system that contains vastly more heat compared to 50 years ago."

*  The Climate Commission was established to provide all Australians with an independent and reliable source of information about, the science of climate change, the international action being taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the economics of a carbon price.

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