Weather Australia’s ‘record-setting’ extreme summer

Australia’s ‘record-setting’ extreme summer

heatwave temperature records
A Climate Council report says 206 weather records were broken this summer. Photo: AAP
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Australia’s summer of 2018-19 has broken more than 200 extreme weather records, becoming the hottest in history, according to a new Climate Council report. 

The report released on Thursday morning delivers a dire warning about climate change upon declaring that Australia has posted its hottest summer on record. 

It reveals 206 weather records were broken in just 90 days around the country, highlighting the extremes Australians have dealt with over the past three months.

Port Augusta in South Australia reached a record breaking 49.5 degrees Celsius in January, while every state experienced serious bushfires and Townsville broke its 10-day accumulated rainfall total.

“Now, hot on the heels of Australia’s ‘angriest summer’, we have autumn fires burning across parts of Victoria,” former NSW Fire and Rescue commissioner Greg Mullins said.

“Climate change has lengthened bushfire seasons.

“In Victoria, the fire season started early. This has put a great deal of pressure on fire fighters; we simply don’t have the resources for this new reality.”

“This summer was so hot we witnessed fruit cooking on trees,” Climate Council chief executive Amanda McKenzie said.

“In Melbourne, the Australian Tennis Open had to implement its new extreme-heat policy, postponing matches, as temperatures soared,” she said.

The report says the record-breaking summer was driven by greenhouse gas pollution from the burning of fossil fuels and land clearing.

Australia experienced widespread heatwaves during the last week of December into early January, with temperature records exceeded across a large area from northwest Western Australia to southeastern Australia, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Five of Australia’s ten highest December mean daily minimum temperatures occurred in 2018.

Australia’s 2016/17 summer broke 205 extreme weather records as summer temperatures soared to unprecedented new heights, with capital cities such as Sydney experiencing its hottest summer on record.

The 2016/17 extreme summer heat in New South Wales was at least 50 times more likely to occur due to climate change, according to the Climate Council’s report titled Angry Summer 2016/17: Climate Change Supercharging Extreme Weather”.

NSW, Brisbane and Sydney had its hottest summer on record, with a state-wide mean temperature of 2.57 degrees, 2.8 degrees and 1.7 degrees above average, respectively.

-With AAP