Australia has its warmest summer on record

March 2nd, 2013 at 9:34 am by under Weather

While many residents of the Northern Hemisphere are feeling the chill of late winter and early spring, the Southern Hemisphere is closing out their summer months.

And in some areas, the (Southern Hemisphere) summer of 2012-13 was one for the books.

From Weather Underground’s Dr. Jeff Masters:

The historic summer of 2012 – 2013 is now in the books in Australia as the hottest summer on record, beating the previous mark set in 1997 – 1998 by more than 0.1°C. Australia also roasted through its hottest month on record this summer, with January 2013 topping out as Australia’s warmest month since record keeping began in 1910. The oceans surrounding Australia were at their second warmest levels on record during January, contributing to the exceptional heat over the nation.

Summer temperatures in Australia have warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century. Image credit: Australian Bureau of Meteorology

…The summer heat peaked during a remarkably long and widespread heatwave in late December and the first half of January, when fourteen of the 112 sites used by the Bureau of Meteorology for long-term monitoring had their hottest day on record. Sydney’s 45.8°C (114.4°F) on January 18 and Hobart’s 41.8°C (107.2°F) on January 4 were among the places which set new records. The highest temperature during the heatwave was 49.6°C (121.3°F) at Moomba in the far northeast of South Australia–Australia’s highest temperature since 1998.

The pronounced warming trend in Australia has many meteorologists concerned about climate change’s effect on summertime temperatures over the next century.

From the Australian Bureau of Meteorology:

the most significant thing about all of these extremes is they fit with a well established trend in Australia–it’s getting hotter, and record heat is happening more often. Six of Australia’s ten hottest summers on record have come in the last eleven years, meaning that very hot summers have been occurring at about five times the rate you would expect without a warming trend. In the last decade, record high temperatures have outnumbered record low temperatures in Australia by a ratio of about three to one. About a third of the all-time record high temperatures at the Bureau’s long-term stations have occurred since 2000…Australia has warmed by nearly a degree Celsius since 1910. This is consistent with warming observed in the global atmosphere and oceans. And it’s going to keep getting hotter. Over the next century, the world will likely warm by a further 2 to 5 degrees, depending on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. Under mid-to-high emissions scenarios, summers like this one will likely become average in 40 years time. By the end of the 21st century, the record summer of 2013 will likely sit at the very cooler end of normal.

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