- The hottest average maximum temperature ever recorded across Australia – 40.33 degrees, was set on Monday surpassing the old record of 40.17 °C set in 1976. (Bureau of Meteorology)
- The number of consecutive days where the national average maximum daily temperature exceeded 39°C has also been broken this week—seven (7) days (between 2–8 January 2013), almost doubling the previous record of four (4) consecutive days in 1973, (BOM)
- According to the National Climate Data Centre, nine of the 10 hottest years on record have been since 2000 (the other is 1998).
- While temperatures vary on a local and regional scale, globally it has now been 27 years since the world experienced a month that was colder than average. “If you’re 27 or younger, you’ve never experienced a colder-than-average month” – Philip Bump, Grist, November 16, 2012.
- The CSIRO has found Australian annual average daily maximum temperatures have steadily increased in the last hundred years, with most of the warming trend occurring since 1970.
- The Bushfire CRC (Cooperative Research Centre) says large areas of southern Australia, from the east coast to the west coast, face “above average fire potential” in the summer of 2012-13. According to the Climate Institute extreme fire danger days are expected to rise more than 15 per cent in south-eastern Australia.
- The last four months of 2012 – globally – were the hottest on record. (British Met Office) and 2012 was the hottest year the continental United States of America has ever recorded.(“2012 Was the Hottest Year in U.S. History. And Yes – It’s Climate Change”, Bryan Walsh, TIME 8 January, 2013).
- The hot-dry trend is expected to continue, with the Climate Commission predicting large increases in the number of days over 35°C this century.
- Around the world, 2013 could be the hottest ever recorded by modern instrumentation, according to a recent study by Britain’s Met Office. If that turns out to be accurate, 2013 would surpass the previous record, held jointly by 2005 and 2010.
This article includes perspectives from climate scientists at the Bureau of Meteoroloy on recent hot weather and some international evidence about the changing global climate.
Ben Cubby, Get used to record-breaking heat: bureau, 9 January 2013, The Age.
Australia faces another week of ‘catastrophic’ heat
This article provides a useful outline of the connection between climate change and the recent heatwave.
Andy Coghlan and Michael Slezak, Australia faces another week of ‘catastrophic’ heat, 8 January 2012, New Scientist website.
Extreme January heat
This Special climate Statement from the Bureau of Meteorology summarises the weather conditions during the recent heatwave.
Bureau of Meteorology, Extreme January heat, 7 January 2013, Bureau of Meteorology website.
Grim Warning on extreme weather for Australia
This Climate Commission report summarises the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on extreme conditions and disasters and deals with the impact of climate change on heat, rain, drought, fire, cyclones and sea-level rise.
Climate Commission, Grim Warning on extreme weather for Australia Climate Commission website.
The human impact of heatwaves and extreme weather
This report from the Climate Commission summarises research on the impact of climate change on physical and mental health and communities.
Climate Institute, The human impact of heatwaves and extreme weather, 9 January 2013, Climate Institute website: media briefs.
State of the Climate – 2012
This report jointly produced in 2012 by the CSIRO and Australian Bureau of Meteorology provides an updated summary of observations and trends in Australia’s changing climate.
CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, State of the Climate – 2012 13 March 2012, CSIRO website.