Friday, September 27, 2013

Australia has hottest 12 months on record

If you felt it's been hot where you live recently, you're right. Recently the Bureau of Meterology (BOM) announced that the last year has been Australia's hottest 12 month period on record.

This information is containing in a short report you can find here and summarised here. Along with the warmest 12 months, a host of other records have also been broken in individual towns and cities and right across the nation. Because Australia is so big it takes a massive buildup of heat to break countrywide records, some of the most important I've taken from the report and shown below.

"The last 12 months saw a large number of temperature records set across Australia, including:
  • Australia’s hottest summer day on record (7 January) 
  • Australia’s warmest winter day on record (31 August) 
  • Australia’s warmest month on record (January) 
  • Australia’s warmest summer on record 
  • Australia’s warmest January to August period on record 
  • Australia’s warmest 12 month period on record"
Here's a map from the Bureau showing how the whole country has been warmer than normal this past year.

Overall the last year has seen temperatures 1.11 ̊C above average. While that may not sound like all that much, across a whole country, for a whole year, this gives us weather that's noticeably hotter.

Since the first half of the 20th century (1900-1950) temperatures across Australia have risen by ~0.75  ̊C and between now and 2050 are likely to rise by another 2 ̊C or more. This mean's that by 2050 the temperatures we have had over this past year (including the record breaking summer heat) would by then be a much colder than average year. A normal year would be a least a degree hotter than the past 12 months and a record breaking year could see temperature anomalies 3 or 4 times greater than experienced over the past year. Something to think about as Australia goes about dismantling all its policies to combat global warming.

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