“More than 260 heat and low rainfall records smashed in one (winter) season in Australia
by The Climate Council
THE HOTTEST PERIOD on record has been officially confirmed, with the world experiencing its hottest five-years from 2013 through 2017, according to new climate data released today. Ed note: this does not mean everywhere is uniformly hotter. It means more heat energy in the atmospheric systems governing climate leading to more extreme and unpredictable weather, both hot and cold.
The Climate Council’s 2017: Record-breaking Year for Heat and Extreme Weather report coincides with release of climate data from peak climate observation body the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Climate Councillor and international climate scientist Professor Will Steffen said that the global temperature averaged over the last five years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) has been confirmed as the highest ever on record for any five-year period. This record is part of a sharp, long-term upswing in global temperatures, with 17 out of the 18 years hottest years on record all occurring in this century.
“Just like dominoes, temperature and extreme weather records have toppled one after the other around the globe in 2017,” he said.
“Here in Australia, we are seeing the effects of intensifying climate change first hand. We’ve seen records reach disappointing new heights in just 12 months, with more than 260 heat and low rainfall records smashed throughout one season (winter) alone.”
He said heatwaves are becoming more apparent with some regions in New South Wales and South Australia experiencing daytime temperatures nearing 50 degrees last summer.
“Severe heatwaves are silent killers, causing more deaths since the 1890s than bushfires, cyclones, earthquakes, floods and severe storms combined.”
KEY FINDINGS INCLUDE:
- The 2013–2017 period has been the hottest five-year period ever recorded.
- 2017 was the third hottest year ever recorded, and the hottest year in which temperatures have not been boosted by an El Niño event.
- The world’s 10 hottest years on record have all occurred since 1998 and 17 of the 18 hottest years on record have occurred this century.
- 2017 was Australia’s third hottest year on record.
- Seven of the ten hottest years on record in Australia have happened since 2005. Five of the seven have occurred the past five years.
- 2017 broke records for hot, dry conditions with more than 260 heat and low rainfall records broken throughout winter.
- The increasing global heat, driven primarily by the burning of fossil fuels, exacerbated extreme weather events around the globe and in Australia in 2017.
Australia’s greenhouse gas levels still rising
Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said the global data release was timely after the Federal Government admitted that Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution levels were consistently rising, contributing to intensifying climate change.
“Climate change is exacerbating extreme weather events across Australia and around the globe. This was obvious in 2017, from severe heatwaves and bushfires, through to supercharged storms, cyclones and flooding,” she said.
“The window of opportunity to tackle climate change is rapidly closing. The release of this data is yet another warning to the Federal Government to urgently slash Australia’s rising greenhouse gas pollution levels, placing lives at risk.
“Australia has an opportunity now to continue the transition to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and storage technology, instead of locking our country into a very dangerous future.”
The Climate Council is Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community. For further information: Climate Council.