Text size Follow us on Twitter Find us on Facebook

Climate change’s signature was writ large on Australia’s crazy summer of 2017

Andrew King and colleagues write in The Conversation (2.3.17) about how eastern Australia's scorching summer was made 50 times more likely by humans' impact on the climate.

'Australia’s summer is officially over, and it’s certainly been a weird one. The centre and east of the continent have had severe heat with many temperature records falling, particularly in New South Wales and Queensland.

'For much of the country, the heat peaked on the weekend of February 11-12, when many places hit the high 40s. That heatwave, which mainly affected NSW, was quickly attributed to climate change. But can we say whether the whole summer bore the fingerprint of human-induced climate change?

'Overall, Australia experienced its 12th-hottest summer on record. NSW had its hottest recorded summer. The NSW record average summer temperatures can indeed be linked directly to climate change. We have reached this conclusion using two separate methods of analysis.

'First, using coupled model simulations from a paper led by climatologist Sophie Lewis, we see that the extreme heat over the season is at least 50 times more likely in the current climate compared to a modelled world without human influences.

'... The past few months have given us more than our fair share of newsworthy weather. But the standout event has been the persistent and extreme heat in parts of eastern Australia – and that’s something we’re set to see plenty more of in the years to come.'

 

Previous : Next

 

© 2023 The T J Ryan Foundation


TJ RYAN FOUNDATION LIMITED ACN: 165152625 ABN: 78 165 152 625 info@tjryanfoundation.org.au
Registered office: SOUTH BRISBANE QLD 4101 Regulator: Australian Securities & Investments Commission