You’re not imagining it, Australia’s summers are getting hotter and longer, according to claims in new research released by a progressive, climate change think tank.
The Australia Institute has released a new report comparing the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) data from the past two decades with weather recordings from the 1950s and 1960s. Using the data from 70 weather stations across locations in Queensland, Western Australia, NSW, Victoria, ACT, South Australia and Tasmania.
It found all seasons in the recent decades' data " 1999 to 2018 " were warmer than the data obtained between 1950 and 1969. Average and extreme temperatures were particularly up during summer.
The report found winter was now starting around June 12, on average, compared to June 1. It also found spring was starting earlier on August 20, shaving 11 days off of winter's stretch.
Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute, said summer temperatures, on the other hand, were extending into four months of the year.
"Temperatures which were considered a regular three month summer in the 1950s, now span from early to mid-November all the way to mid-March," Merzian said in the report's media release.
"Our findings are not a projection of what we may see in the future. It's happening right now. Summers have grown longer even in recent years, with the last five years facing summers twice as long as their winters."
It chalks the changes up to an increase in emissions with warming already being estimated at around one degree Celsius higher since 1910, as recorded by BOM. Without an effective emissions reduction target, the report predicts the temperatures could rise by another three to four degrees to devastating effects.
"Global heating is already making Australian summers a longer and more dangerous ordeal than they used to be. Extreme heat events are the most fatal of all natural hazards and have been responsible for more deaths in Australia than all other natural hazards put together," Merzian said.
Australia's east coast has already seen the devastation an extended summer period can cause when teamed up with a drought. The 2019-20 fire season was particularly catastrophic causing millions of hectares to burn, thousands of properties to burn and millions of animals to perish.
Now the race is on to stop it from happening again but with unaltered policies continuing on with diminishing effect, it might take a few more tragedies before impactful change is finally made.
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