More extremely hot days and severe fire seasons ahead for Australia

William West/AFP/Getty Images

Severe fire seasons fueled by increasingly hot days will continue for Australia, according to analysis by the peak science body, the CSIRO, and the Bureau of Meteorology.

The State of the Climate report draws on the latest climate monitoring and science to show how climate is changing.

“Australian temperatures will almost certainly continue to increase over the coming decades,” says Helen Cleugh, a CSIRO senior scientist.

“Temperature projections suggest more extremely hot days and fewer extremely cool days.

“As land temperatures increase, so do ocean temperatures and the report shows that the deep ocean is also impacted, with warming now recorded at least 2000 metres below the sea surface.”

Karl Braganza, the Bureau of Meteorology’s manager of climate monitoring, says Australia is already experiencing the effects of climate change with record-breaking heat now commonplace.

“Australia experienced its three warmest springs on record in 2013, 14 and 15,” says Braganza.

“Temperature and rainfall during this period is critical to southern Australia’s fire season.

“We’ve already seen an increase in fire weather and a longer fire season across southern and eastern Australia since the 1970s. In these regions the number of days with weather conducive to fire is likely to increase.

“Some of the record-breaking extreme heat we have been seeing recently will be considered normal in 30 years’ time.”

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