Climate signal worsens for January extreme heat while heatwave ends Summer

February 28, 2019 at 10:19 am Leave a comment

The climate signal in Australia’s January heat has increased from around 15-fold in 2013 to 50-fold in 2019, according to preliminary analysis of summer temperature extremes.

Sophie Lewis is a climate researcher who was involved in an important climate attribution study that determined the angry summer of 2013 was influenced by climate change. Her preliminary research for January temperatures in 2019 shows a much larger climate signal.

Lewis wrote in her blog on 31st January: Extremes impossible without a climate change kick:

“Another remarkable feature of 2019 in Australia is the rate of warming. Back in 2013, we also looked at record January temperatures across Australia. We found that climate change increased the risk of this event by about 15-fold.

What about 2019? Well this preliminary analysis suggests we are now up around 50-fold increase in likelihood of extreme January temperatures because of climate change. The precise values aren’t the key here, it’s that the signal of climate change in our extreme weather and climate events is increasing over time.”

The angry summer is still not over with a severe heatwave hitting South Australia and Victoria in the final day of February and into March. The Victorian Department of health have issued Heat Health alerts for Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the Victorian Central Region, including Melbourne. This means the mean temperratures forecast for these 3 days is 30 degrees Celsius or higher.

Maximum temperatures for Melbourne for the three days are all in the high 30s, with overnight minimum temperatures in the low to mid 20s.

People should be prepared to take some simple precautions as Heat kills more Australians than any natural disaster. These include:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Never leave anyone, or a pet, in a car
  • Stay somewhere cool or find places that offer heat respite (Council libraries, Shopping Centres)
  • Plan ahead
  • Check in on others, especially elderly friends and relatives, and those with medical conditions
  • Leave out plenty of water for pets and wildlife

More advice from Victorian Government Better Health Channel: Survive the Heat

Just on the Angry Summer of 2019, Peter Hannam highlights the extent of the heat in the Sydney Morning Herald: ‘It’s been extreme’: Australia’s summer smashes seasonal heat records

While final temperatures for February will be set on Thursday, maximum and mean temperatures will come in about two degrees above the 1961-90 period the bureau uses as its benchmark. While minimums were less extreme, they will eclipse the previous record for overnight temperatures set one year earlier.

The previous record summers were about one degree warmer than the average, underscoring how anomalously warm the summer just ending has been.

The heat was widespread, with NSW, Victoria and Western Australia among the regions posting a record-hot summer.

December and January were the hottest on record nationally and February will come in among the top five warmest. January alone registered eight of the 10 hottest days recorded based on area-averaged heat.

The outlook for Autumn also shows the heat continuing and reduced likelihood of rainfall:

Time for Action:
If you do have have spare time in a cool space over the next few days, perhaps use it to write a letter to your Federal MP or senators highlighting that:

  • we need rapid action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and
  • in energy this means going to 100 per cent renewables by at least 2030
  • We need to also stop all new coal and gas projects, including the Adani coal mine
  • Major new investment in public transport, cycling and walking infrastructure to reduce transport emissions
  • Progressively reducing emissions standards on all new vehicles
  • Increased support for electric vehicles and hydrogen energy economy
  • High speed rail for Australia’s east coast to reduce aviation emissions

How to contact your MP or Senator?

Current List of Victorian Senators

List of 48 Victorian Federal MPs and Senators

Support the global school strike for climate action on March 15:

Entry filed under: heatwave, Meet Climate Action Moreland members, news, Politician education. Tags: , , , .

Climate strike students visit Peter Khalil MP in Coburg Say Hello to climate activists at the Sydney Road Street Party on March 3

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