Australia adds new colour to temperature maps as heat soars

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Global warming is turning the volume of extreme weather up, Spinal-Tap-style, to 11. The temperature forecast for next Monday by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology is so unprecedented – over 52C – that it has had to add a new colour to the top of its scale, a suitably incandescent purple.


Australia’s highest recorded temperature is 50.7C, set in January 1960 in South Australia. The record for the hottest average day across the nation was set on Monday, at 40.3C, exceeding a 40-year-old record. “What makes this event quite exceptional is how widespread and intense it’s been,” said Aaron Coutts-Smith, the weather bureau’s climate services manager. “We have been breaking records across all states and territories in Australia over the course of the event so far.” Wildfires are raging across New South Wales and Tasmania.

Australia’s prime minister Julia Gillard said: “Whilst you would not put any one event down to climate change, weather doesn’t work like that, we do know over time that as a result of climate change we are going to see more extreme weather events and conditions.”

She is right of course to be cautious about attributing individual events to global warming, but it is equally clear that new colours will need to be added to scales across the world for heatwaves and other extreme weather events.

We already know that climate change is loading the weather dice. Scientists have shown that the European heatwave of 2003, that caused over 40,000 premature deaths, was made at least twice as likely by climate change. The Russian heatwave of 2010, that killed 50,000 and wiped out $15bn of crops, was made three times as likely by global warming and led to the warmest European summer for 500 years.

Written By: Damian Carrington
continue to source article at guardian.co.uk

7 COMMENTS

  1. She is right of course to be cautious about attributing individual events to global warming, but it is equally clear that new colours will need to be added to scales across the world for heatwaves and other extreme weather events.

    The effects and timing of such events, is what adds variables to make details on climate models difficult to predict accurately.

    The heat and drought increases fires – which adds CO2 to the atmosphere.
    Repeated burning in areas prone to fires probably does not do much, but burning dried-out tundra, which was previously waterlogged or permafrost, or burning cleared rain-forest, certainly does.

  2. We already know that climate change is loading the weather dice. Scientists have shown that the European heatwave of 2003, that caused over 40,000 premature deaths, was made at least twice as likely by climate change.
    The Russian heatwave of 2010, that killed 50,000 and wiped out $15bn of crops, was made three times as likely by global warming and led to the warmest European summer for 500 years.

    That’s the problem with climate change! It is only confirmed to the “sceptic” with hindsight.

    Individual weather anomalies can be thought of as “one-off” events – until whole strings of them keep turning up on a regular basis!

  3. …climate skeptics shouting – scientists turning up the volume of warnings…

    Yesterday, I happened upon a small opinion piece about a recently released (limited theaters) documentary called Chasing Ice.

    Will this hat in the ring make any difference, or is it preaching to the choir?

    At any rate, it looks visually stunning.

  4. Last March, my daughter flew over Greenland on her way to Iceland, and was astonished to see vast meltwater lakes on the icecap, with water streaming off over nearly the entire visible surface. She had flown this route before and never seen such melting, especially not so early in the spring! It made quite an impression on her. It’s not hard to believe that the entire icecap could disappear in a decade or less when one sees the extreme melt rate. The snows of the shortened winter are not enough to make up for it.

    Here in the PNW, climate change is not in the form of hot summers or drought or colder winters – just more rain. So much rain that we’re measuring it in feet and the overcast days in terms of months. It’s always been rainy here, but we’ve recently broken many historic records, and everyone has noticed that gardening has become harder due to perennially wet soil and lack of sunlight. We’re all forced to take vitamin D supplements year round because there are just not enough warm sunny days to expose our skin as much as we need to. Too bad we can’t ship some of our rain to Australia!

  5. In reply to #6 by Sue Blue:

    So much rain that we’re measuring it in feet and the overcast days in terms of months… everyone has noticed that gardening has become harder due to perennially wet soil and lack of sunlight.

    Sounds like ‘The Long Rain’ in ‘The Illustrated Man’.

    All those beautiful gardens, inc. Victoria, BC, may be gone soon? :(

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