Australia – Stand by for hottest year

Stand by for hottest year

30 July 2007

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Australia ia heading towards the hottest year on record. Environmentalists say temperatures will continue to climb unless gas emissions are not curbed.

Bureau of Meteorology records show the average temperature in SA so far this year of 20.41C is almost equal to the record temperatures set in 2005 of 20.5C.

Nationally, the average temperature is only 0.5C cooler than the temperatures felt at the same time two years ago, but 0.5C above the annual average.

Minimum and maximum temperatures in Adelaide this month have been slightly above the July averages.

The bureau’s quarterly weather outlook has forecast temperatures in the next three months will be warmer than normal over most of the country.

Australian Conservation Foundation sustainability programs manager Monica Richter said 10 of the past 12 years had been the hottest on record.

“One can’t link one event or one increased temperature through the year to climate change, but there’s a pattern occurring,” she said.

“Scientists have been predicting that our temperatures are going to get hotter.”

She said the potential effects of higher temperatures would be more bushfires, heatwaves and droughts.

WWF climate change program leader Paul Toni said the warmer temperatures were consistent with climate change.

“The evidence is certainly building and it is heading in one direction,” he said.

“In the future, we can expect to see more of the same.”

Bureau of Meteorology climate meteorologist Darren Ray said if warm temperatures continue for the next five months, global temperatures will also be the second warmest on record.

The global hottest year on record was in 1998, although 2005 was the second warmest, he said.

“If you look at the extreme years in Australia in terms of temperatures, they all tend to be El Nino years. So to have a non-El Nino year that is equal to the hottest on record will be pretty significant,” Mr Ray said.

El Nino weather events usually bring warmer than normal daytime temperatures to Australia and drier conditions.

The average temperature to the end of June this year in SA is 20.41C, compared to 20.47C at the same time in 2005.

Nationally, the average temperature to June this year was 22.34C, compared to 22.94C in 2005.

The annual average temperature for 2005 was 20.5C in South Australia, 1.05C hotter than the long-term average of 19.45C.

Nationally, the annual temperature was 22.87C in 2005, 1.06C warmer than the long-term average.

In the next three months, the bureau has forecast the chance of recording warmer than normal conditions across the country is between 60 per cent and 75 per cent.

Above average temperatures have been forecast for the start of this week in Adelaide.

And it will peak at 18C on Thursday ahead of a cool change with showers bringing temperatures back to normal on Friday.

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