Australia — Last year was Australia’s second warmest on record and closed out the warmest decade on file, the Bureau of Meteorology says.
The latest temperature data “is consistent with global warming”, the bureau states in its 2009 annual climate statement released today.
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has jumped on the figures, saying they prove the Opposition’s claim that the world had stopped warming is “a false and misleading climate change clanger”.
The bureau’s statement reveals the country’s annual mean temperature in 2009 was 0.9 degrees celsius above the 1961-90 average, “making it the second warmest since high-quality records began in 1910”.
Australia overall, NSW, Victoria and South Australia all recorded their warmest July to December periods on record in 2009.
A summer heatwave saw Melbourne set a new maximum temperature record of 46.6 degrees. Victoria set a new state record of 48.8 degrees at Hopetoun, while Tasmania also set a new mark – 42.2 degrees at Scamander.
An unusual winter heatwave resulted in Australia’s warmest August on record.
A third prolonged heatwave in November across central and southeast Australia resulted in a record eight consecutive days of maximum temperatures above 35 degrees in Adelaide.
“There are clear upward trends in the number of hot events and downward trends in the number of cold events (over the period 1960 to date), consistent with global warming,” the bureau said.
Last year also ended Australia’s warmest decade on record.
“In Australia, each decade since the 1940s has been warmer than the preceding decade,” the statement says.
As for rainfall, 2009 was drier than average, with a mean rainfall of 453mm. That was slightly less than the 1961-90 average of 464mm.
Mr Garrett said the bureau’s statement proved Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had made up his climate change facts. In December, Mr Abbott declared: “It seems that, notwithstanding the dramatic increases in manmade CO2 emissions over the last decade, the world’s warming has stopped.”
“There doesn’t appear to have been any appreciable warming since the late 1990s,” the Opposition Leader said.
Today, Mr Garrett said that “false and misleading claim” was “completely at odds with the rigorous scientific findings of the independent experts at the Bureau of Meteorology”.
“This is the latest Abbott climate change clanger to be exposed by the independent experts and once again shows why Mr Abbott cannot be trusted when it comes to climate change,” the Environment Minister said.
“Mr Abbott must today release his own scientific evidence to prove the globe has stopped warming, or admit he got it wrong.”
The World Meteorological Organisation declared in December that the decade to 2009 was the globe’s warmest on record.