Here’s a sobering summary of the national picture.
When Strathbogie (elev. 535 m asl) hits 41° C (ambient air temp.), as it did last Sat. 5th Jan. 2013, it’s time to take notice (and the heat-wave isn’t over yet). On Black Saturday, 7th Feb. 2009, Strathbogie reached 42° C. These are temperatures more usually associated with northern and north-west Victoria.
So, is Australia getting hotter? See for yourself – below.
“Australian annual average daily mean temperatures showed little change from 1910 to 1950 but have progressively warmed since, increasing by 0.9 °C from 1910 to 2011. The average temperature during the past ten years has been more than 0.5 °C warmer than the World Meteorological Organization’s standard 1961-1990 long-term average. This increase continues the trend since the 1950s of each decade being warmer than the previous.
“The warming trend has occurred against a backdrop of natural, year-to-year climate variability. Most notably, El Niño and La Niña events during the past century have continued to produce the hot droughts and cooler wet periods for which Australia is well known. 2010 and 2011, for example, were the coolest years recorded since 2001 due to two consecutive La Niña events.
“Changes in average temperature for Australia for each year (orange line) and each decade (grey boxes), and 11-year average (black line – an 11-year period is the standard used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Anomalies are the departure from the 1961-1990 average climatological period. The average value for the most recent 10-year period (2002–2011) is shown in darker grey.” (CSIRO, State of Climate 2012)
You can put it down to natural cycles (unlikely), or humans (most likely) but either way, I think we’re going to need more shade!