Also let us not forget, Australia set a new continent-wide low temperature just a few short months ago
Cathy Alexander The Herald Sun, Australia
September 01, 2009 12:53pm
UPDATE 5.11pm: BELIEVE it or not, the nation has just sweated through its hottest August on record … but don’t blame climate change.
The bureau boffins described it as most extraordinary” as temperatures crept above 38 degrees in some areas.
And winter as a whole came within a whisker of being the warmest of record – it was just 0.01 of a degree cooler than the record-holder, 1996.
Blair Trewin, a climate scientist with the bureau, said the warm weather was caused by a lack of large frontal systems sweeping up from the southern oceans, which would have brought cool air.
Instead, persistent high pressure systems hung about the subtropics.
Dr Trewin said the heatwaves were caused more by natural variability than by climate change.
Climate change had pushed up temperatures by about 0.8 of a degree over the past century but August came in at more than two degrees above average.
“The set-up we had this month would have given us an extremely warm month whether it happened 100 years ago or it happened now,” Dr Trewin told AAP.
“There’s a lot of natural variability but you’ve got a climate change signal on top of that.”
And there’s no end in sight to the warm weather – the Bureau is forecasting a hot, dry spring because of warm conditions in the Pacific and Indian oceans.
Australia’s east coast suffered an unusual lack of frontal systems during August, which usually blow cooler air into the region.
Areas of south-east Queensland and northern NSW have been regularly breaking August records, with Evans Head on the far north NSW coast sweltering through a state record of 36.8 degrees last week.
“Hot air has just built up and built up … without any breaks,” Dr Trewin said, adding it could mean Australia is in for more above-average temperatures during spring and summer.
“It’s suggesting a fairly high chance of dry conditions in northern Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.”
“There’s a high risk of a hot spring and early summer over the east of Australia, that obviously has implications for fire weather.”
Tuesday 01 September 2009
CLIMATE SUMMARY – NT REGIONAL OFFICE
Record breaking hot August.
The Northern Territory last month recorded its hottest August on record, with several long-term climate records broken. “Every weather reporting station in the Alice Springs district exceeded its previous hottest August, many by several degrees”, said Sam Cleland, manager of the Bureau of Meteorology’s Northern Territory Climate Services Centre.
“Furthermore, the hot August followed from warmer than usual June and July, and many stations in southern parts of the Territory also reported their warmest winter on record.” Mr Cleland said.
Further details can be found on the Bureau’s Climate Summaries page, at:
A direct link to the NT Summary is at: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/month/nt/summary.shtml