Australia weather bureau has confirmed that this country — like many others — has just sweltered through its hottest summer on record.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology reported that records were broken for the average temperature and average daytime temperature between December and February.
A record was also set for the number of consecutive days in which the average maximum was more than 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Farenheit) — namely the seven days from Jan. 2 to 8. The previous record was four days.
The Australian Associated Press quoted the bureau's climate change program manager, Tony Mohr, as saying:
"If you're 27 years old, you've never experienced an 'average' month's temperature — it's all been above average."
January 2013 was the hottest month recorded since 1910, Blair Trewin and Karl Braganza bureau wrote in a report, while records were also set for the hottest daytime temperatures averaged over the whole of Australia.
In a year that saw several deadly wildfire outbreaks across the country, 14 locations deployed by the weather bureau to monitor the long-term climate registered individual record temperatures.
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Australia's Fairfax media quoted Trewin, a senior climatologist with the weather bureau, as saying:
"It was hot just about everywhere. It was in the top 10 for every mainland state. Six of the hottest 10 summers [nationally] have happened in the last decade."
The summer heat came despite much of Australia's eastern seaboard experienced flooding from two major storm systems, Fairfax noted.
It cited Will Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University's Climate Change Institute, and a member of the Australian Climate Commission, as saying:
"It’s been a pretty amazing summer as far as extremes go. We had record high sea-surface temperatures along the east coast, leading to more evaporation and more moisture in the atmosphere available for rainfall."
The bureau said the summer followed a pattern of extremely hot summers around the world in recent years.
Could any broader trend be drawn from the record-breaking Down Under summer of 2012-13?
Trewin and Braganza wrote that the extremes fit with a well established trend in Australia:
"It’s getting hotter, and record heat is happening more often."