Quantifying the impact of climate change on extreme heat in australia

25.02.15 By
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New ground-breaking scientific research in 2014 can now tell us just how much of an influence climate change has on a single heatwave or heat records.



1. Climate change is making Australia hotter. Hot days are happening more often while heatwaves are becoming hotter, longer and more frequent.

2. While it has been clear for many years that climate change is a major factor in intensifying heat, recent scientific advances now allow us to understand the extent of the impact on individual extreme events. Climate change has significantly worsened recent extreme heat events in Australia.

3. The new research showing the strong influence of climate change on heat events strengthens the case for strong action on climate change.

This Climate Council report synthesises recent scientific advances, including a set of papers from a special supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 95, No. 9, September 2014, ‘Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 from a Climate Perspective’: Arblaster et al (2014); King et al (2014); Knutson et al (2014); Lewis and Karoly (2014) and Perkins et al (2014). See journal edition here: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0477-95.9.S1.1.

The Climate Council acknowledges the role of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at providing funding, computational, and networking support for some of the primary research that this report draws from, including the set of BAMS papers.