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Figures in: July heat points to hot 2013

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Hottest July on record

Australia has had the hottest 11 months on record since September says Fairfax environmental reporter Peter Hannam.

PT0M0S 620 349

It's fair to say tales of abnormally warm weather in Australia sound like broken records - because for the most part they are.

We're shaping for one of the worst snow seasons on record. It's just been so warm. 

This year has already seen the hottest day, month and season on record, and after a warm July - about 1.5 degrees above the long-term norm - the hottest 11-month period on record. July itself will come in as the nation's third-warmest.

Students from Templeton Primary school enjoy the park land outside the Melbourne museum.

Students from Templeton Primary school enjoy the park land outside the Melbourne museum. Photo: Joe Armao

As Melbourne's mercury reached 15 degrees on Wednesday, the city will post record July warmth in more than 150 years of counting.

Sydney has enjoyed maximum temperatures about 3 degrees above normal, topping the previous record July average of 19 degrees by about a third of a degree. Wednesday's maximum came in at 18.4 degrees.

It will require ''quite a dramatic change'' for 2013 not to be among the hottest years on record for Australia, said David Jones, head of climate analysis at the Bureau of Meteorology.

Bech goers enjoy St Kilda beach before a rain storm hit. Click for more photos

Hottest day, month and season on record

2013 has already seen the hottest day, month and season on record, and after a warm July – about 1.5 degrees above the long-term norm – the hottest 11-month period on record. July itself will come in as the nation’s third-warmest. Photo: Joe Armao

Year to date, average mean temperatures are running 1.07 degrees above the 1961-90 baseline, placing the year just behind 2005, the hottest in more than a century of national data.

The exceptional warmth began last September and every month has turned in notable weather.

Sydney, for instance, had its warmest day, at 45.8 degrees back in January, a March with every day above 20 degrees, and the most July days of 20 degrees or warmer with Tuesday marking the 12th - two more than the previous record set in 1975.

Melbourne, meanwhile, notched nine consecutive days above 30 degrees in March - eclipsing the previous string of seven set in February 1961 - and the longest stretch of days above 22 degrees in May. July 18 was the city's warmest July day, with temperatures reaching 23.3 degrees.

Both cities recorded just three days below average for the month. ''Cool days are less common but are also not as cool as they once were,'' Dr Jones said.

Snow season among worst

Those mild conditions also stretched far inland and, unfortunately for the ski resorts, into alpine regions. Mount Hotham, for instance, had a record six consecutive days above zero during July.

''We're shaping for one of the worst snow seasons on record,'' Dr Jones said. ''It's just been so warm.''

One factor influencing conditions has been unusually warm sea-surface temperatures right around the country. To the end of June, ocean temperatures are wavering about half a degree above the long-term average, meaning onshore winds are warmer in virtually any direction they blow. In a century of records, Australia hasn't recorded a below-average temperature for 20 years, Dr Jones said.

''It does put quite a bias into our system,'' Dr Jones said. “It’s going to be very difficult for the climate over the land to offset that general influence,” with the result temperatures for the rest of the year should remain above average.

The three-month outlook is also for above-average temperatures although perhaps less exceptional than recent months, he said.

The start of August should be warmer than average for both cities. Under the current outlook, four of the first six days of the month should be above Melbourne's August average of 15, and five of the first six days should see the mercury climb above the 18-degree average for Sydney, the bureau forecasts.

Dr Jones said it is probably wrong to focus on either the land or sea as the source for the above-average warmth.

''They're both warm in part because the planet is getting hotter,'' Dr Jones said. ''It's global warming being manifest locally.''

79 comments

  • Quick, we'd best get all the coal out of the ground before it becomes too politically difficult to exploit our natural resources. They can power the air conditioners, it's a win win.

    Commenter
    Lucid Fugue
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    July 31, 2013, 8:16AM
    • Weather has been changing for as long as the earth has been around and will keep changing for as long as the earth is around - nothing will change that fact. We'd had extreme hot periods, extreme cold periods, periods were our deserts were formed, periods were land masses shifted, where oceans dried up or new ones formed. To say that man has ruined the earth in the past 100 or 200 years is wishful thinking on the part of people who can profit from propagating this belief. One volcano or one meteor can cause more climate change than all of mankind has through millennia.

      Commenter
      sue
      Date and time
      July 31, 2013, 9:49AM
    • Don't worry bout that luv- milne's invited the globe to come and live here as resources aren't a worry anymore, just like housing isn't.

      Oh, but you're gonna pick up the tab so umm, don't plan on that caravan park holiday in gosford.

      Commenter
      Alex
      Location
      Finley
      Date and time
      July 31, 2013, 9:53AM
    • Keep that head in the sand Sue and Alex. The fact that we are experiencing the hottest weather on record exactly when science has predicted it is only a coincidence OK.

      I swear, what is it going to take to get the likes of you to come to terms with what is happening?

      Commenter
      Polly Hannah
      Location
      Marrickville
      Date and time
      July 31, 2013, 10:06AM
    • @pollywaffle

      pffft.
      pffft.
      pffft.

      Ya think those are s'posed to be raspberries don't ya?

      Well no, that's the sound all those holden commodores make as they spew co2 into the atmosphere, just as milne, her mates and YOU, love it.

      Commenter
      Alex
      Location
      Finley
      Date and time
      July 31, 2013, 10:36AM
    • It's not that the climate has not changed through millennia, it's the speed of change that indicates the modern scenario. What is occurring is not the natural balances of nature it is MAN's footprint on the planet. The climate has changed in the span of one persons lifetime, not thousands of years and what has been predicted to happen is happening. Consider this, in MY lifetime the number of people on the planet has DOUBLED, that has consequences.

      Commenter
      Neil (not on radio) Mitchell
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      July 31, 2013, 10:59AM
  • the reason so many scientists accept that Earth is warming is not solely down to changes in surface air temperatures. There is actually a multitude of measurements: of atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases; of atmospheric water vapor; of air temperature near the ground, in the lower atmosphere, and in the stratosphere; of changes in glacier mass balance and polar sea ice; of sea level rise and, importantly, changes in the heat content of the ocean. The accumulation of evidence from all these observations points unhesitatingly to a warming planet.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/news/recent-pause-in-warming

    Why should we be surprised to see warmer onshore winds? More to the point why are we still subsidising coal when we should be at the forefront of renewable energy development?

    Commenter
    Riddley Walker
    Location
    Inland
    Date and time
    July 31, 2013, 8:38AM
    • Why? Because no one owns the sun and the wind and therefore its hard to make a profit from it!
      I have worked in Germany and seen the work and commitment to solar energy which sadly puts the efforts of our sun drenched country in the shade...its very sad.

      Commenter
      Captain Grumpy
      Location
      Kingsville
      Date and time
      July 31, 2013, 9:45AM
    • Simple reason... so-called 'Green' energy makes no economic sense. Without gigantic taxes and subsidised public programs, not one single wind-farm could cover it's own costs. Same with Solar (in it's various guises).

      Every MW of 'green' energy needs a MW of fossil based energy to back it up.

      It's a gigantic CON perpetrated by big finance to make piles of money and have risks underwritten by the tax payer.

      CO2 is not a pollutant, it is NOT the primary driver of planetary temperatures, the models for climate change are BROKEN.

      Some interesting reading, one of the most interesting people talking about 'global warming', I strongly suggest you at least listen to what this man has to say.

      http://www.lordmoncktonfoundation.com/about_us

      :)

      Commenter
      JohnO
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      July 31, 2013, 9:50AM
    • And the he links to Monkton's website.

      Lets talk about greedy individuals making stacks of cash and enjoying first class travel (paid for by miners coincidentally) shall we?

      Thanks for the laffs JohnO

      Commenter
      Polly Hannah
      Location
      Marrickville
      Date and time
      July 31, 2013, 10:10AM

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