’An­gry’ Aussie sum­mer breaks records

New Straits Times - - World -

Aus­tralia en­dured a sum­mer of record-break­ing ex­tremes, sci­en­tists said yes­ter­day, with cli­mate change tipped to in­crease the fre­quency and sever­ity of such phenomena.

In­tense heat waves, bush­fires and flood­ing plagued the De­cem­ber-Fe­bru­ary sum­mer sea­son with more than 200 records bro­ken over 90 days, the in­de­pen­dent Cli­mate Coun­cil said in a re­port.

“Cli­mate change — driven largely by the burn­ing of coal, oil and gas — is crank­ing up the in­ten­sity of ex­treme weather events,” the “An­gry Sum­mer” re­port said.

Aus­tralia has warmed by ap­prox­i­mately 1°C since 1910, ac­cord­ing to the bian­nual State of the Cli­mate re­port from the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy and na­tional sci­ence body CSIRO in Oc­to­ber.

While bush­fires are com­mon in arid sum­mers, cli­mate change has led to more ex­tremely hot days and se­vere fire sea­sons.

“For Aus­tralia, it’s harder to see the im­pact of cli­mate change be­cause we have a vari­able cli­mate,” said Will St­ef­fen, a cli­mate sci­en­tist at the Coun­cil.

“But our ex­tremes are be­com­ing so ex­treme that we can ac­tu­ally see the in­flu­ence of cli­mate change quite clearly.”

St­ef­fen said such weather phenomena would worsen “over the next cou­ple of decades” while ef­forts to re­duce emis­sions catch up with ris­ing car­bon diox­ide lev­els in the at­mos­phere.

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