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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Climate Council: Australia's hottest September ever recorded

by AAP, October 3, 2013

Last month was the hottest September ever recorded in Australia, with the Climate Council warning the country's on track for a sweltering year.

If the first month of spring had you sweating like it was summer, you probably weren't alone.

September was the hottest spring opener on record, with the national average temperature a sizzling 2.75 C above usual.

Not only that but the gap between the normal temperature in September and that recorded by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) was the biggest ever observed for any month.

The sweltering September was yet another climate record to tumble this year, with Australians this year already enduring the hottest January, hottest summer and hottest single day ever.

In its second report, the new Climate Council warns Australia is breaking all the wrong records when it comes to weather.

"Temperature records are broken from time to time in Australia but it is the sheer number of records being broken that is really unusual," the council's Will Steffen said in a statement.

He said Australia was on track to smash yet another worrying climate benchmark - the warmest calendar year to date.

Australia is experiencing persistent heat across the continent, with temperatures from October 2012 to September 1.25 degrees above the long-term average.

Since 1910, average temperatures have risen by 0.9 C, with a significant increase in the frequency of hot days and nights noted by the CSIRO and BoM.

The Climate Council said a 0.9 C temperature rise may not seem like much but even small increases could exacerbate the intensity of extreme weather experienced in Australia.

The latest assessment by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded global warming was driving the frequency and intensity of extremely hot days and heatwaves.

Professor Steffen said Australia was no stranger to baking days but climate change threatened to make extreme heat a much more common and - in the case of bushfires - dangerous occurrence.

The Climate Council was formed after the federal government abolished the Climate Commission, headed by Professor Tim Flannery, in mid September.

The council already has raised nearly $1 million in donations to continue its work providing expert independent information about climate change to the Australian public. [Please contribute, if you can.]

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