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The Angry Summer Extreme events and climate change. Professor Will Steffen. Australia’s Angry Summer. Heatwaves. Source: Bureau of Meteorology. January 7 th , 2013. Bureau of Meteorology 2013. The Angry Summer – heatwaves.

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Presentation Transcript


Source: Bureau of Meteorology


January 7th, 2013

Bureau of Meteorology 2013

the angry summer heatwaves
The Angry Summer – heatwaves

Severe heatwave across 70% of Australia late Dec 2012 /early Jan 2013. Temperature records set in every state and territory

Hottest ever area-averaged Australian maximum temperature, 7 January 2013: 40.30 C

Hottest month on record for Australia – January 2013

All-time high maximum temperatures at 44 weather stations

Average daily maximum temperature for the whole of Australia was over 39 C for seven consecutive days (2-8 January)


Melbourne 2009 heatwave

Source: Vic DHS 2009

the consequences of bushfires
The Consequences of Bushfires

Australia has a long history of bushfires – Black Friday 1939; Ash Wednesday 1983

In 2003 large and uncontrollable bushfires devastated several suburbs in Canberra

In 2009 the Black Saturday fires took 173 lives and destroyed over 2,000 houses in Victoria

In 2013 large bushfires in Tasmania swept into the town of Denalley, destroying nearly 200 properties and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people from the Tasman Peninsula.

bushfires and climate change
Bushfires and Climate Change

Climate change exacerbates bushfire conditions by increasing the frequency of very hot days.

Between 1973 and 2010 the Forest Fire Danger Index increased significantly at 16 of 38 weather stations across Australia, mostly in the southeast. None of the stations showed a significant decrease.

Projected increases in hot days across Australia, and in dry conditions in the southwest and southeast, will very likely lead to more days with extreme fire danger in those regions.

risks water resources
Risks: Water Resources

Trends in annual rainfall (mm/10 years) across Australia

for the periods 1900-2011 and 1970-2011

Source: Bureau of Meteorology

droughts and climate change
Droughts and Climate Change

Climate change is likely influencing the drying trend in southwest and southeast Australia via a southwards shift of the rain-bearing fronts from the Southern Ocean in the cooler months.

These regions are likely to experience more droughts in the future.

The increasing trend in extreme hot weather due to climate change exacerbates the impacts of drought, intensifying the drought-related heat arising from clear skies and a lack of evaporative cooling.

extreme events and climate change
Extreme events and climate change

The southeast of Australia, including many of

our largest population centres, stands out as

being at increased risk from many extreme

weather events – heatwaves, bushfires, heavy

rainfall and sea-level rise


This is the critical decade for action.

from Prof Lesley Hughes

My grandkids?

My kids