‘Angry summer’: Sydney officially smashes temperature records
It’s official Sydneysiders, not that we weren’t already aware of it, but the 2016/17 summer was the hottest on record for the city with a mean temperature 2.8°C above the average.
According to findings from the Australian Climate Council’s latest report ‘Angry Summer 2016/17: Climate Change Supercharging Extreme Weather’, Sydney sweltered through a record-breaking 26 days of 30°C or higher and 11 days where the mercury hit 35°C or higher over the summer.
With records falling across the country, lead author of the report Professor Will Steffen noted that Eastern Australia copped an exceptionally hot summer.
“We’ve seen more than 200 records broken in just 90 days as a result of climate change. We’re experiencing unprecedented extreme heat and setting new records at an alarming rate, with every part of Australia feeling the impact.”
"If you look at the east of Australia, particularly New South Wales and Queensland, the records that have really been tumbling there are high temperatures, heatwave type records,” said Professor Steffen in an interview with the ABC.
The rest of New South Wales also felt the brunt of the extreme heat, with the state recording a record mean summer temperature since reporting began in 1910 which helped fuel a number of devastating bushfires throughout January and February.
55 locations across New South Wales recorded their highest summer temperature on record, with Moree registering a staggering 54 consecutive days above 35°C between December and February.
Professor Steffen suggested that record temperatures were unlikely to stop anytime soon, predicting that more records would be broken in the next ten years and into the future, even if emissions levels were curtailed.
"Even if we could magically reduce emissions to zero tomorrow, we would still have another decade or two where the climate system plays out its built-in momentum,” he said.
Fellow Climate Council councillor Andrew Stock believed that the demand for power during periods of extreme heat was placing even more pressure on the nation's antiquated energy infrastructure.
New South Wales was at the centre of heat-related power concerns in early February when temperatures in the low 40s sparked fears of statewide blackouts, with residents urged to reduce their energy use throughout the day to limit stress on the grid.
“Australia’s energy system is ageing, inefficient and polluting. Increasingly, it struggles to cope with more record-breaking heatwaves and extreme weather events,” said Stock.
“It’s time for Australia to power our economy with a 21st century energy system, one which deploys proven renewable technology and storage solutions instead of relying on high greenhouse emitting fossil fuels.”
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