Climate crisis cutting short Australia’s winters and extending summers:
“If it feels like Australian summers are getting longer and hotter, that is probably because they are,” the report said. “The summers many Australians grew up with no longer exist.”
Over the past two decades, summer was on average a month longer than it was in the mid-20th century. The report said temperatures that “marked the start of summer now come around two weeks earlier”, and “temperatures that marked the end of summer now come around two weeks later”.
Out of sight, out of luck: the hidden victims of Australia’s deadly heatwaves:
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology confirmed 2018 was the hottest December since records began in 1910, while January was the hottest month ever recorded.
Climate change has altered Australia’s weather patterns. The BoM and CSIRO say the country has warmed by more than 1C since 1910, and temperatures will continue to rise.
There have been obvious signs: bushfires, drought and coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. But there have also been less headline-grabbing climate change-related tragedies. Based on studies of past extreme heat events, the affect of this summer’s heatwaves on Australia’s flora and fauna would have been severe, fundamental and, in some cases, deadly.
“I think in a lot of places it would have been carnage,” says James Cook University ecologist Prof Bill Laurance of the January heatwave. “We have just had records after records being broken. We only tend to notice when things start dropping out of the trees. We know that basically, lots of things are dying.”