- The hottest average maximum temperature ever recorded across Australia – 40.33 degrees, was set on Monday surpassing the old record of 40.17 °C set in 1976. (Bureau of Meteorology)
- The number of consecutive days where the national average maximum daily temperature exceeded 39°C has also been broken this week—seven (7) days (between 2–8 January 2013), almost doubling the previous record of four (4) consecutive days in 1973, (BOM)
- According to the National Climate Data Centre, nine of the 10 hottest years on record have been since 2000 (the other is 1998).
- While temperatures vary on a local and regional scale, globally it has now been 27 years since the world experienced a month that was colder than average. “If you’re 27 or younger, you’ve never experienced a colder-than-average month” – Philip Bump, Grist, November 16, 2012.
- The CSIRO has found Australian annual average daily maximum temperatures have steadily increased in the last hundred years, with most of the warming trend occurring since 1970.
- The Bushfire CRC (Cooperative Research Centre) says large areas of southern Australia, from the east coast to the west coast, face “above average fire potential” in the summer of 2012-13. According to the Climate Institute extreme fire danger days are expected to rise more than 15 per cent in south-eastern Australia.
- The last four months of 2012 – globally – were the hottest on record. (British Met Office) and 2012 was the hottest year the continental United States of America has ever recorded.(“2012 Was the Hottest Year in U.S. History. And Yes – It’s Climate Change”, Bryan Walsh, TIME 8 January, 2013).
- The hot-dry trend is expected to continue, with the Climate Commission predicting large increases in the number of days over 35°C this century.
- Around the world, 2013 could be the hottest ever recorded by modern instrumentation, according to a recent study by Britain’s Met Office. If that turns out to be accurate, 2013 would surpass the previous record, held jointly by 2005 and 2010.
Welcome to our “new normal.”
Our country is still in the middle of a record-smashing heatwave with temperatures soaring above 40 °C and hundreds of fires blazing out of control around the country. We’re being told to “get used to it”but while the nation rallies to fight fires, repair damage and console loved ones we’re struggling to have the conversation about our warming planet, let alone get used to it.
The growing mountain of evidence tells a sobering story – a story that needs frequent and urgent repeating if we’re to have a chance of preventing the worst of predicted catastrophic climate change.
That’s why we’ve created this shareable image with the latest confronting but, hopefully, action-spurring facts.Click here to view, share and start the conversations we all need to be having at dinner tables, pubs and BBQs around the country as we face the heat and help our friends and neighbours deal with loss of property and a very difficult situation.
Over 70% of Australians had a taste this week of the kind of conditions scientific modelling clearly predicts will worsen and occur with more frequency over the coming decades. It should come as no surprise to those of us who have been heeding decades of warnings by climate scientists and fighting hard for stronger action on climate that our warming world will – as we’re seeing – lead to more severe summer heatwaves and fire danger. But it won’t be until the entire country, from Broome to Hobart and every town in between, are connecting the dots and coming to the same conclusions that we’ll see a real and urgent demand for stronger action on climate change.
And while short heatwaves and fire danger are not unfamiliar during an Australian summer, what we’re experiencing this week is an unsettling harbringer of things to come – a taste of the new normal in a rapidly warming world:
The reality is confronting; we’re currently on track for at least 4°C more warming, marked by extreme heatwaves as we’ve experienced this week; increased fire danger; declining global food stocks; human health risks; loss of ecosystems and biodiversity; and life-threatening sea level rises. The US just confirmed 2012 was its hottest year ever – beating its previous high in 1998 by a full degree.
So let’s face the facts, together, starting now. Share this infographic on Facebook, Twitter and over email. Print it out and put it on your fridge. Put it on your work bulletin board. Let’s talk about how human caused climate change is exacerbating the extreme events we’re facing and are likely to face with greater frequency in the future. Let’s once more make it part of our national dialogue:http://www.getup.org.au/our-new-normal
We all remember the horror of Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires. As we support our brave firefighters, provide shelter for friends and hope for relief we must do everything we can to ensure catastrophic fire events like that don’t become the new normal. It’s time to have a level-headed conversation about the reality of climate change.
Thanks for helping to change the conversation,
The GetUp team.
PS – We’ve all encountered those tough conversations with people who are skeptical about climate change and the science because of how politicised the issue has become. Whether it’s over the Christmas dinner table with a cousin or aunt or at a pub with a stranger – it’s often a difficult conversation to have. For some help answering questions we’ve compiled a list of recent research and news articlesto help to explain why this heatwave is an indicator of a warming world and what’s to come.
PPS – Regardless of your feelings on climate change, severe heat and fire danger puts our safety and loved ones at risk. For politically neutral tips on dealing with severe heat and fire danger, please read “Tips for Staying Safe” at the bottom ofthis page.There’s information about who to contact in your state if you need help and what are the prudent steps to take during extreme conditions.
 “Extreme Weather The New Normal,” The Sydney Morning Herald, September 5, 2012.
 “Get Used to Record-Breaking Heat: bureau” Ben Cubby, The Sydney Morning Herald, January 9, 2012.
 “If you’re 27 or younger, you’ve never experienced a colder-than-average month” – Philip Bump, Grist, November 16, 2012.
 “Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided,” World Bank commissioned report by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, November 2012.
 “2012 Was the Hottest Year in U.S. History. And Yes — It’s Climate Change,” Bryan, Walsh, TIME, January 8, 2013.
I just received this from GetUp, and thought it worth sharing. Just as relevant for overseas readers, as we are all feeling the heat around the world.