Friday 22 September 2017 was the hottest September day experienced in Australia since national area-averaged temperature records began over 100 years ago, a new report from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), reveals today.
From the 23rd to the 29th September, 31 locations (out of 62 locations that make up the Bureau of Meteorology's high quality, long-term temperature dataset across mainland eastern Australia) had recorded their hottest September day on record.
In Wanaaring NSW, the mercury hit 41.4 °C on the 27th September; which is the first time a temperature of 40 degrees or more had been observed in September in NSW. On the 23rd September, temperatures were almost 15 degrees warmer than average across the state. In Queensland, Birdsville reached 42.8 °C on the 27th, setting a new record for the hottest September temperature in the state. The exceptional September heat is part of a long-term warming trend driven by climate change from the burning of coal, oil and gas.
As a result of the intense heat, fire weather conditions exceeded extreme levels at many sites across the country from the 22nd to the 27th, with the most dangerous conditions in inland areas.
"It's shocking that parts of southeast Australia are already experiencing fires in August and September this year. Climate change is influencing these bushfires by increasing the occurrence of dangerous fire weather and the bushfire season length. Each day the Government stalls climate action, the safety of Australians is compromised," said Amanda McKenzie.
The unseasonably hot weather is also leading to major stress on New South Wales and Queensland farmers. For example, experts expect that this year the New South Wales wheat crop will be halved, compared to last year.
"All of Australia's trusted scientific institutions, such as the Bureau, have shown that climate change has contributed to the severity and frequency of recent heat events, including exceptional spring heat. The annual warming trend seen in Australia mirrors that being witnessed around the globe. The science is well established, but the Federal action required - to ramp up renewables to tackle climate change, is sorely lacking," said Professor Will Steffen, Councillor at the Climate Council.