10 Mar 2014

Australia's summer breaks 150 records

1:47 pm on 10 March 2014

Australia has endured another summer of searing temperatures, with more than 150 weather records broken, a new Climate Council report shows.

Climate scientists say Australian has endured an ''angry summer''.

Climate scientists say Australian has endured an ''angry summer''. Photo: AAP

The Climate Council's latest Angry Summer report analyses climate data from across the country for the 2013-2014 summer, the ABC reports.

The report says Adelaide experienced 13 days above 40°C, including five days in a row above 42°.

The South Australian capital also had its hottest ever February day, reaching 44.7°.

While South Australia was described as the summer's "ground zero", it was also the driest summer on record for 38 spots in New South Wales and 45 in Queensland, while Sydney had its driest summer in 27 years.

Melbourne had its hottest 24-hour period, with an average temperature of 35.5°, and Perth had its hottest-ever night and its second-hottest summer on record.

The council's Lesley Hughes says the hotter, drier weather conditions are heightening the risks of bushfires.

"Bushfires, if they're started, are able to carry and spread faster, and more seriously and more intensely, the hotter and drier the conditions," she said.

"So if we have really hot days, dry weather that's dried out the fuel - those are the conditions that are conducive to bushfires spreading and causing really serious impacts."

Victoria's February fires burnt 280,000 hectares of land.

Ms Hughes, a Macquarie University professor, says the weather patterns are clearly due to climate change and governments need to address it.

"It's consistent with the predictions of what happens as the globe warms up.

"Climate change is making the whole weather system different to what it used to be and along with that is an increase in extreme events."

The council says the nature of heatwaves is changing, and they are now tending to start earlier, last longer and occur more frequently.

Some of the records were for above-average rain which fell over parts of Cape York Peninsula, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and along South Australia's coast.

The report called for "urgent and deep reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases" to stabilise the climate.