University of Melbourne Magazine

Humans play role in Australia's 'angry' hot summer

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    Research led by the University of Melbourne has found that human influences through global warming are likely to have played a role in Australia’s “angry” hot summer of 2013. The research also shows that global warming increased the chances of Australians experiencing record hot summers like that of 2013, by more than five times.

    The study used climate observations and more than 90 climate model simulations of summer temperatures in Australia over the last 100 years. Lead author Dr Sophie Lewis from the School of Earth Sciences and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Systems Science said the research showed that due to greenhouse gas emissions, these types of extreme summers will become even more frequent and more severe in the future.

    Co-author Professor David Karoly said the observations, together with a suite of climate model runs comparing human and natural influences in parallel experiments, indicated not only did Australia experience a record‑breaking summer, but also that it occurred at a time of weak La Niña to neutral conditions, that normally produce cooler summers.