Air and ocean temperatures across Australia are now, on average, almost a degree Celsius warmer than they were in 1910, with most of the warming occurring since 1950, according to this report. This warming has seen Australia experiencing more warm weather and extreme heat, and fewer cool extremes.

Key points:

  • Australia’s climate has warmed by 0.9°C since 1910, and the frequency of extreme weather has changed, with more extreme heat and fewer cool extremes.
  • Rainfall averaged across Australia has slightly increased since 1900, with the largest increases in the northwest since 1970.
  • Rainfall has declined since 1970 in the southwest, dominated by reduced winter rainfall. Autumn and early winter rainfall has mostly been below average in the southeast since 1990.
  • Extreme fire weather has increased, and the fire season has lengthened, across large parts of Australia since the 1970s.
  • Global mean temperature has risen by 0.85°C from 1880 to 2012.
  • The amount of heat stored in the global oceans has increased, and global mean sea level has risen by 225 mm from 1880 to 2012.
  • Annual average global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations reached 395 parts per million (ppm) in 2013 and concentrations of the other major greenhouse gases are at their highest levels for at least 800 000 years.
  • Australian temperatures are projected to continue to increase, with more extremely hot days and fewer extremely cool days.
  • Average rainfall in southern Australia is projected to decrease, and heavy rainfall is projected to increase over most parts of Australia.
  • Sea-level rise and ocean acidification are projected to continue.
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