Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Humans stoked Australia’s unprecedented ‘angry summer’ heat, study finds

27.06.2013
Human influences that drive global warming are likely to have played a role in Australia's exceedingly hot summer of 2013, the hottest in that country’s observational record. A new study shows that global warming has increased the chances of Australians experiencing record hot summers, such as the summer of 2013, by more than five times.

"Our research has shown that, due to greenhouse gas emissions, these types of extreme summers will become even more frequent and more severe in the future," said Sophie Lewis of the University of Melbourne in Victoria,Australia, who is lead author of the study.


The Australian continent endured unprecedented high temperatures in the summer of 2013. This image, using data from NASA’s Aqua satellite, shows Australian land-surface-temperature anomalies, or departures from average, during Jan. 1-8, 2013. Red means above-average temperature; blue, below average; grey, incomplete data. Australia’s summer occurs during the northern-hemisphere winter. (Image credit: Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory).

It is possible to say with more than 90-percent confidence, she added, that human influences on the atmosphere dramatically increased the likelihood of the extreme summer of 2013.

Lewis is also with the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science.

The study has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

The study used climate observations and more than 90 climate model simulations of summer temperatures in Australia over the past 100 years. Australia’s summer occurs from December to February, during the northern-hemisphere winter.

David Karoly, also of the University of Melbourne and the ARC Centre and co-author of the paper, said the observations, coupled with a suite of climate-model runs comparing human and natural influences in parallel experiments, indicate that Australia has experienced a very unusual summer at a time when it was not expected.

The combination of extreme heat, bush fires and flooding prompted Australians to dub last summer the "angry summer," the researchers note in their paper.

"This extreme summer is not only remarkable for its record-breaking nature but also because it occurred at a time of weak La Niña to neutral conditions, which generally produce cooler summers," Karoly said. "Importantly, our research shows the natural variability of El Niño Southern Oscillation is unlikely to explain the recent record temperatures."

This analysis of the causes of the record 2013 Australian summer is one of the fastest ever performed worldwide for a significant climate event. This fast-response analysis was made possible because data from many existing climate models and observations were made available through Centre of Excellence collaborations with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Bureau of Meteorology and the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI). "The new data resource means scientists are able to work on understanding and addressing the problems of extreme climate events sooner," Karoly said.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science and the NCI National Facility funded this research.

Notes for Journalists

Journalists and public information officers (PIOs) of educational and scientific institutions who have registered with AGU can download a PDF copy of this accepted article by clicking on this link:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50673/abstract

Or, you may order a copy of the final paper by emailing your request to Peter Weiss at pweiss@agu.org. Please provide your name, the name of your publication, and your phone number.

Neither the paper nor this press release are under embargo.
Title:

"Anthropogenic contributions to Australia’s record summer temperatures of 2013"
Authors:
Sophie C. Lewis and David J. Karoly School of Earth Sciences and ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Contact information for the coauthor:

Sophie Lewis, Tel: +61 3 8344 6931, email: sophie.lewis@unimelb.edu.au

David Karoly, Tel: +61 3 8344 4698, email: dkaroly@unimelb.edu.au

AGU Contact:
Peter Weiss
+1 (202) 777-7507
pweiss@agu.org
University of Melbourne Contact:
Rebecca Scott
Mobile +61-0417164791
rebeccas@unimelb.edu.au
ARC Centre Contact:
Alvin Stone
Mobile +61-0418 617 366
alvin.stone@unsw.edu.au

Peter Weiss | American Geophysical Union
Further information:
http://www.agu.org

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology
22.06.2017 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

nachricht How reliable are shells as climate archives?
21.06.2017 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation

23.06.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>