Australia’s winter was the warmest on record, the country’s Bureau of Meteorology said Friday, marking the latest in a string of records broken worldwide as climate change bites.
Simon Grainger, a senior climatologist for the bureau, told AFP that the average winter temperature across Australia was 16.75 degrees Celsius (62.15 Fahrenheit) from June to August — winter in the Antipodean region.
That is a hair above the previous record of 16.68 degrees Celsius (62.02 Fahrenheit) set in 1996.
Australian weather records date back to 1910.
La Nina conditions have caused warm winters and cooler and wetter summer conditions across much of Australia in recent years.
According to Bureau of Meteorology data, the winter that ended Thursday saw the second-highest maximum temperatures on record and some of the highest minimum temperatures too.
Australian researchers have repeatedly warned that climate change amplifies the risk of natural disasters such as bushfires, floods and cyclones.
After several wet years, experts are expecting the coming summer to bring the most intense bushfire season since 2019-2020.
During that “Black Summer”, bushfires raged across Australia’s eastern seaboard, razing swathes of forest, killing millions of animals, and blanketing cities in noxious smoke.
Earlier this year, Australia also saw the strongest winds the country has ever recorded, as a severe tropical cyclone lashed the country’s northwest.
Wind speeds of 289 kilometres (179 miles) per hour were recorded.
Worldwide, temperature records have tumbled in recent years, as climate change makes meteorological conditions more volatile.
July 2023, marked by heatwaves and fires around the world, was the hottest month ever registered on Earth, according to the European Union’s climate observatory Copernicus.
Emissions of greenhouse gases are enabling increasingly intense and long-lasting heatwaves.