Australia heading for hottest calendar year on record

CANBERRA, Australia, Nov. 11 (UPI) — Australia is on track to record its hottest-ever calendar year, a report from the Australian Climate Council said Monday.The report, given the title “Off the Charts,” shows October was 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the long-term average.”Off the back of the hottest September on record, October is also breaking records,” the council’s Will Steffen said.

“We have set the record again for the warmest 12-month period on record, from Nov. 1, 2012, to Oct. 31, 2013, and we are on track for the hottest calendar year on record,” he said.

Australia will likely experience increases in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, he said, specifically noting the risk of wildfires.

“Over the month of October New South Wales experienced devastating bush fires very early in the fire season,” he said. “This October was the second warmest on record in Sydney, at 3.6 degrees Celsius [5.4 degrees F] above the long-term average.”

Significant reductions in greenhouse emissions are needed to reduce the risk of more severe extreme weather in the future, he said, urging the federal government to take action.

“Our major trading partners, particularly China and the United States, are now moving in the right direction,” he said. “It is crucial that Australia steps up to the plate and plays its part.

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