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Aussie winter on track to be among hottest on record

Temperatures have been very much above average right across eastern Australia throughout July.

Temperatures have been very much above average right across eastern Australia throughout July. Photo: AAP

As the global north swelters, the current Australian winter could make the Top 10 when it comes to how much heat it’s packing.

The United Nations World Meteorological Organisation and the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service say it’s “extremely likely” this July will be the world’s hottest in 174 years of records.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology says much of the recent focus has been on the north, including the deadly heat wave and fires in Greece, but the south is also feeling the heat in the dead of winter.

“Drilling down to Australia, we’ve seen temperatures that have been very much above average right across eastern Australia throughout the month,” says senior climatologist Dr Simon Grainger.

“So that’s temperatures that are in the warmest 10 per cent of all years, since our observational record began.”

Dr Grainger says the eastern seaboard, from Tasmania north to Queensland is seeing winter daytime temperatures in the order of 1-3C above average.

And Australia’s most southerly state is a stand out in terms of unseasonal heat.

“Even though the month has still got a few days to run, it’s virtually certain that it will be Tasmania’s warmest July on record.

“The July temperatures in Tasmania are expected to be around 2C above average. The previous record was around 1.6C above average.”

Last month wasn’t any different.

“Overall for Australia it was the seventh warmest June on record,” Dr Grainger says.

All that is particularly concerning given the full effects of the El Nino climate pattern – which typically boosts global temperatures – are yet to kick in.

“The record hot July and the heatwaves in the northern hemisphere reflect the record ocean surface temperatures we’ve seen across the planet this year,” says CSIRO climate scientist Dr James Risbey.

“Those record surface temperatures have been driven by the heat deposited in the ocean by global warming over the past century, combined with the added spike of developing El Nino conditions.”

United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres says it’s clear “the era of global boiling has arrived”.

“Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning,” he said.

– AAP

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