Australia's 'angriest summer': 200 records broken and fruit cooking on trees


Think summer was hot where you were? Spare a thought for the people of Port Augusta, where it reached a record-breaking 49.5 degrees Celcius in January.

Australia's record-breaking summer was so hot fruit cooked on trees, the Climate Council says.

A new report released by the council on Thursday found that the recent summer season was the hottest on record for the Australian continent. In total, 206 records were broken in just 90 days. 

One of these was in Port Augusta, South Australia, which reached a massive 49.5 degrees Celsius in January - the highest temperature ever recorded in the country.

Meanwhile, every state experienced serious bush fires and Townsville broke its 10-day accumulated rainfall total.

A spot fire on the Bunyip side of the Princes Highway in Victoria.
A spot fire on the Bunyip side of the Princes Highway in Victoria.

"This summer was so hot we witnessed fruit cooking on trees," Climate Council chief executive Amanda McKenzie said.

"What we're living with is part of a long-term warming trend driven by the burning of fossil fuels and land clearing."

The report said the record-breaking summer was driven by greenhouse gas pollution from the burning of fossil fuels and land clearing.

"For many years scientists have warned that climate change is driving worsening extreme weather. The Angry Summer is another example of the consequences of climate change today," it reads.

Climate change report on it being hottest summer
Climate change report on it being hottest summer

The Climate Council said a national policy is needed to drive down greenhouse gas pollution from fossil fuels across all sectors and that the window to effectively tackle climate change was "rapidly closing". 

"The Federal Government has no credible climate policy in place with greenhouse gas pollution increasing over the past four years," the report reads.

Late last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $2 billion extension of Tony Abbott's Direct Action Fund as the centerpiece of his climate change policy.

"We acknowledge and accept the challenge of addressing climate change, let's be clear about that," Mr Morrison said in February.

Our approach is to take care of our environment, but also take responsibility to ensure we acknowledge, understand and manage the consequences of the decisions that you make to address climate change."

According to the report, Australia is on the "frontline of climate change", which is having an increasing impact on our way of life, our health and our economy. 

One of the key findings of the report was the worsening bush fires, with nearly all of Australia affected. According to the report, large areas of Australia have experienced an increase in very high to extreme fire weather and a lengthening of the bush fire season.

"Now, hot on the heels of Australia's 'angriest summer', we have autumn fires burning across parts of Victoria," former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins said.

"In Victoria, the fire season started early. This has put a great deal of pressure on firefighters; we simply don't have the resources for this new reality."

The past four years have been the hottest years on record for global surface temperature.

With AAP

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