Classification of changes in extreme heat over Southeastern Australia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Procedia Computer Science, 2013, 20 pp. 148 - 155
Issue Date:
2013-01-01
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Over half of Australia's population lives in its southeastern quadrant. Temperature records for the 55-year period 1958-2013 indicate that hot summers have occurred increasingly since the 1990s with daily maximum temperatures reaching 10 oC above normal. The extreme nature of the change in monthly mean maximum temperatures (~1 to 1.5 oC above the long term mean) far exceeds the natural variability expected over a half century. Numerous maximum temperature records have been set and the extreme heat poses a major socioeconomic threat. This work examines changes in mean values of maximum daily temperatures for each summer month, in southeastern Australia. A 10-site dataset, for 1958-2013, was drawn and resampled to quantify temporal changes and uncertainty in decadal monthly maximum temperatures. Resampling methods documented the historical uniqueness of the maximum temperatures in recent decades. Results suggest strongly that, in recent decades, the maximum temperatures exceeding the upper quartile of the historical data is greater than expected by random chance. The findings confirm the regional nature of the warming. The increase in summer temperature is partly related to changes in atmospheric blocking. © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
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