The ABC/Fairfax media axis has been hard at work plugging the “hottest year on record” meme, my response to which is, so what?
The planet has been warming slowly since the Little Ice Age, and so it is hardly surprising that this decade is warmer than the last, and that individual years in the recent past are likely to be warmer than earlier years as well.
But to read the breathless reporting of this fact on the ABC and the Bureau of Meteorology websites, you would think that this is something shocking. The ABC:
Australia has just sweltered through its hottest year on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. Average temperatures were 1.20 degrees Celsius above the long-term average of 21.8C, breaking the previous record set in 2005 by 0.17C, the bureau said in its Annual Climate Statement.
All states and territories recorded above average temperatures in 2013, with Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia all breaking annual average temperature records. And every month of 2013 had national average temperatures at least 0.5C above normal, according to the statement.
The country recorded its hottest day on January 7 – a month which also saw the hottest week and hottest month since records began in 1910. A new record was set for the number of consecutive days the national average temperature exceeded 39C – seven days between January 2 and 8, 2013, almost doubling the previous record of four consecutive days in 1973.
The highest temperature recorded during 2013 was 49.6C at Moomba in South Australia on January 12, which was the highest temperature in Australia since 1998. Further, with mean temperatures across Australia generally well above average since September 2012, long periods of warmer-than-average days have been common, with a distinct lack of cold weather, the statement says. (source)
The BoM’s Annual Climate Statement is a picture of alarmism, with scary graphics implicitly linking every weather event during the year to man-made climate change.
Yes, 2013 was warm in Australia, but 2010, 2011 and 2012 were cooler – it’s what the climate does.
Despite all the hyperventilating, the BoM’s own data show a temperature increase of only 0.1C per decade since 1979, equating to a 1C increase over a century. In the same period, atmospheric CO2 has increased by 18%, from 340ppm to 400ppm. UAH data for the same period actually shows slightly larger warming of 0.16C (data here in the AUST column).
With the Sherwood paper predicting increases of 4C by 2100, the rate of warming would have to more than quadruple (to 0.44C/decade) to reach that level. And how likely is that?