RECORD temperature levels leave climate change in no doubt.
RECORD temperature levels leave climate change in no doubt. Contributed

REVEALED: Climate evidence that can't be ignored

THE world has experienced its hottest five-year period on record, according to a newly released report.

The Climate Council's 2017: Another Record-breaking Year for Heat and Extreme Weather coincided with the release of climate data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that examined global temperature averaged over a five-year period including 2013 through to 2017.

International climate scientist and Climate Council member Professor Will Steffen said that period had been confirmed as the highest ever on record for any five-year period.

It represents a sharp, long-term upswing in global temperatures, with 17 out of the 18 years hottest years on record all occurring in this century. 

"Just like dominoes, temperature and extreme weather records havexpaine toppled one after the other around the globe in 2017," Prof Steffen said. 

"Here in Australia, we are seeing the effects of intensifying climate change first hand.

"We've seen records reach disappointing new heights in just 12 months, with more than 260 heat and low rainfall records smashed throughout one season (winter) alone.

"Australians have been touched by soaring temperatures, with some regions in New South Wales and South Australia experiencing daytime temperatures nearing 50 degrees last summer. 

"Severe heatwaves are silent killers, causing more deaths since the 1890s than bush fires, cyclones, earthquakes, floods and severe storms combined." 

University of the Sunshine Coast Professor Tim Smith said there was overwhelming evidence on all fronts that our weather was changing.

"We shouldn't be surprised when we get the data," he said.

"You get hot and cold in short-term cycles but with long-term trends, the evidence is all pointing one way.

"The data reinforces what we already know.

"But we are still trying to trade off things that can't be traded off."

Southwestern Queensland and Australia's southern states are facing a run of heatwave conditions through to the middle of next week at least.

Windorah is set to endure five days where the maximum temperature would hit 44C, Charleville would have six days of temperature maximums between 40-42C, while Birdsville would see a run of 44-degree days peaking at 46.

In Melbourne, courtside temperatures at the Australian Open have topped 50C, while Bendigo and Ballarat have had a run of temperatures above 40.

The new report has found 2017 was the third-hottest year ever recorded and the hottest year in which temperatures have not been boosted by an El Nino event.

Last year broke records for hot, dry conditions with more than 260 heat and low-rainfall records broken throughout winter.

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said the global data release was timely after the Federal Government admitted that Australia's greenhouse-gas pollution levels were consistently rising, contributing to intensifying climate change. 

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