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Australia’s warmest-ever decade as heat waves increase

January 8, 2010
Australia has experienced its warmest decade since records started in 1910, ending the period with extreme bushfires, dust storms and record-breaking heat waves, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM).
The average temperature between 2000 and 2009 was 22.3 degrees Celsius, compared with the 1961-1990 average of 21.8 Celsius, Dean Collins, ABM senior climatologist.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd plans to reintroduce legislation next month that would establish a carbon emissions trading system aimed at fighting climate change. The upper-house Senate rejected the draft law for a second time in December. Each decade in Australia since the 1940s has been warmer than the previous one, while figures from the first decades on record fail to show a trend, the bureau said in a report.
âIt's very unlikely that could happen by chance,�? Collins said.
âClearly Australia's climate is warming in line with the rest of the world.�?
Australia experienced its second-warmest year in 2009, with the average temperature 0.9 degrees Celsius above the 196v1-1990 average, the bureau said. Melbourne, the second-biggest city, last year set a new record temperature of 46.4 degrees Celsius.
âThere are clear upward trends in the number of hot events and downward trends in the number of cold events, consistent with the background of global warming,�? according to the report.
Australia last year had three prolonged heat waves, Collins said. âHaving one was remarkable enough,�? he said. âTo have three is amazing really. We are moving to a new climate, and we need to start expecting more frequent heat waves.�?

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