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Why is Australia having such a warm winter?

Australia is currently experiencing an unusually warm winter, with temperatures reaching record highs in many parts of the country's east,

By Ground report
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Why is Australia having such a warm winter?

Australia is currently experiencing an unusually warm winter, with temperatures reaching record highs in many parts of the country's east, including Sydney, where it topped 25 degrees. At the same time, snowfields at higher altitudes have seen a lack of snow cover, causing a delay to the traditional ski season.

Meanwhile, warm conditions forced a delay to the start of the traditional ski season, resulting in lacklustre cover at some snowfields at high altitudes,

The world experienced its hottest month since reliable records began, prompting the United Nations to declare a new era of "global boiling". July brought an incredible 21 of the warmest 30 days ever recorded.

Warmer weather, explained

The warm conditions in Australia are a result of both natural weather drivers and ongoing global warming. A high-pressure system over the country has led to warmer and drier conditions, causing daytime temperatures to soar, even in historically cold areas like Canberra. The warm air over the interior moves ahead of cold fronts, leading to warm and windy conditions along the southern coast.

Daytime temperatures in Canberra in July - historically known for its cold winters - were the warmest on record, despite frequent frosty mornings. Sydney, too, has just experienced its warmest July on record.

The high pressure is causing the air over the continent's interior to warm. When cold fronts are moving across the south of Australia, they are pushing this warm air ahead of them, bringing warm and windy conditions to southern coastal areas. This weather pattern is similar to what we see in summer when cities such as Adelaide and Melbourne experience their hottest days.

Meteorologists forecast that an approaching cold front will lift temperatures ahead of it to about 23℃ in Adelaide, 20℃ in Melbourne, and 18℃ in Hobart on Thursday. These locations will experience very warm temperatures for early August.

Australian oceans cooler, global warming

The oceans around Australia are cooler than average in some areas, but globally, ocean temperatures are above normal, indicating the development of El Niño and positive Indian Ocean Dipole, which affect Australia's weather patterns. This difference in ocean temperatures reduces atmospheric moisture and weakens low-pressure systems, leading to reduced rainfall.

Climate change is a significant factor in the current weather patterns. Australia's land areas have already warmed by 1.4 degrees since pre-industrial times due to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. The record winter warmth is part of a long-term upward trend in winter temperatures, and the likelihood of very warm winters has increased significantly due to climate change.

The Northern Hemisphere is also experiencing extreme heatwaves, with high-pressure weather systems deflecting low-pressure systems and causing unprecedented heat events. Human-caused global warming has greatly increased the chance of record-breaking heatwaves worldwide.

While warm winter weather may be enjoyable, it has negative impacts on Australia's economy, environment, and agriculture. It disrupts ecosystems, leads to "flash droughts," and may trigger an earlier start to the fire season in the southeast. Urgent action is needed to stabilize Earth's climate by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Australia's warm, calm; Northern Hemisphere's wild

Compared to the weird and wild summer in the Northern Hemisphere, Australia's spell of warm weather seems harmless.

All four continents have experienced simultaneous extreme heatwaves in recent weeks. For this time of year, ocean temperatures are well above previous record highs. In Canada alone, 1,000 wildfires were burning last week.

July typically experiences the planet's warmest average temperatures because the Northern Hemisphere's large land masses heat up more quickly than the oceans, in response to the high amounts of radiation from the sun. However, the heat of the last few weeks has been unprecedented.

High-pressure weather systems are linking the heatwaves to "blocking" or deflecting oncoming low-pressure systems (and associated clouds and rain). Additionally, human-caused global warming is greatly increasing the chance of record-breaking extreme heat events and concurrent heatwaves across many regions.

International experts suggest that the extreme heat should not be viewed as unusual, given the effects of climate change, which is worrisome. For example, the experts state that China should now expect a record-breaking heatwave about once in every five years, on average.

Climate change significantly contributed to the recent heatwaves in China, North America, and Europe, but not all extreme weather events can be attributed to human-caused climate change.

This content is originally published under the Creative Commons license bu The conversation, Read the original article. The Ground Report editorial team has made some changes to the original version.

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