Our ‘Angry Summer’

Image: Dave Clarke
Image: Dave Clarke

In a post last week I discussed how extreme weather events can shape our awareness and understanding of climate change, and how climate change ‘loads the dice’ for more frequent and intense weather events.

This morning, the Climate Commission released a report with the apt title ‘The Angry Summer’. The report reviews the recent extreme weather we’ve been experiencing here in Australia. In fact this has been the hottest summer on record and the Climate Commission’s report highlights the numerous weather records that have been broken (123 in 90 days); temperatures, rainfall, floods, drought, bushfires, tornadoes and cyclones.

The key message from the Climate Commission is that this is exactly the sort of weather that has been predicted by climate scientists for some time, and we should expect more of this in greater intensity in the future. As Professor Will Steffen from the Climate Commission argues, the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is like putting our climate on steroids.

This report is an excellent resource. There’s a wealth of information here not only with regard to the details of recent extreme weather, but also the role of climate change in affecting weather patterns. You can download the report here (PDF).

To get an idea of the the variety and number of extreme weather events of our recent ‘angry summer’ have a look at the following two graphics from the report:

ScreenHunter_32 Mar. 04 15.34
Source: http://climatecommission.gov.au/resources/images
ScreenHunter_33 Mar. 04 15.34_edited-1
Source: http://climatecommission.gov.au/resources/images

2 thoughts on “Our ‘Angry Summer’”

  1. I find it totally astonishing that we have broken 123 records in 90- days. Even more astonishing is that this is now not worthy for mainstream news headlines.

  2. Lee,

    Thanks for the comment. Yes the scale of extreme weather events worldwide in the last decade has been staggering and yet the mainstream media increasingly downplay these events and their links to climate change. There will be the occasional news item or article about record CO2 levels or extreme weather, but the dots are increasingly not being connected. The MSM will argue they are simply following their readers interests and people are not interested in reading or hearing about climate change any more. However, the ‘bread and circuses’ they feed up instead makes me conclude that much media is simply distraction and entertainment to placate an unknowing populace while generating profit. I think Chomsky had it pretty right in terms of the media’s role in ‘Manufacturing Consent’.

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