The hottest year on record globally in 2015 could be an average year by 2025 and beyond if carbon emissions continue to rise at the same rate, new research has found.
Lead author Dr Sophie Lewis from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society said human activities had already locked in this new normal for future temperatures, but immediate climate action could prevent record extreme seasons year after year.
“If we continue with business-as-usual emissions, extreme seasons will inevitably be the norm within decades and Australia is the canary in the coal mine that will experience this change first,” said Dr Lewis, who is also from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science.
“If we don’t reduce our rate of emissions the record hot summer of 2013 in Australia – when we saw temperatures approaching 50 degrees Celsius in some areas – could be just another average summer season by 2035.
“This research tells us we can potentially prevent record-breaking seasonal temperatures from becoming average at a regional level.”