2 (Xinhua) — Australia now has a month longer summer than it was in the 1950s as climate change changes traditional weather patterns, according to a new study by the Australian Institute of Research, a think-tank. The researchers found that between 1999 and 2018, Australian summers were 31 days longer than in the middle of the last century and 23 days shorter in winter.
The change is even more dramatic in some regional centres, such as coastal resort towns such as Port Macquarie, about four hours’ drive north of Sydney, where summers are now more than seven weeks longer than in the 1950s.
While the longer winters of summer may sound happy on the surface, it is bad news for countries like Australia, which are already affected by extreme weather. In particular, shorter winters have the potential to reduce the time available to control combustion, which is essential to prevent bushfires. Extended summers also increase the risk of extreme heat, which is particularly dangerous for young children and the elderly.
“Our findings are not a prediction of what we might see in the future,” said Richie Merzian, director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Australian Institute. That’s the way it is now. Global warming has made Australia’s summer shorter and more dangerous than it used to be. Extreme hot weather is the deadliest of all natural hazards, causing more deaths in Australia than all other natural hazards combined. “