A sweltering day is predicted for Sydneysiders, with temperatures soaring up to 36 degrees by this afternoon.
We can expect this to be the new normal, according to Bureau of Meteorologist climatologist Andrew Watkins, who said an extended summer was on the horizon.
“The outlook for autumn shows both daytime and overnight temperatures are likely to be above average for most of the country,” Dr Watkins said.
This comes after Australia’s summer was declared the third-warmest on record, with temperatures set to remain high over autumn.
Australian summers are getting longer and winters shorter, after the Australia Institute studied two decades worth of Bureau of Meteorology data.
Its study found summer temperatures were continuing for a staggering 31 days longer than the benchmark, while winters were 23 days shorter.
Australia Institute’s climate and energy director Richie Merzian said having more extreme heat events put the public at risk and hurt the economy.
“The Australian government’s current emission reduction targets are aligned with three to four degrees of warming,” he said.
“Which leaves young Australians having ever-lengthening summers with significant consequences.”
The federal government has committed to the Paris agreement, which aims for a 26 to 28 per cent reduction on 2005 greenhouse gas emissions levels by 2030. The agreement also includes a pact to achieve net zero emissions in the second half of the century.
Labor has committed to net zero emissions by 2050, but hasn’t revealed if its 2030 goal would be more ambitious than what the Paris target stipulates.
Dr Watkins said most of the country was showing no signs of either wetter or drier than average conditions in the coming months.
However, some parts of the tropical north may have a drier end to their wet season and parts of southern and southeastern Australia are showing a slightly increased chance of above average rainfall in the coming three months, particularly in March.
Sky News this morning said ex-tropical Cyclone Esther was “the gift that keeps on giving across the Northern Territory”, with heavy rainfall predicted from Tennant Creek all the way down to Alice Springs.
The remnants of Esther are moving southeast, bringing massive storms and widespread rain to the Northern Territory, and then into southwest Queensland.
By Wednesday, forecasters predict northwest New South Wales will be hit by the storm.
Travelling somewhat in reverse is a cold front that hit Melbourne yesterday, which brought the temperature down by 10C.
“That southerly change will make its way along the NSW coast, reaching the border between NSW and Queensland by Tuesday morning,” Sky News said.
“So while it’s on the cards to have a warmer day, a cooler day will follow.”