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Australia's Hottest Decade

published  First Published: 04/01/2010
Article written by: News Editor: Nigel Brookson
The Bureau of Meteorology has crunched the numbers for 2009 and found it was the second-warmest year in the past century.
Heatwaves hit in summer and in winter, dust storms wreaked havoc, and there were drought and floods to boot as 2009 rewrote the weather record books.
The decade 2000-2009 was the hottest on record, and since the 1940s each decade has been hotter than the last.
This is all "consistent with global warming", the bureau concluded in its annual climate statement, issued on Tuesday.
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett said the report showed Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was wrong on climate change.
Last month, Mr Abbott told Macquarie Radio that "the world's warming has stopped".
Mr Garrett called on Mr Abbott to "fess up" that he was wrong.
He said the report showed the importance of passing the government's emissions trading scheme (ETS) through parliament next month.
The scheme has been voted down twice and the opposition has vowed to vote no again in February.
"Today, our own weather bureau tells us that, in fact, the world's warming is increasing and, clearly, we need to do something about it now," Mr Garrett said.
In response to the bureau's report, Mr Abbott appeared to back away from his statement that the world was not warming.
"My argument isn't with the meteorologists," he said in a statement.
But the weather report card didn't soften Mr Abbott's opposition to the ETS.
"My argument is against the government's great big new tax. If we are going to tackle climate change, let's take direct action," Mr Abbott said.
The bureau's climate statement found that 2009 was 0.9 degrees Celsius warmer than average.
The second half of the year was especially warm, with an unusual winter heatwave hitting in August. It was Australia's hottest August on record.
Victoria had its hottest day on record - 48.4 degrees Celsius - and Melbourne had its hottest-ever day of 46.4. Tasmania rewrote the record books with a 42.2 degree day.
The rainfall total was average for Australia last year although it tended to come down all at once, leaving other areas in drought.
There were floods in the northern tropics, in the country's east in May, and in Tasmania in the latter part of the year.
Drought continued in the country's southwest and southeast.



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