Anthropogenic contributions to Australia’s record summer temperatures of 2013


Anthropogenic contributions to Australia’s record summer temperatures of 2013

  1. Sophie C. Lewis*,
  2. David J. Karoly

Article first published online: 23 JUL 2013

DOI: 10.1002/grl.50673


  • attribution;
  • Australia;
  • summer;
  • ENSO;
  • extremes


[1] Anthropogenic contributions to the record hot 2013 Australian summer are investigated using a suite of climate model experiments. This was the hottest Australian summer in the observational record. Australian area-average summer temperatures for simulations with natural forcings only were compared to simulations with anthropogenic and natural forcings for the period 1976–2005 and the RCP8.5 high emission simulation (2006–2020) from nine Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 models. Using fraction of attributable risk to compare the likelihood of extreme Australian summer temperatures between the experiments, it was very likely (>90% confidence) there was at least a 2.5 times increase in the odds of extreme heat due to human influences using simulations to 2005, and a fivefold increase in this risk using simulations for 2006–2020. The human contribution to the increased odds of Australian summer extremes like 2013 was substantial, while natural climate variations alone, including El Niño Southern Oscillation, are unlikely to explain the record temperature.

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