It might seem a distant memory (now that we are all huddled around the radiator in the freezing cold) but last year was the hottest year globally on record, ever.
Lead author on the study, Dr Sophie Lewis said: “If we continue with business-as-usual [carbon] emissions, extreme seasons will inevitably become the norm within decades.”
The research found that “no matter what action we take now”, the amount of damage already been done by humans, has locked in a new normal for global temperatures, that will occur no later than 2040.
In 2015, temperatures in Australia (the study was carried out at the Australian National University) reached 50 degrees Celcius causing widespread bushfires and damage to infrastructure.
Dr Lewis says that if carbon emissions continue to rise at their current rate, in the not-so-distant future of 2025 this Australian “angry summer” will be classified as a normal summer.
The researchers also warned that Australia was the “canary in the coalmine” for global warming changes and would be feeling the impact before other locations.
But there is some good news, if immediate and strong action was taken, Dr Lewis says we could ensure that regionally we could avoid record-breaking averages, despite them being broken globally.
“It gives us hope to know that if we act quickly to reduce greenhouse gases, seasonal extremes might never enter a new normal state in the twenty-first-century at regional levels for the Southern Hemisphere summer and Northern Hemisphere winter,” said Lewis.
Well at least that’s something.