Autumn mild weather sets record highs
Unseasonal treat: Families enjoy the warm April weather during a performance by Saurus at Fremantle Esplanade. Picture: Mogens Johansen/The West Australian

Record-breaking warm weather in autumn has propelled Australia's average temperature to its hottest two-year period recorded.

Releasing a report today, the Climate Council said the unseasonally warm conditions again highlighted the need for action on global warming.

The report said the average temperature was 1.11C higher during April, with the "warm wave" last month delaying the onset of winter across southern Australia. Council member Will Steffen said records set in WA last month included the record for the number of warm nights.

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The Perth Airport weather station reported 25 consecutive days with the minimum temperature above 10C. The minimum temperature recorded at the Cape Leeuwin weather station was above 15C for 13 days in a row.

Esperance also had 20 straight days of maximum temperatures above 20C, beating the previous record 15 days in 2005.

Professor Steffen said WA's rain pattern was different during autumn. Though the warm spell had deflected cold fronts that usually brought rain from the Southern Ocean, higher sea temperatures in the Indian Ocean had caused rainfall this year.

"We don't know if that's going to be a regular pattern or a one-off," he said.

The council said daytime temperatures were 4C to 6C higher than normal over an area spanning South Australia and north-west Victoria into NSW, south-west Queensland and the Northen Territory during the dry spell between May 8 and May 26.

Sydney had a record 28 days above 20C. Adelaide (16 days) and Melbourne (13 days) also broke records for days above 20C.

"We have just had an abnormally warm autumn, off the back of another very hot 'angry summer'," Professor Steffen said.

"The past two-year period has delivered the hottest average temperature we have ever recorded in Australia.

"Climate change is here. It's happening, and Australians are already feeling its impact."

The West Australian

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