New data published by Nasa has confirmed that temperatures across large parts of Australia were up to 15 degrees Celsius above average during the first eight days of 2013.
The data, collected and beamed to Earth from Nasa’s Aqua satellite, recorded temperatures across the nation from January 1 to January 8 and compared them with the first weeks of each year between 2005 to 2012.
It found that large swathes of Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory were 15 degrees above average in early 2013.
Large parts of the rest of the country were also well above average.
Only areas in WA’s west and northwest, including parts of the Pilbara, Gascoyne and Perth, and relatively small areas of the central NT recorded below average temperatures, according to the Nasa data.
‘‘Each of the first eight days of 2013 were among the 20 hottest days on record,’’ Nasa said.
‘‘The scorching weather continued a trend of four consecutive months (September to December 2012) where temperatures were the highest on record.
‘‘The persistent heat mirrors a similar pattern that developed in the continental United States in 2012.’’
Nasa pointed to comments made by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) chairman Rajendra Pachauri during a meeting in Hobart last week that linked the heatwave to climate change.
However, some, including Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, have dismissed the link.
What will be the main motivation for humanity's future space endeavours?Related story: (See story)
The cost of losing nature