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Climate Index confirms extreme heat on the rise

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The frequency of hot days in recent winters and springs has exceeded historical levels, according to the Actuaries Institute’s Climate Index.

Parts of northern Queensland had more hot days than usual last spring, while the southern regions had lower winter rainfall and parts of the east remained extraordinarily dry.

It is the first update to the institute’s index since its launch last November.

The next update, likely due at the end of next month, will include weather data from the Townsville floods and bushfires in Victoria and NSW, and information on mass fish deaths in the Murray Darling Basin.

“What I am expecting we will see is some of the extreme heat conditions that prevailed in the few areas that led to some of the bushfires and some of the extreme rainfall that we saw in Queensland,” Finity Consulting Principal and index lead author Tim Andrews told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“The index is definitely showing there are more extremes of weather conditions now than there previously were.”

Mr Andrews says insurers have shown interest in the index readings, but he emphasises it is not designed for setting premium rates.

“I think more work needs to be done over time to measure the extremes and specifically how the extremes relate to the insurance risk, and then to develop an index that is actually of insurance risk rather than of weather extremes.”

Index readings are compiled using weather data from the Bureau of Meteorology.