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Climate Index shows autumn temperatures exceed average trends

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Australia’s most recent autumn ranked as the second most extreme in the number of hot days, according to the latest Climate Index readings.

The frequency of extreme high temperatures during the period was 96% above the long-term average.

Finity Consultant and Actuary Tim Andrews, who collates the index for the Actuaries Institute, expects new temperate records in the coming years based on the current weather trends.

The ongoing bushfires catastrophe in NSW and Queensland will have an impact on the next reading of the index, which is prepared at the end of each season from Bureau of Meteorology data.

“While the index is backwards looking, it is a useful reference to indicate how the frequency of extreme weather conditions has been changing,” Mr Andrews told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“The current fires in NSW and Queensland are partly linked to unseasonally warm weather, and this will show up in the index for spring.

“The increase in the frequency of hot days shown by the index over a long period gives us insight into the increase in bushfire risk over time.”

The readings reinforce other studies that have similarly concluded the country is experiencing rising temperatures and the Actuaries Institute says there are implications for the economy that must not be ignored.

“There is a growing urgency to understand the occurrence of extremes and the impacts of climate change on businesses and communities,” CEO Elayne Grace said.

“We have seen a strong rise in the momentum of interest from various parties, including from Australia's regulators, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Reserve Bank of Australia.”

The index was launched in November 2018 and shows changes in the frequency of extreme high and low temperatures, heavy precipitation, dry days, strong winds and changes in sea levels.

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