Heatwaves and sweltering temperatures contributed to another record-breaking ''angry summer'' and summers are likely to get angrier, according to a damning Climate Council report.
Across the country, major cities battled with scorching heat and raging bushfires. Sydney had its driest summer in 27 years, Melbourne perspired through its hottest 24-hour period and Canberra experienced 20 days of at least 35 degrees. Perth had its second hottest summer on record, while Adelaide had a record 11 days of at least 42 degrees.
''The climate is really heating up,'' said Professor Will Steffen, an earth system scientist and co-author of the Angry Summer report. ''And we can see that from the last 15 years, where we have experienced eight of the hottest summers.
''Since the middle of the last century, heatwaves are getting longer, they are occurring more often and they are starting earlier,'' he said.
Over the 90 days of summer more than 156 temperature records were broken, according to the report released on Monday.
The hottest daily maximum temperature recorded during summer was 49.1C in Walgett, NSW. The warmest night on record was 31.5C at Brunette Downs, in the north-east of the Northern Territory.
There were severe fires across Victoria, Perth and South Australia as fire danger increased because of the frequency of heatwaves, the report said. Over coming decades, it will be ''virtually certain'' extreme weather will continue to be even more frequent and severe in Australia and other parts of the world.
Professor Steffen said the findings were troubling, and likely to be caused by the average temperature rising by 0.9 degrees in the past 65 years. ''What is worrying is that an apparent modest increase is leading to quite extreme weather,'' he said.
The only way to stabilise the climate is to slow greenhouse gas emissions, Professor Steffen said.
''The decisions we make this decade will largely determine the severity of climate change and its influence on extreme events for our grandchildren,'' the report said.