Photo: Record July temperatures are sparking concerns of a hot summer ahead for Queensland. (ABC News: Shelley Lloyd)
With parts of Queensland recording their hottest July temperatures on record, one of Australia's leading climatologists has issued a dire warning about what lies ahead on the weather radar.The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said average maximum temperature records were set last month in 12 locations, including the Gold Coast, Logan, Archerfield Airport, Gatton and Charters Towers, near Townsville.
The records had stood for at least 20 years, with the Gatton's average maximum temperature of 23.6 degrees Celsius beating its previous mark of 23.3C from 78 years ago.
Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef set a new highest July temperature of 26.4C, breaking a previous record set in 1998. The average temperature for July on the island is 21.1C
Alva beach near Townsville also broke a previous record for the hottest day, reaching 29.4C.
Applethorpe and Amberley also both broke records from 1993, for hottest daily mean temperatures.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes heatwave expert Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick said while it was not clear-cut, there was cause for concern.
"At this stage, we are heading towards an El Nino summer, so we are more likely to have hotter and more extreme weather, that's quite clear," she said."We can't use what is going on in the northern hemisphere as an actual prediction of what might happen in the southern hemisphere summer.
Queensland's average maximum temperature in July was the fourth-warmest on record.
It was also the state's driest July in four years, with statewide rainfall down more than 70 per cent below the long-term average, BoM said.
"Looking at the climate drivers and what has been going on in our own weather in the last three or so months, it is gearing up towards a warmer summer," Dr Perkins-Kirkpatrick said.
"We should certainly be worried, particularly in the long term we can expect to see more summers like the one being experienced by the northern hemisphere more often anywhere across the globe."
Dr Perkins-Kirkpatrick said she expected climate change would continue to push Queensland climate to new extremes.
Photo: Sean Makepease from Barden Produce expects profits to be down this year. (ABC News: Lucy Murray)
Hot weather affecting growersQueensland's Darling Downs region is one area feeling the effects of the warmer temperatures.
Conditions have been so good for vegetable growers that they are now dealing with major oversupply problems, fresh produce buyer Sean Makepeace said.
"The warmer weather does bring plantings on a lot quicker. We could have two or three plantings come on at once," he said.
Mr Makepeace expected profits to be down due to the oversupply, with supermarket shelves filled with produce like lettuce.
"We have to go to a certain price to clear and stimulate sales," he said.
Photo: More intense storms were being felt in southern Queensland and linked to climate change. (ABC News: Shelley Lloyd)
'Not just the heat but the humidity'Dr Perkins-Kirkpatrick said a new study by University of Melbourne scientists noted tropical cyclones forming further from the equator as the planet warmed, bringing more southern parts of Queensland into the zone of intense storms.
She said a new study by University of Melbourne scientists noted tropical cyclones forming further from the equator as the planet warmed, bringing more southern parts of Queensland into the zone of intense storms.
"The atmospheric circulation system that drives tropical weather is actually expanding and shifting, bringing a lot of the heat that accumulates at the equator further south," Dr Perkins-Kirkpatrick said.
"The warmer water that drives cyclones will bring the wild weather further south to parts of the state not previously affected directly by cyclones.
"To be honest, I wouldn't want to be living in the tropics in the next few decades, not just because of the temperature increase but also because of the humidity."
Photo: Dr Perkins-Fitzpatrick said weather records will keep getting broken. (ABC News: Shelley Lloyd)
Dr Perkins-Kirkpatrick said weather records would continue to fall in the coming years.
"It's hard to say exactly when those records will be broken but there's no doubt they will be broken," she said.
"It depends on where you live but we will definitely see higher frequency of 40-degree-plus days particularly over the next 10 to 20 years.
"There have been some studies that have found will see 50-degree plus days, when they have never occurred before, but that is a much more a longer term issue."