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Australia experiences hottest ever January: weather bureau
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  • SYDNEY, Feb 1 (AFP) Feb 01, 2008
    Australia experienced its hottest January on record this year, with the dry continent heating up as part of the global warming process, the bureau of meteorology said Friday.

    Temperatures rose by between 1.0 and 2.0 degrees in most parts of the country, with the national average hitting 29.2 degrees Celsius (84 Fahrenheit) for the summer month, said the bureau's head of climate analysis, David Jones.

    "It's a remarkable number certainly. Averaging, as we did across the whole country 1.3 degrees above average is the highest temperature we've seen in our history of records for Australia in January," he told AFP.

    Jones said it was a steady, persistent warmth rather than a heatwave which saw Australia heat up everywhere except in parts of northeastern Queensland state, where flooding was widespread.

    "Australia is warming up as part of the global warming process," Jones said. "Certainly record high temperatures are coming significantly faster than what we would have expected if it wasn't the case of global warming."

    He said warming in Australia was expected to be in line with the global projections.

    "It's just simply not surprising. The world is warming, Australia has warmed by about a degree (since 1950). It just means we get fewer cold days, fewer cold weeks, fewer cold months, and more and more hot ones," he said.

    "But I guess what is different to the rest of the world is that Australia is already very hot, whereas many other countries around the world have the luxury of a cool climate."

    The most extreme temperatures in January were in Western Australia and the Northern Territory -- regions with vast tracts of desert -- which had their hottest January on record.

    In the outback town of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, the coolest day of the month was 36 degrees (97 Fahrenheit).

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