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Latest Climate Index readings affirm extreme weather trend

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Last autumn produced the second-highest number of hot days for that season, according to the Actuaries Institute.

Its latest Climate Index readings, released today, show the frequency of extreme high temperatures in the March-May period was 96% above the long-term average.

The readings reinforce other studies that have similarly concluded the country is experiencing rising temperatures. And the 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,” Actuaries Institute 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.”

Finity Consultant and Actuary Tim Andrews, who collates the index for the institute, says he expects new temperature 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 the Bureau of Meteorology’s data.

“While the index is backwards-looking, it is a useful reference tool 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 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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