Another summer, not quite like the other summers. Steve Lacy

Floods, fires and lots of heat: summing up summer 2012-13

We all know what to expect from summer in Australia. From December through March it will be hot, there will be storms and floods, and there will be bush fires. It’s been like that for as long as history has recorded, and it surprises no one.

But this summer is a little bit different, in that it’s more of the same. More hot, that is. Bureau of Meteorology figures released today show this is the hottest summer Australia has recorded. And it’s not an outlier: our summers have been getting hotter for a while and will, overall, keep getting hotter. As Blair Trewin and Karl Braganza of the Bureau say, “In the second half of the 21st century, the record summer of 2013 will likely sit at the very cooler end of normal”.

Over the last few months we’ve been keeping an eye on the weather. As we head into Autumn, delve back into our coverage of an extraordinary summer.


Australia’s hottest summer on record - where was it hot, why, and what does it mean for future summers? Hot summer? Yes: the hottest

Things were already pretty hot by early January, when the Bureau of Meteorology assessed the heat wave so far What’s causing Australia’s heat wave?

Short-term, one of the worst things about heat is how rough you feel after tossing and turning all night. We got some tips on sleeping in heat waves Too hot to sleep? Here’s why

Humans are pretty resilient creatures. What feels hot to us now may seem cooler in future Could we acclimatise to the hotter summers to come?

The rest of our heat wave coverage is here.

Daniel Alexander Head


After every flood, people pitch in to clean up and rebuild, but that might not be the right approach Clean up or adaptation: disaster-proofing Queensland

The floods of 2013 hit many areas that were also flooded two years ago, and a lot of people were swamped for a second time. There’s a reason people don’t just leave town Why move back? Floods and the difficulty of relocation

Once a flood passes, everyone starts passing the buck on who’ll pay. Doesn’t the insurance cover it? The answer is more complicated than you think Why are so many Queenslanders still without flood insurance?

Floods are going to keep happening. There will probably be more of them, but we don’t know where or when. How do we plan? Queensland floods: motivation to get flood planning right

The rest of our floods coverage is here.

AAP Image/Sabrina Lauriston


After a fire, everyone wants to get back to normal as quickly as possible. But quickly restoring a fire-free status quo is misplaced and problematic Adapting to bushfires means accepting their place in Australia

Fires affect people, but they affect trees too. More frequent fires could stop forests regenerating Ash to ashes: what could the 2013 fires mean for the future of our forests?

While the fires were raging, acting Opposition leader Warren Truss posited that bushfires would add more CO2 to the atmosphere than Australia’s coal-fired power plants. We did some sums Fact check: do bushfires emit more carbon than burning coal?

This summer it seemed like half the country was on fire at times. But what is the real likelihood that bushfires will increase? A history of vulnerability: putting Tasmania’s bushfires in perspective

The rest of our bushfires coverage is here.

AAP Image/Rob Blakers