A new report from the Federal Government's Climate Commission says the heatwave and bushfires that have affected Australia this week have been exacerbated by global warming.
The report – Off the Charts: Extreme Australian Summer Heat – warns of more extreme bushfires and hotter, longer, bigger and more frequent heatwaves, due to climate change.
It says the number of record heat days across Australia has doubled since 1960 and more temperature records are likely to be broken as hot conditions continue this summer.
When Prime Minister Julia Gillard linked the heatwave with climate change this week, the acting Opposition Leader Warren Truss said that was utterly simplistic.
But climate change experts have no doubt that climate change is a factor in the current conditions.
The scientific advisor to the Climate Commission, Professor David Karoly, has written the report for the Climate Commission to answer questions about the link between heatwaves and climate change.
"What we have been able to see is clear evidence of an increasing trend in hot extremes, reductions in cold extremes and with the increases in hot extremes more frequent extreme fire danger day," he said.
"What it means for the Australian summer is an increased frequency of hot extremes, more hot days, more heatwaves and more extreme bushfire days and that's exactly what we've been seeing typically over the last decade and we will see even more frequently in the future."