“As the climate heats up through this century, they are going to become much more common.
“The good news is that the end (of the heatwave) is approaching but it is expected to get worse before it gets better.”
“We’ve already seen a step up in the frequency of those days and that is expected to continue,” he says, adding that the effect of climate change are most noticeable on days of extreme weather.
“Where previously we saw 40 degrees, that will now be 42 degrees.
“Where we had a day of 42 degrees, that will be 44, and so on.”
With the current heatwave still affecting parts of south-eastern Australia, Jones says that temperate conditions will continue to provide relief for those living in Melbourne and other parts of southern Victoria.
But the news is not so good for those living the state’s north, in South Australia and southern NSW.
Mildura is on track to record 13 consecutive days of temperatures in excess of 40 degrees, which Jones says is nearly double the previous record.
Gippsland residents today have been warned to stay alert to the bushfire danger presented by the heat.
“Following the recent heat, the state is tinder-dry,” Mr Jones says.
“With temperatures expected to rise into the weekend, those living in areas affected by bushfires need to remain alert to the danger.”
According to a special climate statement released by the Bureau of Meteorology, the most exceptional heat, compared with historic experience, occurred in northern and eastern Tasmania.
“The previous state record of 40.8 degrees, set at Hobart on 4 January 1976, was broken on January 29 (2008) when it reached 41.5 degrees – a record that lasted only one day,” the statement said.
“On January 30, temperatures peaked at 42.2 degrees on the east coast town of Scamander. Four other sites broke the (1976) record that day.
“A notable record for prolonged heat was also set at Launceston airport, where there were three consecutive days above 37 degrees in a location which had never previously experienced consecutive days above 35 degrees.”
Melbourne recorded its second highest-ever temperature last week – 45.1 degrees – falling just short of the record – 45.6 – degrees on Black Friday, 13 January 1939.
The bureau says a stagnant weather pattern was to blame for the extended heatwave.
Victoria is not expected to get widespread rain as the heat subsides.