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The Tennis Is Hotting Up

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Extreme summer temperatures in Melbourne have become more prevalent over summer, especially when the Australian Open tennis tournament runs, according to a study published in the Bulletin of the Australian Meteorological & Oceanographic Society.

Ben Hague of the University of Melbourne was motivated to conduct a historical observational study of temperature and humidity data in Melbourne after maximum temperatures exceeded 41°C for four consecutive days during the 2014 Australian Open. The heat wave caused heat-related stress for players, officials and spectators at the tournament.

“This was a particularly extreme event,” Hague says, “but the point of this study is to measure whether these events are happening more often. The results suggest that they are.”

Hague found that both hot days and measures of heat stress increased significantly across all of summer, but mainly in January – particularly mid–late January when the international tennis tournament takes place.

The study focused on temperature and humidity trends since 1987, which was when the Australian Open became a mid–late January event.

“The average afternoon temperatures during January have increased at a rate of 0.8°C per decade,” Hague says, “but the temperatures during the Australian Open’s afternoon sessions have risen by 1.25°C per decade. This is significant because...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.