26 December 2019

The Washington Post: “Australia braces for highest temperatures in recorded history amid blistering heat wave”

Australia may set a record for its hottest day this week, as temperatures soar past 104 degrees (40 Celsius) in most of the nation’s major cities, with inland areas of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia possibly eclipsing 122 degrees (50 Celsius). The heat wave, which is unusually severe for so early in the summer, is affecting the entirety of the continent, gradually progressing eastward from Perth to Adelaide and on toward Melbourne and Sydney by Friday.

The heat is sure to aggravate the already record-shattering bush fires, which have emitted massive amounts of greenhouse gases and choked Sydney residents beneath a blanket of smoke. Health authorities in New South Wales are warning them to stay indoors during the day’s heat.

Andrew Freedman

The nightmare scenario from Greg Egan’s Perihelion Summer happening now, without passing black holes or orbital changes. Meanwhile the Australian leadership is still refusing to take action against global warming, despite huge economic costs caused by the current fires, which will certainly rise in coming years. And, to make matters worse, the lack of initiative from the United States and Australia is encouraging China to ignore limits on its carbon emissions, as the country is planning to build additional coal-fired power plants. Our climate future on Earth seems bleaker by the day…

Dec. 17, 2019, Australia’s hottest day on record
High temperatures Dec. 17, 2019, Australia’s hottest day on record. (Bureau of Meteorology)

On Tuesday, The 2020 Climate Change Performance Index rated Australia as one of the worst performers among 57 high-emitters, with it earning 0 out of 100 possible points for its policies.

Matthew Green & Jake Spring
Average annual temperature departures from the average in Australia
Average annual temperature departures from the average in Australia, with a 10-year running mean included (black line) (Bureau of Meteorology)

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