Record heatwave in Australia
WHATS IN THIS BLOG?
- Text from Australia: 71 wildfires burning.
- Bats and flying foxes killed by the thousands.
- Where was the heatwave the worst?
- Australia has been getting warmer.
TEXT FROM AUSTRALIA.
“Heat wave in eastern Australia. 71 wildfires in New South Wales and Victoria. It’s a bit different to your part of the world in USA.”
This text was sent by my brother Clive just a few days ago – 17 January 2019. Less than a week before that I had sent him a video of a three-inch snowfall I experienced here in the USA. What a contrast!
Some of the following is excerpted from BBC News. The heatwave has broken heat records at more than ten places around Australia. The record-setters included Port Augusta which reached 48.9C or 120F. Port Augusta lies about 100 miles from where I was raised in Jamestown, South Australia.
This heatwave is comparable to the nation’s worst heatwave in 2013. The hottest day on record for Australia is 7 January 2013, when the national average maximum temperature was 40.3C or almost 105F.
BATS AND FLYING FOXES KILLED BY THE HEAT.
The map shows New South Wales was hit the hardest, but with large parts of Queensland and South Australia affected also.
During this heatwave, there were also mass deaths in native bat colonies in New South Wales.
In an earlier heatwave, in November 2018, record-breaking heat in Australia’s north wiped out almost one-third of the nation’s spectacled flying foxes. About 23,000 of these flying foxes died in two days. In the city of Cairns, next to the Great Barrier Reef, locals saw bats toppling from trees into backyards and swimming pools.
About 10,000 bats of another species – black flying foxes – succumbed to the heat during the same two-day period.
Flying foxes often experience fatal heat stress when temperatures rise above 42C, scientists say. During November’s heatwave, Cairns recorded its highest-ever temperature of 42.6C or 109F.
AUSTRALIA HAS BEEN GETTING WARMER
In 2018, parts of eastern Australia suffered their worst drought in recent history, while thousands of Australians fled their homes when wildfires swept through Queensland in November 2018.
The second bar-chart shows a close correlation between carbon dioxide levels (the primary greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere and average global temperatures in recent years. I cannot think of any other explanation for this graph, other than made-made greenhouse gases causing the heating of our planet. I discussed this graph in a previous blog.
Average warming trend across the entire world.
For more details on global warming caused by human activities, you can read an excellent article by two Australian colleagues, Julian Pfitzner and Mark Schubert (click here).
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