The Australian prime minister warns of more extreme weather to come.
Mother Jones, By James West, January 8
Every Australian knows well the smell of burning eucalyptus. As a kid, I remember filling bathtubs and hosing the house as embers flew overhead and the lawn turned grey with ash. The family photo albums practically lived for one month each summer in the back of the car.
So regular are fires across this big, dry place (the driest inhabited continent on earth) that they are given a season unto themselves—”bushfire season”—which kicks off in late December and continues through the height of summer, with predictable emergency broadcasts, panicked residents fleeing in cars, and the endless debate about evacuation plans and controlled burning.
It’s an old story, but one that scientists warn will become ever more common because of climate change.
Australia’s bushfire season hit with force last week, fueled by a record coast-to-coast heat wave that will continue unabated across the next few days. A new record was set Monday in Australia when the average maximum temperature reached 40.33 degrees Celsius (about 104.6 degrees Fahrenheit), beating the previous record set in 1972*: Yes, that’s an average maximum.
The Telegraph: Australia: fires rage and temperatures soar on day of ‘catastrophic’ danger.
More than 100 wildfires have broken out across Australia’s east coast and forced thousands to flee their homes as the nation faces a day of “catastrophic” fire danger.
FairFax NZ News: Coping with Australia’s heatwave
Not to mention, Slate: It’s Official: 2012 Was the Hottest Year on Record in Continental U.S. by a Full Degree, and NYT: Not Even Close: 2012 Was Hottest Ever in U.S..
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