Extreme heatwave hits Australia – World Socialist Web Site


Extreme heatwave hits Australia

Frank Gaglioti

18 January 2019

While Germany, Austria, Serbia and other parts of Central and Eastern Europe face one of their coldest Januarys in recent years, the Australian continent is experiencing record heatwaves. Scientific evidence indicates that global warming is exacerbating the extreme conditions around the world.

The extended period of high temperatures in Australia is having serious impacts on people’s health, as well as agriculture and wildlife. On January 16, for example, some towns recorded temperatures just below 50C (122F).

Tarcoola in the middle of South Australia had the highest temperature at 49.1C. Swathes of central Australia, New South Wales (NSW) and northern Victoria recorded temperatures of around 46C.

The intense heat is expected to continue across the continent into this weekend, with Canberra, the national capital, suffering four consecutive days above 40C (104F), a record.

“Certainly the duration of this event and the spatial extent of the heatwave across the southern half of Australia seems to be quite significant,” Weatherzone senior meteorologist Jacob Cronje told the media. “By the end of the week, we should see many records broken across NSW.”

The heatwave started on December 25, when Marble Bar in the Pilbara mining region of northwest Western Australia reached 49.3 degrees. According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), this was the third-highest December temperature ever recorded anywhere in the country.

The BOM said the heatwave emanated from the Pilbara and extended across the country. The severe heat was intensified by the failure of monsoonal rains, making the region extremely dry. These weather systems moved east across the country. According to Cronje, temperatures may exceed 50C as…

Read more