RECORD-BREAKING heat exacerbated by climate change has fuelled an early outbreak of bushfires, the Climate Council said today.
With fires burning in several states, record-breaking temperatures and a ‘Godzilla’ El Nino brewing in the Pacific, the early preview of what is tipped to be a long and intense bushfire season is a grim reminder of how the climate is changing, Prof Lesley Hughes said today.
Early season records were set across Victoria, in southern NSW and in the ACT.
Temperatures were at least 12°C above average for most of the region on at least one day.
Heat records continue to tumble as the realities of climate change unfold:
Melbourne experienced its earliest +35°C day on record on Tuesday, 6th of October.
In Canberra, it was the earliest date in October that the temperature has been hotter than 30°C.
Monday was the earliest day in October over 35°C in Adelaide.
Globally, 2015 is very likely to surpass last year as the hottest ever recorded with six of the first eight months this year breaking monthly temperature records.
July 2015 was the hottest month ever recorded on earth.
Prof Hughes said climate change was driving an increase in bushfire weather and longer fire seasons in southern Australia, with fire weather now frequently extending into October and March.
“Longer fire seasons reduce opportunities for controlled burning and increase pressure on firefighting resources,” she said.
“Victoria has already had more than 200 bushfires across the state, destroying a number of homes and damaging many more.
“It is clear that our climate is changing more rapidly and with larger and more damaging impacts than expected.
“People’s homes are being lost and their livelihoods damaged or destroyed by the impacts of climate change.
“The events of this week have underscored how necessary and urgent it is that Australia take much more decisive action to join the worldwide effort to bring climate change under control.
“We need a much stronger target to protect Australians from the worsening impacts of extreme weather.”
The Climate Council is an independent, crowd-funded organisation providing quality information to climate change to the Australian public.
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