It’s the beginning of October, and record-breaking heat – exacerbated by climate change – has fuelled an early outbreak of bushfires.
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.
Early season records have been set across Victoria, in southern NSW and in the ACT, and 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.
Fire weather now frequently extends into October and March, reducing opportunities for controlled burning and increasing pressure on firefighting resources.
Victoria has already had more than 200 bushfires across the state, destroying a number of homes and damaging many more.
It’s clear that our climate is changing more rapidly and with larger and more damaging impacts than expected.
These events reinforce just how necessary and urgent it is that Australia take much more decisive action to join the worldwide effort to bring climate change under control, and protect Australians from the worsening impacts of extreme weather.
For more on the link between extreme weather and climate change, read our report, Quantifying the impact of climate change on extreme heat in Australia.
IMAGE CREDIT: CSIRO LICENSED UNDER CC BY 3.0