Monday, December 23, 2019

Surfing While Balmoral Burns

Two maps have dominated my Twitter timeline over the weekend. One (shown above) was a screenshot of MyFireWatch, an interactive map of Australian bushfires. The other (shown below), from the Australia Bureau of Meteorology, reveals the record breaking temperatures the country has been experiencing this summer.

The climate-change denying Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has come in for huge amounts of criticism after taking his family on vacation to Hawaii during what is seen by many as a national emergency.

The bushfire season in Australia has been very extreme this year. It has also been exhaustively long. The NASA satellite images above show bushfires burning in southeastern Australia in September and December. The satellite image on the left was captured on September 12, 2019 and the satellite image on the right is from December 4th, 2019. After four months of severe bushfires there is still no end in sight.

Last week Australia experienced its two hottest days on record. On Tuesday a record temperature of 40.9C was recorded. This record was then broken the very next day when a temperature of 41.9C (107.4F) was recorded. The extreme heat, strong dry winds and lack of rain are proving disastrous for those threatened by the bushfires. Meteorologists currently expect no significant rainfall in Australia for at least the next two months. The fire season in southeast Australia tends to be most severe during summer and autumn (December–March).

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