Thursday, October 8, 2015

Australia Is Hot And Burning Again

A home destroyed by Australian bush fires this week.
Photo by Justin McManus, via Sydney Morning Herald.  
Australia in recent years seems to have been beset by lots of heatwaves, bush fires and extreme storms.

After a winter in which cold spells gave Aussies a break from the unrelenting above normal temperatures, the heat is back as spring arrives. (It's spring in the southern hemisphere, 'natch.)

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne on October 6 had the earliers 35 degree Celcius reading on record for that city.

The previous earliest 35 in Melbourne was on October 12, 2006. 35 Celcius is about 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

On October 5, Canberra had its earliest 30 degree reading on record, besting the old mark set on Oct. 9, 1944. Thirty degrees is about 89 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the state of Victoria, the record high temperatures contributed to an early season outbreak of bush fires.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, this will be a very bad brush fire season in Australia:

"Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Stuart Coombs said part of the state's west had received about 50 percent of the expected rainfall for the past two years, which had left trees and other vegetation dry.

"To have that drop for two years is very significant, particularly in forests. Trees get stressed and don't cary much water so they'll burn quickly.

Mr. Cooms aid El Nino, which usually lasts about 12 months, was unfolding strongly in the Pacific and was unfavourable for producing rain across the country."

Early season heat records in Australia are most likely to be set during El Nino years, says the country's Bureau of Meteorology.

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