Extreme Heatwave Prompts SE Australia to Impose Fire Bans, Bushfire Warnings, Train Cancellations
By Reissa Su | December 20, 2013 12:47 PM EST
Residents in Southeast Australia continue to experience sweltering heat which prompted authorities to impose over a dozen fire bans across Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Weather reports said hot winds are blowing from the east with the heat slowly spreading to Canberra from Adelaide.
South Australia has been warned of extreme heat with a total fire ban issued in 12 out of 15 districts. Adelaide residents can expect a maximum temperature of 43 degrees Celsius, making it the hottest day ever recorded since January 2013.
Even in the evenings, temperatures will remain within the mid-30 degrees Celsius especially around midnight. Australian fire authorities have already warned residents of dangerous conditions with the winds blowing hard.
According to Officer Mick Ayre from the Country Fire Service, people in affected areas need to be ready to leave their homes in case of fire. Residents are being reminded to take extra care and be aware of the fire bans.
Australian firefighters are still working to contain a fire that started in Rockleigh, north of Monarto which has been burning since Dec. 19.
Due to rising temperature with a maximum of 40 degrees Celsius, 16 metropolitan train services have been cancelled in Melbourne. Metro, railway operator, has imposed a speed limit to its services when temperatures go beyond 38 degrees.
A fire ban has been set for Mallee and Wimmera in Victoria as well as districts included in the Northern Country forecast.
Indian Ocean phenomenon
Extreme weather events in Australia like droughts and bushfires are caused by changes in temperature in the Indian Ocean. In a study released on Nov. 29 and published on Nature Geoscience, the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) has significant consequences like the El Nino phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean. The temperature changes in the Indian Ocean will more likely to intensify due to the effects of climate change.
The southeast part of Australia will experience a low amount of rainfall and high temperatures during a positive IOD event. Most of the rainfall in southeast Australia during the winter and spring come from the tropical eastern part of the Indian Ocean.
The scientists linking the Indian Ocean to extreme weather in Australia have analysed 54 climate models and experiments used in the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report. According to scientific data, IOD index is on an upward trend. Climate models have indicated that the trend will continue to rise in the next hundred years.
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