Southeast Australia Sizzles in Fall Heatwave as Winter Approaches

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A South Australian policeman offers a drink of water to a koala at the side of the road
A South Australian policeman offers a drink of water to a koala at the side of the road in Adelaide January 16, 2014. Reuters

Southeast Australia continues to sizzle as temperatures continue to rise despite winter's fast approach. For the 13th consecutive day in May, Melbourne continued to experience temperatures of more than 20 degrees on May 23. The current heatwave has broken the original record of a 10-day streak in 1972.

Adelaide recorded a temperature of 21 degrees Celsius as it stays on track to beat its own record. Syndey is on its 14th consecutive day of experiencing temperatures above 22C, beating its own 9-day records in 1978 and 2007. The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast temperatures of more than 22C in Australia's most populated state for the next seven days.

The heatwave in the fall has been linked to a slow-moving high pressure system in the Tasman sea and the movement of northerly winds.

Climate scientists have predicted in the latest UN climate change report that Australia will get hotter. According to the UN climate change report, the world will become 2 degrees Celsius warmer.

More heatwaves and bushfires could result in great economic losses as global warming prolongs drought and lowers crop yields. The "irreversible" damage due to climate change will cause economic shocks, and the subsequent severe poverty may lead to mass migration. The risk of violence may increase from protests triggered by international or civil conflicts.

The rise in temperatures worldwide may cause the wipeout of entire ecosystems.  The rise in global temperature would mean the potential widespread and permanent damage to Australia's coral reef systems, specifically the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo in Western Australia.

The report warned that some species native to Australia may disappear.  The continued rise in global temperature could increase the frequency of flooding which will cause damage to infrastructures. Some low-lying areas may be swallowed by rising sea levels. Extreme weather conditions may affect the quality of Australia's drinking water.

The Bureau of Meteorology previously declared 2013 the hottest year on record with average temperatures at 1.20 degrees Celsius higher than the long term average of 21.8C. The hottest day for Australia was recorded on Jan 7, 2013. In the same month, Australia recorded its hottest week and hottest month since records began in 1910.

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