Quantcast

Australia Just Had Its Hottest January Ever Recorded

Climate
Australia has suffered from frequent drought. CSIRO

Hey President Trump, here's some of that global warming you were asking for. As much of the northern hemisphere shudders through a blistering winter, in Australia, where it's the middle of summer, temperatures for the month of January were the hottest on record, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology confirmed Friday.

The extreme weather has sparked wildfires in the drought-ridded south. Australian Open tennis players fainted, vomited and hallucinated, heat-stressed bats literally fell out of trees and wild horses died en masse from thirst. Meanwhile, the tropical north has been battered by historic flooding and rainfall.


"We saw heatwave conditions affect large parts of the country through most of the month, with records broken for both duration and also individual daily extremes," the bureau's senior climatologist Andrew Watkins said in a release. "The main contributor to this heat was a persistent high pressure system in the Tasman sea which was blocking any cold fronts and cooler air from impacting the south of the country."

"At the same time," Watkins continued, "we had a delayed onset to the monsoon in the north of the country which meant we weren't seeing cooler, moist air being injected from the north."

Across Australia, the average temperature exceeded 30°C (86°F) for "the first time this has occurred in any month," the release said.

Its hottest January ever comes after its third-hottest year on record, the Associated Press noted. The only years hotter were 2005 and 2013. December 2018 also happened to be the country's hottest December on record.

The nation's increasingly extreme weather conditions are all the more foreboding as climate change, like in the U.S., has unfortunately become an ideological matter.

"Of course nothing to see here on climate change.....And pigs might fly," former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd tweeted Friday in reaction to January's record-breaking heat. "The Murdoch Media and Morrison-Turnbull-Abbott should take a bow for more than a decade of bloody-minded opposition to climate change action in Australia [while] the country slowly burns."

Rudd's tweet references Rupert Murdoch's right-wing media empire that disputes the science of climate change as well his successors Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and current prime minister Scott Morrison, who have been criticized for not doing more to cut carbon emissions.

Australia is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, with relentless drought, deadly wildfires and devastating bleaching at the iconic Great Barrier Reef.

At the same time, Australia is one of the world's largest coal exporters, accounting for 37 percent of global exports.

The current government has refused to follow the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) warnings to phase out coal power by 2050. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack once said Australia should "absolutely" continue to use and exploit its coal reserves regardless of what the IPCC says.

On Wednesday, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) warned the government to ramp up its emissions cuts in order to meet its 2030 Paris agreement target, Reuters reported, contradicting Morrison's continued insistence that Australia will meet its Paris goals.

"Australia needs to intensify mitigation efforts to reach its Paris Agreement goal: emissions are projected to increase by 2030," the OECD said in a report of Australia's environmental performance.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Natural Resources Defense Council

By Emily Deanne

Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.

Read More Show Less
Kokia drynarioides, commonly known as Hawaiian tree cotton, is a critically endangered species of flowering plant that is endemic to the Big Island of Hawaii. David Eickhoff / Wikipedia

By Lorraine Chow

Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Frederick Bass / Getty Images

States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of lava flows from the eruption of volcano Kilauea on Hawaii, May 2018. Frizi / iStock / Getty Images

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less
A couple works in their organic garden. kupicoo / E+ / Getty Images

By Kristin Ohlson

From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A competitor in action during the Drambuie World Ice Golf Championships in Uummannaq, Greenland on April 9, 2001. Michael Steele / Allsport / Getty Images

Greenland is open for business, but it's not for sale, Greenland's foreign minister Ane Lone Bagger told Reuters after hearing that President Donald Trump asked his advisers about the feasibility of buying the world's largest island.

Read More Show Less
AFP / Getty Images / S. Platt

Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.

Read More Show Less
Newly established oil palm plantation in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay

By Hans Nicholas Jong

Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.

It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."

Read More Show Less