Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Scorching Heat Melts Highway in Australia

Climate

Extreme weather is blasting opposite ends of the globe.

As the northeastern U.S. faces freezing winds and record snowfall, a “catastrophic" heat wave in Australia has prompted warnings of dangerous bushfire and has literally melted part of a busy highway.


According to the New York Times, triple-digit temperatures reached “life-threatening levels" over the weekend in many parts of the continent:

"Penrith, a suburb of Sydney, reached 47.3 degrees Celsius on Sunday, or just over 117 degrees Fahrenheit. It was the hottest day on record in Penrith, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales, and the hottest anywhere in the Sydney area since 1939, when a temperature of 47.8 degrees—118 degrees Fahrenheit—set a record that still stands.

At 40.1 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit, Melbourne, 550 miles southwest, was comfortable only by comparison."

On Friday in the Australian state of Victoria, with temperatures hitting 104 degrees Fahrenheit, traffic slowed to a crawl due to melting tar on a six-mile stretch of the Hume Highway in Broadford.

The heat caused the asphalt to become "soft and sticky" and the road's surface to bleed, a spokeswoman for VicRoads, which manages the state's road systems, explained to Australian Broadcasting Corp.

"This heat is a killer," Victoria ambulance commander Paul Holman warned, adding that the heat was “like a blast furnace" and residents should stay indoors.

Similarly, last year, a devastating heat wave in New Delhi also melted roads after temperatures neared 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

The heat in Australia—as well as the “bomb cyclone" in the U.S.—comes as 2017 earned the dubious distinction of Earth's second-hottest year on record. Signs of climate change include devastating wildfires to diminishing Arctic ice, the Copernicus Climate Change Service, a European Union monitoring center, noted. This follows 2016, when Earth's surface temperatures were officially the hottest since record-keeping began in 1880.

"It's striking that 16 of the 17 warmest years have all been this century," Jean-Noel Thepaut, head of Copernicus, told Reuters, noting the scientific consensus that man-made emissions has exacerbated climate change.

Experts say that unusually cold weather does not disprove global warming. Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe pointed out that the record snowfall in the lakefront city of Erie, Pa. late last month could be explained by warmer temperatures increasing the risk of lake-effect snow.

But President Donald Trump, who famously asserted that climate change was "created" by the Chinese to hurt U.S manufacturing, tweeted recently that the bitter cold East Coast "could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming."

"In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year's Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against," Trump tweeted while vacationing in Palm Beach, Florida. "Bundle up!"

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. JustTulsa / CC BY 2.0

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Read More Show Less
The Firefly Watch project is among the options for aspiring citizen scientists to join. Mike Lewinski / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Tiffany Means

Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.

Read More Show Less
People sit at the bar of a restaurant in Austin, Texas, on June 26, 2020. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to be closed by noon on June 26 and for restaurants to be reduced to 50% occupancy. Coronavirus cases in Texas spiked after being one of the first states to begin reopening. SERGIO FLORES / AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.

Read More Show Less
A never-before-documented frog species has been discovered in the Peruvian highlands and named Phrynopus remotum. Germán Chávez

By Angela Nicoletti

The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.

Read More Show Less
Left: Lemurs in Madagascar on March 30, 2017. Mathias Appel / Flickr. Right: A North Atlantic right whale mother and calf. National Marine Fisheries Service

A new analysis by scientists at the Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that lemurs and the North Atlantic right whale are on the brink of extinction.

Read More Show Less
Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular. Colin Dunn / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Julia Vergin

It is undisputed that vitamin D plays a role everywhere in the body and performs important functions. A severe vitamin D deficiency, which can occur at a level of 12 nanograms per milliliter of blood or less, leads to severe and painful bone deformations known as rickets in infants and young children and osteomalacia in adults. Unfortunately, this is where the scientific consensus ends.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Data from a scientist measuring macroalgal communities in rocky shores in the Argentinean Patagonia would be added to the new system. Patricia Miloslavich / University of Delaware

Ocean scientists have been busy creating a global network to understand and measure changes in ocean life. The system will aggregate data from the oceans, climate and human activity to better inform sustainable marine management practices.

EcoWatch sat down with some of the scientists spearheading the collaboration to learn more.

Read More Show Less