Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Record Heat in Australia Fuels Wildfires, Shuts Down Internet

Climate
Record Heat in Australia Fuels Wildfires, Shuts Down Internet

Australians have good reason to dread the coming of January. It's the peak of the summer season downunder. In recent years, global warming, driven by climate change, has caused temperatures there to soar to record levels.

More wildfires are only one of the many impacts of climate change in Australia.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

With temperatures reaching highs of nearly 112 degrees Fahrenheit in some places, wildfires are blazing, hiking trails are being closed, trains are being required to run at slower speeds, and even the Internet is shutting down. It got so hot in Perth—the sixth hottest day on record—that Perth-based Internet provider iiNet went offline Monday, leaving fuming customers across Australia disconnected for six and a half hours.

"Due to record breaking temperatures in our Perth data centre earlier today, we shut down our servers as a precautionary measure," said an iiNet spokesman. "Although redundancy plans ensured over 98 percent of customers remained unaffected, some customers experienced issues reconnecting to the internet. These issues have now been resolved."

Naturally, users vented at online forums and on Twitter. Some offered their own complicated theories about what went wrong and what the company should have done, griping about the company's customer service or complaining about the complainers with posts like "Hahahahahahaha I love how whingey people get over this. How many of you are paying for services with 99.9999 SLA's? Not many I'd assume. Geez."

In South Australia, a wildfire was raging out of control, something that's becoming an annual occurrence. But this wildfire was said to be the worst in decades. More than 375 firefighters battled a fire in the hills northeast of Adelaide in temperatures well over 100 degrees. The fire, burning for nearly a week now, closed hospitals and caused thousands of people to flee their homes as officials declared a major emergency. South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill told residents, “If you've decided to stay, you need to be aware that the fire will become incredibly scary and could lead you to change your mind at some point. It could be a catastrophic decision for you to leave late."

The Insurance Council of Australia has declared a Catastrophe for the South Australian bushfires, giving loss claims in that area priority. And while wildfire is an annual summer occurrence in Australia, they're getting worse, thanks to manmade climate change-caused heat waves and dry conditions, and they're encroaching on more populated areas. While rain is expected this week, it's unclear whether they will be of any help, given the potential for gusting  winds and continued high temperatures.

The heat wave comes just as the Australian Bureau of Meteorology is reporting in its Annual Climate Statement that the country had its third hottest year ever in 2014, following the hottest on record in 2013. Its second hottest was 2005.

"Nationally, Australian temperatures have warmed approximately one degree since 1950, and the continued warmth in 2014 adds to this long-term warming trend," the bureau's statement said.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Man-Made Climate Change Guilty of Causing Australia's Hottest Year

Australia Becomes First Nation to Repeal Carbon Tax

Obama Attributes Washington State Wildfires to Climate Change

Hospital workers evacuate patients from the Feather River Hospital during the Camp Fire on Nov. 8, 2018 in Paradise, California. People in 128 countries have experienced an increased exposure to wildfires, a new Lancet report finds. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The climate crisis already has a death toll, and it will get worse if we don't act to reduce emissions.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Workers harvest asparagus in a field by the Niederaussem lignite coal power plant in Cologne, Germany. Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning are reaching new highs. Henning Kaiser / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Stuart Braun

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed the dire threat of climate change Wednesday in a speech on the state of the planet delivered at Columbia University in New York.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The miserable ones: Young broiler chickens at a feeder. The poor treatment of the chickens within its supply chain has made Tyson the target of public campaigns urging the company to make meaningful changes. U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

By David Coman-Hidy

The actions of the U.S. meat industry throughout the pandemic have brought to light the true corruption and waste that are inherent within our food system. Despite a new wave of rising COVID-19 cases, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently submitted a proposal to further increase "the maximum slaughter line speed by 25 percent," which was already far too fast and highly dangerous. It has been made evident that the industry will exploit its workers and animals all to boost its profit.

Read More Show Less
Altamira, state of Para, north of Brazil on Sept. 1, 2019. Amazon rainforest destruction surged between August 2019 and July 2020, Brazil's space agency reported. Gustavo Basso / NurPhoto via Getty Images

According to Brazil's space agency (Inpe), deforestation in the Amazon rainforest has surged to its highest level since 2008, the BBC reported.

Read More Show Less
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press briefing at United Nations Headquarters on February 4, 2020 in New York City. Angela Weiss / AFP / Getty Images

By Kenny Stancil

"The state of the planet is broken. Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal."

That's how United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres began a Wednesday address at Columbia University, in which he reflected on the past 11 months of extreme weather and challenged world leaders to use the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity to construct a better world free from destructive greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less