The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
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.
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."
My ISP @iiNet is down because it's too hot (44C) at their servers. That's the most Australian thing I've heard. Too hot for Internet.
— Lisy K (@lisyk) January 5, 2015
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.
Statistics to date on #SAFires. It is currently 95% contained. pic.twitter.com/nrEZBq54w7
— Narelle (@Narelle_H) January 7, 2015
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Vice President Mike Pence sparked outrage on social media Saturday when he traveled in the first-ever motorcade to drive down the streets of Michigan's car-free Mackinac Island, HuffPost reported.
By Shawn Radcliffe
- As illnesses and deaths linked to vaping continue to rise, health officials urge people to stop using e-cigarettes.
- Officials report 8 deaths have been linked to lung illnesses related to vaping.
- Vitamin E acetate is one compound officials are investigating as a potential cause for the outbreak.
By Julia Conley
As organizers behind Friday's Global Climate Strike reported that four million children and adults attended marches and rallies all over the world — making it the biggest climate protest ever — they assured leaders who have been reticent to take bold climate action that the campaigners' work is far from over.
By Dan Gray
- Research shows that 16 weeks of a vegan diet can boost the gut microbiome, helping with weight loss and overall health.
- A healthy microbiome is a diverse microbiome. A plant-based diet is the best way to achieve this.
- It isn't necessary to opt for a strictly vegan diet, but it's beneficial to limit meat intake.
New research shows that following a vegan diet for about 4 months can boost your gut microbiome. In turn, that can lead to improvements in body weight and blood sugar management.