Lost rainfall, warmer winter raises bushfire risk as Oz overheats

Above average to “very much above average” maximum temperatures were recorded right across southern Australia this winter with 28% less rainfall than normal received nationally.

As Oz continues overheating, the Bureau of Meteorology reports that the Northern Territory lost nearly half its winter rainfall (-49%), Western Australia lost 44% and South Australia lost 39%.  Read the full seasonal report online.

Perth recorded its hottest ever August, and stretches of unseasonal sunny winter days reached up to 26-27.4 degrees.  Snakes emerged early due to the warmer weather and spring flowers bloomed noticeably early – the wildflower tourist season cut short by the dry conditions.

Melbourne experienced winter maximums and minimums well above average and recorded below average rainfall.  Extreme winds up to 140 km/h and wild damaging weather across Victoria and Tasmania claimed several lives and diverted planes (including the PM’s).  Record snow also claimed several lives throughout the season.

Warnings have already been issued in most southern states for a more extreme bushfire season due to the warmer, drier conditions in winter.  The bushfire season began early in NSW after record warmth in July – little rest for Australian firefighters who have been overseas helping fight record wildfires in Canada.

Widespread above normal bushfire risk, via Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC

Drought continues to cripple large parts of NSW and Queensland. In fact, Aussie farmers in these states are bracing for worsening drought as they face a long, dry summer.

As another baking summer approaches cities, are our hospitals and emergency services ready to deal with the fallout from the predicted longer, hotter and more frequent heatwaves?  A recent Government report has found that deaths from heatwaves are likely to quadruple.  Heat is Australia’s number one ‘natural’ killer.

Leading Australian medical scientists including Professor Fiona Stanley AC have called for strong action on climate due to increasing concerns for public health.  Deep emissions cuts required to limit warming states draft UN report.

Meanwhile, Australia’s emissions have risen to an eight-year high since the Abbott Government abolished the price on carbon pollution.  Media analysis on going backwards in a time of climate crisis: The 10 worst environmental decisions in Abbott’s first year;  Government goes cold on global warming

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