Australia melts with hottest day on record this week
SYDNEY: Australia this week experienced its hottest day on record and the heatwave is expected to worsen, the authorities said yesterday.
The average nationwide temperatures of 40.9 deg Con Tuesday beat the previous record of 40.3 deg C in January 2013, the Bureau of Meteorology said.
"This heat will only intensify further today," meteorologist Diana Eadie Said.
The heatwave is another alarm bell about global warming in Australia, where this year's early and intense start to regular summer bushfires has heaped pressure on the government to do more to tackle climate change.
Hundreds of bushfires have been raging across Australia for months, including a "mega-blaze" burning north of Sydney.
Smoke from the fires has engulfed Sydney, raising air pollution to hazardous levels in an event leading doctors have labelled a "public health emergency".
At least three million hectares of land has been torched across Australia, with six people killed and about 700 homes destroyed.
Scientists have said the blazes have come earlier and with more intensity than usual because of global warming and a prolonged drought that has left the land tinder dry and towns running out of water.
The fires have sparked climate protests targeting the conservative government, which has resisted pressure to address the root causes of global warming in order to protect the country's lucrative coal export industry.
Record spot temperatures were recorded this week in Western Australia, where firefighters have also been battling blazes raging across thousands of hectares of land.
Parts of New South Wales are forecast to reach the mid-40s deg C today.
On Saturday, as conditions worsen, west Sydney is due to tip over 46 degC.
"Over the next few days we are going to see firefighters, the emergency services and all those communities close to fires... challenged with a new threat," New South Wales fire commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said yesterday. - AFP