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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Australia Fries in Record Heatwave

Australia Fries in Record Heatwave

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, October 6, 2017/Categories: space science, sustainability, environment, climate change

                                Extreme Heatwave in Australia, February 7-14, 2017 (credit: NASA)

Australia experienced one its worst heatwaves this year according to research published in Geophysical Research Letters from the American Geophysical Union (the AGU). According to conclusions in a study conducted by researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) and colleagues, metropolitan areas of Melbourne and Sydney should begin preparing for heat waves that could exceed 50C (~122F) during future summers.

The AGU authors said:

"extreme temperatures affect ecosystems, infrastructure, and human health. Understanding how climate change is impacting climate extremes and how such extremes will change under future global warming are important scientific questions. Previous studies have focused on how current temperature extremes have been impacted by climate change, or on how frequency of these current extremes will change in the future. We took a different approach and examined how severity of future temperature extremes may change in the future."

In the study, the range of temperature severity was considered under the limits to warming expressed as goals in the Paris climate agreement, 1.5C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) and 2C (3.6F), of global warming. The ANU study found the magnitude of future temperature extremes for Australia does not necessarily increase at the same rate as general global warming. The analysis determined that daily temperature extremes of 3.8C are simulated for Australian states above existing records, even under the most ambitious Paris goals set to curb global warming.

For a bit of perspective on temperature severity calculations, a chart developed by Climate Matters compared the environmental impacts of 1.5C and 2C on various natural resources, many of which could be experienced by Australia:
 

                  Temperature Comparison of Climate Impacts,1.5C & 2C (credit: Climate Brief)

To bring this home, an Austrialian policeman fried an egg on the hood of his car during February's extreme heat:

The ANU researchers conclude in the AGU report:

"the possible severity of future temperature extremes will pose serious challenges for general preparedness for future climatic change in Australia".

WHB

 

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1 comments on article "Australia Fries in Record Heatwave"

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