16 January 2019 (The Journal) – The top 15 hottest places in the world today are all in Australia as a severe heatwave continues to roast the southeast of the continent.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said the past four days were among the country’s top 10 warmest on record, with temperatures nearing 50 degrees Celsius in some parts.
Fruit growers are suffering severe losses as produce is cooking on branches, ABC reports. Forecasters are warning of more record-breaking temperatures before the weekend.
Authorities in several states have issued health warnings urging people to take care of themselves, their relatives, neighbours and pets as heatwave impacts can build over several days. […]
The warmest 15 places on the planet in the past 24 hours were all in Australia, according to the El Dorado Weather site.
The top spot was claimed by Tarcoola in South Australia, which reached 49.1 degrees, while Yulara in the Northern Territory came in 15th at 46.1 degrees.
Yesterday the New South Wales state government announced plans to mechanically pump oxygen into lakes and rivers after hundreds of thousands of fish have died in heatwave conditions.
Up to a million dead fish were found floating last week in the Darling River in the west of the state and the state government announced that 1,800 more rotting fish had since been found in Lake Hume in the state’s south.
Minister for Regional Water Niall Blair said 16 battery-powered aerators had been bought and would be placed in various drought-affected waterways after they are delivered today.
“They are a Band-Aid solution; we admit that,” Blair told reporters. [more]
By Helen Regan and Ben Westcott
16 January 2019
(CNN) – Australia is sweltering under record-breaking temperatures as an extreme heat wave continues to sweep across the country, causing wildlife to die and fruit to cook from the inside out.
The past four days are in Australia’s top ten warmest days on record, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said in a tweet on Wednesday, with all of the country’s eight states and territories affected.
South Australia’s Port Augusta hit a scorching 48.5 degrees Celsius (119 F) on Tuesday, the highest since records began in 1962, according to CNN affiliate Nine News. The town of Tarcoola in South Australia reached a sweltering 49 C (120 F).
Elsewhere, temperatures stayed well above 40 C (104 F) and the hot weather is expected to last until Friday. One town in northwestern Australia, Marble Bar, suffering through 22 consecutive days of temperatures above 40 C, at one point almost reaching 50 C (122 F).
As the mercury continues to rise, concerns are with the vulnerable, including the young, elderly and those with asthma or respiratory diseases.
On Wednesday, New South Wales Health authorities warned that the high temperatures are expected to contribute to “high ozone” air pollution across Sydney.
Dr. Richard Broome, director of environmental health at New South Wales Health, said that people with asthma and other respiratory problems were particularly vulnerable as ozone “can irritate the lungs.”
“Ozone levels are higher outdoors than indoors, and generally highest in the afternoon and early evening, so limiting time outdoors during the heat of the day and in the evening helps people to not only keep cool but to limit their exposure to ozone pollution,” he said. […]
It’s the second heatwave in less than a month to hit Australia. Just over two weeks ago, a brutal post-Christmas heatwave led to extreme or severe fire warnings across at least three states and intensified severe droughts across the country.Fish, bat deaths and fruit cooking from the inside
The high temperatures are taking an increasing toll on the country’s flora and fauna. In the Murray-Darling River Basin across the southeast, more than a million dead fish have been washed up on the banks.
Niall Blair, Primary Industries Minister in New South Wales state, said more deaths of marine life are expected in coming days as temperatures continue to rise, according to local media.
But environmental activists have blamed the mass deaths on poor management of the river system by state and federal governments, alleging mass consumption of water by farmers was leaving too little for fish to survive.
“A lack of water in the Darling River and the Menindee Lakes means that authorities were unable to flush the system before millions of fish suffocated through a lack of oxygen in water,” independent New South Wales lawmaker Jeremy Buckingham said in a statement.
“This mass fish kill should be a wake up call for Australia.”
Colonies of bats were also succumbing to the heat and dropping from trees in Adelaide, according to CNN affiliate Nine News, prompting warnings to avoid contact with the animals as they can carry deadly diseases.
In South Australia, the extreme heat is causing stone fruit, including peaches and nectarines, to cook from the inside out, leading to heavy losses for farmers and spurring a race against time to harvest the fruit before it spoils, according to ABC.
“The stone burns them, which means they burn on the inside, they become squashy and you can’t use them,” Dried Tree Fruits Australia chairman Kris Werner told ABC. [more]
By Emma Brancatisano
11 January 2019
(9 News) – When Storm Stanford walks through a flying-fox camp during extreme heat, the noises that she hears are always the hardest to forget.
“One of the worst things is in the aftermath when you’re waiting and you hear the mums calling out for their pups,” the coordinator of the WIRES bat and flying fox team told 9news.com.au.
“During a heat stress event, the animals are all over the place. Afterwards, you see the mums flying around and calling. Some will stop, but others will keep calling because their pup isn’t going to respond.”
Ms Stanford was one of the WIRES volunteers desperately attending to a local bat colony in Campbelltown, in Sydney’s south-west, on Sunday when more than 200 animals were found dead during record-searing heat. Most of them were pups.
To date, about 3000 of the bat species have since died across Sydney, and others across New South Wales and Victoria, claimed by the effects of a dangerous heatwave that moved through the nation’s south-east. […]
The scene has been described by volunteers as “unbelievable” as dead bats were found on the ground, while others dangled from trees.
“When you go into a camp in heat stress, all the animals are on the ground because that’s the coolest place they can be. There are piles of bodies – some of them are dead, others are alive,” she explained. […]
“In 45+ degree heat, all members battled to save as many as they could without falling in the heat themselves, but with great team work and support they made it through to nightfall,” environmental group ‘Help Save the Wildlife and Bushlands in Campbelltown’ wrote on Facebook. [more]
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