Wild fires continue to rage across Australia Tuesday and temperatures have become so hot the country's Bureau of Meteorology was forced to add a new color—deep purple—to show areas that have exceeded all-time heat records.
"The scale has just been increased today and I would anticipate it is because the forecast coming from the bureau's model is showing temperatures in excess of 50 degrees," David Jones, head of the bureau's climate monitoring and prediction unit, told reporters.
Indicating that the worst may yet to come, Jones added that, "The air mass over the inland is still heating up - it hasn't peaked."
Climate scientists in Australia—with Jones among them—say the fires and the heat are unprecedented in scale and intensity, but that Australians should understand the destructive temperatures and ensuing fires across Tasmania and southern sections of the country are the new normal of runaway climate change.
‘The current heatwave – in terms of its duration, its intensity and its extent – is now unprecedented in our records,’’ Jones was quoted as saying in The Age.
‘‘Clearly, the climate system is responding to the background warming trend. Everything that happens in the climate system now is taking place on a planet which is a degree hotter than it used to be.’’
“Those of us who spend our days trawling – and contributing to – the scientific literature on climate change are becoming increasingly gloomy about the future of human civilization,’’ Liz Hanna, convener of the human health division at the Australian National University’s Climate Change Adaptation Network, told The Age in a separate interview.
‘‘We are well past the time of niceties, of avoiding the dire nature of what is unfolding, and politely trying not to scare the public," she said. "The unparalleled setting of new heat extremes is forcing the continual upwards trending of warming predictions for the future, and the timescale is contracting.’’
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