Australia’s Intense Heat Is Killing Bats And Melting Highways

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"Despite the lack of an El Nino - which is normally associated with our hottest years - 2017 was still characterized by very warm temperatures."

The United States welcomed the New Year with sub-zero temperatures. Now, it is revealed that Australia is scorched through its third warmest year on record in 2017. 

The country has been through 10 of its warmest years: seven of them occurred since 2005, with Australia experiencing just one cooler than average year in the last decade, the Bureau of Meteorology said in its annual climate statement.

"Despite the lack of an El Nino — which is normally associated with our hottest years — 2017 was still characterized by very warm temperatures," said weather bureau's climate monitoring chief Karl Braganza.

"Both day- and night-time temperatures were warmer than average, particularly maximum temperatures, which were the second-warmest on record."

 

“Seven of Australia’s ten warmest years have occurred since 2005 and Australia has experienced just one cooler than average year in the last decade,” the BOM report said.

Sydney also faced the grueling heat and became “the hottest place on earth” this month at 47.3°C, which broke an 80-year-old record.

“We had a troff move through central NSW,” said Australian Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jordan Notara.

“And ahead of that troff, we had strong west to north-westerly winds and that tends to drag warm, dry air masses in from central Australia and western NSW.”

People flocked to the beach following the intense weather to cool off, amid warnings from lifeguards to stay close to the shore and take necessary precautions against the sun.

Other states in the southeast of the country also suffered through the hellish weather, a heat wave in drastically effected three states. It was so bad in some parts of Victoria, a 10-km (6-mile) stretch of the Hume highway melted under the scorching summer sun, as bushfires destroyed buildings on the outskirts of Melbourne.

According to state’s emergency management commissioner, Craig Lapsley, hot temperatures had combined with dry weather, strong winds and a wind change to create dangerous conditions.

The weather changes also had severe impacts on wildlife. More than 400 bats in a colony in Sydney’s southwest dropped dead from trees because of exhaustion and dehydration.

“It was unbelievable. I saw a lot of dead bats on the ground and others were close to the ground and dying. I have never seen anything like it before,” said Cate Ryan, one of the first volunteers on the scene.

Environmentalists have been keeping koalas hydrated to keep them cool.

Despite the sweltering end to 2017, it was also Australia’s 30th-wettest year in a record spanning 117 years, the BOM report found.

Experts warned that climate change has pushed up land and sea temperatures, leading to more extremely hot days and severe fire seasons.

Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters, Jason Reed 

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