Feb 13, 2017

Aussie heat wave has country concerned over it's new sizzling climate normal

New South Wales
Australia
by
Bob Berwyn
,
Inside Climate News
Australians flocked to the beaches outside Sydney last weekend to escape the withering heat. Photo: Reuters
Australians flocked to the beaches outside Sydney last weekend to escape the withering heat. Photo: Reuters

A summer heatwave scorched the most populated parts of Australia over the weekend, with temperatures topping 107 degrees Fahrenheit in Sydney and 96 degrees in Melbourne, with readings up to 117 degrees farther inland.

As wildfires raged and several weather stations reported all-time and monthly record highs, climate scientists warned that the this summer's extreme heat, super-charged by climate change, is becoming Australia's new normal.

Nearly every week has brought extreme heat this summer, but the latest surge was exceptional by encompassing nearly all of New South Wales, home to the capital Sydney and 7.5 million people. The average maximum temperature hit 111.2 degrees Fahrenheit Saturday across about 300,000 square miles, similar to an area the size of the southeastern U.S.