Australia just underwent its hottest day till the date
Australia has experienced the hottest day on average as the nation’s populous eastern seaboard grapples with pollution from devastating bushfires while racing to the comfort of air conditioning puts the pressure on the fragile power network.
The average national highest temperature was 40.9 Celsius (105.6 Fahrenheit) on Tuesday, compared to the previous level of 40.3 Celsius on 7 January 2013, according to the government’s statistics agency. The most weather prevailed in the south of the world, with vast areas of the country having severe heatwave situations.
While Sydney was significantly cooler, the city has been engulfed under the worst haze in decades as a consequence of a bushfire season that was more extreme and began earlier than usual, with a region of the size of Massachusetts actually burning. Firefighters expect increasingly challenging conditions late in the week, with temperatures in pursuit of 40 degrees Celsius seen in the broader Sydney region by the weekend.
The capital city of the country, Melbourne, saw mercury climb to the high 30s Celsius on Wednesday, prompting the energy market regulator to give warnings about a potential energy supply shortage. The infrastructure in Melbourne’s Victoria State is seen as particularly vulnerable due to long-term shutdowns at two major power plants. The owners of these facilities, AGL Energy Ltd. and Origin Energy Ltd., have confirmed that the damaged units would return to operation by the end of each month.
Throughout recent decades, much of eastern Australia has been struck by severe drought in the face of extremely hot summers and months without sufficient rainfall. In the meantime, the administration has been blamed for its lack of coherent environmental policy.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the government would easily fulfill the goal of the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26% from 2005 rates by 2030. His administration has been a staunch advocate for the fossil fuel industry and strongly opposes putting the brakes on energy, though environmental groups have blamed him for failing to connect extreme temperatures and fire to rising sea levels.