All-consuming wildfires have brought devastation upon Australian communities and shocked the world. As of January 6, it is estimated that between 12 and 14 million acres have been burned in the country. The fires claimed the lives of at least 20 people. Almost half a million animals are thought to have perished and more than a thousand houses also fell victim to the flames.
Simultaneously, Australia experienced the hottest year on record in 2019, which had a mean temperature of 1.5° Celsius above the mean calculated for 1961 to 1990. On Dec 18, Australia experienced its hottest day on record when the average maximum temperature climbed to 41.9° Celsius in the country.
Climate scientists agree that global warming is causing global average temperatures to rise, which in turn is making catastrophic climatic events, like droughts and wildfires, more severe and more frequent. According to data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the rise of mean surface temperatures has been steeper in Australia than in the world on average. Representing only a part of the world’s total landmass, annual temperature divergence also fluctuates more for Australia than in the world as a whole.