Australia has its hottest day on record, more to come

The 2019 UN Climate Change Conference has wrapped without announcing fresh climate change pledges.

SYDNEY - Australia this week experienced its hottest day on record and the heatwave is expected to worsen, exacerbating an already unprecedented bushfire season, authorities said on Wednesday.

The average nationwide temperatures of 40.9 degrees Celsius on Tuesday beat the previous record of 40.3 degrees Celsius in January 2013, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

"This heat will only intensify further today," meteorologist Diana Eadie Said.

The heatwave is another alarm bell about global warming in Australia, where this year’s early and intense start to regular summer bushfires has heaped pressure on the Australian government to do more to tackle climate change.

READ: Smoke haze settles over Australian capital as bushfires burn

Hundreds of bushfires have been raging across Australia for months, including a "mega-blaze" burning north of Sydney, the country's biggest city.

Smoke from the fires has engulfed Sydney, raising air pollution to hazardous levels in an event leading doctors have labelled a "public health emergency".

At least three million hectares of land has been torched across Australia, with six people killed and about 700 homes destroyed.

The fires have sparked climate protests targeting the conservative government, which has resisted pressure to address the root causes of global warming in order to protect the country's lucrative coal export industry.

- Record heatwave -

Record spot temperatures were recorded this week in Western Australia, where firefighters have also been battling blazes raging across thousands of hectares (acres) of land.

The hot weather is drifting across the country's arid centre toward the east.

Parts of New South Wales are forecast to reach the mid-40s celsius on Thursday.

READ: Australia readies for 'catastrophic' bushfires

On Saturday as conditions worsen, west Sydney is due to tip over 46 degrees celsius.

Turbulent winds of up to 100 kilometres an hour are forecast to also hit the east coast and worsen the blazes.

"Over the next few days we are going to see firefighters, the emergency services and all those communities close to fires... challenged with a new threat," New South Wales fire commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said Wednesday.

Source
AFP