Off-The-Charts Heat Wave Brings Australia Its Hottest Average Temperature And New Map Colors For Temps Above 122°F!

Global warming has given new meaning to “off-the-charts” heat wave in Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

The Bureau of Meteorology’s interactive weather forecasting chart has added new colours – deep purple and pink – to extend its previous temperature range that had been capped at 50 degrees [122°F].

The Australian government’s new forecasting map now has colors that go up to 54°C [129°F].

Many parts of the country have already set local records with temperatures as high as 118°F. It remains to be seen whether temperatures blow past 122°F [50C] — or already have (“large parts of central Australia have limited monitoring”).

How unprecedented is the Australian heat wave? As meteorologist Jeff Masters explains, it is both deep and widespread:

It’s been a summer like no other in the history of Australia, where a sprawling heat wave of historical proportions is entering its second week. Monday, January 7, was the hottest day in Australian history, averaged over the entire country, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The high temperature averaged over Australia was 105°F (40.3°C), eclipsing the previous record of 104°F (40.2°C) set on 21 December 1972. Never before in 103 years of record keeping has a heat wave this intense, wide-spread, and long-lasting affected Australia. The nation’s average high temperature exceeded 102°F (39°C) for five consecutive days January 2 – 6, 2013–the first time that has happened since record keeping began in 1910. Monday’s temperatures extended that string by another day, to six. To put this remarkable streak in perspective, the previous record of four consecutive days with a national average high temperature in excess of 102°F (39°C) has occurred once only (1973), and only two other years have had three such days in a row–1972 and 2002 (thanks go to climate blogger Greg Laden for these stats.) Another brutally hot day is in store for Wednesday, as the high pressure region responsible for the heat wave, centered just south of the coast, will bring clear skies and a northerly flow of air over most of the country.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology doesn’t pull punches on what is driving this astounding heat:

‘‘The current heatwave – in terms of its duration, its intensity and its extent – is now unprecedented in our records,’’  the Bureau of Meteorology’s manager of climate monitoring and prediction, David Jones, said.

‘‘Clearly, the climate system is responding to the background warming trend. Everything that happens in the climate system now is taking place on a planet which is a degree hotter than it used to be.’’

As the warming trend increases over coming years, record-breaking heat will become more and more common, Dr Jones said.

‘‘We know that global climate doesn’t respond monotonically – it does go up and down with natural variation. That’s why some years are hotter than others because of a range of factors. But we’re getting many more hot records than we’re getting cold records. That’s not an issue that is explained away by natural variation.’’

The world’s continued inaction on limiting carbon pollution, coupled with ever-more worrisome observations and analysis, has led a number of Australian researchers to join the ever-growing club of unexpectedly blunt scientists:

According to a peer-reviewed study by the Australian-based Global Carbon Project, global average temperatures are on a trajectory to rise a further four to six degrees [C] by the end of this century, with that rise felt most strongly over land areas. It would be enough to tip Tuesday’s over-40 temperatures over much of mainland Australia very close to 50 degrees in some parts.

Those of us who spend our days trawling – and contributing to – the scientific literature on climate change are becoming increasingly gloomy about the future of human civilisation,’’ said Liz Hanna, convener of the human health division at the Australian National University’s Climate Change Adaptation Network.

‘We are well past the time of niceties, of avoiding the dire nature of what is unfolding, and politely trying not to scare the public. The unparalleled setting of new heat extremes is forcing the continual upwards trending of warming predictions for the future, and the timescale is contracting.’’

The time to cut carbon pollution sharply was a long time ago, but acting now is still much less suicidal than delaying further.

49 Responses to Off-The-Charts Heat Wave Brings Australia Its Hottest Average Temperature And New Map Colors For Temps Above 122°F!

  1. prokaryotes says:

    In Sydney, temperatures climbed to at least 42ºC (107ºF) on Tuesday. While Sydney’s all-time record high of 45.3ºC (113.5ºF) remained safe for now, temperatures have eclipsed 43ºC (109ºF) on only three days of Sydney’s 150 years of weather records.

  2. prokaryotes says:

    Australia scorching, Gillard blames climate change

    Prime Minister Julia Gillard warned Australians of high bushfire risks in coming days, highlighting global climate warming as the probable cause.
    “We do know over time that as a result of climate change we are going to see more extreme weather events and conditions.”

  3. prokaryotes says:

    CNN is not mentioning Gillard’s remarks about climate change in their news coverage.

  4. prokaryotes says:

    And just like CNN, ABC is systematically ignoring any mentioning of climate change.

  5. prokaryotes says:

    Doom’ish landscape views…

    Australian bushfires rage amid ‘catastrophic’ heatwave – video

  6. rollin says:

    From the Australian Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism. “The Australian Government is committed to creating a policy framework to expand Australia’s resource base, increase the international competitiveness of our resources sector and improve the regulatory regime, consistent with the principles of environmental responsibility and sustainable development.”

    I guess they got the first part right with 47 billion dollars of coal exports per year. Maybe they should think about the last part of that statement as they cook more each year.

  7. Rick says:

    I’m not a doomer, just someone who sees things without blinders on. And someone who has followed AGW for a long time now, and other topics that will cause major hardships for all species on this planet.

    It’s clear the world needs to address AGW now!, but I think we are now way past correcting or even slowing down climate change.

    And what is happening in Australia, is going to happen across the planet. And just fyi, it’s January here in the Chicagoland area, and it’s in the 40s, and will be in the 50s this Saturday.

  8. Superman1 says:

    Other than stating nice platitudes, what are any of the nations actually doing about reducing CO2 emissions on the scale required to impact climate change? Ten years from now, I can ask the same question, and I will get the same answer?

  9. Superman1 says:

    In reading these articles, I feel like I am observing the planet the same way Jack Kevorkian used to observe his patients. Same ending, just a little bit slower.

  10. Superman1 says:

    So what; what is Gillard actually doing about ameliorating the problem? All these politicians are skilled in the art of platitudes with no accompanying actions.

  11. Superman1 says:

    Somehow, you believe that if these networks mentioned the problem, it would make a difference in the actions of the electorate. What is the basis for that belief, other than wishful thinking?

  12. Superman1 says:

    The ‘pea’ is the actual coal exports; the ‘shell’ is the nice platitudes by Gillard, meant to placate the ‘rubes’.

  13. prokaryotes says:

    Read this comment here

    Then put this influence power into a larger perspective with a focus on behaviour.

  14. Esop says:

    UAH lower troposphere temp is at all time record level and way above 2010, (of course Spencer had to write a v5.5 to make it seem less warm) so a good chance of 2013 seeing a new record, but I would not be surprised if we saw a triple dip La Nina.

  15. Super…

    I know you’re bummed, but adopting a “nothing-will-help” attitude is only takes the wind out of your sails — and those of anyone who listens to you — ultimately fueling a self-fullfiling prophesy.

    Our only hope it to inform the public about what’s going on — get the majority of people to draw a clear connection between global warming and climate change, then between global warming and fossil fuels. So long as the oilagarchy and its reps in Congress and even the White House can “keep it a secret,” there will be no action.

    It’s true that it could be too late for effective action, but I, for one will keep up the good fight until my dying breath. It’s fight or give up, sinking into an abyss of cynicism and despair. I don’t care about the odds. I care about the fight, because there is no place left for a strategic retreat — no place to run away and live to fight another day.

  16. dam spahn says:

    What are YOU doing?

  17. Superman1 says:


    That’s a misreading of my comments. My point is that we need to identify the real problem, admit to the real problem, and then express the will and motivation to do whatever it takes to overcome the real problem. Identifying a problem other than the real problem is a waste of time and effort, and does nothing to solve the problem. So, it’s not that ‘nothing will help’, it’s that ‘something will help’, but it has to be the right thing. We need a Vision, a Roadmap and Strategic Plan of what is necessary to achieve that Vision, and some idea of how these various proposals fit into that Roadmap and Strategic Plan. I maintain that the one presented here offers little in the larger picture.

  18. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is adding new colors to its weather forecasting chart. Is this what’s called “adapting to global warming?”

  19. Sasparilla says:

    Rather disheartening to see, our thoughts are with you Australia.

    Joe, what you say is very true – but its sure going to be very tough to watch things get bad enough for humanity to (hopefully) finally get its act together and become part of the solution instead of the problem.

  20. Sasparilla says:

    Superman1, I have to disagree with your tone (confrontational) and comment towards prokaryotes.

    When the news of the time (here in the U.S.) is not reporting actual things like mentioning climate change – it needs to be pointed out and noted – both to fix that particular issue (i.e. the news actually reporting reality to the population it serves) and for historical record.

    It is a valuable and commendable action that prokaryotes is doing there.

    As to whether him noting these issues and (hypothetically resolving them) would cause the resolution to the fix we’re in, is beside the point (and not one he stated would happen in the first place). Every step taken is valuable and important including trying to make sure the truth is spoken, which is what prokaryotes was noting there. JMHO…

  21. Merrelyn Emery says:

    That is ignorant nonsense. Even the worst cynics are surprised about the magnitude of effects of the carbon price and many associated moves. Is it enough? No. Should we stop coal mining? Yes but don’t underestimate this woman, she is quite something, ME

  22. Superman1 says:

    Einstein defined insanity as repeating the same failed experiment multiple times and expecting different results. We are using the approaches we have used for climate change for the past thirty years, that we used for Vietnam fifty years ago, and that we used for Iraq a decade ago. None of them worked! We need a new paradigm; efforts following the existing paradigm are not doing the job.

  23. Superman1 says:

    In order for ‘humanity to get its act together’ and make things happen, there have to be some large stakeholder groups with the motivation and capability to make it happen. Who are the major stakeholder groups?

    The fossil energy companies are satisfied with the status quo, and want only an expansion. The fossil energy workers, as we have seen after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, are satisfied with the status quo and their steady well-paid employment, and they are not interested in going off fossil fuels. The energy consumers are addicted to a high energy intensity way of life enabled by unlimited cheap fossil fuel, and they are comfortable with the status quo, irrespective of what the polls might say. And, the final major group, the politicians, are driven by their sponsors, the fossil energy companies et al, and the electorate. Since neither of these two stakeholder groups want a change in the status quo, the politicians will take no action to oppose them, as we are seeing only too clearly. Thus, there are no stakeholders that I can see who are motivated to make the changes of the magnitude required. I don’t see it happening voluntarily.

  24. Merrelyn Emery says:

    What would Einstein who you quote above say about people who repeat the same discredited statements? Your statement about addiction was rubbish last week, it still is, ME

  25. Bill Frank says:

    So, ME, is it your belief that there is no societal “addiction” with respect to energy comsumption?

  26. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Release my comment please, ME

  27. Jack Burton says:

    CNN indeed! It only makes sense they would fail to report Gillard’s remarks. CNN is in the business of hiding the news, not exposing it.
    I have followed the Australian story via a live Television feed on SKY news. Interesting to hear and see that the Australian public is beginning to “get it”.
    At the same time, I have followed the comments sections of various news sites and economics blogs as they relate to the news out of Australia. The deniers are out in force trolling the comments sections with obvious fossil fuel industry talking points. A few were so obvious, that I called them out on the boards as agents of Fossil Fuel Industry Public Relations firms. While they have returned my comments with silence. I take that as an obvious direct hit by me. We all need to call out these PR employees who post prepared talking points. I also noticed that the PR firms did some panic overnight research to try and bring past Australian heat waves into play as proof the it was hotter in the past. I found that it was time to debunk their lies and call them out again. Mostly silence. These employees do not like being called out in public. I suggest we all do it, make readers aware that many of these comments are paid for by fossil fuel companies and are not legitimate opinions of readers of the blogs and news sites. I really felt good shaming these paid bozos!

  28. Daniel Coffey says:

    ‘‘We are well past the time of niceties, of avoiding the dire nature of what is unfolding, and politely trying not to scare the public.”

    That is an impolite sentiment I have offered up for many years when it comes to Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity and the other narrow minded environmental groups who think that saving a bit of habitat is paramount, while insisting on “solar on rooftop” and other bandages for an otherwise massive wound. They are systematically blocking renewable energy projects on the theory that something else can be done – and its always solar on rooftop or conservation, both of which are fine but entirely insufficient. It is time to stop tolerating the delay tactics put up by environmental groups when it comes to these vitally necessary projects.

    It is time to cut the crap and the delay tactics offered up by endless EIR and EIS challenges when comes to large scale wind and solar projects. If we don’t act massively and on a astonishingly rapid pace, we are going to destroy most of what we hold dear. No one asks the fire department to do an EIR to determine the best way to put out a house fire or brush fire or massive wildfire. No, they just get it done.

    We are now committed to at least a 100 years of increasing accumulation of energy in the planet’s environment, oceans, ice and atmosphere. We currently are accumulating a net energy increase each year equal to the energy released by 145 million Hiroshima atomic explosions. Anyone or any group that does not think it is time to be impolite to environmental opposition and Heartland Institute types who use the same environmental laws for delay needs to think again.

    While Sierra Club holds up projects over a postage stamp sized piece of land or some habitat, the entire habitat and ecology of the planet is crumbling due to insufficient action. When there is little or no water for wildlife, plants, and humans, what will the explanation be? Oh, yes, the oil companies and utilities that produce the gas we use and the electricity we use.

    Time to jettison the excuses and support the people trying to do the right thing, even if it means losing a bit of desert and some views. Oh, did I offend someone?

  29. Sein Le Mon says:

    Please,Post The fire storm of near Ayer in Austiliria

  30. john c. wilson says:


    Those of us who were right about Vietnam 50 years ago and right about the environment 40 years ago and right about Iraq ten years ago simply have no place at the table. Demonstrating over and over that we make good observations and have sound judgment and common sense means that those who are consistently wrong but hold power see us as a threat.

    To the larger public we are cranks and goofs who imagine that Vietnam and climate change have importance when everyone knows you’re better off ignoring all that and thinking about football. If there was some way to reach those who don’t want to be bothered your complaint might be more focussed.

  31. Paul Magnus says:

    GW… Loading…. GW….. Loading…. GW…. Loading……………

  32. Bernd says:

    Listening to the news of the fires and temperatures in Australia, in Switzerland and Germany there is also nothing said that climate Change could be the cause!
    However, the news mentioned several times on the fires that winds up to 100 km/h is the cause with the high temperatures which makes the fires uncontrollable.
    So I looked it up with the local weather stations in Australia what the winds are indeed and they were “only” at a maximum of 20 mph. This shows that the fire fronts are producing high winds in the vicinity of the fire. But this normal and has nothing to do with the wind of the weather. This is only the fire fronts thermal winds in the vicinity of the fires, caused by the fire.
    This shows even more how out of control the fires are (effecting partially wind in the weather) and how stupid those comments are of high winds up to 100 km/h as the cause of the fires.

    Climate change is in Australia more present than they allow to release in the press statements!

  33. Superman1 says:

    The real climate change action roadblock is the addiction of the energy consumer to a high energy usage lifestyle enabled by the unlimited availability of cheap fossil fuel. I realize that this doesn’t conform with your ideology, but it was true when I stated it, and remains true.

  34. Sasparilla says:

    You’re opinion may be valid Superman1 – we need a new paradigm, but that doesn’t have anything to do with you just did here – attacking other commenters (putting words in their mouths as you did prokaryotes above) for noting things that are occurring with relation to the actual article here.

    Of course this is besides the fact that its extremely disrepectful.

    This is our community, not a playground to bully people with comments when they aren’t talking about what you want to talk about, respect of others is of necessity. JMHO…

  35. Sasparilla says:

    I respect you opinion Superman1, that may be the situation, but I happen to side with Joe’s previously stated thoughts on the situation (for here in the U.S.) and that is basically things will have to get to bad enough (climate change effects) that it causes a sustained crisis in the electorate in the U.S. demanding immediate change – breaking through the forces of status quo holding things back in Congress and causing serious action (lobbying works till there’s a true perceived crisis alignment of opinion on an issue amongst the electorate demanding action “Now”, then lobbying effects and power melt away).

    I don’t think this is guaranteed of course, but is the most likely, IMHO, set of circumstances to see action on climate change to occur in the U.S. (and once we start moving the rest of the world will, hopefully, move on as well).

    My guess as to when is in the next decade or so (although things may move faster after the Arctic loses its summer ice in the next few years). On the other hand, as it appears we’re doing – we may not try at all and just go right over the cliff with the accelerator floored and the U.S. drilling, mining and exporting more oil, natural gas and coal than ever right to the end (that’s certainly what the fossil fuel industries would have us do).

  36. Joe Romm says:

    Can we please keep this civil? Kal-El is known for his civility….

  37. Merrelyn Emery says:

    More a professional view than a belief or ideology Bill. There was an interchange on this, Jan 1, New Year Open Thread, under comment 3. Confusing the cause of a problem is no way to fix it, ME

  38. Merrelyn Emery says:

    You make several valid points and I don’t know which local records you looked up but there was very high wind across SE Australia as I noted (7 Jan, “CNN Veteran Dykstra…, under comment 11). We sustained wind damage but no fire, ME

  39. Edward Boyce says:

    Julia Gillard has implemented a $23 per tonne carbon price in Australia, which started in July 2012. That’s certainly doing something to ameliorate climate change.

  40. paul8kangas says:

    What are the 3 main things people & leaders want done to stop global warming?
    1 – Create a Feed-in Tariff to require Utilities to pay farmers & homeowners $0.54 kwh for the solar they feed onto the grid.
    This will create jobs, cash flow, and help the US to quit using oil.

    2 – Create a Solar Manhattan Project to put panels on every school.

    3 – Cooperate with China on climate change by encouraging home builders to buy panels from China to build a million new solar homes in each state in 2013. This will create 22 million jobs.
    If all these 3 actions are taken by SF in 2013, this would create enough energy to run the whole City free from atomic energy, oil, gas & coal.
    It would transform SF into the first 100% solar powered City in the US. SF is the tail that wags the dog.

    This would create 50,000 new jobs. If SF can do this, Washington will follow suit.
    That could create 22 million new solar jobs by 2016. This would allow the US to shut down all its nukes.
    Wars for oil would no longer happen.
    You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. Join us and the world can be won to solar. See the free Youtube movie, “Here comes the sun-Scheer”

  41. Sally says:

    The winds you saw are the average for that time of day. What you need to look out for is the wind gusts, they are what cause a grass fire to go at a much faster pace. Ther are also wind speeds within a firstorm where the fire itself creates it’s own weather.
    With a warming climate it’s only going to get worse.

  42. Booshman says:

    An update, as of Friday morning Eastern Australian Time, from the Sydney Morning Herald that discusses various aspects of the present extreme/new normal weather in the land of Oz. Includes great pic of an iron-ore dust laden cloud blown out over the Indian Ocean by approaching Cyclone Narelle.

  43. Juliviel says:


  44. Leland Palmer says:

    Yes, we need a paradigm shift, or several of them. We’re not going to get one, likely, but we can fantasize, right?

    So, I’d like to propose the following course of action, by the Obama administration:

    (1)Impose worldwide financial transparency to prevent capital flight, by force of arms and threat of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

    (2)Having prevented capital flight, proceed to nationalize all fossil fuel corporations, and seize all historical profits. This would put the U.S. government in charge of the major banks, and break their power and the power of the fossil fuel corporations in Congress, for example. It would break the power of the super rich financial dynasties that apparently oppose action on global warming.

    If necessary, construct a legal justification to do this by simply charging the fossil fuel corporations legal damages for the damage they are actually doing to the rest of us. This would bankrupt them, and allow the rest of us to legally seize them.

    (3)Don’t just put a price on carbon- put a price on cumulative greenhouse heating. Since a ton of fossil fuel will add greenhouse heat to the biosphere equal to the heat of combustion of 100,000 tons of fossil fuel, a 100,000 times the purchase price tax on fossil fuels would be fully justified. So, phase in such a tax, which would amount to a ban on fossil fuels.

    (4)Go to a carbon negative paradigm, whenever possible, by combining biomass energy with carbon capture and storage. The coal fired power plants could be transformed to burn biomass or charcoal, the carbon captured and stored underground by deep injection of CO2 for storage or mineral carbonation. This would effectively pump carbon out of the atmosphere and put it back underground. It sounds too good to be true- but it’s not. There’s not quite enough biomass to displace current fossil fuel use, but we could import it as charcoal, and plant biomass plantations. Use water transport as much as possible for the biomass and charcoal, transporting the biomass downhill on rivers to coal fired power plants located at lower elevations.

    (5)When it’s not possible to go carbon negative, go carbon neutral, using solar, wind, biomass, etc. Solar thermal assist to all coal fired power plants, especially those in southern latitudes would be a good start.

    (6)Having belatedly acted, use all of the power of the persuade laggard countries to do the same.

    Global warming is a social and political problem, more than a technological problem. We can live and do just fine on this planet- but not if we insist on living by an economic system which cannot do anything except at the lowest possible cost. So, we subsidize carbon neutral and especially carbon negative technologies, while severely punishing fossil fuel based technologies. And we accept a somewhat lower standard of living, for a few years, to make the transition.

    We can do it- we have the technology. We can solve global warming, and even have a good time doing it.

    Perhaps a continuing, escalating series of horror shows like what’s going on in Australia, that will get worse and worse in the future, will stimulate us to take the political action necessary to save ourselves.

    Many of us have been hoping that such drastic action will not be necessary. We’ve been hoping that supporting solar and alternative R&D, for example, would provide a technological solution to the problem. But fossil fuels -stored solar energy- are simply cheaper than harvesting diffuse solar energy in real time.

    Costs of alternative energy technologies are declining- but not fast enough to prevent climate destabilization and an eventual methane catastrophe, I think.

    For truly rapid progress, the power of the fossil fuel corporations like ExxonMobil and the power of the major banks with historical ties to fossil fuels like JP Morgan Chase will need to be broken, I think.

    Unfortunately, the fossil fuel corporations and banks seem to be much more powerful than U.S. Presidents are – especially Obama.

  45. Leland Palmer says:

    Actually there are huge shareholder groups with a self interest in controlling and reversing global warming- the majority of the people and the businesses on the planet, in fact. We only spend about five percent of our incomes on energy- and could live and do fine if that was ten percent. A destabilized climate will cost us far more, and the majority is starting to realize that.

    It’s the climate ruffians who are a tiny minority, in fact.

    So, it’s mainly a problem in communicating the truth to the stakeholders.

    We have an effectively controlled corporate mass media in the U.S., and that corporate media is deliberately obscuring the nature and severity of the problem from the majority, I think.

    In addition, they are engaging in very sophisticated techniques to enhance the noise in the conversation, and therefore decrease the signal to noise ratio- they deliberately add confusion to the debate. ExxonMobil for example, according to numerous reports by the Union of Concerned Scientists and others, has in fact financed a whole network of information laundering astroturf think tanks to add confusion to the debate.

    It’s hard to see how to stop this, without breaking the power of the fossil fuel corporations and the fossil fuel derived financial core- breaking the power of Wall Street. Certainly, appealing to their social responsibility has not worked, to this point.

    But, quite soon, the vast majority will awaken to the reality that they are being deliberately lied to by a tiny super rich minority. This tiny minority of super rich is acting in their own self interest, which is diametrically opposed to the self interest of the majority.

    When that happens, things will start to get interesting, and the possibility of a radical change will emerge, I think.

  46. Bernd says:

    Forgotten to release my comment on January 12, 2013 at 5:10 am?
    After the release delete this request!

    Thanks Bernd

  47. Rick Sharloch says:

    there are new media outlets that provide far more objective and less biased info than what Murdoch does. Why to even bother following CNN or ABC?