It’s hot down under. Indeed, Australia is experiencing its hottest days on record. As every year or so from November, the country experiences strong heat waves with temperatures that exceed 104 °F and sometimes even 122 °F over most of the territory. This is not without causing serious damage to wildlife. The heat wave this season has unfortunately so far been particularly devastating.
While North America is being swept by a cold snap, on the other side of the world, Australia is facing extremely high temperatures. The heat wave that has affected the country since Saturday has caused the death of many animals, bush fires and an increase in the number of hospital admissions, reports the BBC.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology reports that maximum day temperatures are around 104 °F at the national level. The city of Noona, New South Wales has even recorded a night temperature of 103 °F.
In 2013, during the worst heat wave in the country, temperatures climbed to 103 °F for seven consecutive days. The hottest day was recorded on January 7, 2013, while the national averages were 104.5 °F.
“The current heat wave is similar to 2013 because of its duration,” said Blair Trewin, a meteorologist with the BBC.
The massive heat wave this season has been devastating to the Australian wildlife. Researchers at Western Sydney University who have studied the subject reported that the heat of November 2018 had already killed more than 23,000 flying foxes, one-third of the Australian population of this species bat. A real slaughter; the total population was estimated so far to 75,000 individuals.
According to Justin Welbergen of the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, picked up by ABC, this is the second deadliest episode ever recorded for this species in Australia. “The first occurred in 2014 in Queensland. Nearly 46,000 animals, mainly flying foxes, had died,” said the ecologist.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology advises residents to keep their “family, friends and pets cool”. And, if possible to “leave water outside for wildlife”. The South Australian Housing Authority has also issued a “red code” for the greater Adelaide metropolitan area. Homelessness services have been deployed on the streets, as they would in cold weather. The Telecross REDi service, a service of the Red Cross, has also been involved.
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