In a new report claims, this summer is shaping up as a terrible trifecta of heatwaves, droughts and bushfires, made worse by climate change and finds the catastrophic events unfolding across Australia are not normal. "We have seen temperature records smashed, bushfires in winter and a prolonged drought," according to Climate Councillor and report author, Professor Will Steffen.
The current prolonged drought across eastern Australia is threatening crops for the third year in a row, and national summer crop production is forecast to fall by 20 per cent to 2.1 million tonnes. The period from January 2017 to October 2019 have been the driest on record for the Murray-Darling Basin as a whole. Wildlife has been badly affected by the ongoing bushfires, with reports of at least 1,000 koala deaths in important habitats in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting above-average maximum temperatures for most of Australia this summer with eastern Australia likely to be drier than average. “Eastern Australia is currently plagued by drought, with no significant rain in sight to dampen its impact on rural and regional communities, farming, water supplies and the natural environment,” said the Climate Council’s CEO, Amanda McKenzie. The number of heatwave days each year has been increasing in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Hobart, and across Australia as a whole since 1950. “These heatwaves can have severe effects on human health, including both direct heat illnesses such as heat exhaustion and indirect illnesses such as cardiovascular failure,” said Ms McKenzie.