Australia hit by extreme hot weather
Australia is suffering from extreme hot weather for 13 days.
The stretch with temperatures exceeding 40C in Longreach that ended last week was some of the hottest weather in living memory for the Queensland town.
It was also a new heatwave record for the cattle country town, beating the previous record by four days, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM).
Livestock dams began drying up, local companies asked staff to start work early to avoid the worst of the heat and native animals struggled to find water.
It was not an isolated weather pattern. Last year was Australia’s hottest since records began in 1910, according to the bureau.
Thanks to climate change, much of Australia will be subjected to longer, hotter and more regular spells of extremely hot weather, say climate scientists.
Symptoms of severe heat stress include dizziness, headaches, confusion and fainting. More severe outcomes include dehydration, loss of fluids and electrolytes, and kidney and heart damage.
Tennis Australia is reviewing its hot weather policy after the 2014 Australian Open in Melbourne was disrupted by a week-long heatwave in January.
Organizers of the event – the first of four annual international Grand Slam tennis events – implemented an extreme-heat policy halfway through the tournament when temperatures on the outside courts hit 43C.
The roofs on the central arenas were closed when the mercury hit 43.9C, although play continued.
Football NSW, which represents about 220,000 players, has had a hot-weather policy in place since 2011, says the association’s risk manager Michelle Hanley.
Heatwaves are occurring more often because of climate change, says climate scientist Sarah Perkins.
The University of New South Wales researcher, who specializes in heatwaves, says Australia is experiencing different types of extreme temperatures, including hotter, longer and more regular periods of heat.
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