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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Firefighting teams in Spain’s Canary Islands are struggling anew to contain forest fires said to have forced some 4,700 people to leave their homes.
On the island of Tenerife, the blaze has cut road links and power lines.
On the neighboring island of La Gomera officials say the fire has destroyed part of a nature reserve with “incalculable ecological value”.
Spain has been hard hit by forest fires after its driest winter in 70 years.
Blazes are also raging in the mainland region of Galicia.
Firefighting teams in Spain’s Canary Islands are struggling anew to contain forest fires said to have forced some 4,700 people to leave their homes
Fires first erupted on La Gomera a week ago, but by Monday the blaze was thought to be under control and aircraft used to help put out the flames had even been sent elsewhere, regional official Nancy Melo told the Associated Press news agency.
But on Friday the islands’ government said the fire had now intensified, and a fresh blaze had begun on Tenerife.
About 2,500 people have been evacuated on La Gomera, along with some 2,200 people on Tenerife, the Agence France-Presse news agency quoted the regional government as saying.
On La Gomera, the flames have devoured some 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) of land, AFP said.
That includes a tenth of the Garajonay nature reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site, some of which is believed to have been in existence for millions of years. Officials have already said it will take at least three decades for the burned areas of the reserve to recover.
Firefighters battling the blazes were up against “high temperatures, low humidity and wind” fanning the flames, regional economy minister Javier Gonzalez Ortiz was quoted as saying.
The dry winter has been followed by a scorching heatwave.
On the mainland, villages have been evacuated in the Galician province of Ourense as more forest fires rage out of control.