Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

a[euro][approximately]Catastrophica[euro][TM] Concern; Unprecedented Fire Conditions Worry Emergency Services

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

a[euro][approximately]Catastrophica[euro][TM] Concern; Unprecedented Fire Conditions Worry Emergency Services

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael McCarthy and Kathy Marks

AUSTRALIAaS record heatwave, which is sparking hund- reds of bushfires across the country, has forced meteorologists to redraw temperature scales and introduce new colours to weather forecasting maps.

In an unprecedented move, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has extended the temperature range on its charts from the previous cap of 50 degrees Centigrade to 54C.

At the same time, it has added two entirely new col- ours a deep purple and pink a to show the new extreme range on its interactive weather maps.

A patch of purple, indicating 50+, is now visible on one of the temperature charts for next week.

This is thought to be the first time that any country in the world has actually redrawn its charts, and climate scientists indicated it was a warning for the future.

aThe current heatwaveas duration, intensity and extent is unprecedented in our records,a said the Bureau of Meteorologyas manager of climate monitoring and prediction, David Jones.

aThe climate system is responding to the background warming trend.

aEverything that happens in the climate system now is taking place on a planet which is a degree hotter than it used to be.a

The scorching temperatures could last into the weekend and beyond, Dr Jones said, potentially breaking the countryas all-time high of 50.7C set on January 2, 1960 at Oodnadatta airport in the south.

Bob Ward, of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change in London, said aIt is a measure of how extreme this heatwave is that a national meteorological organisation is struggling to re-calibrate its monitoring methods by adding an extra four degrees to its scale. It is a sign of things to come.a

He added: aIt is not possible to attribute unambiguously any single extreme weather event, or indeed any set of weather events from a single year, to climate change... but much of the unprecedented weather we are seeing is consistent with what climate scientists warn will happen in a warming world. …

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