Melbourne is famous for its extremes of weather. As the old Crowded House song so beautifully put it, to live in Melbourne is to experience Four Seasons in One Day.
We’re accustomed to blistering summers and bone-chilling winters. Less familiar are blistering Autumns.
For those who didn’t know, Melbourne is in the midst of a record-breaking heat-wave that has seen the temperature stay above 30 degrees Celsius for eight days now.
Nor is there any relief in sight; according to the Bureau of Meteorology we can expect at least two more days and nights of extreme heat.
This will surpass the previous record of seven days set in February 1961.
The remarkable fact is that we’re officially in Autumn.
According to the Country Fire Authority (CFA), by Wednesday the entire state will be exposed to some risk of bush or grass fires. Areas marked blue denote areas of high fire danger, those coded yellow pertain to areas of very high fire danger:
Without doubt we’re entering a new climate regime:
Future warming of the climate due to greenhouse gas emissions will very likely lead to further increases in the frequency of unusually hot days and nights and continued declines in unusually cold days and nights.
These changes will result in weather events which are increasingly beyond our prior experiences.
The climate denial crowd will try to tell you “It’s just weather!”
Or they’ll claim it was just as hot fifty, seventy or one hundred years ago.
There may have been some hot days - but this heatwave ain’t nothing our grandparents, or our great-grand parents ever experienced.
The world has warmed during the last 150 years: the present heat wave is a harbinger of future extremes.
Welcome to the Anthropocene.
*Source: Museum of Victoria