Australia’s Fires Will Only Get Worse

Australia’s devastating bushfires have prompted historic mass evacuations as officials anticipate more uncontrollable blazes and temperatures soaring past 40 degrees C (104F), The Guardian reports.
 
Bushfires across New South Wales and Victoria have killed 9 people since Christmas Day; some 150 fires are still raging in the region. NSW has declared a 7-day state of emergency; 17 people are missing in Victoria.
 
It’s estimated that tens of thousands of people are still stranded and facing gridlock traffic as they attempt to flee.
 
Why has this year been so extreme?
 
The scenario has climate change written all over it, writes Nerilie Abram of ARC Center of Excellence for Climate Extremes, in Scientific American.
 
Long term, climate change has not only brought rising temperatures but the loss of winter rainfall that’s key to keeping fires at bay. Historic drought has created a “perfect storm” for bushfires in southern Australia, Abram writes.

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