Australia is on fire, but what does it have to do with climate change?
Updated: Feb 9, 2020
A consequence of Climate Change is an increase in the intensity and rate of natural disasters, world wide. As we have continued to burn coal, etc, global temperatures have increased, causing hotter conditions and leading to extreme fire danger.
In January 2019 Australia's mean temperature exceeded 30°C for the first time. It was the warmest January on record, following our warmest December. Our climate has been warming over the past hundred years with an ~1°C increase in mean surface air and sea surface temperature since 1910. This has lead to a rise in the frequency, duration and intensity of extreme heat events experienced. Scientists have declared that climate change is the driver of this.
Fast forward to the end of 2019 and it was the hottest and driest year on record! The annual rainfall for the year was 277.63mm, 36.83mm below the previous record in 1902 during the Federation Drought. The hottest day was also recorded on the 17th December with the average maximum temperature being 41.9°C, beating the record set the previous day by 1°C.
We had been warned of these conditions. We were warned in early 2019, we were warned 20 years ago!
We were already experiencing a severe drought when the bushfires began before Summer even started! Although bushfires are common in Australia they are more likely in very hot and dry weather conditions. Due to the drought, the vegetation was extremely dry and therefore, more flammable. Additionally, the heat has exacerbated the conditions. The bushfire conditions are now more dangerous than ever, with many houses, lives and animals being lost. According to ‘TIME’ more than 12 million acres of land has burned during the bushfire season.
The catastrophic fire danger rating was only introduced in 2009. The NSW Rural Fire Service states, “Homes are not designed to withstand fires in catastrophic conditions.” This year was the first time a catastrophic danger rating had been declared in Sydney.
As climate change worsens, our fire risk will continue to increase unless efforts are made to stop and reverse climate change.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
After an influx of physical donations, monetary donations are currently the best way to help as it will help communities recover faster.
You can donate to:
VICTORIAN BUSHFIRE APPEAL: https://www.vic.gov.au/bushfireappeal
ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY: https://donate.vinnies.org.au/appeals-nsw/vinnies-nsw-bushfire-appeal-nsw
SOUTH AUSTRALIA CFS: https://www.cfs.sa.gov.au/site/home/how_you_can_help.jsp
WHAT ARE WE DOING TO HELP?
Seas of Change will be donating all money raised from December and January to WIRES. If you would like to contribute to our donation but also purchase something cool, check out our Instagram and DM us to purchase :) All profits will be donated.
Thinking of and praying for everyone affected,