Australians are no strangers to stifling summer weather, but the unrelenting heat of the past few months in the country’s southeast has put this summer in the record books. Now, a new analysis links that heat directly to climate change, finding warming made such events up to 50 times more likely and hotter.
Sydneysiders take refuge from sweltering conditions alongside apartments at Sydney's North Cronulla Beach during a heatwave along Australia's east coast on Feb. 11, 2017.
Click image to enlarge. Credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed
Three major heat waves struck the southeast of Australia through January and February, with the worst of the heat coming during the last event, from Feb. 9-12. During that time, many places recorded temperatures over 113°F (45°C); New South Wales as a whole broke the record for hottest February day twice, with more 93 percent of the state recording temperatures 18°F (10°C) above normal on Feb. 11.
But it wasn’t just those particular heat waves that made the summer notable,