Heat scorches southern Australia

Severe heat in southern Australia has left more than 140,000 houses without power and caused transport chaos by buckling railway lines, Reuters reported. "All of this is consistent with climate change, and all of this is consistent with what scientists told us would happen," said the country’s climate-change minister, Penny Wong.


Australia’s bureau of meteorology is forecasting six days of temperatures exceeding 40° Celsius for southern Australia — which would equal the worst heat wave in 100 years. 


"Eleven of the hottest years in history have been in the last 12,” Wong said, “and we also note, particularly in the southern part of Australia, we’re seeing less rainfall." The maximum temperature in the south on Thursday was 46° degrees Celsius in four towns. 


Already gripped by drought, the country is particularly vulnerable to climate change due to its hot, dry climate. The worst of the current extreme weather is away from the grain belt, and so was seen as having little effect on the commodities-driven Australian economy. In the affected states of Victoria and South Australia, however, fruit growers were battling to save their crops. 


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