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Sunday, February 3, 2019

Australia is sweltering through record-breaking heat. And the worst is yet to come

Farmer Wayne Dunford was already feeling worn down. He'd battled through 18 months of some of the worst drought he'd seen in his half a century on the land.

Then the heat struck.
Dunford has been feeding livestock by hand on his New South Wales property for 12 months due to the lack of ground growth and is now worried about whether he'll be able to plant crops at all after extreme heat and wind completely dried out his fields.
"You turn around and you can't see across the paddock for the dirt blowing across it, that wears people pretty thin. And then there's the heat on top of that," he told CNN.
As the United States suffers from a record freeze, with temperatures plummeting below minus 32 degrees Celsius (minus 27 Fahrenheit), Australia is sweltering through an extreme heatwave. 

Week after week, temperatures have continued to rise with all of the country's eight states and territories affected. Across the country, roads have melted, infrastructure has failed and both animals and fish have died en masse.
The southern city of Adelaide experienced its hottest day on record on January 24, reaching 46.6 C (116 F). On Friday, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology announced it had been the country's hottest January on record, describing the weather a "unprecedented."
In temperatures above 40 C (104 F) the human body begins to experience heat exhaustion. Once the temperature exceeds 41 C (105 F), the body starts to shut down. Health warnings have been issued throughout Australia advising people to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day, minimize physical activity and keep hydrated.
But while the current heat continues to cause problems for ordinary Australians, scientists are warning it could only be the beginning of the country's problems with extreme weather if no action is taken to prevent climate change.
Michael Grose, senior research scientist from CSIRO's Climate Science Center, told CNN that by 2100 Australia could face up
to 22 days per year over 40 C (104 F) in a worst-case scenario.
"Even under a very low emission scenario we're expecting to see an increase in those record hot days," he said.

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