Preparedness is key to extreme weather events

WHILE our land has long been one of drought and flooding rains, we have recently seen unprecedented heat, bushfires and floods. This trend is set to continue. We are now seeing what climate scientists predicted more than 20 years ago — an inconvenient truth for those denying climate change.

This year started with a record-breaking heatwave that lasted more than two weeks in many parts of the country, with temperatures regularly above 48°C. The Bureau of Meteorology added new colours to its weather map for temperatures once off the scale (50—52°C and 52—54°C).

A relatively small change in the average temperature can significantly increase the frequency of extreme heat events. 

Australia has warmed steadily since the 1940s, and the probability of extreme heat has now increased almost five-fold compared with 50 years ago.

Associated with the heatwave were bushfires across NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. With