Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology predicts earlier heatwave season

CANBERRA, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) — Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has brought forward the activation of its online heatwave warning service, in anticipation for what it describes as a summer with a higher risk of heatwaves and bushfires.

According to a BoM media release on Tuesday, maximum temperatures throughout Australia were the warmest “since national records began in 1910” and are likely “to stay warmer than average in the months ahead.”

Normally, the BoM’s online heatwave warning service is switched on at the beginning of November and switched off at the conclusion of the following March, but recent episodes of prolonged heat in parts of the nation have forced the bureau to warn of heatwaves earlier.

“Heatwaves can have a significant effect: including on human health, agriculture and critical infrastructure,” the release said.

“With lower soil moisture and clearer skies expected over many areas this summer, the chance of heatwaves is increased. Keep an eye on our heatwave service over the months ahead.”

Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Tuesday, the BoM’s national heatwave project director, John Nairn, said that while it was rare to turn on the service so early in October, it was better to be safe than sorry.

“If normally fit people don’t adapt and change their behaviour under extreme conditions, they too can be affected by the heat,” he said.

“Unfortunately, under the warming environment that we’re seeing, we are seeing more extreme events turning up more frequently.”

According to the BoM’s outlook for the summer season, there is an elevated bushfire potential, an increased risk of heatwaves and an average risk of tropical cyclones, while widespread flooding is considered less likely.

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