Climate extremes – from bushfires to a polar vortex

February is the one month of the year when the climate extremes of the northern and southern hemisphere starkly remind us of the threat to civilisation posed by climate change. In the northern hemisphere, a polar vortex in January and February brought record low sub-zero temperatures to the UK, Europe, USA and Canada. Cars disappeared beneath mounds of snow; Chicago’s river froze as temperatures dropped to a rare -46 degrees Celcius (wind chill temperature). The…

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Bushfires burning hot and early

If you drove to Caloundra today you’d still smell the acrid smoke from last week’s rampant bushfire, which at one stage saw 34 fire appliances and 80+ firefighters on the scene. The smoky odour lingering around Bell’s Creek and Corbould Park Racecourse is a reminder of how quickly a grass fire can get out of control. Hot westerly winds fanned tinder dry grasslands as the rapidly escalating fire torched trees in seconds. The smoke and…

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