Australia has just seen its fourth-hottest July on record, according to figures released this month by the Federal Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). The Bureau said the national mean temperature for the month was 1.62 degrees Celsius (equivalently 34.92 degrees Fahrenheit) above average. The mean minimum temperature was also 1.01 degrees Celsius above average. Australia’s rising temperatures have sparked discontent among its citizens. And more than ever before, drought-stricken regions are at risk.
Discontent grows in response to government inaction
BOM said rising average temperatures pointed to a worrying trend over the longer term.
“It has been the second-warmest January–July on record for Australia (spanning 110 years), with rainfall also below to very much below average over most of the country, and fifth-lowest on record for Australia as a whole (spanning 120 years),” it stated in a release announcing the findings.
The figures have added to continuing disquiet over the federal government’s inaction over the climate emergency. Demonstrations continue to oppose the government’s unwavering support for fossil fuels. Groups include School Strike for Climate, inspired by 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, and Extinction Rebellion pro-climate action protestors.
Much of the focus for such protests in Australia has been the approval given to the Indian Adani company to build one of the world’s biggest coal mines in the Galilee Basin, in the north of Queensland.
As a consequence, the growth of Stop Adani movements has grown across the country.
Rising temperatures mean bad news for drought-stricken regions
Lower than average rainfall has also fuelled fears of an extension of one of the worst droughts in Australian history.
“July rainfall below to very much below average for very large areas, including most of New South Wales, southern Queensland, South Australia, and the southern half of Western Australia,” the BOM statement said.
Many rural areas in NSW are already facing water emergencies as a result of the drought. Some regional towns will need alternative water supplies such as desalination, bottled water and severe water restrictions for residents.
July was the world’s hottest month
Separate studies conducted by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Program has shown July to have been the hottest month ever recorded on the planet.
The NOAA compared results, going back to 1880, and found the average temperature during the month was close to one degree Celsius higher than the 20th-century average.
Even still, leaders like UN Secretary-General António Guterres remain optimistic. He shared in a statement: “Preventing irreversible climate disruption is the race of our lives and for our lives. It is a race we can — and must — win.”