Climate change blamed for Australia's worst bushfire news
09 February 2009

As Australia fights the worst and deadliest bushfire in its history with 26 fires currently raging in the state of Victoria, described as ''hell on earth,'' the National Climate Centre said that climate change has brought on the current heat wave that has caused the bushfire which has already claimed the lives of 126 people.

With stunned and shocked Australians look at the 26 deadly bushfire in the state of Victoria including the one that is 60 miles long, the fire is leaving a trail of destruction and has already consumed 350,000 hectares of land, the fire is now spreading to the border of New South Wales where 50 fires are engulfing the area.

Australia being more prone to bushfires than any other continent in the globe, scientists feel that climate change appears to be the culprit in the present waves of bushfires sweeping the country.

Australia's erratic weather has seen contrasting weather conditions with heat wave temperatures in the southeast soaring to 46 degrees Celsius (115 Fahrenheit), which meteorologists said was ''a once-in-a-century heat wave,'' and simultaneously there was severe flooding in the North just prior to the current bushfires.

Experts feel that these erratic temperatures will be seen more frequently if the world just looked and argued about the methods of bringing climate change under control.

As climate change gathers pace, Australia and other parts of the world will be at more risk to higher temperatures, drought, flooding, cyclones and bushfires, said a Greenpeace spokesperson and they wanted the world politicians to cast away their bickering and treat climate change as a global emergency.

The state-run bureau of meteorology said Australia's dry climate and its landscape having dry vegetation and the oil-rich eucalyptus forest, made bushfires all the more deadly as it is able to catch fire and spread very fast.

According to a special climate statement released by the Bureau of Meteorology, the most exceptional heat, compared with historic experience, occurred in northern and eastern Tasmania.

On 29 January, last year Hobart witnessed temperatures reaching 41.5 degrees and broke the heat record of 1976 when the temperature was recorded at 40.8 degrees

At Launceston airport, the temperature for three consecutive days was above 37 degrees and the area had never witnessed temperatures going above 35 degrees.

At 45.1 degrees, Melbourne recorded its second highest-ever temperature last week and it fell short of the record of 45.6 degrees recorded on 13 January 1939.

Scientists are saying that it is too early to find out the exact change that has taken place in the climate which has caused the bushfires but they would definitely be working on it once the fire settles down.

As Australia records its worst ever bushfire in its history, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told reporters that ''Hell in all its fury has visited the good people of Victoria in the last 24 hours and many good people now lie dead.''

Tens of thousands of stock, assets and farm infrastructure lay destroyed and Telstra, the telephone and broadband giant has reported that it's wired and wireless voice and broadband infrastructure was destroyed and thousands of connections were down as the fire also consumed its telephone exchange and base station infrastructure.

Google is helping the Australian authorities to battle the bushfire by creating a Google real-time representation map of the areas affected by bushfires and has made it available to the State of Victoria's Country Fire Authority via an RSS feed so that they are able to get live information on where the fires are raging.

Google said that the map shows the enormity of the disaster and by colour coding in four different colours such as green for safe, yellow for controlled, orange for contained and red for on going fire, it has made reading the map easier for the fire department.

The map is also being updated constantly and Google has added a new feature called 'address search functionality.'

In 2005, Google had made Google maps of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city and showed the areas which were affected.


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Climate change blamed for Australia's worst bushfire