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Forebodings of Bright Orange Skies

The Australian mega bushfires show again what the climate crisis means in reality.


Forest fires or bushfires have been a part of “traditional” narratives in Australia, featuring prominently even in storytelling. However, the climate crisis has changed the traditional narrative of such “normality” in current ecofiction, exacerbating such events as disastrous and beyond the limits of the resilience of ecosystems. Starting in August 2019, this time, bushfires erupted several months earlier than the typical “annual season” of wildfire, and with an alarming enormity spread, and severity even as the country suffered from its hottest and driest year so far. Before these ravaging fires, Australia’s average temperature rise has been estimated to be about 1.4° Celsius above pre-industrial levels, while the global average heating rate hovers at 1.1°C.

With Australia’s average summer temperatures increasing, there has been an increase in the frequency and intensity of heat waves and droughts. Vast parts of the country were reeling under a drought for three years with declining average rainfall levels. The problem was further compounded due to the “strongest ever on record” positive Indian Ocean Dipole event in 2019—meaning starker temperature difference on either sides—with warmer sea surface temperatures towards Australia in the west leading to drought-like conditions, and cooler temperatures towards East Africa causing floods.

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Updated On : 28th Jan, 2020


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