Climate Change is turning Australia Purple with Blazing Heat

The heat wave or “dome of heat” afflicting Australia may produce a record temperature of over 122 degrees F. (over 50 degrees C.). For temperatures above 122 F., Australian weathermen have developed a new color scheme, purple, which they hadn’t had to use before (the last record temperature in that range was just about 122 F. on one day in 1961). The average temperature across the country is unprecedentedly hot nowadays.


Climate change is implicated in this disaster. Average temperatures have risen 1 degree Centigrade in the past century, and may rise by 5 degrees C. (9 degrees F.) by 2070, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Nine of Australia’s 20 highest recorded temperatures in the past century have occurred since 2000.

New Scientist notes that the most recent The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report assesses that fire dangers will increase in southeast Australia by 25 percent by 2020 and by as much as 70 percent by 2050.

Euronews has a video report:

14 Responses

  1. Its not just that average temperatures are rising; rainfall patterns are shifting too, leaving more of the rain to fall in the Southern Ocean (not that we had much to begin with).
    I grew up in Tasmania, which has just clocked in at over 41 degrees celsius for the first time. This is close to unimaginable, for me. There are old huts in the mountain areas which contain huts lined with ice skates, because the highland lakes used to freeze over in the winter, early last century.

    Australia is in a conundrum where we have escaped the OECD recession by selling our brown coal to China, yet ours is the developed country most threatened by climate change. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of cognitive dissonance surrounding the issue over here (however, due to the Greens holding the balance of power, we do have a carbon tax).

    • The change happening to Earth is big and going to take out all nations in short order unless the process can be reversed.
      Here is post showing speed of Earth methane increase and heat link to Australia sits affected by a region 30to47km in altitude to which Arctic Methane is migrating.. There won’t be any hiding from what is coming and Merlin Lidar or ‘radar sounding’ satellite technology to measure accurately what’s happening isn’t up there yet. But infrared sounding satellite did measure CH4 at large areas over water in North spiked high at about 4km high subsequently in am of 27th, December 2012.
      Methane migrating to a veil around Earth isn’t kidding us..

    • Does that “carbon tax” include a tax on coal extracted from the earth and then sold (e.g., to China)? Just asking, for clarification. Not too good to back off of BURNING fossil fuels but continue to mine and sell the stuff to people who do not have a carbon tax.

      I think I’m saying the carbon tax should be world-wide, internationally implemented, uniform, and a tax on PRODUCTION (mining, pumping) fossil-fuels. Where should the tax thereby raised be spent? I guess on developing “green” energy sources world-wide. And not necessarily in the same places that happen to “enjoy” the fossil-fuel reserves.

      • The tax is on the large producers of CO2 (heavy industry and power stations), who pay $23 per tonne, a figure that will rise in the future. Its a fairly complicated system; permits, a trading scheme, compensation for poorer households, and changes to income tax are all involved.

        But I agree with you, there’s real dissonance at work in the fact that we’re continuing to expand our coal mines and the infrastructure to ship that coal. As if physics is meant to be impressed by the needs of our stock market, and the politicians who need votes in coal mining regions.

  2. Well, ’tis interesting how a tune from 1972 record seems to be appropriate to this event, especially with those gambling with the climate. Now, we have ‘deep purple’ as the new colour for record temperatures not seen since 1972^ corresponding to Deep Purple’s “Smoke On the Water”* (“Smoke on the water, fire in the sky”**). The “Fathers of Invention” (siring the Industrial Revolution and its problematic consequences) have contributed to climactic anomalies, despite romantic visions of everything ‘green,’ like money. We can envision them fiddling away to the soft melodies of ‘Deep Purple’ as everything around the gamblers’ houses (and, by consequence, ours) turns to ashes.***

    ^ link to
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    • And looking at that map you think thats where all the major CO2 emitters are based??? There is no ‘justice’ in the already struggling populations of Central Australian communities sweltering while the likes of Gina Rinehart and her BIG business buddies lap it up in their air conditioned coastal mansions. ( or more likely overseas ski resorts).
      As usual it is those with the least power who suffer for the actions of others.

  3. Here are two internet sites to find information on heat rise.
    link to and link to
    The migration pathways of CH4, Methane gas from sea floor to sky and then up into a heat trapping veil around Earth can be found in articles at the latter. Along with a whole bunch of pertinent information about the near intractable situation Earth currently is in. But most importantly there is a plan to counter heat rise along with indisputable evidence to act.
    To act before it is too late but it may be that situations are now past, way past easy fixes that don’t necessitate change to foundation of business and contract law transactions.

  4. I was taught in school that “1 degree C” is a specific temperature and that the correct way to refer to an increase in temperature by 1 degree is to say “1 C degree.” Was I mistaught? Or am I just old-fashioned?

    • We don’t have Centigrade in common parlance in the US, so don’t know these nuances!

  5. Dear Prof. Cole,

    Thank you for sharing this. As you know I founded this initiative several years ago:

    The International Institute to Study Climate Change in the Islamic World (IISCCIW) — link to

    But after 6 years of trying hard to get it going, I am giving up. I suppose the “Islamic World” (1/4 of the planet’s human population) is not “sexy” enough, and those who apparently care about climate change, only care about its impact on more “important” countries in lucky “advanced countries.” Sad!

    Moji Agha

    • It doesn’t help that so many nations there have no known alternative to oil and gas sales to fund their rise from poverty – or to keep the existing regime in power. Taking that away means a lot of despair. We can hope that Desertec will make North African solar energy exportable via the European power grid, but this will be the kind of heroic engineering endeavor that humans no longer seem capable of.

  6. @Robin M
    I was taught that in high school too (in Canada) but I’ve worked for 7 years as an engineer, and I’ve never seen anyone make that distinction.

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