Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A firefighter attempts to residential areas from encroaching bushfires in the Central Coast around 90-110 kilometres north of Sydney, Australia on December 10, 2019. (Photo: Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images)

'An Unthinkable and Unlivable Reality': Australia Sees Hottest Day on Record as National Average Temperature Hits 105.6°F

"We are in a climate emergency," said meteorologist Eric Holthaus.

Jake Johnson

With destructive wildfires raging across the country amid a severe drought, Australia on Tuesday experienced its hottest day on record as the national average maximum temperature reached an unprecedented 40.9°C (105.6°F).

"The driving force behind this is climate change."
—Greg Mullins, former Fire and Rescue commissioner of New South Wales

"That was the national average temperature. Some places were far hotter," tweeted meteorologist Eric Holthaus. "Truly, an unthinkable and unlivable reality. We are in a climate emergency."

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology announced the new record temperature Tuesday, noting that the previous high of 40.9°C (104.5°F) was set in January 2013.

Dean Narramore of the Bureau of Meteorology told the New York Times that Australia's unprecedented heat is likely to get worse in the coming days as dry conditions continue.

"Friday looks like it will be a very bad day," said Narramore. "All of this is connected. A record-late monsoon in India means the rain will be late coming to Australia, it's the worst fire season we've seen across Australia, it's warming through climate change, and it's only the third week of summer."

The record-breaking heat comes as more than 100 wildfires are currently burning across Australia, devastating millions of acres of land and enveloping densely populated cities like Sydney in toxic smoke.

The Guardian reported last week that bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland have emitted 250 million tons of carbon dioxide since August—nearly half of the country's annual total greenhouse gas emissions.

Greg Mullins, former Fire and Rescue commissioner of New South Wales, told CNN Tuesday that "more country has been burned, more homes lost, three times more homes lost than our worst previous fire season in history and the fires are still burning."

"The driving force behind this is climate change," said Mullins. "In our decades of service, we've seen Australia become drier, hotter, and extreme weather conditions far more severe."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Report on Revolving Door and Tax Policy Sparks Calls for Federal Probe and Reforms

"This is an example of terrible management in the Treasury Department across multiple administrations."

Jessica Corbett ·


Nabisco Strike Ends After Union Members Approve New Contract

"Congratulations to these brave workers on their wins," said one labor writer. "May their determination and grit be an inspiration for workers everywhere."

Jessica Corbett ·


'I Had a Duty of Care': Doctor Praised for Violating Texas' New Abortion Ban

"I hope the law gets overturned," Dr. Alan Braid said, "and if this is what does it, that would be great."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Infuriating Disappointment': Biden DHS Ramping Up Deportations to Haiti

"It is unconscionable for the Biden administration to resume deportation flights to Haiti, despite the country's ongoing political, economic, and environmental disasters."

Jessica Corbett ·


Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Takes Aim at LGBTQ+ Rights While Urging Reversal of Roe

"Make no mistake, the goal is to force extreme, outdated, religious-driven values on all of us through the courts."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo