The catastrophic bushfires raging through Australia are a sign of what could be to come if temperatures continue to rise, scientists have warned.
The blazes, which started in September, have killed at least 27 people and in excess of half a billion animals, according to reports.
Some are concerned that these kinds of extreme conditions will become commonplace if temperatures increase by over 2C above pre-industrial levels – but current estimates put increases on track for 3C.
‘What climate change means’
“This is what you can expect to happen…at an average of 3C [above pre-industrial levels],” Richard Betts, professor of geography at Exeter University, told The Guardian.
“We are seeing a sign of what would be normal conditions in a 3C world. It tells us what the future world might look like. This really brings home what climate change means.”
Corinne Le Quéré, professor of climate change science and policy at the University of East Anglia (UEA), added: “These are the impacts we are seeing at 1C [of heating] so these impacts will get more [severe] as long as we do not do what it takes to stabilize the world climate.
“This is not a new normal – this is a transition to more impacts.”
Experts have warned they expect the blazes to continue for at least another month.
A fundraiser for fire services in NWS raised more than A$20 million in 48 hours to help tackle the fire.
If you would like to donate or volunteer to help with the fires, click here