'Dreading the devastation': Australian scientists fear climate change will bring a brutal summer

'Dreading the devastation': Australian scientists fear climate change will bring a brutal summer
Image via Creative Commons.

Australia has had considerable first-hand experience with the effects of climate change, from wildfires to flooding.

Presently, Australia is in the middle of winter (July and August are winter months in the Land Down Under, while January and February are summer in Australia and other parts of the southern hemisphere). And Australian scientists, according to a report published by The Guardian on July 24, are observing events in the northern hemisphere and dreading what lies ahead when their next summer arrives.

It is not hard to see why they're worried. In the northern hemisphere, this summer has brought everything from record heatwaves in the United States and Southern Europe (where Rome reached 108F) to severe flooding in Vermont and Philadelphia's Buck County suburbs (where five people were killed). The smoke from wildfires in Quebec, Canada has drifted south, causing unhealthy air quality in New York, Philly, Boston, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. cities.

READ MORE: Climate change makes it 'wildly' misleading to call 'intense' Vermont disaster a '100-year flood'

Dr. Joëlle Gergis, who lectures on climate change at Australian National University, told The Guardian, "What is playing out all over the world right now is entirely consistent with what scientists expect. No one wants to be right about this. But if I'm honest, I am stunned by the ferocity of the impacts we are currently experiencing. I am really dreading the devastation I know this El Niño will bring."

Lesley Hughes, a biology professor at Macquarie University in Sydney, views July's disasters as a major wake-up call for Australians.

Hughes told The Guardian, "This is what climate change looks like now. And this is what climate change looks like in the future, though it will likely continue to get worse. I don't know how many more warnings the world needs. It's as if the human race has received a terminal medical diagnosis and knows there is a cure, but has consciously decided not to save itself."

Matthew England, a science professor at the University of New South Wales, is sounding the alarm as well.

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"While we've been saying for decades now that this is what to expect, it's still very confronting to see these climate extremes play out with such ferocity and with such global reach," England told the Guardian. "It's going to be Australia's turn this summer, no doubt about it.

READ MORE: 'Dangerous and life-threatening': Democrats demand heat-related protections for outdoor workers

The Guardian's entire report is available at this link.

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