While the Polar Vortex was hitting America, a record heatwave was making bats fall from trees in Australia

Bats in Australia
CC BY-SA 2.0 Flickr

Australia, which just had some record heatwaves so hot they had to add new colors to the weather map a year ago, is facing a similar ordeal this year. While the polar vortex was on everybody's lips in North-America, bats were falling from trees in record numbers and kangaroos and emus were collapsing from the heat. It's a good reminder that how heat is distributed on Earth can have a huge impact on regional weather, but this local view isn't wide enough to give us an idea with what is going on with global temps.

Weather forecasters in Australia said some parts of the sparsely populated Pilbara region along the rugged northwest coast on Thursday were approaching 50 C (122 F). The record high of 50.7 C (123.3 F) was set in 1960 in Oodnadatta, South Australia state. [...]

Since Dec. 27, records have been set at 34 locations across Australia — some by large margins — where temperature data has been collected for at least 40 years mostly in Queensland and New South Wales states. In the mining town of Narrabi in New South Wales, the new record of 47.8 C (118 F) exceeded the previous record by 3.6 C (6.5 F) (source)

This extreme temperature comes right after Australia's hottest year on record, and the second hottest was 2005...

This is particularly terrible for bats: "Heat-stressed bats — including the Black Flying Foxes, Little Red Flying Foxes and the endangered Grey-Headed Flying Foxes — cling to trees and urinate on themselves in a bid to reduce their body temperatures. As they succumb, they just fall in heaps at the base of trees,” said Louise Saunders, president of the Queensland animal welfare group Bat Conservation and Rescue. “You can have 250 or more — it’s like dripping chocolate — all dying at the base of trees.”

Here's last January's weather map with the new purple-colored hell-hot region:

Weather Map AustraliaAustralia's Bureau of Meteorology/Public Domain

Via The Star

See also: "Catastrophic collapse" in the number of lions in West Africa to 400 could lead to extinction

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