Bush fires in Australia is a natural part of the country’s ecosystem but it is not isolated the reason why Australia is burning is linked to the same reason why East Africa is flooding, In 2003, 2 million hectares were burned in Australia by the bush fires, but the fires that started in 2019 and so much worse, at more than 4.9 million hectares in New South Wales alone, and its only going to grow.
As the world is getting warmer from climate change, so is Australia, 2019 was its hottest year on record with parts of the country reaching 45 degrees Celsius in December, 2019 has also been the driest year for Australia, together these provide the perfect conditions for bushfires to start and spread quickly.
There are multiple factors which increase the likeliness of Australia’s bush fire season, But one of the most influential is the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). The IOD is a big temperature gradient which affects the surface water on the India Ocean it spreads from East Africa to Australia and Oceania, There are three phases in the temperature of IOD, Positive, Neutral and Negative. When the IOD is Neutral the surface water in the Indian Ocean is evenly warm. A Negative phase is when the winds come in the West and shift the warm water towards Australia. Australia is used to more rain during the Negative phase sometimes even floods, but at the same time East Africa gets less rain and even drought, a Positive phase is what’s happening right now, it’s when the winds come from the East and shift the warm surface water towards Africa which causes flooding there and droughts in Australia.
The entire process of shifting water temperature is nature but what’s happening right now is extreme shifts, The Positive IOD was one of the strongest on record, with the water temperature difference between Africa and Australia being unusually high. Resulting in extreme weather in Australia but also in Africa.
As the planet’s temperature continues to rise to higher than ever before, extreme climate conditions can become the new normal.