Australia’s worst floods in decades quicken concerns about climate change
In a country that suffered the harshest wildfires in its recorded history just a year ago, the deluge has become another awful milestone.
By Damien Cave
Two massive storms have converged over eastern Australia, dumping more than three feet of rain in just five days. In a country that suffered the worst wildfires in its recorded history just a year ago, the deluge has become another record-breaker — a once-in-50-years event, or possibly 100, depending on the rain that’s expected to continue through Tuesday night.
Scientists note that both forms of catastrophe represent Australia’s new normal. The country is one of many seeing a pattern of intensification — more extreme hot days and heat waves, as well as more extreme rainfalls over short periods.
Australia’s conservative government — heavily resistant to aggressive action on climate change that might threaten the country’s fossil fuel industry — has yet to make that link.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has offered funds for those forced to flee, and several dozen areas have already been declared disaster zones.