Parts of Australia are baking in a record-breaking heatwave

It’s really, really, really hot in parts of Australia right now.

Onslow, a Western Australian coastal town north of Perth, recorded a high temperature of 50.7 degrees Celsius on Thursday. The sweltering heat equals the record for the hottest temperature on record in the Southern Hemisphere, which was set in 1960 in the outback of South Australia.

While Onslow was the continent’s hottest spot on Thursday, it wasn’t the only one suffering from the heat. The nearby towns of Roebourne and Mardie both recorded temperatures of 50.5 degrees Celsius, which are also record highs. Before this week, Australia had only crossed the 50 degree Celsius mark three times in its history. Now it’s happened in three places in one day – and even more intense heat is on the way.

Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Luke Huntington told WA Today the region’s dry spring may be contributing to the record high temperatures – and that trend may continue.

“The Pilbara region has experienced persistent hot temperatures over the past few months. and there hasn’t been any rain to really wash away the warm air that has built up,” he said. “Over the next few months. day-to-day temperatures are likely to be above average, at least until the wet season rains arrive properly.

Crossing this historic threshold is incredible in itself, but other places in WA have broken temperature records or experienced worrying highs this week. The coastal town of Karratha, located 134 kilometers from Mardie, recorded 48.4 degrees Celsius, beating its previous high of 48.2 degrees Celsius. The Gascoyne area, where a bushfire is currently burning 560,884 acres, also saw temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius. The BoM has extreme heat warnings in place for parts of the coast until Friday, and Onslow is expected to see 49 degrees Celsius on Friday.

Heat is increasingly part of the course in Australia as the burning of fossil fuels continues to alter the climate.

Australia isn’t the only place that’s had a hellish summer, either. Pushed by the heat in the northern hemisphere, last July was the hottest month on record. And with a sweltering heat wave also hitting Argentina right now, it looks like it’s the southern hemisphere’s turn to buckle up.