Too hot to map: Australia’s sweltering high temperatures signal radical climate shift

Record temperatures on Wednesday (Dec. 16) bake Australia amid its bushfire crisis (Photo: Australia Bureau of Meteorology)

Only months into its own summer, the Meteorology Bureau of Australia says it has run out of colours to map the record heatwave gripping the southern continent.

Australia recorded its hottest day on record on Wednesday, with an average maximum temperature of 41.9C (107.4F), beating the previous record of 40.9C, which was set only 24 hours earlier.

Tuesday, December 16 saw Australian thermometers record an average of 40.9C across the continent, beating the previous record of 40.3C set in January 2013.

Wednesday was even hotter across the country, with the highest maximum temperature recorded in Birdsville in southern Australia, at 47.7C (117.8).

The soaring temperatures in the Land Downunder come amid bushfires raging across sections of the country.

The territory of New South Wales is reeling under the ongoing crisis, where more than 100 blazes are still alight. There is also an increase in hospital admissions because of smoke and heatstroke.

The bushfires situation is an uphill battle for Australian firefighting teams, as the blazes are being aided by strong winds, severe drought and high temperatures.