It’s Now So Hot in Australia that Gasoline Evaporates Before You Can Pump It

The Bureau of Meteorology has added purple and pink to its weather map to represent temperatures as high as 129.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Australia Bureau of Meteorology

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology added new colors to its weather forecasting chart to represent record-breaking heat Tuesday.

Australia is off the charts right now, and not in a good way. The country is literally on fire, as average temperatures have remained well above 100° F for six straight days and wildfires have engulfed more than 120 homes.

In fact, “red hot” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Temperatures are so high that Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has added new colors to its weather forecasting chart to represent the record-breaking heat. The fiery new hues, a smoldering purple and a searing violet, indicate a peak temperature of 54° C — or 129.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

The country’s all-time record of 123.26 degrees Fahrenheit was set in 1960 at the Oodnadatta Airport in Southern Australia, but it’s already so hot that people can’t even pump gas. Nikki Staskiewicz and Angela Blomeley were stranded in Oodnadatta — which bills itself as “the driest town [in] the driest state of the driest country” in the world — when they tried to fill up their tank, only to find the fuel vaporizing in the triple-digit heat.

(PHOTOS: Wildfires Scorch Australia As Temperatures Reach Record Highs)

So just how violet could Australia get this week? Though temperatures appeared to cool Tuesday, David Jones, the head of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology climate monitoring and prediction unit, said the worst may be yet to come.

“The air mass over the inland is still heating up — it hasn’t peaked,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald. “We know the air mass is hot enough to challenge the Oodnadatta record.”

Other members of the bureau weren’t so hot on that prediction, however. Aaron Coutts-Smith, part of the climate monitoring team, told the Herald that the 129.2-degree figure is just one model’s prediction and that the chances of extending into the heat index’s new territory were unlikely.

Some new records have already been burned, however: According to CNN, Monday’s average maximum daily temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit beat the previous high set in 1972, and similar measurements from the last few months of 2012 were the highest averages recorded since the bureau first started collecting data in 1910.

(MORE: 2012 Was the Hottest Year in U.S. History. And Yes — It’s Climate Change)

20 comments
eetom
eetom

Now I know why the Australians I know are all so hotheaded.

blazingsaddles
blazingsaddles

It's hot like this all summer in the deserts in Arizona, from May to mid-October.  And yes, sometimes our hen's egg's whites are half cooked if you don't bring them in until later in the afternoon. 

eetom
eetom

It is said that in some part of Australia it is so hot that soon after an egg is laid by a hen it is hard-boiled

phankane
phankane

I told them to build a pipe line and pump sea water into the interior to create some kind of lake/sea to help cool off the dry land. It does not cost that much. 


They can build resource around the man made salt water lake too.



PhilipMachanick
PhilipMachanick

Australian is Climate Denial Inc HQ. Maybe there is some justice though I feel for the people at risk of losing everything to wildfires. The country's only national daily newspaper, The Australian, which is Rupert Murdoch's flagship and uses typography and layout of quality paper and the reporting style of Fox News (editorialising substitutes for fact), is the subject of a series of articles on its war on science, now up to #80: http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2012/12/21/the-australians-war-on-science-80-the-australian-says-its-ok-to-lie-about-the-science/

And is this attributable to climate change? Of course without human intervention, you sometimes get outliers, but not this consistently. And there's nothing in natural cycles to point at unusual warming. We aren't in an El Niño and the solar cycle is not particularly high. When natural conditions for high temperatures line up the Australian BoM is going to have to find more new colours.

kralspaces
kralspaces

Does it create CO2 when it evaporates?

RoyShastid
RoyShastid

  Climate change deniers will be scarce in Australia, I wish we could ship ours there for a bit of attitude adjustment.

kralspaces
kralspaces

Also, gasoline naturally evaporates based on humidity, temperature and even wind conditions, but the heading on this article really discredits the story. It is very hot in Australia and I have experience weeks of 100+ here in New Mexico as well. I won't read to much into this until it happens year after year.

MichaelLindsay
MichaelLindsay

@RoyShastid You wish. Already conservative politicians down under are falling over themselves to say the recent spate of uncontrollable wildfires has nothing to do with climate change.

ek.panosot
ek.panosot

@RoyShastid Unfortunately, there are plenty of climate change sceptics here in Australia, including in parliament. Most people accept that the climate is changing, but many still believe that the causes are not human induced.

Heian
Heian

@RoyShastid Well any snow on this end of the globe just seems to prove to the deniers that global warming is a myth. Never mind the fact that it's a remarkably warm winter already.

Heian
Heian

@kralspaces Until what happens year after year? Increased temperatures? Because it has been happening.

Seems like it's time for you to read into it.

PhilipMachanick
PhilipMachanick

@kralspaces @Heian And what is your solution for mobile energy? You can't power a long-haul trans-ocean mode of transport with thorium.

The effect of evaporation is minute on a planet-wide scale once you taking into account that you put the latent energy back into heat when temperatures drop enough to precipitate out the evaporated fluid. Good luck with cooling Australia by evaporating fuel :(

PhilipMachanick
PhilipMachanick

@Heian @kralspaces Climate theory does not predict increased temperatures every year. The increase trend can sometimes be masked by natural effects even for several years, since natural cycles don't vanish just because there is a long-term upwards trend. What is worrying right now is that the natural cycles should be putting us in a relatively cool period.

kralspaces
kralspaces

@Heian @kralspaces I have. That is why I am an advocate for Thorium Energy. a true zero-CO2 power source. BTW, Evaporation is an endothermic (heat-absorbing) process because molecules must be supplied with energy to overcome the intermolecular forces. So you could say the evaporation is cooling the temperature. So what is your solution to base load power?