Two bushfires burning on Hunter Island just off the northwestern tip of Tasmania (upper left) were visible to NASA's Aqua satellite on Sunday. (Image: NASA Worldview) Just two days after the Australian Bureau of Meteorology announced that the summer down under has been the hottest on record, a NASA satellite has spied brushfires burning on Hunter Island, just off the northwestern tip of Tasmania. The photo above shows two plumes streaming out into the Southern Ocean. According to the Tasmanian Fire Service, the fires total about 1,700 acres. The island is home to a conservation area. A map on the Fire Service's web site shows that these are just two of about a half dozen brushfires burning across more than 270 square miles of Tasmania. Here's a closeup view of the Hunter Island fires:
In January, intense brushfires swept across large swaths of the island state. One fire destroyed 80 homes in the fishing town of Dunalley. On January 4th, temperatures soared to 107 degrees in Hobart. Three days later, the average high temperature across all of Australia was 104.6 degrees—a record, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology
The meteorology bureau’s manager of climate monitoring and prediction, David Jones, said in January that the climate system “is responding to the background warming trend,” which is making heat waves more likely.