The sheer scale of the Victorian bushfire tragedy (over 170 dead at the time of writing: BBC coverage here) is apparent in this false colour satellite image from NASA’s Earth Observatory, captured on Feb 9th. Melbourne is at the top of the bay bottom left, and two large brown areas are the extensive burnt areas centred round Kinglake (left) and Marysville (right) in the Barry Mountains. Red boxes mark active fires, and in some of those boxes bright orange colours show intense heat, probably flames. To be visible from satellite, those fires must be enormous.
[…] a colleague at BOM pointed out just how exceptional this event was:
â€œGiven that this was the hottest day on record on top of the driest start to a year on record on top of the longest driest drought on record on top of the hottest drought on record the implications are clear… It is clear to me that climate change is now becoming such a strong contributor to these hitherto unimaginable events that the language starts to change from one of â€œclimate change increased the chances of an eventâ€ to â€œwithout climate change this event could not have occuredâ€.