Shankar Raj

Two climatic events across the globe have once again pointed to

the devastating effects of climate change. There has been record-breaking snow

across Canada and a major unprecedented bush fire in Australia – both possibly

due to climate change.

Places like eastern Ontario and Toronto have been witnessing snow storms that are usually seen in January. This year it has come two months in advance. The weather office has predicted that some areas could see up to 15 centimetres of snow.

In Ottawa, temperatures are around – 8 C with the wind

chill making it feel around –16. It could feel as chilly as –20 in some places.

If Canada is going through bone-biting cold, a devastating bush

fire has engulfed many places in New South Wales (NSW) in Australia.

"Unprecedented" is a word that has been emerging from

fire chiefs, politicians, and the weather bureau. But Australian government

refuses to acknowledge that the fires are due to climate change.

In NSW, the worst fire years were almost always during an El

Nino event, and major property losses generally occurred from late November to

February. Based on more than a century of weather observations the official

fire danger season is from October 1 to March 31. During the 2000s though,

major fires have regularly started in August and September, and sometimes go

through to April.

The October 2013 fires that destroyed more than 200 homes were

the earliest large-loss fires in NSW history – again, not during an El Nino.

This year, by the beginning of November, NSW has already lost

about as many homes as during the disastrous 2001-2002 bushfire season. The

area has now eclipsed 1994 fire losses.

Fires are burning in places and at intensities never before

experienced – rain forests in northern NSW, tropical Queensland, and the

formerly wet old-growth forests in Tasmania.

The drought the has gripped parts of Australia is more intense

than the Millennium Drought, with higher levels of evaporation due to higher

temperatures. This has dried out the bush and made it easier for fires to

start.

All these are tell-tale signs of climate change.