Australia is facing a period of hot weather over the coming week that may break seasonal records and threaten some grain crops.
Parts of southern Australia are expected to be baked by temperatures as high as 38 deg C, according to Miriam Bradbury, a senior meteorologist at the Bureau of Meteorology. Some regions may see temperatures as much as 15 deg C higher than the seasonal average, she added, Bloomberg reports.
"It is possible we may see some records broken," said Bradbury, who added that extreme weather is expected to become more frequent. "Whether that's severe storms or droughts or heat waves, we expect to see them happen more often, and we expect to see them happen more out of season."
Extreme and unseasonal weather is becoming a huge global issue, with the world recording its warmest August in at least 174 years, increasing the odds that 2023 will be one of the hottest years on record. Australia's climate has warmed by an average of 1.47 deg C since national records began in 1910.
The nation has already reduced its forecast for the wheat harvest due to drier conditions, and the latest bout of hot weather could put additional strain on crops. Higher temperatures combined with a lack of rain is likely to draw down subsoil moisture that growers are relying on to get through the season, according to a spokesperson from industry group GrainGrowers.
Australia has just finished its winter, with summer almost three months away. Farmers typically start harvesting their wheat around November.