Parts of South Australia and Victoria reached 46°C, while New South Wales and Queensland went above 47°C. The glaring sun can cause sunburn so very quickly that people have been urged to stay indoors. This precaution has brought its own difficulties, as the exceptional demand for electricity for air conditioning systems has led to power cuts.
Australian scientists predict that this weather will, in less than half a century, become the new normal. It may be difficult, on a muggy February morning, to imagine what change on that scale might mean for our temperate climate.
However, it is even more difficult to understand that in the face of such irrefutable evidence of climate change that we still keep putting off the day when we will have to make the most fundamental changes to how we live and work on this quickly-changing, damaged planet.