Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

A man cools down in front of a mist fan for relief from the hot weather in Melbourne on Jan. 25, 2019. Photo: SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

Australia is in the grips of what has become a historic, unrelenting series of extreme heat events that have broken all-time temperature records.

The big picture: The heat waves, which have touched every state and territory in the country, began in November and have extended through January. With temperatures exceeding 120°F (48.8°C) in some locations, this summer may go down in history as Australia's hottest on record. In addition, January is likely to be the nation's hottest month on record.

By the numbers: The heat intensified this week in parts of Australia, threatening the country's all-time record high temperature of 123.3°F (50.7°C). According to Weather Underground meteorologist Bob Henson, at least 28 locations in Australia set all-time record highs on Thursday.

  • In Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, the official weather reporting station of West Terrace peaked at 115.9°F (46.6°C) on Thursday — the highest temperature ever recorded in any of Australia’s state or territorial capitals, according to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). The previous all-time high in Adelaide had stood for 130 years.
  • The four days from Jan. 12 to 15 were each among the top 10 hottest on record for the country on the whole, the BOM found.
  • Noona, located in New South Wales, set a record for the highest minimum temperature ever recorded in Australia of 96.6°F (35.9°C) on Jan. 18. This means that for 24 hours, the temperature never dipped below that level.
  • According to Henson, that's the highest recorded minimum temperature anywhere on Earth during January.

The persistence of the heat wave has also been exceptional, in addition to its severity. The mean daily temperature for the country has remained above the 1961-to-1990 average every day since Dec. 16, 2018, according to the BOM.

  • In Canberra, the country's capital, the high temperature reached or exceeded 104°F (40°C) for four straight days in mid-January.
  • Of the 10 warmest days on record for Australia, five of them have occurred during this hot summer.
  • The long-lasting heat and dry conditions have sparked wildfires and killed dozens of horses, camels and other animals.

Between the lines: While detailed attribution studies have yet to be carried out on this ongoing event, the odds of extreme heat events have increased dramatically in recent years due to human-caused global warming. For example, a study published in 2017 found that climate change has boosted the odds of record-breaking heat across more than 80% of the surface area of the globe for which reliable observations were available.

Why you'll hear about this again: The temperature outlook for February calls for continued above-average temperatures across much of Australia.

Go deeper: Blazing heat waves blast Australia as all-time records fall

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
6 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.