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Heatwave hits the northern hemisphere

A little bit of unseasonal warmth and the UK goes into meltdown! You know, like the Arctic!

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Spare a thought for our poor, sweaty fellow commonwealthians currently sweltering in dear Mother England. For they have just experienced their hottest ever June day - a staggering 34.5 degrees Celsius - after five days roasting above 30 degrees.  

And predictably it's providing a valuable opportunity for Australians to metaphorically chuckle "that's not a heatwave," before pulling a trend graph of February maxima out and manfully drawling "this is a heatwave" like a meteorological Crocodile Dundee.  

Heatwaves, after all, are one of the few things which Australians get to lord over those sun-averse inhabitants of the colder hemisphere. "You call this hot?" we smugly tell expiring red-faced Canadian tourists as they gurgle into a puddle of their own electrolytes. "Struth, this is downright balmy! You should be here for a fair dinkum Aussie summer, me old bonza mateship jumbuck!" 

And that's because we colonials like opportunities to show that we're tough and resilient when it comes to defying the vagaries of nature. That's why when I was in London a couple of Januarys ago I was wrapped up like an Arctic explorer while locals were going about their business in jeans and jackets.

Of course, there are a few reasons why a 34 degree day in London is a bit different to one in, say, Cairns. For a start, most of the architecture in the northern hemisphere is designed to keep heat in rather than radiate it out, meaning that very few of the iconic buildings in the London cityscape are based on the Queenslander-on-stilts model. Think less "airflow" and more "sauna".

The other is that this adorable opportunity to mock the effete weakness of our mother country is far, far preferable to looking at the weather trends and temperature ranges and going "…sorry, why are we seriously pretending that we need to expand coal mining in Australia? Holy hell, we need zero greenhouse gas emissions yesterday just to make things as bad as they are, much less explosively worse."


Now, weather is not climate - climate, as we know, is overall weather trends over time, not one off extreme events which have been coincidentally getting more frequent and intense for some reason.

And as we are constantly reminded by such well-respected climatologists as Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, our real moral obligation is to sell coal to poor nations since Australia has always had bushfires and cyclones and droughts and floods and a constant rise in annual temperature since records started being kept in 1910

Thankfully our politicians and a large slab of our media see through this panicky silliness and have wisely concluded that climate change is nothing to worry about, much less urgently act upon.

So be reassured: as One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts has so very, very convincingly explained, climate change is all a conspiracy. It's just a sinister plot hatched by a cabal of greenies, tree-huggers, progress-haters, naysayers, alarmists, rent-seekers, statisticians, scientists, migrating and disappearing animal species, the atmosphere, the oceans, the Antarctic ice sheets, glaciers, and physics. 

After all, while Australia is enjoying a perfectly lovely "winter", and the UK are going through the aforementioned heatstroke, the south-eastern United States are experiencing unprecedented heat with ground temperatures in the 50s, to the point where planes have been grounded in Phoenix.

Just think on that for a moment: it's currently too hot in the US for machines to fly.

That's not just a comfort thing, just to be clear. The issue is that air behaves differently when it's that hot: in short, it gets less dense because the air molecules move around more, meaning that certain types of passenger planes literally can't take off.

Lower air density means that planes need to reach a greater speed to generate lift, which requires longer runways than airports currently have. Australia, this is our future of air travel. Hope you're cool with staying where you are between November and May, citizens! 

But that's a problem for down the track - for now the important thing is to avoid any seditious talk of emissions trading or renewable energy targets or reducing our mining and use of thermal coal or the burning of natural gas or getting private vehicles off the road by building more public transport and less giant motorways, because that way - and only that way - will there be jobs and growth. No matter what evidence there might be suggesting otherwise. 

Still, how about those puny Brits, eh? Bunch of softies. They don't even know what heat is, yet.