Over 10 million hectares of land across the continent, scorched.
Over 2000 homes, destroyed.
At least 30 people, four of whom were brave firefighters, killed.
In every state by the end of December, temperatures soared beyond 40 degrees Celsius.
Air quality in Sydney measured 11 times the hazardous level in December.
Hundreds of indigenous cultural and spiritual sites have been damaged or destroyed.
More than half of all Australians have been directly affected.
And half a billion animals, and more at the time of writing, dead.
Bushfires are nothing new to the continent; occurring every year during their summers – triggered often by natural causes like lightning strikes and then high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds causing the rapid spread of fire.
Yet this exceptionally destructive bushfire season is exacerbated by climate change; increasing global temperatures has Australia experiencing severe droughts in recent decades. Stefan Rahmstorf, department head at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and a lead author of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report, says that “due to enhanced evaporation in warmer temperatures, the vegetation and the soils dry out more quickly.
“So even if the rainfall didn’t change, just the warming in itself would already cause a drying of vegetation and therefore increased fire risk.”
What this spells for Australia is the possibility of increasingly worse bushfire seasons in the near future.
But for now, the bushfire season and Summer itself is nowhere near ending, for they are still blazing across Australia as I write this, which you can track here.