As Australia faces historic drought conditions, the impacts of climate change are increasingly difficult to ignore.
Drought is endemic on the world’s driest inhabited continent, but the conditions Australia is currently experiencing count as the most severe in its modern history. It’s not yet the longest spell of drought, but it is the hottest—and since 2012 it has devastated cattle ranches, sheep farms and swaths of arable land across Australia’s vast outback, or bush.
According to government data, winter crop production nationwide is forecast to decrease by 23% in 2018-19. On the country’s east coast, drought has affected 49% of its primarily grassy agricultural land and driven cattle slaughter up by 17%. In the supposedly temperate southeast, one-third of dairy farms are projected to lose money this year.