Perhaps the most striking and recent example of the extreme effects of climate change is the massive wildfires raging through Australia that continue to burn as I write this very article. Though the fact that this will only get worse as the effects of climate change escalate seems cause for hopeless nihilism, it should actually serve as the opposite: a desperate call to arms to prevent this from happening.
In order to understand why these fires can destroy at such a large scale, it is crucial to look to the source of these fires — drought through the Indian Ocean Dipole. Fires become much more destructive during a drought not just because of a lack of rain, but also because dead foliage makes it much easier for fire to spread. When put into conjunction with the lack of rain, these wildfires become an almost never-ending cycle of devastation due to the sheer scale of the fires. “Sustained changes in the difference between sea surface temperatures of the tropical western and eastern Indian Ocean are known as the Indian Ocean Dipole or IOD” (Australia Bureau of Metereology). In its positive phases, water moves away from Australia and to Africa and the temperatures rise in Australia. The positive phases of the Indian Ocean Dipole directly influence and have influenced wildfires, as “every major bushfire was preceded by [a positive ocean dipole]” and these positive phases are likely to grow threefold by 2100.
Although the current wildfire sets records for its scale and impact, the emphasis of this event should be on what we can now do with this information. The article directly points to the limit of carbon/greenhouse emissions as an efficient method of controlling the Indian Ocean Dipole. Above simply a horrible event for the environment, this fire has taken and continues to take the lives and homes of animals and people. The effects of climate change always affects those who cannot protect themselves: those without the resources to recreate their lives, those animals who cannot adapt to human-caused disasters, those entire biomes set years behind due to wildfires. Climate change is a human issue.