Australia suffered its hottest month in history, with temperatures almost 3 degrees Celsius higher than January averages, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) confirmed Friday.

In the tropical north, the monsoon season, which usually begins in November, had still not properly arrived by mid-January. The dryness, lack of cloud cover and relatively static weather patterns meant the hot air mass was left undisrupted.

It was the warmest January “in terms of mean, maximum and minimum temperatures,” the BOM report read.

Officials are reporting that widespread heat waves exacerbated an already devastating drought, fuelled bushfires and caused massive fish deaths. What is happening now in Australia can be compared to a biblical disaster. Millions of animals died due to extremely high temperatures.

Thousands of birds were discovered dead in one of the most important inland wetlands in Western Australia, but the cause of the massive death of birds still remains a mystery.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of fish died in the Darling River in Australia, and bats fall from trees around Adelaide as a result of extreme weather and severe drought.

Extraordinary heat

  • Temperatures in Port August topped out at 49.5 degrees Celsius (121.1 Fahrenheit)
  • The small town of Cloncurry recorded 43 consecutive days of at least 40 degrees Celsius
  • The warmest overnight temperature for the country reached 36.6 degrees Celsius
  • January rainfall was 38 percent below average

Activists have taken a swipe at the government, saying weather events like the heatwave are a result of climate change inaction.

“Climate change is cranking up the intensity of extreme heat,” Climate Council chief executive Martin Rice wrote. “The January heat record showed the government needed to curb Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions which have increased during each of the past four years.”