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每日跟讀#763: Australia’s bushfires: 2019 like nothing seen before

澳洲野火 嚴重程度前所未見

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

每日跟讀#763: Australia’s bushfires: 2019 like nothing seen before

As the bushfires in Australia this year extend across five million hectares, an area larger than many countries, stories of destruction have become depressingly familiar.

大火不斷延燒,澳洲本季野火所焚毀的面積超過了五百萬公頃,比許多國家的面積都還要大,災情不斷傳出,在在都是慘重的破壞,令人灰心。

So far 24 people and 460 million animals have been killed. In New South Wales (NSW), the worst-affected state, up to 1,365 homes have been destroyed. It is too early for a thorough examination of?the impact on wildlife, including the many threatened species in the fires’ path.

目前已知大火造成了二十四人死亡、四點六億隻動物喪命。新南威爾斯省的災情最為嚴重,已有多達一千三百六十五座房屋被毀。現在仍無法全面調查野生生物所受的影響,包括火舌所席捲的區域中許多瀕危的物種。

Does this qualify as unprecedented? Plenty of experts say yes, but not all politicians and newspaper columnists are convinced. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison acknowledged the fires were severe, but also adopted a familiar line: Australia has always had bushfires. That’s true. But a key question is whether it has always had bushfires like this.

這樣的大火算是前所未見的嗎?許多專家都說是的,但並非所有的政客和報紙專欄作家都這麼認為。澳洲總理史考特‧莫里森承認大火很嚴重,但也採用了一套常見的說詞:澳洲一直都有森林火災。確實如此。但一個關鍵問題是,澳洲是否一直都有像這樣的森林大火。

David Bowman, director of The Fire Centre at the University of Tasmania, says the most striking thing about this fire season is the continent-scale nature of the threat. “The geographic range, and the fact it is occurring all at once, is what makes it unprecedented,” Bowman says. “There has never been a situation where there has been a fire from southern Queensland, right through NSW, into Gippsland, in the Adelaide Hills, near Perth and on the east coast of Tasmania.”

塔斯馬尼亞大學消防研究中心主任大衛‧鮑曼表示,這次火災季節最突出的是,災情的威脅橫跨整個大陸。鮑曼說:「由於它所影響的地理範圍,且是同時發生,因此這火災是空前的」。「從未發生過像這樣的情況,大火從昆士蘭省南部燒到新南威爾斯省,吉普斯蘭、阿德雷德山、珀斯附近都燒起來,還有塔斯馬尼亞島東岸。」

He says one of the less explored issues, though it has begun to receive some attention in recent days, is the economic impact of having prolonged fires that affect so many Australians. “You can’t properly run an economy when you get a third to a half of the population affected by smoke, and the media completely focused on fires,” he says.

他說,有個問題雖近來已有人開始關注,但研究較少,那就是長時間的大火對許多澳洲人造成了經濟上的影響。他說:「當有三分之一到一半的人口受到煙塵影響,而媒體完全聚焦於火災時,就無法正常經營經濟」。

There are also fears critically endangered Wollemi pines have burned in the fires tearing through the Blue Mountains. They were thought extinct until discovered by bushwalkers in 1994. Their whereabouts had been kept secret from the public to keep them safe.

也有人擔心,瀕臨滅絕的瓦勒邁杉已在肆虐藍山的大火中被燒毀。一九九四年登山客在藍山發現了瓦勒邁杉,在此之前該樹種被認為已經滅絕。為保護瓦勒邁杉,其發現地點一直秘而不宣。

Authorities say the smoke that has smothered Sydney, Canberra and other centers and towns in recent weeks has produced pollution up to 11 times greater than the hazardous level for human health. In Sydney, the air pollution has been hazardous for at least 30 days.

澳洲政府表示,最近幾週以來,煙塵壟罩了雪梨、坎培拉與其他城鎮,所造成污染之巨,是足以造成人類健康危害程度的十一倍。在雪梨,空氣污染達有害程度的情況,已有至少三十天。

The explanation should be familiar by now: greenhouse gas emissions do not cause bushfires, but they play a demonstrated role in increasing average and particularly extreme temperatures and contribute to the extraordinarily dry conditions afflicting eastern Australia.

Scientists cite the near absolute lack of moisture in the landscape as a key reason the fires have been so severe.

Multiple studies, here and overseas, have found the climate crisis is lengthening the fire season.

以下的解釋如今應不陌生了:溫室氣體的排放不會引起森林大火,但它對於提高平均溫度,尤其是提高極端溫度,有舉足輕重的作用,助長了澳洲東部極端乾燥的成災條件。

科學家指出,地景中幾乎完全沒有水分,是火災如此嚴重的關鍵原因。

澳洲國內外所進行的多項研究已發現,氣候危機正在拉長火災季節。

Source article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2020/01/07/2003728808

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