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New data shows “nightmare” heatwave worse than thought

Sydney temperatures soared higher than previously thought during last summer’s heatwave, with some suburbs sweltering in conditions above 50 degrees. Research commissioned by Penrith City Council found several suburbs in Sydney’s west felt the extreme temperatures, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.Temperatures in Berkshire Park reached 52 degrees on January 4, according to heat loggers placed…

Sydney temperatures soared higher than previously thought during last summer’s heatwave, with some suburbs sweltering in conditions above 50 degrees.

Research commissioned by Penrith City Council found several suburbs in Sydney’s west felt the extreme temperatures, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Temperatures in Berkshire Park reached 52 degrees on January 4, according to heat loggers placed around the local government area. That same day, Penrith was officially declared the hottest place on Earth, after the Bureau of Meteorology recorded 48.9 degrees — a distinction now in dispute.

Several other places were hotter than Penrith that day, according to the new data: Agnes Banks hit 51.5, and Badgerys Creek hit 50.1.

New Year’s Eve last year, and February 1 this year, also saw heat above 50 degrees in Berkshire Park and Badgerys Creek.

Western Sydney is especially prone to extreme heat, with more days above 30C than the rest of the city. The heat problem is expected to get worse as development continues in the area and more green spaces are being removed.

Sebastian Pfautsch, a researcher at Western Sydney University specialising in studies of urban heat, has previously called temperatures expected to arise from continuing urban sprawl in Sydney’s west “the Australian nightmare”.

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