Australia is having a December heat wave for the ages, with some of the most widespread and intense heat ever observed on the island continent. The nationally averaged high temperature on Wednesday was an astounding 40.9°C (105.6°F), beating the previous daily record of 40.3°C from January 7, 2013. Even more impressive, Thursday topped the Wednesday reading by a full degree Celsius, coming in at 41.9°C (107.4°F).
Thursday’s reading is almost certainly the hottest nationally averaged high not only for Australia but for any continent on Earth at any time of year. All other continents see at least some of their summer heat modulated by the presence of either tropical rainforests or cooler midlatitude/high-latitude regions.
Related » Australia Experiences Hottest Day on Record: Meteorologists » The Daily Beast