"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

More on Australia's climate

For reasons best known by my computer the colour graph did not print
but the blue represents temperatures of -10 while the red tones
represent +10 temperatures
and white represents normal.

For those who track their local temperatures using the Celsius scale, 40 degrees is a daunting number. In early February 2009, residents of southeastern Australia were cringing at their weather forecasts, as predictions of temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) meant that a blistering heat wave was continuing.

This map of Australia shows how the land surface temperature from January 25 to February 1 compared to the average mid-summer temperatures the continent experienced between 2000-2008. Places where temperatures were warmer than average are red, places experiencing near-normal temperatures are white, and places where temperatures were cooler than average are blue. The data were collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. While southern Australia was scorching, a similarly large area of northern and central Australia was several degrees cooler than it was in the previous nine years. The cool anomaly across that region is probably linked to the above-average rainfall the area has received during this year’s wet season.

Land surface temperature is how hot the surface of the Earth would feel to the touch in a particular location. From a satellite’s point of view, the “surface” is whatever it sees when it looks through the atmosphere to the ground. That could be the sand on a beach, the grass on a lawn, the roof of a building, or a paved road. Thus, daytime land surface temperature is often much higher than the air temperature that is included in the daily weather report—a fact that anyone who has walked barefoot across a parking lot on a summer afternoon could verify.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) called this heat wave “exceptional,” not only for the high temperatures but for their duration. One-day records were broken in multiple cities, with temperatures in the mid-40s. In Kyancutta, South Australia, (this is about 15 miles from Wudinna where Vicki and Rex live) the temperature reached 48.2 degrees Celsius (118.8 degrees Fahrenheit). Many places also set records for the number of consecutive days with record-breaking heat.

Nighttime temperatures broke records, too. In their special statement on the heat wave, the BOM wrote, “On the morning of 29 January, an exceptional event also occurred in the northern suburbs of Adelaide around 3 a.m., when strong north-westerly winds mixed hot air aloft to the surface. At RAAF Edinburgh [a regional airport], the temperature rose to 41.7°C at 3:04 a.m. Such an event appears to be without known precedent in southern Australia.”


kenju said...

It seems that there are odd weather patterns in many parts of the world lately, Peter.

karisma said...

Would you believe after suffering 40+ heats all week we are now cold here? I am wearing a jumper. Its crazy!

Puss-in-Boots said...

It has been cooler up here, but it makes for easier sleeping at night. It's more humid than anything but with the higher than average rainfall, that's to be expected. Wish we could send some of the flood water down to Victoria.

Dave said...

I've been in 121 degree heat ONCE... felt like my sneakers were melting to the asphalt. And don't give me this "but it's a dry heat" crap.. *LOL*

Hope things cool off for you all Peter!

linda may said...

Are you sure that someone hasn't turned that weather map upside down this week. I have had a jumper on all day today, it was 13c at 4.00 this afternoon here. Supposedly our hottest month of the year down here. Next week it is supposed to get back to the mid 30's.
The fires are terrible aren't they Peter. Canberra is lucky this time around, not so 5 years ago.I was in Junee when the fires were on there 4 years ago, that was scary but nothing like Victoria's.

Jamie Dawn said...

Exceptional heat waves cause so much trouble. The vegetation is dry and ripe for fires, and if you add in the wind, it is devastating. Your country has really suffered.

Pamela said...

It would be such an interesting phenomenon if so many hadn't died.

Is it true that it may be arson?

Big Dave T said...

My father was recently asking me how close you were to the wildfires there. I said I didn't think too close. Those are incredible pictures you put up.

As much as I hate cold spells here in Michigan, heat waves are worse because you can't dress for them the way you can dress for the cold.

Cliff said...

I hope this will all change for you very soon. It would have to be change for the better wouldn't it?

Walker said...

The weather is going insane and those of us who have spent the last half century watching it first hand understand better what the changes are.
Soon we have to figure out how to reverxe them before we all get freeze dried