Weather records

I came across the following on the BBC website  "Australia's summer broke 205 records…" It draws from the recent Climate Council report. The BBC article doesn't list them all 205 of them, but does pull out the most impressive – the hottest summer on record for Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra,  and the wettest on record for Perth – a whopping 193 mm.

Let's put 193 mm over 3 months into perspective. Hamilton, NZ, gets (according to 280 mm of rain on average over December to February. A Perth record-breaker would still be called a dry-ish summer back at home. But locally, Perth averages 40 mm over the three months. Also, of that 193 mm, the majority fell in just one day, soon after we arrived here – 112 mm fell on 9 February. That's a pretty wet day anywhere, but it wouldn't be threatning any records back at home.

What I love is the sudden jump in the Bureau of Meteorology's mean February rainfall data. When I wrote my post on 9th February, the mean February rainfall (averaged from 1993 onwards) was 8.5 mm.  It now stands at 13.5 mm.   When you have low values, averages can fluctuate considerably.

There's been another noticable weather failure for Perth this summer – one that is rather disappointing as a physicist. Take a look at the 3pm wind statistics chart, to be found here.  The wind is utterly predictable. At 3pm, it blows from the south west. This is the famous 'Fremantle Doctor'  (Fremantle lying southwest from Perth city centre) – a classic sea breeze produced by the rapid heating of the land generating rising air, pulling in the cooler air from the sea. The doctor brings relief from the otherwise soaring temperatures, and makes summer afternoons tolerable.

Except this year. We have experienced very little of the 'Doctor'. It's been rather disappointing, really. Where has he gone to?  And will he be back next year?

In a country 'defined by heat', as the climate council report states, climate change is a BIG issue.


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