Historic heat wave brings Australia its hottest average temperature on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:27 PM GMT on January 08, 2013

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It's been a summer like no other in the history of Australia, where a sprawling heat wave of historical proportions is entering its second week. Monday, January 7, was the hottest day in Australian history, averaged over the entire country, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The high temperature averaged over Australia was 105°F (40.3°C), eclipsing the previous record of 104°F (40.2°C) set on 21 December 1972. Never before in 103 years of record keeping has a heat wave this intense, wide-spread, and long-lasting affected Australia. The nation's average high temperature exceeded 102°F (39°C) for five consecutive days January 2 - 6, 2013--the first time that has happened since record keeping began in 1910. Monday's temperatures extended that string by another day, to six. To put this remarkable streak in perspective, the previous record of four consecutive days with a national average high temperature in excess of 102°F (39°C) has occurred once only (1973), and only two other years have had three such days in a row--1972 and 2002 (thanks go to climate blogger Greg Laden for these stats.) Another brutally hot day is in store for Wednesday, as the high pressure region responsible for the heat wave, centered just south of the coast, will bring clear skies and a northerly flow of air over most of the country. A slight cool down will occur later in the week, as the high weakens and slides to the east of Australia. The western coast of Australia may see cloud cover and rain from Tropical Cyclone Narelle this weekend, but the rest of the country will see very little in the way of cloud cover or rain during the coming week.


Figure 1. Aerial view of fire at Copping/Forcett, Tasmania, at around 4pm on 4 Jan 2013, taken from an airplane leaving Hobart Airport. Image credit: Wikipedia.

As discussed by wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt in his Monday post, Australia's extreme heat helped fuel wild fires in southeastern Tasmania that burned to the ground at least 100 homes last Friday and Saturday. The temperature peaked in the state capital of Hobart at 41.8°C (107.2°F) on Friday, the hottest temperature on record for the city, and tied for the 2nd hottest temperature ever recorded in Tasmania (records go back to 1882). The 2013 Australian heat wave extends a period of unusual warmth for the country. The last four months of 2012 were the hottest such period on record, with an average Australian maximum temperature +1.61°C, just beating the previous record of 1.60°C set in 2002. The current heat wave has not yet set a record for all-time hottest temperature in Australian history, which remains the 50.7°C (123.3°F) reading on 2 January 1960 at Oodnadatta, South Australia.


Figure 2. Departure of high temperature from average (using a base period of 1961 - 1990) for the first six days of 2013. A large area of Australia has had high temperatures more than 6°C (11°F) higher than average. Image credit: Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting RitaEvac:
Ceilings have dropped tremendously and hazy like conditions and somewhat darker out along the coast/Galveston Bay, as if warm front has moved in or something

I don't think it is there yet, but looks like it should be there pretty soon!

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
FWIW, NOAA just released its 2012 State of the Climate report, which contains this map:

hot

Discuss amongst yourselves.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13275
I've already got nearly an inch! Not a bad start to things.

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Quoting hydrus:
In a shellnut, it would mean that the Arctic air levee has broken,and the frigid weather cometh.
Oh God.. the Army Corps of Engineers has built an Artic Air Levee Too?!?!?
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I'm wondering if wunderground could add something where you can look back at all your comments for the last month.Even if it were removed.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15710
Ceilings have dropped tremendously and hazy like conditions and somewhat darker out along the coast/Galveston Bay, as if warm front has moved in or something
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9625
Quoting bappit:

That is an interesting post. Here is the link. Scroll down to the Climate section.

Caused [according to the Buffalo NWS] by the quasi-biennial oscillation which occurs in the tropics.

"The quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) is a quasi-periodic oscillation of the equatorial zonal wind between easterlies and westerlies in the tropical stratosphere with a mean period of 28 to 29 months." (Wikipedia)


I read that when Chuck posted it..
I really thought that was an ex-well discussed Climate dissertation..
One of the best explanations that I've seen in a NWS product since..Well I can't remember when.. :)

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Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9625
Quoting hydrus:
Oh.Seems temps could get into the 20's for highs if that were to come true.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15710
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33365
Quoting washingtonian115:
As we've learned in the Atlantic many times these long term models are never to be trusted with these types of storms.Remember when Issac was suppose to make a visit to NYC the first few runs.

Hydrus I see nothing.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19537
Saturday, my little warm snap ends.

Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2866
160. VR46L
Quoting nymore:
UK MET forecasts no global temperature increases for the next 5 years



Seems ripe for a blog from Jeff


Funny I heard about that last night ...was going to post it here but then saw how it went down when you posted the links, really seemed to upset folk on the CC blog ..Cant think why .. lets hope their model projection is correct . Funny on the bbc article it says

Scrutiny of Met Office forecasts and climate science generally is set to increase in the build-up to the publication of the next assessment by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in September.

Its almost like people want it to be wrong LOL
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33365
Quoting LargoFl:
Rita be careful, remember nws keeps saying the worst comes tonight and all day tomorrow..GFS has it thru 48 hours


I can't see it right now, but the ULL is well west of us, so it should ramp up you would think
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9625
Quoting yoboi:
does anyone have a link that shows how much money al gore is reinvesting into green energy after his sale of tv station to the big oil company.....been looking finding nothing....


Al Gore has already done more than anyone else on the planet to raise awareness of the dangers of global warming, and has mostly received vilification and hatred for his pains.

It's a pathetic indictment of the irrationality of human nature that he now needs bodyguards. And that's a pretty pathetic post (yours, that is).
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2426
Texans put your cars in the garage or under cover....
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33365
gee tomorrow is going to be a watchful day for tornados etc....
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Quoting bappit:
I don't understand why. When there is a cold snap in someplace like China, no one talks about the corresponding mild winter weather that almost certainly occurs in some northerly clime. I am deeply disappointed by this obvious bias.


Get use to it. In early December Dr Masters posted a blog about the contigual United States and that it was one of the warmest on record. Funny that he completely ignored that Alaska (which in size is 1/3 of the contigual U.S.) was significantly below normal.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33365
Quoting FunnelVortex:
GFS; 276 HRS; Huge-

As we've learned in the Atlantic many times these long term models are never to be trusted with these types of storms.Remember when Issac was suppose to make a visit to NYC the first few runs.

Hydrus I see nothing.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15710
151. hydrus
6:50 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
Quoting washingtonian115:
After the models seemed to go with a warm trend all through January they appear to be on the bandwagon again with cold air and a negative NOA in place.



Nea the ;-) was nothing but a friendly shout out.It wasn't meant to scare you away.
Here is another shellnut..
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150. LargoFl
6:50 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
Quoting RitaEvac:
Maybe jumping the gun but the worst may be behind us
Rita be careful, remember nws keeps saying the worst comes tonight and all day tomorrow..GFS has it thru 48 hours
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33365
149. LargoFl
6:49 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORT WORTH TX
1225 PM CST TUE JAN 8 2013

TXZ147-161-162-175-081900-
FREESTONE TX-LEON TX-LIMESTONE TX-ROBERTSON TX-
1225 PM CST TUE JAN 8 2013

...SIGNIFICANT WEATHER ADVISORY FOR...
SOUTH CENTRAL FREESTONE COUNTY
SOUTHEASTERN LIMESTONE COUNTY
WESTERN LEON COUNTY
NORTHEASTERN ROBERTSON COUNTY

AT 1224 PM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
STRONG THUNDERSTORM 25 MILES SOUTHEAST OF GROESBECK OR NEAR
MARQUEZ...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 40 MPH.

CITIES IN THE PATH OF THIS STORM INCLUDE MARQUEZ...JEWETT AND
BUFFALO.

HAIL UP TO THE SIZE OF PENNIES IS POSSIBLE WITH THIS STORM.

LAT...LON 3158 9635 3150 9593 3105 9626 3119 9649
TIME...MOT...LOC 1824Z 217DEG 34KT 3123 9629

$$
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148. RitaEvac
6:48 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
Maybe jumping the gun but the worst may be behind us
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147. RitaEvac
6:47 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
Bulk of activity is offshore. Houston you're in the clear....or will things change rapidly for the worst...

Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9625
146. LargoFl
6:47 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
Quoting yoboi:
does anyone have a link that shows how much money al gore is reinvesting into green energy after his sale of tv station to the big oil company.....been looking finding nothing....
ask lush bimbaugh
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145. FunnelVortex
6:46 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
GFS; 276 HRS; Huge-ass 'cane hitting Australia.


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144. LargoFl
6:46 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
GFS at 48 hours..................
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142. LargoFl
6:44 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33365
141. yoboi
6:44 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
does anyone have a link that shows how much money al gore is reinvesting into green energy after his sale of tv station to the big oil company.....been looking finding nothing....
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 6 Comments: 1989
140. ncstorm
6:43 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
from the Almanac-Southeast Conditions

January 2013
8th-11th. Chilly rains.
12th-15th. Clearing skies.
16th-19th. Showers for lower Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia into Florida.
20th-23rd. Snow for Tennessee and western North Carolina, then clearing; rain across Southeast and Gulf Coast.
24th-27th. Dry and unseasonably cold; frosts into Florida.
28th-31st. Showers, then fair.

February 2013
1st-3rd. Fair skies.
4th-7th. Cold rains for Gulf States, then clearing, with frosts down to Florida.
8th-11th. Showery, thundery conditions.
12th-15th. Showery rains over all the Southeast. Coastal areas get increasingly strong and gusty winds. Some snow for the mountains of western North Carolina.
16th-19th. Showery from the Gulf Coast north to the Carolinas.
20th-23rd. Blustery.
24th-28th. Rain Mississippi, Alabama north and east to the Carolinas, then turning fair.

March 2013
1st-3rd. Pleasant.
4th-7th. Scattered showers.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13457
139. LargoFl
6:43 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
Quoting bohonkweatherman:
So far today just a bunch of drizzle. At least the fog finally lifted.
remember its tonight and tomorrow for the heavy stuff..this is just the warm up
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33365
138. washingtonian115
6:42 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
Quoting ncstorm:


its coming with a vengeance..
After the models seemed to go with a warm trend all through January they appear to be on the bandwagon again with cold air and a negative NOA in place.



Nea the ;-) was nothing but a friendly shout out.It wasn't meant to scare you away.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15710
137. yonzabam
6:41 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
Quoting nymore:
UK MET forecasts no global temperature increases for the next 5 years



Seems ripe for a blog from Jeff


UK Met Office throws cat among the pigeons. Global warming has stalled. Future forecasts scaled down. AGW deniers apoplectic with rapture (well, on The Telegraph comments, anyway).

Link
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136. ncstorm
6:39 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
Quoting washingtonian115:
Well at least that gives me hope that winter is just on vacation and will be coming back.


its coming with a vengeance..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13457
135. bohonkweatherman
6:38 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
So far today just a bunch of drizzle. At least the fog finally lifted.
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134. hydrus
6:37 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
The Euro is coming into agreement with the GFS..
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133. washingtonian115
6:34 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
Quoting hydrus:
In a shellnut, it would mean that the Arctic air levee has broken,and the frigid weather cometh.
Well at least that gives me hope that winter is just on vacation and will be coming back.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15710
132. nymore
6:32 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
UK MET forecasts no global temperature increases for the next 5 years



Seems ripe for a blog from Jeff
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2210
131. hydrus
6:31 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
Quoting washingtonian115:
So what does that mean hydrus?.Now talk in baby steps because I'm model challenged.
In a shellnut, it would mean that the Arctic air levee has broken,and the frigid weather cometh.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19537
130. washingtonian115
6:28 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
;-).
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15710
129. hydrus
6:28 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19537
127. Neapolitan
6:26 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
Quoting pcola57:


To be fair Nea..
2 of those posts are from 2011..1 from 2010 and 1 from 2012..
I'm Not taking sides on the issue..
(may be more current posts are archived??..actually dunno myself)
Just pointing the relevancy out..
They were from years ago and the 2012 one was from last January..
To be fair pcola57, neither of the posters to whom I was responding mentioned a time frame; they simply stated, "Coldest winter in decades isn't extreme enough to get mentioned on this blog..." and "...cold not even talked about by know one". Is there something in those posts that implies they wanted only current data? If so, I missed it--though if they had specified, I'm sure a quick check o' the Google can prove such a complaint just as baseless.

When someone claims--as has often been done here--that "Dr. Masters never talks about cold weather," I believe it perfectly relevant to go back to either of the last two winters to prove that complaint false. I think most reasonable people would agree.

Wait: the February before last was "years ago"? ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13275
126. washingtonian115
6:23 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
Quoting hydrus:
Here it is, but does it happen.
So what does that mean hydrus?.Now talk in baby steps because I'm model challenged.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15710
125. bappit
6:19 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
Quoting ncstorm:


that map only applies to heat extremes..bring on the COLD!!

also, I mentioned in the previous blog but wunderbot got me but Chuck posted a good discussion from one of the NWS about the stratospheric warming and I mentioned that JB might be right when he predicted it weeks ago..I wonder if bloggers who called him out will give him due when he is right?

That is an interesting post. Here is the link. Scroll down to the Climate section.

Caused [according to the Buffalo NWS] by the quasi-biennial oscillation which occurs in the tropics.

"The quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) is a quasi-periodic oscillation of the equatorial zonal wind between easterlies and westerlies in the tropical stratosphere with a mean period of 28 to 29 months." (Wikipedia)
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123. hydrus
6:18 PM GMT on January 08, 2013
Here it is, but does it happen.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19537

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.