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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Here it is, but does it happen.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21416
Some new TCR are out...interesting thing... Carlotta upped to 110 mph from 105 mph.

NADINE... SANDY...and GORGON are the left important ones
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121. VR46L
Quoting bappit:

Oh my God, look there! Alaska is above normal.

Seems I saw a map showing this pattern posted on here a week or so ago. Hate to chase through all those posts and probably wouldn't find it since the image has certainly been updated by NOAA since then.


Guess who posted it lol... but that was because I was surprised it had not been posted all day .. then I realized folk don't seem to want to see them unless they are showing lots of brown .
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6927
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Mobile, AL on Jan. 17 is forecasting a low of 29 with a mix of rain, snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Link



bwahahahahha thats funny!
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Quoting VR46L:


Funny that aint it ? ;)

Just like you rarely see this Map posted when it look like this....





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?
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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.
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Quoting AussieStorm:
This is for Monday the 14th of January..... 52C-54C in South Australia.



Hey Aussie. Hoping for you all to get some relief from that heat and those fires out there.
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199
FXUS10 KWNH 081736
PMDHMD

MODEL DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION
NWS HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD
1236 PM EST TUE JAN 08 2013

VALID JAN 08/1200 UTC THRU JAN 12/0000 UTC

...SEE NOUS42 KWNO (ADMNFD) FOR THE STATUS OF THE UPPER AIR
INGEST...

12Z NAM/GFS/UKMET/CMC EVALUATION AND PRELIMINARY PREFERENCES

ANY MODEL INITIALIZATION ERRORS DO NOT APPEAR TO BE LARGE ENOUGH
TO SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACT THEIR FORECASTS.


..TROUGH AMPLIFYING ACROSS THE WEST THURSDAY

PREFERENCE: 00Z ECMWF
CONFIDENCE: SLIGHTLY BELOW AVERAGE

THE NAM DOES NOT DIG THE WEST COAST TROUGH AS DEEPLY BEGINNING THU
ACROSS THE WESTERN U.S. BUT OTHERWISE IS WITHIN THE SPREAD OF THE
REMAINING AVAILABLE MODELS ATTM. THE GFS IS MORE AGGRESSIVE WITH
SHORTWAVE ENERGY DIGGING DOWN THE WEST COAST AND IS LITTLE FASTER
TO CLOSE OFF A LOW WHICH RESIDES SOUTH OF THE MODEL CONSENSUS BY
FRI MORNING ACROSS THE SOUTHWEST. THE UKMET LOOKS TOO BROAD WITH
THE UPPER TROUGH ON FRI WHILE THE CMC LIES ON THE FASTER SIDE OF
THE GUIDANCE TO EJECT THE TROUGH EASTWARD. THE SREF/GEFS ARE
SLOWER THAN THE EC MEAN FRI MORNING...WHICH MAY MAKE SENSE GIVEN
THE AMPLIFIED RIDGE OVER THE PACIFIC WHICH WOULD TEND TO CAUSE
MORE ENERGY TO DIG DOWN THE WEST COAST VERSUS EJECT EASTWARD.
HOWEVER...SINCE THE ECMWF LIES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FASTER/SLOWER
SOLUTIONS...IT SEEMS TO BE A GOOD COMPROMISE WITH THESE
DIFFERENCES ACROSS THE WEST.
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6843
The GFS still has the Mid-South getting soaked....Link
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21416
Quoting SteveDa1:
One may notice anomalous heat being mentioned more frequently than cold weather simply due to the fact that, globally in any given year, warm spells in weather are much more common than cold spells...

True, that.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:




Gee, PCola, you are right.

Here I was just assuming those links were from the past couple months or so.... I guess I was way off.

By the way, gorgeous pictures in your blog!! OMG. Had the chance to glimpse over them yesterday before the kids came home from school.....but no way does 5 minutes gazing at those beauties give them justice.

Well done!!!





Thanks so much for the compliment TomballTX..
I thought they were good as well.
So many of my WU friends stopped in for a look..
Thanks all for the suggestions and comments..
I really appreciate them.. :)
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6843
Quoting pcola57:


Well put Pottery..

Thanks.
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When cold air comes south, air has to move north to replace it. A loopy jet stream brings the outbreaks of cold air. I bet that is warm air going north.

The event in Australia is a different animal. The hot air is not moving in from someplace else. The air is heating up right there over Australia. Perhaps the sun is shining more brightly over Aussie than the other bloggers.
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Narelle is an excellent example of how helpful microwave satellite imagery is. With conventional imagery we see this:



Yes, there is a lot of deep convection, but it is difficult to determine what is underneath the CDO.

But with this recent 89 GHz pass we can see Narelle is forming an eyewall, and it has probably already formed in the mid-levels:



A forecast of rapid intensification seems more likely at this time.
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One may notice anomalous heat being mentioned more frequently than cold weather simply due to the fact that, globally in any given year, warm spells in weather are much more common than cold spells...
Member Since: October 17, 2006 Posts: 60 Comments: 1298
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Allegedly...

heheheheh
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Mobile, AL on Jan. 17 is forecasting a low of 29 with a mix of rain, snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:

You are probably correct.
The thing is, a very large majority of people are convinced that what we are seeing is a general trend with Global Temps going up.

So for the majority, the increasing temps are more noteworthy and scary, than the occasional cold-snaps.

I have no doubt we will continue to see variations in weather, of all kinds, for the future. And as some areas become warmer I would expect other areas to become cooler at times under the influence of anomalies in jet-stream flows, changing weather patterns,etc etc.



Well put Pottery..
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6843
Quoting pottery:

By the way, I've been reading this blog quite regularly, since October 2005.


Allegedly...
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Post 98. If the heat continues throughout this week, then to me the possibility of a cold snap increases.
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Quoting stormchaser43:
tryng what? lol.been on here to observe and make observation and that what i notice.heat always gets mentioned and cold does not.start blogging here more and you notice it to.

By the way, I've been reading this blog quite regularly, since October 2005.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Nah, it probably just seems that way since, you know, incredible heat is so much more prevalent these days than incredible cold. When there is cold/snow of note, Dr. Masters seldom fails to mention it:

Oklahoma's coldest morning on record: -31F ; storm leaves 2 feet of snow

Bitter cold in Alaska and Europe

An upside-down winter: coldest in 25 years in U.S.,

Another amazingly snowy winter for the U.S.

Google: it's not just for recipes...



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..
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6843
71 in S FL/WPB and rain all morning and the sun is now out!!:)
Quoting GTcooliebai:
It's already up to 80 degrees here in Central FL. Will be interesting to see if we break any records.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormchaser43:
tryng what? lol.been on here to observe and make observation and that what i notice.heat always gets mentioned and cold does not.start blogging here more and you notice it to.

You are probably correct.
The thing is, a very large majority of people are convinced that what we are seeing is a general trend with Global Temps going up.

So for the majority, the increasing temps are more noteworthy and scary, than the occasional cold-snaps.

I have no doubt we will continue to see variations in weather, of all kinds, for the future. And as some areas become warmer I would expect other areas to become cooler at times under the influence of anomalies in jet-stream flows, changing weather patterns,etc etc.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9731
Quoting VR46L:


Funny that aint it ? ;)

Just like you rarely see this Map posted when it look like this....




Oh my God, look there! Alaska is above normal.

Seems I saw a map showing this pattern posted on here a week or so ago. Hate to chase through all those posts and probably wouldn't find it since the image has certainly been updated by NOAA since then.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VR46L:


Funny that aint it ? ;)

Just like you rarely see this Map posted when it look like this....





That map just came out yesterday. Thank you for posting it. Perhaps you could have just said that is so rare that we get see a map like that anymore and had been more correct in your statement?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
Meanwhile it's -39 C in Baker Lake, Nunavut with a chilly windchill of -55 C (-67 F).

If that isn't cold enough, the temperature is forecast to drop to -43 C (-45.4F) tonight with a windchill below -55 to as low as -60 C (-76 F) for the next couple of days due to brisk NW winds.
Member Since: October 17, 2006 Posts: 60 Comments: 1298
It's already up to 80 degrees here in Central FL. Will be interesting to see if we break any records.
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormchaser43:
tryng what? lol.been on here to observe and make observation and that what i notice.heat always gets mentioned and cold does not.start blogging here more and you notice it to.


Note that if you click on the link Dr. Masters provides to Christopher C. Burt's Monday Blog post the post is titled:

"Record January Warmth in France and Australia while Record Cold in China and India Persists"

Note also that the record cold in China is still dwarfed by the magnitude of the record heat in Australia.

to whit: "Temperatures below -40C (-40F) have been reported in Manchuria and far western Xinjiang province (these temperatures are far from record values for the region where the Chinese national absolute minimum temperature of -52.3C/-62.1F was measured at Mohe in Heilongjiang Province on February 13, 1962)."

Sorry, yes it's very cold in China and India... but it's not nearly as extreme nor as dangerous as what is happening in Australia, and this blog has a history of talking about the most extreme and most dangerous weather events happening in the world.
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Quoting stormchaser43:
haha i notice the bias,,it seems that when extreme heat mentioned but cold not even talked about by know one,,

LOLOL, good to see you'all keep trying.
Persistence is good.

:):))
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Salt Lake City forecast discussion:

PRIMARY SHORT TERM CONCERN IS WITH ONGOING INVERTED
CONDITIONS...LEADING TO VERY COLD TEMPERATURES...PATCHY FOG AND URBAN HAZE.

00Z KSLC RAOB INDICATES THE INVERSION IS 7C IN STRENGTH WITH A BASE AT 830MB. NAM AND GFS BUFKIT FORECAST SOUNDINGS SHOW THE INVERSION HOLDING (ALBEIT WEAKENING) UNTIL A STRONG COLD FRONT PUNCHES THROUGH THE REGION THURSDAY. CONTINUE TO MENTION DAYTIME URBAN HAZE AND NIGHTTIME PATCHY FOG THROUGH WEDNESDAY.

The trapped cold air.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Dug up something interesting:

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9731
Quoting luvtogolf:


Coldest winter in decades isn't extreme enough to get mentioned on this blog. If it was the warmest in decades it would get mentioned.


Got it. You were talking about China.
Here we have

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/weatherhistorian /comment.html?entrynum=114

Published yesterday just before the current blog.
Please have the decency of have a peek, just a peek to the blogs before trying to accuse somebody of partiality.
The cold waves in China and India are well described (but not a single station has beaten or approached its all-time record in China yet).
The cold waves in December in Europe and Central Asia were also described in past blogs.
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Quoting luvtogolf:


Coldest winter in decades isn't extreme enough to get mentioned on this blog. If it was the warmest in decades it would get mentioned.


Funny that aint it ? ;)

Just like you rarely see this Map posted when it look like this....



Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6927
Wide view of China today. MODIS satellite photo. Australia sells coal to China. China burns it and Australia get hotter. How about that.

Member Since: October 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1764
Quoting luvtogolf:


Coldest winter in decades isn't extreme enough to get mentioned on this blog. If it was the warmest in decades it would get mentioned.
Quoting stormchaser43:
haha i notice the bias,,it seems that when extreme heat mentioned but cold not even talked about by know one,,
Nah, it probably just seems that way since, you know, incredible heat is so much more prevalent these days than incredible cold. When there is cold/snow of note, Dr. Masters seldom fails to mention it:

Oklahoma's coldest morning on record: -31F ; storm leaves 2 feet of snow

Bitter cold in Alaska and Europe

An upside-down winter: coldest in 25 years in U.S.,

Another amazingly snowy winter for the U.S.

Google: it's not just for recipes...

Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13555
Quoting luvtogolf:


Coldest winter in decades isn't extreme enough to get mentioned on this blog. If it was the warmest in decades it would get mentioned.


It was mentioned months ago, everybody has read about the first months of 2012 in Australia being influenced by the past Nina. This blog is supposed to speak about the CURRENT situation of this ongoing heat wave.
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See that deep purple in the middle of this acne-red weather report from Down Under? That right there represents 129.2° F or 54 °C — it's a brand-new shade that the Australian bureau of meteorology was forced to add to its heat index because their country is, you know, kind of on fire. "The scale has just been increased today and I would anticipate it is because the forecast coming from the bureau's model is showing temperatures in excess of 50 degrees,"

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9731
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39248
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39248
Hmm... 12F below average and crippling levels of smog that I currently face in Salt Lake City or 120+F heat index values in Australia... I think I prefer the former and my nose prefers the latter.
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Quoting DFWdad:
Thanks Dr. Masters, for continuing to highlight extreme weather in other parts of the world, that we might not hear about otherwise.

In the other hemisphere, the opposite extreme weather in China....
China's Coldest Winter in Decades
Link


Coldest winter in decades isn't extreme enough to get mentioned on this blog. If it was the warmest in decades it would get mentioned.
Member Since: June 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1032
So far pretty lame with scattered activity over TX, long ways to go though.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630

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

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