Australian Heatwave? Not So Unusual After All
By Paul Homewood
It is only a few weeks since we were being told how the heatwave in Australia was unprecedented, and proof of global warming. Now the GISS systems are up and running again, we can check just how hot it really was last month down under.
The graphs below plot January mean temperatures for seven sites, which give a comprehensive coverage of the whole country, one for each state, plus Alice Springs in the middle. I have opted, where possible, for rural sites close to the main cities, with long term records, though there are no such ones close to Perth or Darwin. There are some gaps in the data.
In none of the examples is the January temperature a record, or even close to being so, and in most cases higher temperatures were recorded 50 years or more ago.
But don’t take my word for it. NSW was probably the worst affected state, yet, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), it was only the 5th warmest January since 1910, and all the others occurred prior to 1940. In other words, a once in 20 years event.
And what about Tasmania, where there was so much concern about wildfires? Mean temperature for the month was a scorching 15.0C. Apparently it was so average, the BOM did not even bother giving it a ranking!
Meanwhile, despite the record temperature set on the 4th of the month, the average maximum temperature at Hobart was 23.9C. a figure beaten on seven previous occasions, as far back as 1887.
The BOM explain the causes of the heatwave in Tasmania, which lasted just two days, very well.
“The high combined with an approaching cold front on the 3rd and 4th to direct a very hot air flow over Tasmania”.
In other words, weather. But don’t expect the Railway Engineer to tell you this.
I have reproduced the BOM graph below for NSW, which contradicts the statement made by BOM above. According to the graph, the highest January temperature on record was in 1939. Last month was still the 5th highest on record, but all have occurred since 1939. The BOM are therefore incorrect in saying
“warmest January mean temperature since 1939”.