Friday, 17 January 2014

Keep calm and put up with the weather

While parts of Australia swelter and burn I am living with cool wet weather.

The humidity here is in the range of 80% and upward to 98% and yes even 100%. It is drizzly rain with squally patches. Cool? Yes, Darwin was the coldest capital city in the country the other day as the maximum reached only 26 degrees C. Adelaide, Melbourne, and Perth have been really hot lately, over 40 degrees. One day this week Adelaide was the hottest city on Earth. Not necessarily the hottest place on Earth, but the hottest city where weather is recorded.

Perhaps you have heard of the problems at the tennis, the Australian Open, in Melbourne. The players are the focus of attention, but the officials and spectators have been dropping like flies from heat exhaustion. They are unable to move about and catch any cool air. The temperatures have been over 40 degrees and the air is still. Only one court has a cover and it has not been used. I feel that there should have been intervention earlier, but the management has to placate people who have tight schedules and others who have travelled long distances to watch the games. I do not know all the available information.

Infrared image courtesy of the Japan Meteorological Agency. Blue Marble surface image courtesy of NASA.
If you look at this weather map you can see what is happening. The cloud at the top is the monsoon, over northern Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia. The humid air from the monsoon is pushing hot dry air south over the land. This land is already hot and dry so the air gets hotter and drier until it is fiery scorching horrible. That air is pushed over the big cities in the south. The extreme heat causes lightning. This lightning is not bringing rain, but it does strike trees and start bushfires. The bushfires make life worse for wildlife, farms, and people. The bushfire situation is dreadful.

Because it is so hot people are relying on electrical appliances and there are now problems with that supply too. Phone and internet services are overloaded. The heat also causes other structural problems, such as buckling of train tracks and malfunctions in equipment.

You can see from the cloud photo that the rain is heading southwards and the hot weather will ease, especially in Adelaide today. You can also see that it will rain in Alice Springs today, which is almost in the centre of the land mass.

Our weather maps are a composite of data and maps from several sources. If you like these things, here is a link which explains it.

Here is a link to Tania's blog from Port Augusta in South Australia. She has a photo of her weather station screen. Tania has an interesting lifestyle and writes well.

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