Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Record hot summer for southern Australia and New Zealand

It has been a record-breaking summer for many parts of Australia, but especially for the state of Victoria - as chronicled by Deejay Rebel on Facebook.

It has been been the seond-hottest February in New Zealand as a whole and - I have not imagined it - the hottest recorded February for the Wellington region. I have known nothing like it in the 30 years I have lived here.

Victoria’s north west set to break heatwave records for March
7 March, 2016
VICTORIA will continue to swelter through an extended summer this week with extreme heatwave records set to be broken in the state’s northwest.
A scorching 42.1C was recorded at Mildura Airport yesterday and Bendigo Airport reached 38.8C, making it the hottest ever March day for both places.
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Dean Stewart said the trend of high temperatures over consecutive days would continue, with Victoria’s north and west expected to hover around 40C through to the weekend.
We’ve had a couple records broken already for north western Victoria but we can expect to see more this week,” Mr Stewart said.
He added although humidity and thunderstorms would begin to affect most of Victoria by the end of the week, temperatures would remain above 40C in the state’s north today and tomorrow before dropping down into the high 30s.

Melbourne won’t be as severely stricken by the hot spell due to mild southerly winds, but temperatures will remain in the low 30s into the weekend
But despite Melburnians feeling a little more hot and bothered than expected for this time of year, Mr Stewart said the unseasonal heat was nothing compared to what we sweated through in 2013.

In March 2013 [metropolitan] Melbourne had a run of nine days at about 30 degrees and five of those days were above 35,” he said.

Melbourne will reach a top of 35C tomorrow and 32C on Wednesday.

Second hottest February on record sparks fresh concerns over climate change

Crowds enjoying the hot weather at Scorching Bay in Wellington in February.
Crowds enjoying the hot weather at Scorching Bay in Wellington in February.
2 March, 2016

A scorching end to the summer has lead to New Zealand's second warmest February on record, preliminary data from Niwa shows. 
The country's mean temperature for the month was 19.6 degrees Celsius, second only to 1998, said Niwa forecaster Chris Brandolino.
For Wellington it was the warmest February on record, also with a mean temperature of 19.6C, which is 2.4C above average for the capital.
But while the weather was great for those enjoying our pools and beaches, it was concerning to climate scientists.
"If global warming and climate change just meant nicer summer days around Oriental Bay - wouldn't that be nice," said Professor James Renwick of Victoria University.
Warmer months meant two things, sea levels would rise and rainfall patterns would change, he said.
"If we dry up the planet the frozen things start to melt... and sea levels are definitely going to go up this century."
While temperature rises in cooler areas of the North Island, such as Wellington, Masterton and Paraparaumu might appear "quite pleasant" - the consequences would cost us.
"Water scarcity will become more and more of a problem.
"Those sorts of things that have an effect on agriculture and drinking water are a big concern."
Renwick knew February was tracking to be hottest, but said he was surprised at how large the anomaly was. 
"One degree up or down is quite a big deal, but 2.4C is really large."
The higher-than-average temperatures were expected to continue across New Zealand, Brandolino said.
Niwa's seasonal climate outlook for autumn states temperatures are 55 per cent likely to be above average in all regions of the North Island.
Rainfall, soil moisture and river flows are all predicted to be near average or below average across the island, including in Wellington, Wairarapa, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay.
It was important to remember higher-than-average temperatures were relative to each season, Brandolino said.
Historically the mean autumn temperature for Wellington is 13.7C, while the average for summer is 15.7C.
Temperatures are considered above average if they are half a degree higher than normal. 
Wellington's record-breaking February temperature was taken at Kelburn, where records have been kept since 1927.
The New Zealand-wide temperature is calculated based on Niwa's seven station series, which has tracked temperatures in Wellington, Nelson, Dunedin, Auckland, Masterton, Hokitika and Lincoln since 1908.
The series shows the country's average annual temperature has increased by about 1C over the past 100 years.

Wellington's long hot summer: February the warmest month on record

A man sunbathes on top of a bus shelter in Seatoun, Wellington, while waiting for his bus.
A man sunbathes on top of a bus shelter in Seatoun, Wellington, while waiting for his bus.
29 February, 2016

Wellington looks set to clock up its hottest month since records began in 1927.
On the last day of February, with just hours left to be counted, Wellington's mean temperature for the month was at 19.6 degrees Celsius, just ahead of the 19.3C recorded in 1998.
"Today's weather still has to pass through the Niwa data gates, but even if today was a little bit on the cooler side it probably won't be enough to change the ranking," National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research forecaster Chris Brandolino said.
Karaka Bay is covered in a large amount of small blob-like creatures, believed to be salp.
Karaka Bay is covered in a large amount of small blob-like creatures, believed to be salp.

"And here's the juicy bit: that would also be the warmest temperature for any month, going back to when records started in Kelburn in 1927."
Brandolino said the record-breaking month came down to more sunshine hours, high-pressure systems, and northeasterly winds.
But while February was a record-breaker, the summer in total has not set any highs, though it has been hotter and drier than usual.
"The expectation is that as we go into the future, over the coming years and especially decades, we will find more hot days per year, days over 25C and a shift in extreme rainfall patterns," Brandolino said.
Not only that, but there is now evidence Wellington has become less windy over the past 40 years.
Since 1975, the average number of days in Wellington on which it has been blowing a gale has trended down, a report published by Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry for the Environment has found.
"There is statistical evidence that the number of days where wind exceeds gale force [approximately 60kmh] is decreasing in Wellington over the period from 1975 to 2014," SNZ analyst Dan Elder said.
The average number of days a year on which the wind blows harder than gale force in Wellington is 201, but the trend has been downward from 253 in 1975 to 176 in 2013.
"Time will tell if decreases in the number of damaging wind events are part of a cycle, or whether climate change will increase the intensity and frequency of damaging wind," the report said.
The capital remains the windy city, however, with Auckland experiencing only 55 gale-force days a year.


Wellingtonians out swimming in the hot weather have noticed a gelatinous growth in the local waters.
Sue Barnett has been swimming at Karaka Bay for 32 years, and said she had never seen anything like it.
"They are horrible little jelly-like creatures about half the size of a fingernail ... when you stand on them you can feel them squelching under you," she said.
Some have called them jellyfish, others fear sea lice, but Niwa emeritus scientist Dennis Gordon said they were in fact salp: a blobby colony of animals distantly related to fish.
"It looks like sago, but it's non-stingy ... completely harmless," he said.
The globular creatures had been in force around Miramar and Eastbourne, and also in Makara, Oriental Bay and Karaka Bay.
"It's quite transparent and it feeds on plant plankton. They bloom and get in extraordinary numbers and wash up on beaches."
Larger ones did tend to happen when the seas were warmer, but Gordon said there had been no sign of the really huge ones that came through during a La Nina.

No comments:

Post a Comment