Friday, 3 June 2016

The warmest autumn on record and Australia (and possibly NZ)

The start of winter Down-Under

It is the start of winter here. One might be persuaded that's so beecause it feels a little chilly compared with the "lovely" warm weather that everyone has been enjoying.

However, Nature doesn't lie.

I reported just a few weeks ago that we had strawberries in the last weeks of autumn(!). 

Also this photo was taken on the last day of autumn.

Our beautiful magnolia tree is clearly very confused because three days into winter it still has its leaves.

For anyone from the majority that doesn't garden or is otherwise disconnected from nature one would expect it to shed its leaves in late-April or into May.

But early June?!!

I  have been hearing other anecdotes about the strangeness of the weather. (I experienced fork lightning in a thunder storm for the second time in my 59 years (the other time was in Sri Lanka).

I put a lot of store by anecdote and informal research such as what I attempt,

While Australia has reported that it has experienced the hottest autumn on record there has been a big fat NOTHING from NIWA or elsewhere about the amazing autumn we have been experiencing.

If you read the NIWA reports they will be couched in terms that make the most incredible conditons seem normal.

The last item that I could find relating to the extraordinary weather we have been experiencing goes back to this item from Radio NZ on 3 April:

Radio NZ

In its Seasonal Climate Outlook for the next three months, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) said temperatures would not be as cool as usual, and El NiƱo looked like it was on its way out.

Forecaster Chris Brandolino said people in the North Island might be able to make a few more visits to the beach.

Despite the warmer weather, there would still be cold snaps that should help provide some snowfall for skiers, he said

 ***** You would be hardpressed to find anything that points to anything other than a minor variation from the norm ("it's el-Nino")

And yet weeks before that forecaster Chris Bandalino was  talking about things in a much more realistic light in an interview on TV3.

Clearly he was pulled over the coals for being so candid.

Here is my analysis here:


Talk to anyone above a certain age and they will talk about a climate where you could  predict with some realibility how things would be .

The climate I grew up with in Canterbury in the 60's and 70's was not dramatically different from what my father reported from his childhood in the 1920's.

Today my partner, Pam was talking to an 80+ year-old woman walking her dog along the Hutt river. She recalled her memories of Alicetown where we live, when she was growing up. 

She recalls a long, mild summer going from late-November to April (it was not hot like now); June was a windy month; July was a time of heavy frosts and and she recalled playing on the ice in her childhood: August was wet.

The trees lost their leaves in April- May, NOT June!

Apart from the odd storm that came through you could depend on it.

I can attest, as someone who is not quite 60 years old, that no-one under the age of 30 has ever seen "normal" weather, and those under 40 may not remember what it was like


This is where I get my indications of what is happening.

The warm oceans in the Tasman sea are still there although that pattern is starting to change a bit.

In the meantime Cape Palliser at the mouth of Wellington harbour is about to see levels of carbon dioxide of 400 ppm.


Finally let's turn to Australia which does (unlike New Zealand) report on its extraordinary weather although it is in the process of sacking its climate scientists and has insisted  on removing all references to Australia in a UN climate change report.

Tourists might stop coming to look at the Great Barrier Reef which is already one-third dead.

From a friend living in Australia who is in a position to know:

"Not sure whether you heard but all references to the reef were removed by the government in a recent report on climate change, so there’s plenty of ducking for cover going on.

"Oh and my employer is trying to hide the truth about sea level rise implications for coastal communities as well – so much fun!"

Australia had the warmest autumn on record

It's official - Australia has just had the warmest autumn on record (in terms of temps averaged across the nation).

Despite the recent colder nights here and spells of colder than normal conditions in southern WA, it was nowhere near enough to offset the huge areas of the nation which have had constant spells of unseasonal heat. In fact, many areas have repeatedly smashed alltime records during each month of autumn.

Tweet from the BoM:

What a scorcher: autumn hottest on record
Australia has recorded its hottest autumn since records began in 1910, but experts say a more normal winter is on the way.

1 June, 2016

After officially sweltering through the warmest autumn on record, Australians can expect a return to normal chilly weather this winter.

The mean temperature between March and the end of May hit a fresh high of 23.86C, with records set in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and the Northern Territory.

Thermometers hovered 1.86C above average, the biggest climb above an average seasonal temperature since spring 2014.

Some of the hottest temperatures were recorded during the prolonged heatwave in March, with Mardie in Western Australia's north hitting a scorching 47C, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Dr Karl Braganza, the bureau's manager climate monitoring, says a strong El Nino and global warming pushed thermometers to their highest levels for autumn since records began in 1910.

"Everywhere except the southwestern corner of the continent was exceptionally warm," he told AAP on Wednesday.

"What we saw was a prolonged summer period in March and that continued into the start of May."

March notched up its hottest days on record, with daytime temperatures in April hitting new highs before May ended the season with temperature gauges sitting above average.

Sea surface temperatures were also above average for much of autumn, with water temperatures in the Coral Sea (including the Great Barrier Reef) and the Tasman Sea the highest on record for extended periods since late summer 2016.

But with the El Nino weather pattern now over in the Pacific region and the bureau forecasting a normal winter, it's time to start thinking about swapping T-shirts for winter woollies.

"The odds are for average to below average temperatures in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra," Dr Braganza said.

Dr Braganza said there were moderate odds for good rain in inland NSW, most of Queensland, Victoria and South Australia this winter.

Autumn rainfall averages were closer to normal, but varied significantly across the country.

It was also the wettest May since 1983, with four times the average rainfall recorded in the Northern Territory, Cape York, Pilbara, Kimberley and central South Australia.

South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia enjoyed above-average rain while NSW, Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory were drier than normal.

Looking towards spring and summer, cooler and wetter conditions are tipped for the tail end of 2016 as a La Nina weather system develops.


* Hottest autumn day was 47C at Mardie, WA

* Hottest wet season ever recorded in the NT

* Tasmania had its wettest autumn since 1977

* Warmest autumn since 2005 in WA

* SA had its third-warmest autumn nights

* Rainfall in southeast Qld was well below average

* Sea temps were well above average off the NSW coast

* Average minimum temps in Victoria were second-warmest on record.


* NSW: 2.21C above average, hottest temp 43C

* VIC: 1.88C above average, hottest temp 42.1C

* QLD: 2.35C above average, hottest temp 43.9C

* SA: 1.56C above average, hottest temp 43.9C

* WA: 1.35C above average, hottest temp 47C

* TAS: 1.1C above average, hottest temp 32.8C

* NT: 2.21C above average, hottest temp 44.8C.

Source: Bureau of Meteorology

NSW on track for record-breaking autumn weather as smoke blankets Sydney

For the final word

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