Monday 28 January 2019

Making sense of media coverage of a heatwave

This is the most important fact to come out of this - not the high temperatures.

In Richmond,near Nelson a minimum temperature record of 24.3 degrees Celsius has been set.

A new record for MINIMUM temperature set in Nelson

Temperatures reached 33.8 in Richmond, Nelson today, 3 degrees short of the record

The highest recorded temperature in Nelson is 36.3 °C (97 °F), the lowest −6.6 °C (20 °F).

Temperatures have not got even close to the previous record, set in 1973 in Rangiora.

February 7, 1973 was a stinker – our hottest day ever. That day, eight out of 10 of the hottest temperatures experienced in New Zealand were recorded.

According to Niwa, the top 10, all above 39 degrees Celsius, were mainly recorded in Canterbury. The highest was 42.4C in Rangiora. 
The only top temp that wasn't recorded in Canterbury was the second-highest – 42.3C in Jordan, Marlborough.

In my mind it is not these records but the huge increase in average temperatures that is significant.

Until today (27C) the temperatures in Lower Hutt (from my own measurements) have not exceeded 25 deg C; neither have they gone below 20 deg C except on several isolated occasions.

Last night's minimum was 22 degrees Celsius

Yesterday's average maximum is today's minimum temperature.


  1. Hi Robin I've been quite displeased with the media coverage of the consequences of this heatwave here in Sydney. No reporting of the 2500 camels shot outside Adelaide, only the briefest of the wild horse deaths from thirst in the NT. Almost none of basically the complete loss of the young offspring of the existing wildlife. I was awoken by the strangest cries in the pre-dawn hours and learned later it was probably the cries of the bats whose offspring perished in the heat. I finally realised that my dog will not leave the house on the side with direct sun on the concrete. We are going up the coast for holiday in a week or so (to an air conned holiday house, thank heavens) and I will almost certainly need to put booties on her staffy paws if we stop at a conventionally paved rest area. Nobody is doing any education about how warm air holds more water and they are still selling evaporative coolers as portable aircon in the stores. It's just horrible.

    I hope you and Pam and the animals stay safe. I think about you a lot.

  2. Just thought I'd let you know, I used to go to before going to your site, which I just did, and there was a story entitled s/t like: "Australia heatwave gets worse". But after the site finished loading, that article, the only one of any interest, as ALL the others had been posted for days, was gone. I'm pretty sure IBM owns the site now, and they have rendered it useless except for the daily weather report. So thank you for your much-appreciated contribution,it really is providing a unique perspective, and that's what is being systematically destroyed on the inter-webs as much as it has been from every other Corporate-owned news source (that would be ALL of them) (SHOCKING!).


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