Temperatures off the charts

08 Jan, 2013 11:24 AM
Deep purple ... the Bureau of Meteorology's interactive weather forecasting chart has added new colours. Photo: Bureau of Meteorology
Deep purple ... the Bureau of Meteorology's interactive weather forecasting chart has added new colours. Photo: Bureau of Meteorology

Australia's "dome of heat" has become so intense that the temperatures are rising off the charts – literally.

The Bureau of Meteorology's interactive weather forecasting chart has added new colours – deep purple and pink – to extend its previous temperature range that had been capped at 50 degrees.

The range now extends to 54 degrees – well above the all-time record temperature of 50.7 degrees reached on January 2, 1960 at Oodnadatta Airport in South Australia – and, perhaps worringly, the forecast outlook is starting to deploy the new colours.

"The scale has just been increased today and I would anticipate it is because the forecast coming from the bureau's model is showing temperatures in excess of 50 degrees," David Jones, head of the bureau's climate monitoring and prediction unit, said.

While recent days have seen Australian temperature maps displaying maximums ranging from 40 degrees to 48 degrees - depicted in the colour scheme as burnt orange to black – both Sunday and Monday are now showing regions likely to hit 50 degrees or more, coloured purple.

Clicking on the prediction for 5pm AEDT next Monday and a Tasmania-sized deep purple opens up over South Australia – implying 50 degrees or above.

"The air mass over the inland is still heating up - it hasn't peaked," Dr Jones said.

Australia's first six days of 2013 were all among the hottest 20 days on record in terms of average maximums, with January 7 and today likely to add to the list of peaks.

And the country has set a new national average maximum of 40.33 degrees on Monday, beating the previous record - set on December 21, 1976 - by a "sizeable margin" of 0.16 degrees, Dr Jones said, adding that the figures are preliminary.

"Today is actually shaping up to be hotter - and it could be a record by a similar margin," he said.

The scorching temperatures could last into the weekend, Dr Jones said, potentially breaking the country's all-time high of 50.7 degrees.

"The heat over central Australia is not going to go anywhere," he said, noting that the northern monsoon and southern cold fronts have all been weak lately.

"We know the air mass is hot enough to challenge the Oodnadatta record."

Date: Newest first | Oldest first


Ted O'Brien.
10/01/2013 1:39:01 AM

Memory tels me of a January in the '50s or 60s when the windmill didn't turn for a fortnight. The temperature day after day was up to several degrees above the old 100. That is 38 now. We live in sight of the Melbourne/Brisbane air route, where jet trails normally travel from west to east, sometimes quickly. A few months ago I noticed one day that they were moving from east to west, very slowly. Not unheard of, but rare. I haven't paid close attention, but it seems that they are still not moving in their usual manner. High clouds in recent days have been nearly stationary.
Ted O'Brien.
10/01/2013 1:42:41 AM

I also noticed last winter that cold changes which normally come from the direction of southern WA were coming from a much more southerly direction, over Victoria.
Ian Mott
10/01/2013 8:04:35 AM

Yet more Fairfax reporting of pure speculation as if it were verified fact. And two days later we discover that the 50C+ temperatures didn't happen. And what are we left with? A piece of classic bumf that breathlessly informs us that a couple of dullard boofocrats have added a new, unused colour to their little pictures. Well gosh and golly, fancy that.
Zero till
10/01/2013 5:13:58 PM

I'm sick of the BS about the temperature records. I think Sydney city got to 42 but the record is over 47 in the 1930s with Western suburbs over 49.


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