Vortex? Blast? It's all cold weather

14 Jul, 2015 06:48 AM
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2
 
Snow this week at Niangala, south-east of Walcha. Photo: Matthew Cawood
Another cold front is looking to bring more snowy and cold weather later this week
Snow this week at Niangala, south-east of Walcha. Photo: Matthew Cawood

THERE have been a lot of phrases thrown around regarding what caused this wintery weather. Plain and simple - it was a cold front, albeit a strong one. This system produced the most widespread snowfall event in Australia since 2007.

The phrase 'Antarctic Vortex' actually refers to the ever-present cyclonic winds that encircle Antarctica. Winds here are very strong - it's not uncommon to have sustained winds in excess of 100 kilometres an hour.

As winds traverse across the cold Southern Ocean, they become fairly uniform over a large region, as well as turning cold and relatively moist. A front can then form in a process known as frontogenesis.


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  • Many strong cold fronts don't end up reaching Australia, they just spin around the Antarctic land mass in a clockwise direction.

    Cold fronts are common throughout the year, with their effects varying based on their strength. They are responsible for other well-known weather events in Australia, such as the eastern 'Southerly Buster'. Counter-intuitively, in the day or two leading up to a cold front, some of the hottest summer days are experienced across the south of the nation.

    Another cold front is looking to bring more snowy and cold weather later this week. The edge of it should reach the south of the nation Tuesday morning. Cool air will pool across the southeast again, and the Alps look to get snow every single day this week except possibly Tuesday. With this system, northern NSW may get yet another dusting around Thursday or Friday.

    Cooler surge for Top End

    After an unusually hot start to the dry season across the Top End, a strong southeasterly surge is finally cooling things down.

    In Darwin, daytime temperatures during June were more than one degree above the average, the third warmest on record, while nights were around a degree above average.

    July has started off much the same, with daytime temperature also running around a degree above average.

    However, a strong and gusty southeasterly surge pushed across the Top End Monday morning, causing a significant drop in temperature and much lower humidity.

    After Sunday almost reached 33.6 degrees, Monday struggled to reach 29 degrees. Darwin has not seen a day so hot followed by a day so cool since January 2006, and not at all in more than 70 years of records in July.

    Darwin can look forward to its coolest run of days since January, averaging between 28 and 29 degrees.

    Mornings will also become chilly, with the city expected to dip to 14 degrees on Wednesday, the coolest since last August.

    Despite the cooler temperatures, lower humidity and gusty winds will provide ideal conditions for fires.

    A fire ban is currently in force for the Darwin, Batchelor and Adelaide River Emergency Response Areas.

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    READER COMMENTS

    Invey
    14/07/2015 7:16:18 AM

    How about Global cooling!
    nico
    18/07/2015 6:49:26 AM

    Invey, read the article, which will explain to you about cold fronts. A cold front in southern Australia is not global. For a look at global temperatures, see:http://www.climatechange.envi ronment.nsw.gov.au/About-climate- change-in-NSW/Evidence-of-climate -change/Observed-global-climate-c hange

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