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Severe to extreme heatwave to continue in eastern Australia
Already hot conditions in the east of the continent are expected to get hotter as the week progresses, covering much of NSW, the southern half of QLD and adjoining parts of SA and the NT. A large area of high temperatures, both by day and by night, has been steadily moving east across the southern half of the continent since the middle of last week. It produced some record high minimum temperatures around Melbourne on Sunday, with Laverton equalling its highest minimum on record, 28.9°, in nearly 75 years. Moorabbin and Essendon weather stations, with nearly half-century histories, broke their all-time records by around one degree.
The worst days in the east this week will be Friday and Saturday when extreme conditions are expected in a broad band along the NSW/QLD border. Much of northern NSW and the southern third of QLD are expecting severe heat between Wednesday and Sunday. Maximum temperatures in the low to mid 40s will be commonplace in these areas, pushing as high as the high 40s in parts of the inland. Even coastal areas will be very hot where NW winds overcome seabreezes, particularly on Friday, with the added discomfort of high humidity and uncommonly warm nights. Sydney's western suburbs can expect temperatures over 40° on Wednesday and Friday, with seabreezes keeping the east of the city cooler provided they win the battle against strong NW winds.
There will be a short-lived reprieve in far eastern NSW on Thursday as a shallow cool change moves up the coast, but Friday looks like being the hottest day across a broad area of NSW and southern QLD, with fairly strong NW winds added to the heat bringing added fire danger. The BoM Heatwave Service maps* show the movement of the heatwave while this video from the BoM* explains the heatwave in more detail as well as the conditions leading up to it.
Heatwaves are one of the greatest weather killers, and they act silently. State health bodies are pleading with people to be aware of the signs of heat stress, and to know how to avoid it and what to do if it strikes. NSW Health has produced this essential collection of information pages.
Study gives details of the late December floods in Central Australia: The BoM has issued a Special Climate Statement (SCS) which covers both the major rain/flooding event that stretched from the WA Kimberley through the Centre to much of SA in late December. The tropical air brought south by the slow-moving system also gave exceptional, almost unprecedented levels of precipitable water and humidity to SE Australia, more characteristic of Darwin at
the peak of the wet season than of southern Australia. The southeast saw record heat, especially at nights, and flash flooding in SA and VIC, especially around Melbourne. The SCS - Humidity, heavy
rain and heat in central and southern Australia - is here.
Australian monsoon to ease: The BoM's Weekly Tropical Climate Note describes the shift of monsoonal activity in northern Australia from the NT to the Gulf of Carpentaria and Far North Queensland due to the development of two tropical lows in the region. These, and the monsoon, are expected to weaken during the next week. The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral and is expected to stay this way through summer.
Heavy rain and floods in Thailand's dry season: The Weekly Tropical Climate Note also gives interesting detail and an analysis of the recent heavy rain and flooding event in Thailand. The period from December to February in Thailand typically sees rainfall of around 60mm per month, but up to 600mm has fallen in places during the past week. Nearly one million people have been affected, there has been widespread dislocation and multiple fatalities. The Note gives a background on why it happened.
OK, what does carbon dioxide look like?: We know it's there, but how does it move and change globally through the seasons? Where are the areas of greatest concentration? Using observations from NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) satellite, a new NASA supercomputer project has created a sophisticated 3-D Earth system model. In the video with this article from NASA, you can see CO2 through the full depth of the atmosphere around the globe through a year reduced to 78 seconds. Who is emitting it, where does it go, how does it diffuse, how much is Australia affected?