Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Meanwhile, down in Australia

While I've been blogging about the snow and cold of Winter Storm Ion, an entirely different weather story has been taking place in Australia, as LiveScience reported in Australia Roasts Before Announcement of Hottest Year.
While folks in the U.S. Midwest and Northeast are seeing the first major snowstorm of the winter, those who dwell Down Under are broiling.

Parts of Australia have suffered under an intense heat wave over the holidays, and before the weather pattern breaks, temperatures today were expected to reach nearly 50 degrees Celsius (more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit), The Guardian reports. Temperatures in many inland towns in particular have reached above 40 C (100 F) for several days. The culprit is a high-pressure system sitting over the country.

The heat wave has prompted fire officials in the state of South Australia to rate fire conditions as "catastrophic," with total fire bans in place for the northern parts of the state. The heat wave has meant the summer has started out much like it did last year, hot and very dry. Australia's Bureau of Meteorology is expected to announce on Friday (Jan. 3) that 2013 was the hottest year on record for the country.
Sure enough, that happened as Reuters reported in Australia swelters after record hot 2013; farmers slaughter cattle, bushfire warning.
A searing heatwave is baking central and northern Australia, piling more misery on drought-hit cattle farmers who have been slaughtering livestock as Australia sweltered through the hottest year on record in 2013.
Monsoon rains in Australia's north failed last summer and the entire continent endured its hottest year since records began in 1910, the Bureau of Meteorology said on Friday.

Average temperatures were 1.2 degree Celsius above the long-term average of 21.8 degree Celsius, breaking the previous record set in 2005.

"The new record high calendar year temperature averaged across Australia is remarkable because it occurred not in an El NiƱo year, but a normal year," David Karoly, a climate scientist from the School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, said in an emailed statement.

The El Nino weather pattern is a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific and usually brings hot, dry, and often drought conditions to Australia.
So, don't be fooled by the cold snap in the U.S.  As Al Jazeera America pointed out, "The record-breaking cold weather in the US doesn't mean the globe isn't warming, scientists say."  Remember, weather isn't climate.

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