Sunday, January 12, 2014

Australian Bureau of Meteorology nudges forecasted temperatures for heatwave even higher

Peter Hannam in the Age (Australia): A “classic heatwave set-up” will deliver the hottest run of temperatures for south-eastern Australia since just prior to the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

While forest conditions are not as dry as the period prior to the major bushfires of February 2009 in Victoria, grasslands are parched and may pose some high fire risks, said senior bureau forecaster Terry Ryan.

The bureau raised Melbourne’s forecast maximums slightly for some days this week, just as the Australian Open tennis grand slam tournament gets under way. The city can expect a 35-degree maximum on Monday, with days of 41, 39, 41, and 40 to follow.

The city averages about 1.5 days a year of 40 degrees, so to have thr
ee in a single week is very unusual, Mr Terry said. The increase appears to be one signal of climate change, nudging temperatures higher, he said.

Since about 1998-99, “there’s been a lot more hot days”, Mr Ryan said, adding that the extra degree or so is turning 39s into 40s. The coming days may see only limited relief with sea-breezes arriving from the west potentially easing Tuesday’s heat – but only temporarily as the heat re-forms, he said. “The heat is never far away,” Mr Ryan said....

At the beach in Australia, shot by Alex Proimos, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. 

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