Chaitanya's Random Pages

January 16, 2013

Australia’s recent heat wave

Filed under: climate and weather — ckrao @ 11:09 am

Australia has started 2013 with something like 10 of its first 11 days among the hottest 20 previously determined over some 100 years of records! The previous record area-averaged maximum of 40.17°C (set in December 1972) was broken on January 7 with 40.33°C. The two striking features of this heat wave have been its duration and wide-reaching nature. It included Hobart’s highest recorded maximum of 41.8°C and Australia’s hottest day for 15 years (49.6°C at Moomba, SA). Other very high temperatures included 49.0 at both Leonora (WA) and Birdsville (QLD).

The following graph based on data in [1] shows the maximum temperatures over the states and territories over this period. Note that the southern states of VIC and TAS are the smallest and have the least impact on the average temperature for Australia. For information on how area averages are calculated based on the weather station locations, refer to [2].


Birdsville probably was probably the hottest town in Australia over this period with the following maximum temperatures recorded (an average maximum of 45.6°C over the 13 days!). (Data from here).

(Jan 2013)
Maximum Temp (°C)
1 43.9
2 45.2
3 45.5
4 47.3
5 46.7
6 46.3
7 45.1
8 44.6
9 44.2
10 40.8
11 46.2
12 48.6
13 49.0


[1] Extreme January heat: Special Climate Statement Issued 7th of January 2013, updated 25th January 2013, Bureau of Meterology, Australia.

[2] D. Jones, W. Wang and R. Fawcett, High-quality spatial climate data-sets for Australia, Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Journal 58 (2009) 233-248.

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