By Peter Hannam, Carbon economy editor
3 January 2013
AUSTRALIA'S notoriously variable climate is on full display, with parts of the nation about to experience one of the largest heatwaves in territorial extent in decades, after coming off a sharp shift last year from wetter- to drier-than-average conditions.
A swath of central Australia stretching from Oodnadatta to Coober Pedy and Birdsville can expect maximum temperatures of 45 degrees or hotter for at least a week. Towns to the south and east, such as Mildura and Hay, can expect to broil with 40-degree maximum temperatures for just as long.
''We have a major heat event under way,'' Karl Braganza, a manager of climate monitoring at the Bureau of Meteorology, said. ''There are not many instances in the historical record where you get a heat event covering such a large area of the continent.''
Brett Dutschke, a senior meteorologist at Weatherzone, said it was unusual to have so prolonged a hot spell. "It's a once-in-20 or 30-year heatwave event in desert areas," he said. "For more populated areas further south, it means they are going to experience some of this as well."
It is forecast to hit 36 degrees in Melbourne on Thursday and 41 degrees on Friday, with temperatures soaring in Canberra. Sydney will largely be spared.
Much of south-eastern Australia has weathered warm temperatures for months. "We effectively had mid-summer heat arriving at the end of spring," Dr Dutschke said.
Need a happy?
- 60 Minutes: The Age of Mega-Fires
- Altered Oceans
- Apocadocs: Humoring the Horror of Environmental Collapse
- Calculated Risk
- Carbon Based Climate Change Adaptation
- Census of Marine life
- Climate Change: The Next Generation
- Club Orlov: Dmitry Orlov and the Collapsnik Party
- Converging Emergencies, 2010-2020
- Crisis Forums
- Dead Trees ... Dying Forests
- Deep Into Artlife West
- Ea O Ka Aina: For a self-sustaining Kauai
- Economic Undertow
- Fire Earth
- Grist: A Beacon in the Smog
- Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico
- IUCN Red List of Endangered Species
- Information Is Beautiful
- International Programme on the State of the Oceans
- Jeremy Jackson: Brave New Ocean
- Jim Galasyn: State of the Oceans 2011 pdf
- Lend Me a Looking Glass
- Love Salem
- Marine Climate Change
- Mess Time
- Mongabay.com: Tropical Rainforest Conservation
- NASA Earth Observatory: Image of the Day
- NASA Visible Earth
- National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center
- Nature Bats Last
- Only In It For The Gold
- Ornery Bastard
- Other Voices, Other Choices
- Planet3.0 | Beyond Sustainability
- RealClimate: Climate Science from Climate Scientists
- Shades of Green
- Wit's End
- World Catastrophe Map
- World Disaster Report