Friday, 10 February 2017

New COLD record set in Perth

Chris Gilham

As predicted, a new cold record has been set in Perth.

Just 10 days after Perth Metro had its 4th coldest January maximum since 1897 and Perth Airport its coldest January day since opening in 1945, the February daily record has been smashed at both stations.

Perth’s forecast was 20ºC. Perth Metro today had a maximum of 17.4ºC and Perth Airport  17.1ºC. That’s absurdly cold and won't be repeated in our lifetimes.

Courier Mail headlines yesterday were ‘Hell on Earth’ Heat Coming Our Way and the headlines today have been about South Australia’s latest mass blackouts because the windmills couldn’t supply enough power when everybody turned their air-conditioners on in 42.4ºC heat. What will happen if Adelaide ever matches its record 46.1ºC set in 1939? (I note that on Monday Kent Town had its equal
5th coldest February day since the station opened in 1977).

Here in Perth, the most likely cause of a mass blackout is everybody turning their heaters on in the middle of February, but nothing to worry about because coal keeps humming along. I’ve had a jumper on since getting out of bed.

The media will have to mention Perth’s coldest February day on record but it’ll be quickly forgotten and I doubt any media will reference the coldest January and February max happening within 10 days of each other while the planet supposedly melts because of global warming. This after the coldest winter since 1990 and the coldest September on record for southern WA. Since the media has been in fits about the eastern state's heatwave (you call that a heatwave?), it’s probably worth somebody blogging about what’s happening in the west - if only to point out what the media doesn’t point out.

Scanning Pilbara and Kimberley weather stations, the hottest it got anywhere today was just over 30ºC. Learmonth in the Pilbara had a max of 22.9C, compared to the previous February record of 23.8ºC. Only the eastern interior warmed up and the best effort was Giles at 38.4ºC. Esperance had a max of 15.2ºC, wiping out the previous February record of 16.8ºC in 1963. Bickley got to 13.7ºC, compared to the previous record coldest max of 18.0ºC in 2006. Rottnest Island got to 17.2ºC, the previous coldest February day being 18.7ºC in 1991. The max today in Gingin was 16.2ºC, compared to the previous February record of 22.3ºC in 2006. Cunderdin today was 16.4ºC, compared to a previous record of 17.8ºC in 1981, while Dalwallinu’s max today was 17.5ºC, compared to a prior record February max of 19.5ºC in 2008.

I wouldn’t be surprised if today was the coldest February daily max ever recorded throughout WA. Otherwise, Perth’s forecast for the coming week has warmed a bit and the first 16 days of February are expected to have a mean temp 1.6ºC below the total month’s long-term average.

Trewin mentioned in his 2016 summary that WA’s south was one of only a handful of land areas in the world where 2016 temperatures were slightly below average. A few times over the past fortnight I’ve noticed the hottest location anywhere in WA including the far north was less than 40ºC - in early February! The north of WA has joined the cool change for the past month. Monsoonal rain clouds floating south have been a big contributor but so too have waters off the Kimberley and Pilbara coast that are up to 1ºC below average temperature, judging by the NOAA maps.

This is the 10th month in a row with below average temperatures in WA’s south and the only plausible explanation for the chill is SST. However, the only reference Trewin makes is that sea surface temperatures in the Australian region were the warmest on record during 2016. I’ve mentioned several times since mid-2016 that the Indian and Southern ocean SST in the Australian region hasn’t been this cold for such a prolonged period in decades. The BoM’s SST data for the south-west of Australia is at odds with the maps produced by NOAA. The BoM doesn’t concede any month of 2016 had SST below average in south-west waters but does concede that January 2017 SST was -0.14ºC below average.

The BoM says the south of WA had its coldest winter since 1990 and the coldest September min on record (coldest mean also, but they don’t say so). September SST off the south-west was +0.08ºC, according to BoM data. How do you get repeated hits of the coldest weather since 1897 when the surrounding seas are warmer than average? Both NOAA and the record-breaking south-west cold weather over the past six months have been suggesting that the BoM’s SST anomaly baseline, algorithm and/or buoys aren’t a true reflection of historic averages.

Brrrr … can anybody lend us some global warming?


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See also: 

Warwick Hughes' Errors in IPCC Science:


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