My Solar-passive House Photos and Details

 

A plan of the house

Monash Street House Plan

Distant view from the south-east

Distant view from the south-east

Posts on “Indoor Climate” in this blog come from my experience living in my solar-passive house from 1999, and monitoring its performance.

Until now, I have not given readers a clear idea of what the house is like. I have now set up a special page called “My House Page” where details can be found. So far, there are two sub-pages, both referring to the time when the house was new:

  • A gallery of photos called “Award photos 1999″, and a house plan, which were submitted in an entry for the Housing Industry Association (NSW) awards for 1999.
  • An essay “House Profile 1999″ that sets out the principles that I thought important then, and the features that I had built in to the house. I added a reading list of books available at that time, and a list of Credits to those people who built the house.

The “My House Page” is not directly indexed in the main menu on the banner, but it appears with a hover over “Indoor Climate”.

Posts on Indoor Climate have links to these pages in the side-bar on the right, in the panel “Indoor Climate Blog and Pages”. This panel does not appear on the Home Page, but only when an “Indoor Climate” blog post (or Category of posts) is selected.

I intend to add more pages in time.

More Droughts After Heavier Rains I.

Log of 1-year droughts and 5-year lagged heavy rainfalls

Droughts and flooding rains at Manilla NSW were related in a way that is remarkable and unexpected.

Part 1. Graphical logs

As the first graph shows, for most of the 130-year record year-long droughts came in direct proportion to very heavy daily rainfall five years earlier. (For data details, see Note 1, below.)
The match between these two variables is astonishing. Both are based on rainfall readings, but they are scarcely related. Excessive daily rainfalls are transient extreme weather events; 12-month droughts are an aspect of climate.

Mackellar’s “Droughts and flooding rains”

Dorothea Mackellar’s famous line * is more apt for this graph than for other graphs where I use “flooding rains” to mean periods unlike drought. (See Note 2. below.) The rains and droughts that I plot here both bring hardship. Severe droughts lasting one year are among the worst of droughts: long enough to use up reserves, and not so long as to be eased by periods of rain. The daily rainfall events plotted are the ones that cause damaging floods.

Features of the graphical log

Log of 1-year droughts and heavy rainfalls

This second graph shows the data at the actual dates. Although the data points for the decade excess of heavy daily rainfall and those for frequency % of 12-month droughts have a matching pattern for much of the record, the pattern is offset. Heavy rainfall points come five years earlier than corresponding drought points. Notice that the heavy rainfalls do not (except in 1980) come squarely in gaps between droughts.
Lagging the rainfall points by five years (as in the first graph) makes some matches almost exact. Such matches occur at all data points from 1890 to 1975, except those from 1940 to 1955, where drought frequencies are relatively higher. Both variables show a two-decade-long, slow decline from 1905 to 1925. At the chosen scales, the amplitude of corresponding rises and falls are usually similar as well.
After 1975, daily rainfall oscillates through a wide amplitude with a twenty-year period, while the frequency % of drought varies Continue reading

Cool cloudy days in April 2015

Photo of labelled Saloop saltbush

Flourishing local Saloop saltbush

After 5 hot days in March (a record number), there were none in April. In fact, there were six days not reaching 20°, also a record number! On the 21st the temperature reached only 13.2°, making it the coldest April day of the century, 12.1° below normal. To get so cold, the temperature had fallen by 4° each day for four days. Many nights, however, were warm, and on four occasions the night was less than six degrees cooler than the day. As usual, there were no frosts.
There were eight rain days, with the highest reading 26.0 mm on the 4th.

Weather log for April 2015

  Comparing April months

The average daily maximum temperature, at 23.9°, was colder than in any April since 1999 (23.5°). Night temperatures, while lower than last year’s record, were above normal, making the mean daily temperature range (12.7°) the narrowest for an April month, followed by April 2003 (13.6°). The percentage of cloudy mornings (more than 4/8 cloud) was a record 46.7%, equal with April 2012. The cloudiness and narrow daily temperature range, with high rainfall, make the climate this month like that on the coast.
The subsoil temperature (21.8°) and the early morning dew point (8.4°) were normal. (In March, the dew point had been almost the same (8.3°) but that was a record low value: in that month the normal dew point is much higher.)
The total rainfall of 70.9 mm is in the 84th percentile, far above the average of 40 mm. Among rainfall totals for more than one month, there are small increases. Even the 24-month total is now in the 12th percentile: not a serious shortage.

Climate for April 2015 


Data. All data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.
After 132 years of continuous record, rainfall readings are no longer taken at Manilla Post Office, Station 055031.

3-year trends to April 2015

Parametric plots of smoothed climate variables at Manilla
“April 2015: equable”

Trends to April 2015

  April raw anomaly data (orange)

In April, daily maximum temperature anomaly became very low (-2.1°) while daily minimum temperature anomaly remained high (+0.7°). Other anomalies, except subsoil temperature, moved down the graphs, showing moist conditions. The extremely low temperature range anomaly (-3.0°) shows that the climate was equable, as it had been in the spring of 2010 (a smoothed record value).

Fully smoothed data (red)

The latest fully-smoothed data anomalies (October 2014) moved little, being warm and slightly dry.

Loops in the subsoil anomaly graph

The parametric plot of subsoil temperature anomaly against that of daily maximum temperature (bottom right) shows several clockwise loops. That is, peaks or troughs of subsoil temperature precede those of daily maximum (air) temperature by a month or more. This is not what one would expect. Indeed, where graphs of these variables earlier in this sixteen-year record show such loops, they are always anti-clockwise. Subsoil temperature anmalies lag those of daily maximum air temperature. See the graphs for August 2002, August 2004, August 2006, August 2008, May 2010, and April 2012.

In the last mentioned graph, the three extreme points included show no lag between the two variables. That period, from early 2009 to late 2011 marks the transition from a stable regime of subsoil temperature lagging daily maximum air temperature to the current regime of subsoil temperature leading daily maximum air temperature.


Note:

Fully smoothed data – Gaussian smoothing with half-width 6 months – are plotted in red, partly smoothed data uncoloured, and raw data for the last data point in orange. January data points are marked by squares.
Blue diamonds and the dashed blue rectangle show the extreme values in the fully smoothed data record since September 1999.

Normal values are based on averages for the decade from March 1999.* They appear on these graphs as a turquoise (turquoise) circle at the origin (0,0). A range of anomalies called “normal” is shown by a dashed rectangle in aqua (aqua). For values in degrees, the assigned normal range is +/-0.7°; for cloudiness, +/-7%; for monthly rainfall, +/-14 mm.

 * Normal values for rainfall are based on averages for the 125 years beginning 1883.

March 2015 was hot

Photo of bird in a gum tree

Blue-faced honeyeater in a White Box tree

March had 5 hot days over 35°: more than January (2) or February (3), but less than December (7) or November (10!). On the 20th the temperature reached 40.0°, making it the hottest March day of the century, 10.2° above normal. It came in a warm spell, with a weekly mean temperature 3.6° above normal. Some days had extremely low humidity, with afternoon values below 10%. The morning dew point on the 28th, minus 4.2°, was the lowest March value.
There were five rain days, with the highest reading 22.0 mm on the 12th.

Weather log for March 2015

 

  Comparing March months

The average daily maximum temperature, at 31.8°, was the hottest of any March in this short record. It was almost the same as in each of the months of this summer, but not as high as that of last November (33.9°). The daily mean temperature (23.6°) was also the highest for March, just beating the 23.4° of March 2000. Night temperatures were normal, making the daily temperature range wider than normal. The mean early morning dew point of 8.3° was a record low value.
The total rainfall of 35.8 mm, while well below the average of 53 mm, is quite normal. It is in the 46th percentile: nearly half of all March totals were lower. Among rainfall totals for more than one month, there is little change. Again, the only serious shortage is in the 24-month total, which is now in the 5th percentile.

 Climate for March 2015


Data. Rainfall data up to 26/3/15 is from Manilla Post Office, courtesy of Phil Pinch. Temperatures, including subsoil at 750 mm, and other data are from 3 Monash  Street, Manilla.

3-year trends to March 2015

Parametric plots of smoothed climate variables at Manilla
“March 2015: hot”

Trends to March 2015

 March raw anomaly data (orange)

In March, the daily maximum temperature anomaly became very high (+1.6 degrees), but not nearly as high as the raw value had been in November (+5.1 degrees). Most other anomalies moved up the graphs towards “droughts” but not beyond normal values. Dew point remained as low as in February, and rainfall returned from very low to normal.

Fully smoothed data (red)

The latest fully-smoothed data anomalies (September 2014) moved a little towards “droughts” from the near-normal values of the winter.


Note:

Fully smoothed data – Gaussian smoothing with half-width 6 months – are plotted in red, partly smoothed data uncoloured, and raw data for the last data point in orange. January data points are marked by squares.
Blue diamonds and the dashed blue rectangle show the extreme values in the fully smoothed data record since September 1999.

Normal values are based on averages for the decade from March 1999.* They appear on these graphs as a turquoise (turquoise) circle at the origin (0,0). A range of anomalies called “normal” is shown by a dashed rectangle in aqua (aqua). For values in degrees, the assigned normal range is +/-0.7°; for cloudiness, +/-7%; for monthly rainfall, +/-14 mm.

 * Normal values for rainfall are based on averages for the 125 years beginning 1883.

Very Wet Days at Manilla: Decade Excesses

Log of decade totals of rainfall excess, Manilla, NSW Last month I posted a complete log of days at Manilla that had more than 50 mm of rainfall.
I call days that have more than 50 mm of rainfall “very wet days”. At Manilla, on the average, these have come only once per year. Days with more than 50 mm of rainfall have no special meaning, but they can be taken as a rough indication that local flooding, or even general flooding, is likely: the “Flooding Rains” of Dorothea Mackellar.*
The graph I posted did not show whether these very wet days, likely to cause floods, had a bigger effect at some times than at others. This graph shows that.

Since it is only the excess rainfall that runs off, leading to flooding, I have subtracted 50 mm from each “very wet day” rainfall amount. Then I have summed all such excesses for each half-decade. I summed the half-decades in pairs to give a decade sum (in mm) centered on the years 1885, 1890, 1895, etc. For example, the decade centered on 1925 had a total of daily rainfall excesses of 157 mm. (Values for 1880-84 were estimated from those for 1883 and 1884.)
Some decades had very high values of excess rainfall: there was about 250 mm in the decades centered on 1900, 1960, 1965, 1980, and 2000. There were very low values, below 100 mm, in the decades centered on 1885, 1890, 1950, and 1990. There appears to be no trend.

The shape of the graph is not unlike that seen on graphs of rainfall deficiencies, particularly the 12-month rainfall deficiencies.

* By arrangement with the Licensor, The Dorothea Mackellar Estate, c/- Curtis Brown (Aust) Pty Ltd.