Record warm nights

Two very warm nights

On two mornings this month, the 21st and 23rd, the minimum temperature in my thermometer screen was higher than it has ever been in July. That is, in the 17-year record that I began in March 1999.
These minimum readings were 14.3° and 14.4°. The highest July minimum had been 13.5° (31/07/2010), and only five readings had ever been above 12°. Such readings are more than ten degrees higher than normal in July.
In fact, one of the nights was much warmer than the minimum temperature indicates.

Minima not always at night

High minimum temperature readings are the usual evidence of warm nights. Unfortunately, they are not the same thing. Especially in the case of very high readings, they can be misleading.
The catch is that we expect daily maximum temperature to occur in daytime, when the sun is in the sky, and daily minimum temperature to occur at night, when it is not. In Manilla’s very sunny climate, the maximum is usually about fifteen degrees higher than the minimum. We can expect the maximum about 3 pm, and the minimum about 6 am.
When a thermometer is read at 9 am (as they are), the maximum reading recorded on it is usually that of the afternoon, and the minimum reading that of just before sunrise. Usually, but not always!
Times when nights are very warm are usually cloudy. The clouds form a blanket that keeps us warm. Because they also block the sun in daytime, the daily maximum temperature may be almost the same as the daily minimum. The times when maxima and minima occur may become vague. As a complication, warm nights tend to happen when warm air comes to us on the wind. Then much colder air often follows. If the cold air arrives before 9 am, it will lower the minimum temperature reading, destroying the evidence of a warm night.

Thermograph Traces

I do not have a thermograph that makes a continuous temperature trace. The trace for Tamworth Airport can be seen here. (Choose a date.)

For this month’s warmest night, the Tamworth thermograph trace shows that the daily minimum temperature value is misleading due to these factors. The night was much warmer.
Between 5:30 pm on the 22nd and 5:30 am on the 23rd, the lowest temperature, which came at 7:40 pm, was 17.8°. Most of the night, from midnight to 4:00 am, was above 20°! Yet the (Tamworth) minimum for the 24 hour period was 12.5°.
Earlier in the month, in the 24 hours to 9 am on the 6th, the conventional maximum and minimum values were highly misleading. The daily maximum was the very last reading (10.0°) and the daily minimum the very first, 24 hours earlier (6.5°). The afternoon maximum temperature was 8.0° and the pre-dawn minimum temperature was 8.2°. On that date, the day was 0.2° cooler than the night!

My Heat-control Courtyard

Photo of a small courtyard

A Heat-control Courtyard

I have added a courtyard to my high-mass solar-passive house to improve summer cooling and winter heating.

Photo of building materials

Courtyard Wall Panels and Gates

The courtyard extends 13 metres along the south wall of the house. It is completely enclosed by a wall of white-painted polystyrene sandwich panels 1.8 metres high, with two gates of the same material.

 

 

 

 

By September 2015 trenches had been dug for the courtyard foundation, and by December it was complete.

Photo of trenches dug for courtyard

Courtyard Trenches, West

Photo of trenches dug for courtyard

Courtyard Trenches, East

 

 

Operation

This house is in BCA Climate Zone 4: Hot dry summer, cool winter. For comfort, it must be made very much cooler in summer and very much warmer in winter. The courtyard was built to help to achieve both results without the use of heaters or coolers.
In summer, it should ensure a supply of very cool air at night. In this house, cool air is drawn in to replace warm air that flows out the clear-story windows by the stack effect, assisted by fans. By day, the courtyard walls also block some solar radiation.

Photo of courtyard from the west

The Courtyard Through The Western Gate

In winter, the white courtyard wall reflects sunshine north towards the house, and re-radiates heat lost from the house wall back towards it.

More

Much more detail is given in the page “A Heat-control Courtyard”. All photos on this topic are in a gallery in “House Photos – 2016”.

Louvre window for summer nights

Photo of an opened louvre window

The louvre opened

A daily chore in summer

My high-mass solar-passive house keeps me comfortable through the year with very little attention. I have detailed the actions I must take in this post. Being in BCA Climate Zone 4 “Hot dry summer, cool winter”, I have a summer regimen to keep the house cool, and a winter regimen to keep it warm. Most actions are required only twice a year: to change over from one regimen to the other. However, one action is required daily throughout the hot season: I must open doors each evening to admit cool air, then close them again in the morning. At night, air is drawn through the house and out the clearstory windows by the stack effect, assisted by fans at the windows. Warm air in the house is purged by the flow of cold night air, which continues to cool the mass of the house until sunrise.

My louvre vent project

[Photos, with descriptions, may be seen in carousel view here.]

Installation

I have put into effect a long-standing project to avoid the daily chore of opening and closing doors. I bought a motorized louvre window (Breezway Altair Powerlouvre Innoscreen) to let in the night air.

Photo of a programmable time clock

Louvre Time Clock

It is controlled by a programmable electric time clock (Hager EG203E) that will open the louvre at 21:00 and close it at 07:00 daily through the hot season. In the cold season the louvre will remain closed, with the motor control turned off.

 

 

The louvre closed

The louvre closed

The louvre is installed low in a wall on the colder south side of the house. It is near the back door that I have been opening and closing up to now. It was difficult to find a place to fit it.

I thought of fitting a motorized louvre in the back door itself. This would have been awkward and expensive. Doubly so, because the back door opens into the laundry, which forms an air-lock, and the inner laundry door would also have needed a motorized louvre.
The kitchen was the only suitable room to admit the cooling air. Of course, it is almost completely lined with benches and cupboards. Eventually, I found a place for the louvre, and had a hole cut in the wall for it.

Wall hole for a louvre

Louvre aperture from outdoors

Wall hole for louvre

Louvre aperture from indoors

 

 

 

 

 

The place I chose is partly behind the refrigerator. Continue reading

June 2016: extreme rain

Photo of Namoi River in high flow

Namoi River Fresh

This was the fifth wettest June in history, and had the second coldest day in this century.
Average temperatures were several degrees high until the last week, when they fell to three degrees low. In times of cloud and rain, cold days followed warm nights; at other times warm sunny days followed cold nights. There was one extremely warm night and one extremely cold day. The night before the 19th did not get cooler than 12.8°, making it the 5th warmest June night in this century. On the 27th the maximum temperature was only 8.5°: the second coldest day in this record from 1999. People remember the Friday before Queen’s Birthday in 2007 being bitterly cold, but that day reached 8.8°. The 20th of that month was the coldest, reaching only 8.3°.
This month, there were 8 frosts (usually 13) the coldest night being -1.8° in the screen.
Rain fell on 17 days, one day short of the record number here in any month (18 in June 1950!). The highest reading was 37.0 mm recorded on the 5th. As in May, the afternoon humidity was very high (seldom below 50%).

Weather log for June 2016

Comparing June months

The mean daily maximum temperature (16.4°) was very low, just not nearly as low as in June 2007 (14.3°). On the other hand, the mean daily minimum temperature (5.8°) was very high, as it was in June 2005, 2008, 2009, and 2013. The average temperature for the month (11.1°) was 0.8° above normal. Similarly, the subsoil temperature (16.8°) was 1.5° above normal.
The daily temperature range, normally 15.0°, was 10.6°, the narrowest yet seen in June, narrower than in 2007. Skies were rather cloudy, and the dew point normal.
The phenomenal rainfall of 114.8 mm was in the 97th percentile. There have been four wetter June months since 1883, but they were all before 1931. Thus, this is the wettest June in 86 years! Now, the greatest rainfall “shortage” is the 36-month total (1636 mm) which is in the 16th percentile. Greenhatch Creek is barely flowing, and a neighbour’s dam is almost full.

Climate for June 2016


Data. Rainfall figures for this month are from the automatic rain gauge at Manilla, published on the internet by the Bureau of Meteorology as Station 55031. All other data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

3-year trends to June 2016

Parametric plots of smoothed climate variables at Manilla
“June 2016 extreme rain”

Trends to June 2016.

June raw anomaly data (orange)

In June 2016, raw anomalies for all moisture variables became very high, while daily maximum temperature became very cool. Rainfall was more than 70 mm higher than normal (40 mm), and daily temperature range more than 4 degrees narrower than normal (15 degrees). Skies were cloudy and the dew point high. The two other temperature variables did not conform. Daily minimum temperature anomaly was very high, making the climate more coastal. Subsoil temperature anomaly was also high: the curve shows it trailing daily maximum temperature anomaly, after leading it for years.

 Fully smoothed data (red)

Fully-smoothed data are now available up to December 2015. In general, it was a time of normal climate. Anomalies were small and changing only slowly. Daily maximum temperature was rather high, and dew point rather low.


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.

Autumn 2016 had many warm spells

Photo of a garden in Manilla NSW

Autumn Garden

The season was marked by a series of warm spells. The three warmest, coming early in each month, reached 3° to 4° above normal. In the first two, days and nights were equally warm; in the third, nights were much higher above normal than days, making the daily temperature range narrower than normal by 4°. The only cool spells having temperatures below normal were in the third week of March and the last week of May. All three frosts of this season came in the final week .
Rain came in five episodes, spaced a week or two apart. There were 12 rain days, which is the usual number, but the highest reading was only 20.8 mm.

Weather log for autumn 2016
This was the warmest autumn in this short record. Daily maximum, mean, and minimum temperatures were all more than 1.5° above the average for the decade beginning March 1999. The subsoil temperature at 750 mm was also rather high.
The composite Moisture Index was normal, rainfall being a little low and cloudiness rather high (36%, when the autumn “normal” is 25%).
The total rainfall of 88.3 mm was below the autumn average of 134 mm, and in the 35th percentile.

Climate for autumn 2016.


All data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla. Rainfall data up to 26/3/15 is from Manilla Post Office, Station 055031.

May 2016: cooling down

Photo of caterpillars in procession.

White Cedar caterpillars.

Until the last week of May, the warm weather of March and April continued. Three nights (early mornings) were more than eight degrees warmer than normal. At 16.5°, the early morning of the 1st was the second warmest for May in this century after 16.9° on 3/5/2000. The first frost (a black frost) came on the 25th, not as late as in 2014, when the first frost came on the 8th of June! (More frost information is here.)

I recorded rain on 7 days (normally 3 in May) but 4 of them had less than 2 mm. The highest reading was 13.8 mm on the 2nd. The afternoon humidity was very high (seldom below 40%) which may explain the bothersome mosquitoes.

 Weather log for May 2016

Comparing May months

The month was warm, especially at night, but not as warm as May in 2007 or 1999.
Skies were more cloudy than usual, at 45% cloudy mornings (more than 4/8 cloud). May is usually sunny, with only 24%, but both 2014 and 2015 had a record 52%
The total rainfall of 34.5 mm was near the average of 41 mm, in the 54th percentile. (Since 1998, every May rainfall except 2011 has been below average.) For the seventh month in a row, there are no serious rainfall shortages for totals for any number of months. Again, the greatest shortage is the 48-month total (2211 mm) which is now in the 14th percentile. Ponds persist in Greenhatch Creek, but a neighbour’s dam is dry.

Climate for May 2016


Data. All data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla. Rainfall data up to 26/3/15 is from Manilla Post Office, Station 055031.