3-year trends to December 2018

December hot and dry

3-year trends to December 2018

December raw anomaly data (orange)

In December 2018, the top two graphs show that rainfall was low and skies sunny.
The daily maximum temperature (x-axes, all graphs) and daily minimum temperature (lower left graph) were extremely high, but the subsoil was cool. Dew point and daily temperature range were near normal.

 Fully smoothed data (red)

Climate anomaly data when smoothed in this way do not show changes from month to month, but only those cycles that last for a year or more. The smoothed data identify the month when a peak occurs in a cycle .

By June 2018, the last date for which data can be fully smoothed (as described below), some variables had already peaked in their contribution to the current extreme drought.

The anomaly of daily maximum temperature (x-axis, all graphs) had peaked in March 2018. Two months later, in May 2018, the rainfall anomaly peaked (negative) to a 21st-century record low value of minus 28.3 mm. (In the 2002 drought daily maximum temperature had not peaked until after the peak of minimum rainfall.)
By June, cloudiness was decreasing towards a minimum (perhaps in August 2018) without becoming much less cloudy than normal. Dew point anomaly was still decreasing, and seemed likely to reach a record low value about August.
The anomaly of daily temperature range had been at a (high) level characteristic of drought since the previous winter (2017). It had changed little, and peaked in May 2018 without getting near the record high value of July 2002.
The anomaly of daily minimum temperature has a cryptic relation to drought. In this case, the value peaked sharply in February 2018 before falling rapidly. It may have reached a minimum about August 2018.
The anomaly of subsoil temperature was high in June 2018, and seemed likely to peak about July, lagging four months behind the daily maximum temperature anomaly.


January data points are marked by squares.


Smoothing uses Gaussian functions.
For fully smoothed data the function has a Standard Deviation of 2.5 months, it spans 13 monthly data points, and has a half-width of 6 months, which suppresses cycles shorter than 12 months. For partly smoothed data, the span of the function is reduced to 11 months, 9 months and so on.

Fully smoothed data points are plotted in red, partly smoothed data uncoloured, and raw data for the last data point in orange.

Limiting values

Blue diamonds and the dashed blue rectangle show the extreme values in the fully smoothed data record since September 1999.

Normal values

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.

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