Spring 2017 slightly dry

Photo of a Persian silk tree at Manilla NSW

Persian silk tree

Each year, the weather warms by about eight degrees during the three months of spring. This time, the warming came all at once. After cold nights at first, by the third week of September both days and nights were five degrees above normal. As extremes, one day reached 34° and one night 22°. After that, the temperature rose no higher through to the end of the season. By then, such temperatures are normal.

For much of the season, the air was dry, but a humid spell in October brought 63 mm of rain within four days. The season’s rainfall of 134 mm was at the 40th percentile, about 30 mm below average. Other measures of moisture were slightly low.

Graphical weather log for spring 2017

Air temperatures were near normal, with days slightly warm and nights slightly cool. Spring last year had been two degrees cooler, and spring 2014 two degrees warmer. The subsoil temperature was more than a degree below normal, as it often has been in the last two years.

Climate for spring 2017


Data. A Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge operates in the museum yard. From 17 March 2017, 9 am daily readings are published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.  These reports use that rainfall data when it is available. That gauge failed (again) on the 25th of September 2017, and later readings are from my non-standard gauge.

All other data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

Advertisements

Dry Air in Winter 2017

Photo of red Eucalyptus flowers

Eucalyptus leucoxylon in winter

This winter had remarkably dry air. The lowest early morning dew point was -10.0°, and the winter mean was -0.5°. Both were record low values. Through the season, the dew point got further and further below the early morning temperature, ending five degrees lower.

Daily maximum and minimum temperatures were near normal. However, they were more than a degree cooler than in the recent winters of 2009 and 2013.

Graphical log for winter 2017

With dry air came a wide daily temperature range of 16.3°, second only to 17.5° in the winter of 2002. It also brought sunny weather, with only 32% cloudy mornings. While that was near the average for my “normal” decade 1999-2008, it was lower than in any recent winter. The winters of the last decade, 2007-2016, were much more cloudy, averaging 45% cloudy mornings. Winter 2016 had 53%!

There were four brief spells of rain this winter, none with heavy rain. They were spaced about seventeen days apart. That sequence had begun in autumn, with heavier falls then. After the 4th of August there was no rain at all.

The total rainfall of 89.8 mm was at the 27th percentile, well below the winter average of 125 mm. Five recent winters had similar amounts of rain: 2000 (98 mm), 2001 (107 mm), 2003 (102 mm), 2004 (97 mm) and 2006 (104 mm). Two were much drier: 2002 (44 mm) and 2011 (55 mm).

Climate for winter 2017


Data. A Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge operates in the museum yard. From 17 March 2017, 9 am daily readings are published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.  These reports use that rainfall data when it is available. All other data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

Wet Autumn 2017

Sunset photo.

Manilla Sunset

Autumn this year had normal temperatures, in stark contrast to very high temperatures both in the summer and in the autumn of last year. The decline to winter was not smooth, however, but went by steps. For three weeks in each month there was no cooling then, after some rain, there was a sudden cooling through three, four, or five degrees.
Rain fell frequently except for two gaps of a fortnight each, the first coming in mid-April. The second ended with 32.8 mm of rain registered on May the 20th. There were 26 rain days, which is twice usual number, and more than in any autumn in the new century.

Graphical log for autumn 2017

There was plenty of moisture. Only the early morning dew point (8.1°) was low, by half a degree. The daily temperature range was a narrow 14.5°, and the cloudiness a high 41%.
The total rainfall of 192.8 mm was at the 80th percentile, far above the autumn average of 134 mm. There has not been a wetter autumn since 1990 (203 mm). A little earlier there was a cluster of wetter autumns: 1977 (307 mm), 1979 (203 mm), 1982 (238 mm), 1983 (314 mm: 4th wettest), and 1988 (231 mm). Autumn 1894 was the very wettest, with 388 mm.

Climate for autumn 2017


Data. A Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge operates in the museum yard. From 17 March 2017, 9 am daily readings are published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.  These reports use that rainfall data when it is available. All other data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

Summer 2016-17 the hottest

Young bearded dragon

Tiny Dragon

This summer, like summer 2013-14, was marked by repeated heat waves. The first, early in December, was brief. Another, in mid-January, led into one that was hotter, and persisted through the first half of February. On a weekly basis, temperatures did not fall below normal at any time in the season. Mid-February had the two hottest days of the new century, at 44.9° and 43.8°.
Although there were as many rain days as usual (22), only two days had rainfall exceeding 15 mm, and there was almost no rain in February.

Graphical log for summer 2016-17.

Comparing summer seasons

Mean temperatures set new records for the summer season: daily maximum 35.6°, average 27.6°, and daily minimum 19.7°. Each of these was more than a degree higher than the old record. Nearly all such figures for the months December, January, and February had also been records. However, the subsoil temperature for the summer (24.7°) was low.
Two indicators of moisture were a little low: mean early morning dew point (13.4°) was down 0.7°, and mean daily temperature range (15.9°) was 0.8° wider than usual.
The percentage of cloudy mornings (38%) was almost the same as in the last four summers, and lower than in the previous two. However, 38% is much more cloudy than the “normal” figure of 31% cloudy mornings that was set in the decade 1999-2008. Summers were more sunny then.
This summer’s rainfall was very low. The unofficial total of 101.4 mm would place it as the seventh driest on record. As shown on the graph, summer 2013-14 was drier (85 mm). Otherwise,  there has not been a drier summer in the half-century since 1964-65 (70 mm).

Climate for summer 2016-17


Data. Rainfall figures are usually from the automatic rain gauge at Manilla, published on the internet by the Bureau of Meteorology as Station 55031. However, the gauge ceased recording five months ago (8/10/16), and this month’s readings are from my non-standard gauge. All data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

Cool spring 2016

Photo of a wildflower

Nodding Chocolate Lilies

Through September, days were very cool, making for a narrow daily temperature range. Then, through October, both days and nights were very cool. In November, days and nights were nearer to normal but, in contrast to September, the daily temperature range was wide. The dew point failed to rise during the season, making the air very dry in November.
Rain fell frequently up to the middle of November, then ceased. There were 24 rain days, when there are normally 19 in spring. The highest reading was 28.8 mm on the 14th of September. The season total of 216.4 mm was rather high, in the 77th percentile.

Graphical log for spring 2016
All temperature measures were below normal by 1.5° to 2.0°. Only spring of 2001 had low values like that but in 2010 the mean daily maximum (only) was 2.5° below normal.
Measures of moisture were near normal, with cloud, rainfall, and daily temperature range on the moist side, and dew point on the dry side.

Climate for spring 2016


Data. Rainfall figures for this season began from the automatic rain gauge at Manilla, published on the internet by the Bureau of Meteorology as Station 55031. That gauge ceased reporting on the 8th of October, and later readings are from my non-standard gauge. All other data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

Climate trends for thermal soaring

For pilots who soar at Lake Keepit or Mount Borah: relevant summer climate data for Manilla, NSW, since 1999.

Graph of some summer climate variables 1999 to 2015.

Variables relevant to thermal soaring

From my data I have selected three variables that are relevant to success in soaring flight using thermals. I have chosen to use values for summer: a total or average for the three months of December, January and February.
The variables are:

  • The number of hot days, when the maximum temperature was over 33°C;
  • The number of sunny days, when the cloud amount seen at 9 am was less than two octas;
  • The average daily temperature range in degrees celsius.

Changing values of the variables

The graph shows that each variable fluctuated wildly, with each summer very different from the last. These variables often moved in the same sense.
Two summers had high values of all three variables: 2006-07 and 2013-14. Two summers had low values of all three variables: 2007-08 and 2011-12. I would expect that longer and faster thermal soaring flights would have been achieved in the summers with high values, compared to those with low values.

Trends

I have fitted linear trend lines, and displayed their equations within the graph.
All three trend lines slope down. This suggests that summer thermal soaring conditions have been getting worse.
I have cited the values of “R-squared”, the Coefficient of Determination. All three R-squared values are abysmally low. Even the best is below 20%, which can be taken to mean that more than 80% of the variation has nothing to do with the trend line shown.
You could say that the trends are nonsense, but we are dealing with Climate Change here!

The future

In the spirit of Mark Twain, we can extend the trend lines forward to where they come to zero:

  • There will be no hot days above 33° by the summer of 2118;
  • There will be no sunny mornings with less than 2 octas of cloud by 2073;
  • Days will be no warmer than nights by 2423.

That last date seems too remote to worry about. However, the daily temperature range will be unacceptable when it gets down to 11°. That is the current summer value for Lasham, England, after all. According to the trend, the daily temperature range will be worse than at Lasham by 2117. That is the same year that the very last 33° day is expected.

Global Warming

You may be surprised that the linear trend lines fitted to this data set slope downwards. It seems to contradict Global Warming. Continue reading

Extremely wet winter 2016

Water flowing over a weir

Manilla Weir Fish Ladder

This winter, with 227.4 mm of rain, was the fifth wettest in the record from 1883. In order of rainfall, wetter winters were: 1920 (318 mm), 1998 (304 mm), 1950 (261 mm) and 1952 (233 mm). This winter’s total was more than 100 mm over the average (125 mm). The heaviest daily fall, 37 mm, was on 5 June, and there were four other falls of more than 15 mm; two in June and two in August.
There were big week-long swings in temperature through June and July. On four occasions nights were more than four degrees warmer than normal and on one occasion days were four degrees cooler than normal. No such swings occurred from late July to mid-August, then days became five degrees cooler than normal. In this winter, there were few spells of either hot days or cold nights. The number of frosts (42) was near the usual number (44).

Graphical log for winter 2016
While the mean temperature of the season was normal, most other measures of climate were not.
The winter seasons of 2016 and 2010 were both extremely moist. Winter 2016 had more rain (227 mm versus 160 mm) and more cloudy days (53% versus 49%). In other respects 2010 was more moist: the dew point was higher (3.7° versus 2.5°), and the days had a narrower temperature range (12.5° versus 12.8°). The daily temperature range for winter is usually much wider: 15.3°. It was 17.5° in winter 2002!

Climate for winter 2016


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.