Cool Dry April 2017

Pavonia blooms on a roadside

Roadside Pavonia

April began with cool days and nights, about three degrees below normal. However, the weather did not get any cooler until the last few days. In particular, ANZAC Day, at 27.4°, was the warmest day of the month – but that was more than a degree cooler than ANZAC Day 2002. (The average daily maximum temperature for ANZAC Day (from 2000) is 24.3°. The hottest was 28.7° (2002) and the coldest 16.8° (2012).)

Soaking rain of 10.6 mm, registered on the 26th, came with a remarkably warm night of 16.6°. Coming so late in autumn, this was 7.9° above normal, breaking the record of 7.1° above normal for an April night (20/04/06).
Further rain on the 27th (11.2 mm) fell as showers on a very cold day of 14.3°, that was 9.8° below normal. The final three nights were cold. The 30th, at 4.3°, was the coldest night of the month, but it was far from frosty.

Weather log for April 2017

Comparing April months

This month was cool, with a mean temperature of 17.0°, but not nearly as cool as April in 2008 (15.8°), 2006 (16.6°), or 1999 (15.6°). It was also rather low in moisture, with only 24 mm of rain, only 33% cloudy mornings, a daily temperature range as wide as 15.6°, and an early morning dew point of only 6.3°. What is unusual is the combination of low temperature values and low moisture values. Manilla’s climate generally swings between high temperature with low moisture (“droughts”) and low temperature with high moisture (“flooding rains”), as the poet said. (See these graphs.)
The total rainfall of 24.0 mm was at the 40th percentile, below the April average of 40 mm. There are no serious shortages of rainfall for groups of months to this date.

Climate for April 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.

3-year trends to April 2017

Parametric plots of smoothed climate variables at Manilla
“Cold-Arid ‘Glacial'”

Climate trends to April 2017

April raw anomaly data (orange)

In terms of anomalies, April 2017 was even cooler than March, but much more arid. Anomalies of both daily maximum and daily minimum temperature fell by more than three degrees from February values, (They plot near the margins of the lower left graph.)
On most of the graphs, raw anomaly values for April plot towards the top left corner. Rather than moving along the top-right-to-bottom-left axis of “Droughts and flooding rains”, they combine low temperature and aridity as happened in ice ages.

 Fully smoothed data (red)

The most recent fully-smoothed data is for October 2016. Following a winter that was cool and moist, October shows a climate becoming steadily warmer and drier.
The smoothed anomaly of daily minimum temperature, which had hit a record high value in May 2016, approached a minimum value that was near normal.
Subsoil temperature anomaly was still falling rapidly, and was certain to reach a new record low smoothed value in November.


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.

HadCRUT Global Temperature Smoothing

Graph of recent HadCRUT4

As a long-term instrumental record of global temperature, the HadCRUT4 series may be the best we have. [See Ole Humlum’s blog in the notes below.]
I like to use the published smoothed annual series of HadCRUT4.  I find that this smoothing gets rid of the “noise” that makes graphs about global warming needlessly hard to read. I used the smoothed HadCRUT series to point out the curious inverse relation between the rate of warming and the rate of carbon emissions in this post from 2014.  I will refer again to that post in discussing the use of bent-line regression to describe global warming.

The Met Office Hadley Centre published the smoothing procedure that they used for the time series of smoothed annual average temperature in the HadCRUT3 data set. The smoothing function used is a 21-point binomial filter. The weights are specified in the link above.
The authors discuss the fudge that they use to plot smoothed values up to the current year, even though a validly smoothed value for that year would require ten years of data from future years. Their method is to continue the series by repeating the final value. They had added to the uncertainty by using a final value from just part of a year.
They relate how this procedure had caused consternation when the smoothed graph published in March 2008 showed a curve towards cooling, due to the final value used being very cool.
They show the effect by displaying the graph for that date.
They maintain that the unacceptable smoothed curve (because it shows cooling, not warming) is due mainly to using a final value from an incomplete year, saying:
“The way that we calculate the smoothed series has not changed except that we no longer use data for the current year in the calculation.”
That web-page is annotated:
“Last updated: 08/04/2008 Expires: 08/04/2009”
However, this appears to be the current procedure, used with the HadCRUT4 data set.

For my own interest, I plotted the values from 1990 to 2016 of the annual series of HadCRUT4, averaged over northern and southern hemispheres. [Data sources below.]

On my graph (above), all points 1990 to 2016 are as sourced. I have plotted raw values 2017 to 2026 (uncoloured) as I believe they are used in the smoothing procedure. I have also left uncoloured the smoothed data points from 2007 to 2016, to indicate that their values are not fully supported by data.

I agree with Ole Humlum that it is very good of the Met Office to come clean on the logical shortcomings of their procedure for smoothing, but it would be even better if they ceased plotting smoothed points when the smoothing depends on data points for future years.
In my monthly series of parametric plots of smoothed monthly values of climate anomaly variables, I have faced the same problem. I smooth using a 13-point Gaussian curve. My solution is to plot “fully-smoothed” data points (in colour) up to six months ago. That gives a consistent mapping up to that date. The fifth month before now (plotted uncoloured) is smoothed with an 11-point Gaussian and so on, up to the latest month with a necessarily unsmoothed value.


Notes

1.
Ole Humlum’s blog “Climate4you”

[See: Index\Global Temperature\Recent global air temperature change, an overview\]

2.
HadCRUT4 data
Source of raw annual values:

Source of smoothed annual values:

Rainy days in March 2017

March 2017 had 17 rain days. In 134 years, this was beaten only by June 1950, which had 18. [More about Manilla rain days here.]

Fronds of Acacia pendula

Weeping Myall

After the record high temperatures of February, day and night temperatures in March were normal, without extremes. On a weekly basis, the first half of the month was cooler than the second half. The subsoil temperature followed the weekly air temperature down, to be a degree below normal by the 20th.
The second week had mainly clear skies and low dew points, Then the skies became persistently cloudy and dew points were high. A number of afternoons had oppressive humidity, with minimum values over 70%.
Of the 17 rain days, only three were early in the month, and they had little rain. The highest daily reading of 15.0 mm came on the 22nd.

Weather log for March 2017

Comparing March months

March had been sunny and very warm in both 2016 and 2015. This March was like that of 2014 and 2013, but with even more moisture. The mean average temperature was normal but, due to the cloudiness (58% cloudy mornings), the mean daily maximum, 29.1° was low and the mean daily minimum, 16.4°, was high, yielding the record narrow daily temperature range for March of 12.7°. The mean early morning dew point, 13.7°, was the highest March value in a decade, and the mean afternoon humidity minimum, at 53%, was far above the usual value of 30%.
The total rainfall of 113.2 mm was at the 90th percentile, far above the March average of 54 mm. The previous month, February, had only 4.1 mm, at the 4th percentile for that month. Taken together the two-month total of 117.3 mm was well above normal, at the 63rd percentile.

Climate for March 2017


Data. In 2016, a Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge (formerly used for flood prediction) was set up in the museum yard as the official Manilla rain gauge. From 23 May 2016, its daily readings were published as if from Manilla Post Office, Station 55031. The gauge ceased transmitting five months later, on 7 October 2016. This month, after repair, it came into operation again. From 17 March 2017, daily readings are now published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.

In these reports,the rainfall data is from Station 55031 or Station 55312 when available. Otherwise, rainfall data is from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.  All other data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are also from there. 

3-year trends to March 2017

Parametric plots of smoothed climate variables at Manilla
“Very rainy and cloudy”

3-year trends to March 2017

March raw anomaly data (orange)

March 2017 was dramatically cooler and more moist than the extremely hot and dry February. March days were cooler than normal and both rainfall and cloud were very high. Dew point and daily temperature range moved to the moist side of normal.

 Fully smoothed data (red)

The most recent fully-smoothed data is for September 2016. Following a winter that was cool and moist, September days remained cool but the climate became drier.
The smoothed anomaly of daily minimum temperature, which had hit a record high value in May 2016, approached normal. Subsoil temperature fell rapidly to below normal.


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.

Mirrors to reflect the sun

I have begun to warm the shady side of my house with reflected sunlight in winter.

Aluminium mirrors to reflect sun

Sun Mirrors Mar-17

This winter’s set-up.

The first photo shows the present temporary set-up, done on the 10th of March 2017. That is, soon after I had changed the house from its summer regimen (to keep cool) to its winter regimen (to keep warm).
As shown, I attached aluminium foil to the courtyard wall on the south boundary of my block. The foil forms mirrors that reflect winter sun onto the south wall of the house, the edge of the floor slab, the footings and some nearby concrete paths.
The mirrors are sheets of aluminium cooking foil (“Alfoil”) 300 mm wide, cut to 900 mm lengths. I attached the foil to the wall in vertical strips with double-sided tape. As the wall is 12.6 metres long, the total mirror area is 11.3 square metres.

Last winter’s set-up.

Temporary aluminium mirrors to reflect sunlight

Sun Mirrors May-16

Last year, during April and May, I attached only 17 strips of foil 700 mm long in the same way. The total area then was 3.6 square metres. In that winter, the wind did a little damage, which I taped over. Much worse damage was caused by a magpie-lark attacking his reflection. By October, they were torn as shown in the third photo.

Aluminium foil damaged by birds

Bird Damage Oct-16

I repaired some of that damage, too, using builders’ foil, which is stronger. Early in November 2016, I removed all the foil. By then I wanted shade. not sunlight.

Effect of the mirrors

The white-painted courtyard wall reflects nearly all the sunlight it receives. However, this is diffuse reflection, going equally in every direction. Only a small part of it goes to points likely to warm the house.

Sunlight that has been reflected towards the house.

Reflected Light May-16

The aluminium foil reflects in a specular (mirror-like) way, sending nearly all of the solar energy downward at the same angle that it arrived. Because the foil is wrinkled, these mirrors spread the beam of sunlight out to about twice the width of the mirror surface. It is still quite concentrated as can be seen in the last photo, which is lit mainly by reflection from the foil.

Light reflected from these aluminium mirrors is not aimed precisely at points where it would best warm the house. The mirrors are not mobile, and their location owes a lot to chance. Furthermore, the house shades the mirrors for parts of each day; different parts as the season changes.
However, I think the warming effect will be useful, and I hope to be able to measure it.

Related Topics

The mirrors are part of the Courtyard that I have described in posts and pages listed in “My House Page”.


I raised the question of mirrors to reflect sunlight in a thread titled “Reflective Film” on a forum of the Alternative Technology Association (Melbourne).

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.