Spring 2019 hot and very dry

Blooming senna bush

Senna coronilloides

Spring was marked by a succession of warm and cool spells. Nights varied around the normal seasonal temperature but days had no spells cooler than normal. A hot spell late in November had days 6° above normal as a weekly average. The dew point showed very dry air in mid-November.
There were nine rain days, as in the droughty spring of 2002. The highest reading was 16.6 mm. Rainy and cloudy days came about every three weeks.

Weather log spring 2019

The hot dry climate this spring was very like that of 2014, and quite unlike the cool wet climate of 2016.
Days, averaging 29.0°, were hotter than in any spring except 2002 (29.2°). Nights, at 11.2°, were only half a degree above average. (The winter of 2019 had a similar pattern.)
Dryness was shown by very little morning cloud (21%), very low early-morning dew point (3.7°) and very wide daily temperature range (17.8°).
The total rainfall of 62.4 mm makes this the fourth driest spring, after 1957 (23 mm), 1944 (40 mm), and 1951 (54 mm).

Climate spring 2019


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. I have used it since 20 July, when the Museum gauge began recording again. My estimates of early morning dew point have become anomalously low. From 1 August 2019, I use values taken from Tamworth Airport graphs at the time of minimum temperature.
All other data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

3-year trends to January 2018

Hot and dry

3-year trends to January 2018

January raw anomaly data (orange)

January 2018, like December, had hot days and hot nights, but had even lower rainfall.

 Fully smoothed data (red)

The latest fully-smoothed data point is for July 2017.
Most variables were normal and static at that time. Dew point was low and falling, while daily temperature range was rather high and rising.


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.

3-year trends to December 2017

Hot days and nights

3-year trends to December 2017

December raw anomaly data (orange)

December 2017 had hot days and hot nights, but the subsoil remained cold. Rainfall was low, while other measures of moisture were near normal.

 Fully smoothed data (red)

The latest fully-smoothed data point is for June 2017. By that time, all variables were within the normal range except for dew point. Even dew point was in the centre of the range of low values that has become “normal” since 2010. Three variables were static: daily maximum temperature, subsoil temperature, and rainfall. Cloudiness, dew point, and daily temperature range. were moving towards aridity. Daily minimum temperature was falling.


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.

April 2016 also warm

Photo of red flowers

Red flowering gum

In the whole month, only one day and seven nights were cooler than normal. Days and nights warmed together. Weekly average temperature was 4.1° above normal early in the month, and again 3.5° above normal at the very end.
Rain was recorded only on the 10th (5.8 mm) and the 11th (13.0 mm). While the early morning dew point was high only when it rained, the afternoon humidity was always high, falling below 30% only once.

Weather log for April 2016

Comparing April months

Daily maximum, minimum, and mean temperatures were all very high but not record values for April. The mean of 20.5° was beaten by 20.6° in April 2005. In that month, this month’s daily maximum (29.0°) was also beaten (29.5°). This month’s daily minimum (12.1°) was beaten by the record value of 12.2° set in 2014.
The subsoil temperature, and other variables were near normal.
The total rainfall of 18.8 mm was well below the average of 40 mm, in the 32nd percentile. However, for the sixth month in a row, there are no serious rainfall shortages for totals for any number of months. Now, the greatest shortage is the 48-month total of 2191 mm, which is in the 12th percentile. Ponds persist in Greenhatch Creek.

Climate for April 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.

March 2016 had a warm dry spell

Photo of Pittosporum berries

“Native Apricots”

In the first half of March the average weekly temperature was more than three degrees above normal. Nine days had maxima above 35°, when the month usually has only one. However, no day reached 40°, as happened in March last year (20/03/15).
No rain fell in this time: the period of 43 days between February 4 and March 19 may have been the seventh longest rain-free period in 133 years. (No official record is now kept.)
Normal weather returned in the second half of the month. I recorded 20.8 mm of rain on the 19th, and further rain on the 30th and 31st.

Weather log for March 2016

Comparing March months

Despite the cool change, this was the warmest March of the new century. Daily maxima, minima, and means were all 2° above average. The subsoil temperature was also 1° high, as in March 2012 and 2013, but not as high as in 2007 (2° high).
This was not a dry month. The moisture indicators cloudiness, humidity, and (low) daily temperature range were just slightly on the dry side.
The total rainfall of 35mm was below the average of 53 mm, but in the 46th percentile, not far below the median. Again, there are no serious rainfall shortages for totals for any number of months. In fact, the five-month total of 362 mm is high, in the 81st percentile. Ponds persist in Greenhatch Creek.

Climate graph for March 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.

February 2016: hot, dry days

Photo of cooba blossom

Cooba in February

Weekly average temperatures began 2 or 3 degrees low, but ended with a long warm spell 3 degrees high, that extended into March. Days were especially hot, with the 26th reaching 41.5°, the equal second hottest February day. Nights were seldom very warm, and the early morning of the 26th was 25° cooler than the afternoon.
Few days were cloudy, none of them late in the month
Rain fell only on the 3rd, as three heavy showers of 7mm, 27mm and 13mm. The second shower, at 5pm, had the most intense rain of the new century: 27 mm in less than 27 minutes. Bureau of Meteorology data show that such a half-hour storm, yielding 1 mm of rain per minute, has only a 10% chance of happening here in any year. It is a “one in 10 year event”.

Weather log February 2016

Comparing February months

While the average temperature for the month (25.8°) was normal, the mean daily maximum, at 34.7°, was the hottest for February. A rather low mean daily minimum, (16.8°) made the daily temperature range a desert-like 17.9°. This is the widest February value, 3.5° wider than normal.
Other signs of dryness were the low early morning dew point (10.8°) and very few cloudy mornings (17%).
The total rainfall of 47mm was below the average of 67 mm, but right on the median 50th percentile: just half of all February months have been wetter. Again, there are no serious rainfall shortages for totals for any number of months.

Climate for February 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.

Hot Days and ENSO

Graphical log of max temps and hot days

More frequent hot days do not come in a three year cycle, but in a 1.5 year cycle related to ENSO.

The Hot Day data set

The graph of number of hot days per year

Log of annual hot days in 16 yearsThe graph on the left is one I posted earlier. The height of each data point represents the number of hot days in a year, plotted near January. The pattern of points led me to join them by a smooth curve. This curve swings up and down rather regularly, with five peaks and five dips in the fifteen years. That is, more frequent hot days seem to come in a three-year cycle.
Is this cycle “real”? Should we look for a cause? Will the cycle continue?
Probably not! The points of measurement are one year apart. Cycles that are only three years long may be “aliases” of different and shorter undetectable cycles. (See Note below on Nyquist frequency.)

More detailed hot day data

Other graphs already shown include further data: the number of hot days in each month, and the 13-year average number of hot days in each calendar month. From these I have calculated a relative frequency. That is, the ratio of the actual number to the average number for that month.
Only the months of November, December, January and February have enough hot days to calculate a relative frequency, but these can show changes within the hotter months of each year.

The daily maximum temperature data set

A graph that I posted in “El Niño and my climate” shows a curve of smoothed monthly means of daily maximum temperature anomalies. The yearly cycle of summer-to winter temperature has been removed. I have also applied a smoothing function, which makes the monthly points of measurement effectively two or three months apart. As a result, cycles longer than about six months can be detected.
There are about 10 peaks and 10 dips in the 15.5 year curve. They define a cycle of about 1.5 years wavelength. That cycle is so much longer than the minimum-detectable six month cycle that “aliasing” is not likely.
The reality of this temperature curve is supported by its close similarity to the recognised curve of the El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO), as read from NINO3.4 Pacific Ocean sea surface temperature anomalies.

A combined graph of hot day and temperature data

The graph at the top of the page presents the monthly smoothed maximum temperature anomaly again, using the scale at the left. To this I have added data on the number and frequency of hot days.
The annual number of hot days is shown in blue, in blue boxes. The boxes are placed higher or lower according to the number, but the height is adjusted to match other data better.
A “Hot Day Index” is shown by blue diamonds. This index is based on the relative frequency of hot days in each month that has data.  I have re-scaled the values to improve the match. (See Note on Re-scaling below.)

Matching hot days with temperature

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