Australia heatwave: overnight minimum of 35.9°C in Noona sets new record

Temperatures in Sydney’s west and other parts of NSW were forecast to reach 45°C on the fifth day of Australia’s extreme heatwave, with more records expected to be broken. Weather was expected to cool in Melbourne and other southern parts of Victoria. Photograph: Australian Bureau of Meteorology

On fifth day of record-breaking extreme weather, temperatures in parts of Victoria, ACT and NSW forecast to soar above 40°C, including in Sydney’s west

— Extreme temperatures are persisting – and even peaking – in Victoria and New South Wales on the fifth day of Australia’s extraordinary, record-breaking heatwave with Noona in western NSW recording a minimum temperature of 35.9°C, a new Australian heat record.

On Friday, parts of NSW and the ACT were again forecast to soar above 40°C – for the fifth day in a row.

Nine records were broken in NSW on Wednesday, and more are forecast to fall on Friday.

In Penrith in Sydney’s west, temperatures will hit 45°C, up from 42°C on Thursday. In Menindee – the site of mass fish kills in the Murray river – another 45°C day is on the cards. It reached 47°C on Wednesday and Thursday, and the maximum temperature hasn’t been below 45°C since Monday.

Rebecca Farr, a forecaster for the Bureau of Meteorology, said Canberra would break the record for the longest stretch of over-40°C days since records began in 1939.

“For Canberra, today we are forecasting 40°C and, if we reach that, it will the the first time on record that we will have four consecutive days of 40°C or more,” she said.

“Broken Hill is forecast to hit four consecutive days of 45°C, and that also hasn’t happened before. Records there started in 1957.”

The northern regions of Victoria, including Mildura, Shepparton and the border towns of Albury-Wodonga, will also stay above 40°C.

Heatwaves and climate change in Australia
According to the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO, Australia has warmed by 1°C since 1910, and temperatures will increase in the future.

So how will climate change affect future heatwaves in Australia?

The CSIRO and BoM have compiled different models for predicting the outcome of climate change in Australia to produce a guide to how different regions will likely be affected.

They found that every part of Australia will continue to experience increases in average temperature, and will have a higher frequency of hot days.

The duration of hot spells will increase in every region. In many areas in the northern half of Australia, the average number of days above 35°C could increase by two to three times.

Late in the century, towns such as Darwin, Alice Springs and Broome may experience days with temperatures above 35°C for about a third of the year.

These higher temperatures will also result in higher evaporation, which will continue to make drought conditions worse.

But southern and coastal regions will experience the welcome relief of sub-30 temperatures and even rain. Melbourne is set for a maximum of 28°C, Geelong 26°C and Warrnambool 21°C.

It will also cool in South Australia, at least compared with the record-breaking 48.9°C recorded in Port Augusta on Tuesday.

Temperatures will still hover in the 30s but the stretch of nearly-50°C temperatures looks to be over.

Port Augusta is set for 32°C (down from 48.9°C), Tarcoola 31°C (down from 48.7°C), Coober Pedy 3°8C (down from 47.8°C) and Woomera 37°C (down from 47.6°C).

But central Australia will remain scorching. Oodnadatta – one of the hottest 15 places in the Earth this week – will still sit at 46°C.

In NSW, the towns of Ivanhoe, Bourke and Wilcannia are all facing 46°C. Gundagai will swelter through 44°C, which is only slightly down on the 45°C experienced on Wednesday.

Farr said the summer had smashed records across the state.

“Yesterday we saw some January records broken,” Farr said. “Cobar (47.2°C), Parkes (44.5°C), Wagga (45.2°C) and Tuggeranong (40.8°C) all had their hottest January day since records began.

“On Wednesday, we even saw some annual records broken. It was the hottest day since records began at Broken Hill airport (46.3°C), Whitecliff (48.2°C), Wilcannia (47.9°C) and Albury (45.6°C).”

Temperatures in NSW are expected to drop over the weekend. Menindee is set for 36°C with some cloud cover and Penrith 32°C. Wilcannia and Ivanhoe will drop to 40°C, but Bourke is set to stay hot at 45°C on Saturday, and hold at over 40°C through all of next week.


by Naaman Zhou | The Guardian

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