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Do meteorologists forecast meteors on clear nights?

Max Gonzalez, Tuesday July 8, 2014 - 12:49 EST

The main weather phenomenon currently dominating the eastern Australian landscape is a high pressure system which is leading to clear skies with plenty of sunshine during the day.

High pressure systems, however, tend to be responsible for the very cold nights such as the one observed over QLD and NSW this morning. Light winds and clear night-time skies (both related to high pressure systems) are the ingredients for cold nights. Add some humidity, and you will have the trifecta for fog and frost.

Early this morning, temperatures dropped to 2.9 degrees in Bundaberg, its coldest July morning since 1966. Further inland, Mt Isa dropped to -2.2 degrees, its coldest July morning since 2000 and second night in a row dropping below freezing. Even the Sunshine Coast Ap dropped to 3 degrees, its coldest July morning in 6 years.

Across the border, Gulgong's -3 degrees and Ballina's 2 degrees made it the coldest July morning since 2007.

The cold mornings will be continuing over the next fortnight, after all we are in winter. However, these are likely to get even colder over some places later in the weekend and early next week as a front marching over southeastern Australia on Friday brings a very cold air mass in its wake.

Climatologists do Climate, Oceanographers do Ocean but unfortunately Meteorologists don't do Meteors. Or at least not in the way people think when referring to meteors and planets.

In the true sense of the word, snow and rain are a type of meteorite. The reality, however, is that we associate meteors with comets and asteroids. These are not really weather related and are studied by a different branch of science, dare to take a guess at which one could it be?

We have to go back to the year 340 BC, when Aristotle first used the term "Meteorologica", referring to anything falling from the sky as a meteor.

Hence in clear nights, like the ones we are currently experiencing in eastern Australia, and in the absence of falling snow and rain, meteorologists can only gaze at the night sky forecasting how cold it will get.

On the bright side, mornings may be definitely cold but at the break of dawn a new sunny day would have begun.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2014

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