Troughs & a front are generating brisk winds, showers & the odd storm in SA, western VIC, western NSW & southern WA. A trough is causing patchy rain over central Australia & storms over WA's northwest. Brisk southerly winds on the NSW coast are bringing a few showers.
Weather in Business
Today, 1:26AM UTC
Coldest day in years, frost on the way in WA
Parts of southwestern Australia just shivered through their coldest day in more than a decade as a polar air mass hit WA. The sequence of satellite images below shows a cold front and trailing polar air mass passing over the southwest of WA during the last two days. Video: Composite infrared/visible satellite images over the past 48 hours, showing cold air spreading over southwestern Australia on Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday, Perth only reached a maximum temperature of 12.4ºC, which is about 7ºC below average for this time of year. This made Tuesday the city’s coldest day in two years and its fourth coldest day this century. Nearby, Bickley’s top temperature of 9.4ºC on Tuesday was its coldest day since 2005 and its coldest August day in records dating back to 1994. These abnormally low temperatures were made possible by a cold air mass combined with frequent rain and cloud cover, with Perth collecting close to 40mm of rain during the 48 hours to 9am on Wednesday. In the far south of WA, some of Tuesday’s precipitation even fell as snow on the Stirling Range. Daytime temperatures will gradually warm up over the next few days, with Perth forecast to reach about 17ºC on Wednesday and up to 21ºC by Friday. However, clear skies and lighter winds will cause very cold overnight temperatures across southern WA over the next few nights, with frost likely over the state's southern inland. Image: Forecast minimum temperatures on Thursday morning according to the ECMWF-HRES model.
09 Aug 2022, 10:48PM UTC
No bluffing, snow just fell in WA
Snow has fallen on Bluff Knoll in the Stirling Range in SW Western Australia, with locals flocking to see the flakes. Image: It's usually just the very summit of the mountain that sees settled snow. Source: Jodie Jones. We wrote yesterday about the severe chill headed for the southwestern corner of WA, noting that a particularly icy pool of air was tracking northwards from the Southern Ocean. For example, Perth had its coldest day of 2022 to date yesterday, with temps in the single-digit range for all but a few hours and a maximum of just 12.1°C. That's the sort of weather when you'd pretty much expect snow on the Stirling Range. Locals knew it too, heading out in large numbers (as you can see in this ABC Video) to catch a glimpse of a weather phenomenon which generally only occurs once or twice a year in Western Australia. How unusual is snow in WA? As mentioned, it actually happens once or twice a year, but snow can fall as early as Easter and as late as mid-Spring. The Stirling Range is only an hour or so north of Albany at a latitude of 34.3° South. That would place it roughly halfway between Sydney and Canberra (on a north-south axis) if it were on the east coast. The highest point, Bluff Knoll, is a 1099 m summit. Again, to use an east coast example, that makes it similar in height (and latitude) to Blackheath, the Blue Mountains town two hours west of Sydney that also tends to receive one or two snowfalls each winter. So while some people may wake up this morning and go, "What??? It snowed in WA? Has the world gone crazy?" this is actually far from an uncommon event. As mentioned earlier, you just need a particularly cold airmass in the wake of a cold front, and the chart on Tuesday afternoon snows how the air striking the region around Albany has tracked northwards direct from polar region. You can also see that it tracked a fair way north along WA's west coast, which is why places like Geraldton struggled to get past the mid-teens on Tuesday. The good news for chilled-to-the-bone West Australians is that temps should warm in coming days with showers clearing too. The bad news is that the next front arrives on the weekend bringing showers, although temps likely won’t be quite so cold this time. Oh, and for the record, your humble correspondent has hiked to the summit of Bluff Knoll. It's a good challenging day walk, about two hours each way from the car park for fit people (so yeah, it took more like three hours each way!) The views from the top are absolutely sensational.
09 Aug 2022, 8:44AM UTC
Lessons from a cancelled marathon: Athletic events, heat and the effects of climate change
The cancellation of the Manitoba Marathon due to extreme heat may provide a case study for athletic event management in extreme weather. As researchers in kinesiology and recreation management, we took an interest in how the disruption was handled not only professionally, but also from a personal perspective: one of us (Shaelyn) was participating in the half marathon. The race was cancelled after it had started, with runners already an hour into the race. The result was ambiguity and confusion. Runners were left scratching their heads both during and after the race: wondering what they were supposed to do during the disruption, and pondering how the course shutdown was handled after the event. Hot road races may become more common. The climate crisis is expected to increase severe weather , which can have devastating consequences such as loss of life, injury and illness when people are unprepared. Even when lives are not lost, the negative experience of an emergency can have psychological consequences . Runners can train for heat, wear appropriate clothing and hydrate, but even these steps are often not sufficient to overcome the effects of heat . Exercising in heat and humidity poses a serious challenge to the body's ability to regulate body temperature and running in such conditions can significantly decrease performance and lead to health issues such as exhaustion and heat stroke. Managing the hazards posed by a changing climate will be necessary for all community event organizers going forward. Shaelyn's first-person account is helpful in understanding what happened on the course during the cancelled Manitoba Marathon. Here is her experience: Like other runners, I had trained in an extremely cold winter and spring and was not prepared for a hot run in the record high temperatures that were forecast for this late June race. Event representatives urged runners to stay hydrated and to adjust their goal given the anticipated heat . I kept an eye on my email for an adjusted start time or cancellation. With no news, I headed to the start line. Once started, it didn't take me long to feel the heat of the day but volunteers did a great job of keeping us hydrated. However, I could not escape the heat; several miles in, my heart rate was above the ideal range. With eight kilometres left, a volunteer told us the course was closed and that we could keep running if we wanted to, which left me confused. Was the course really closed? Should I trust one volunteer? If the course was closed, what were my options? The course was not physically closed and the runners around me were still running. Aware of no alternative way of getting back other than on my own two feet, I kept running. This response is not surprising. When faced with a crisis, the Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication manual put forward by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control presents four ways people process information: When I crossed the finish line, there was no indication the course had closed. It wasn't until I listened to the news that I was able to confirm the closure. After recovering, I read Twitter threads from participants. My sense of confusion and uncertainty was not unique . Conflicting information circulated about water station closures and traffic no longer being controlled. Shutting down the course was understandable to protect the safety of runners. However, participants may have been hesitant to stop considering they had likely trained for months, and may have been using the race to try to meet a goal or qualify for another race. Effective communication reduces injury and loss-of-life during an emergency by providing the public with information to make good choices . A crisis can be the catalyst for organizations to build trust with their community or it can harm the relationship, depending on the strategy used . Race organizers should provide runners with essential information regardless of the specific hazard. Runners should have advance knowledge of what to expect in case of race disruption or rerouting prior to setting off on the course. This way, whether there is a weather disruption, act of violence or other potentially catastrophic event, racers will be prepared to react. Complicating the situation is the organizational structure of many events. Volunteers are essential for delivering many community events. While they bring skills and knowledge, they may not have specific training in emergency management nor be sufficiently prepared to help event participants navigate the challenges posed during a major disruption. Organization preparedness should include ensuring volunteer readiness to respond during an emergency. Events like the Manitoba Marathon provide runners with the opportunity to reach a goal that took months of training. This year though, many runners hobbled away from the event with mixed feelings about whether the event should have gone ahead, and if so, how the situation should have been managed. As record high temperatures continue across the world this summer , investment in emergency preparedness is necessary to ensure communities can stay safe while sharing meaningful experiences together.
Weather in Business
11 Jul 2022, 3:11AM UTC
Record month for wind power in Australia's National Electricity Market
New data shows June was one of the best ever months for renewable energy in Australia’s National Electricity Market and a record-breaking month for wind power. June 2022 was a relatively dry and cool month for much of eastern and southeastern Australia, with frequent periods of strong winds and clear skies. NSW registered its driest June since 1986, while Sydney and Brisbane had their sunniest June since 2004. This abundance of sunshine and wind created an ideal month for renewable energy generation in the National Electricity Market (NEM). The combined generation of solar (rooftop and utility), wind and hydropower across the NEM in June 2022 was 5,969 Gigawatt hours (GWh). This is the third highest monthly volume of renewable energy generation in the NEM in records dating back to 1998. Wind power Wind power had a record-breaking month in the NEM, with 2,527 GWh of generation in June 2022 beating the previous monthly record of 2472 GWh from July 2021. Victoria also set a new record for wind power in June this year, with 1,073 GWh easily surpassing the state’s previous record of 922 GWh from July 2021. Solar Power Solar power also had a strong month, with rooftop generation in June outperforming May 2022, despite May usually being the sunnier month. This was the first year on record where June rooftop solar generated more power than May. Utility solar also continued to see strong growth, producing 589 GWh in the NEM during June 2022, which was a big step up from 445 GWh in June 2021. Hydropower While June was a very dry month for large areas of eastern and southeastern Australia, an abundance of rain earlier in the year ensured that there was plenty of water available for hydropower. The NEM received 1,885 GWh of electricity from hydropower in June 2022, which was the 8th highest monthly value in 283 months of records dating back to 1998. The combination of favourable weather and continued growth in the sector caused June 2022 to be an exceptional, and in some cases record-breaking month for renewable energy in the NEM.
21 Jun 2022, 3:53AM UTC
La Nina floods make NSW ports too fresh for ships
La Niña has had a surprising impact on shipping operations in NSW this year, with increased freshwater outflows from flooded rivers affecting the behavior of ships entering some ports. Ships entering tidal ports in NSW are affected by local weather conditions, tides and waves, which can all affect a vessel’s ability to enter and operate safely within a port. One of the important things to consider when allowing larger vessels to enter NSW ports is the tide, which needs to be high enough to allow deep drafted vessels to enter, navigate and exit a port safely. This year, the window of time where water levels are high enough for ships to enter some NSW ports has been reduced by enhanced freshwater inflows from heavy rain and flooding. Image: Rainfall between January and May 2022 was in the top 10 percent of historical records for most of eastern NSW, with some areas receiving their highest rainfall on record for this period. Source: Bureau of Meteorology Freshwater is less dense than salt water, which allows ships to sit lower in the water. The prolific flooding seen in parts of eastern NSW earlier this year caused huge injections of freshwater into the coastal zone, which decreased salinity and affected shipping operations. According to Philip Perkins, Meteorologist and Sales Executive of Ports, Offshore and Safety at Weatherzone, "port users and operators at river-based terminals have been impacted by summer and autumn rainfall. “During high river flows water salinity is reduced. This means vessels can behave differently, resulting in elevated risk to vessels even at berth. Even when secured properly, berthed vessels can be impacted by passing traffic in the terminal.’’ In addition to the safety of ships, decreased salinity at river-based terminals can also reduce the window of time where larger vessels can enter these ports. In some cases, this may force ships to wait for the next high tide before entering or departing the port. Fortunately, river levels and discharge rates have now returned to more normal levels in eastern NSW. However, the ongoing influence of La Niña and a developing negative Indian Ocean Dipole increases the risk of more flooding in the months ahead. With the ground still holding a lot of water, any periods of heavy rain this winter and spring are likely to cause flooding, which may have immediate impacts on shipping operations.