A trough and cold front are causing rain over VIC, NSW & TAS tending patchy over QLD & the interior. A trough is pushing into SA with a low over the Bight, bringing gusty showers & storms. Bubbling highs frame east & west, sending onshore winds & the odd shower over east QLD.
Weather in Business
Today, 2:40AM UTC
Drenching in Death Valley
The iconic American desert hotspot of Death Valley has just had extremely heavy rain by its standards, with flash flooding stranding at least 1,000 people. Major flash flooding in Death Valley National Park this morning. Approximately two dozen vehicles trapped in mud and rock debris at the Inn at Death Valley. Took nearly 6 hours to get out. #cawx #stormhour pic.twitter.com/3rDFUgY7ws — John Sirlin (@SirlinJohn) August 5, 2022 Death Valley, in the Mojave Desert of eastern California near the Nevada border, is America's lowest, driest and hottest place. In June last year, we ran a story here at Weatherzone about the aptly named Furnace Creek recording a temperature of 53°C – at that stage the hottest recorded temp anywhere in the world in 2021. But Furnace Creek was literally only just warming up. In August last year, it recorded a day of 54.4°C. (Here's our video on that.) So here we are in August 2022 and the weather picture in Death Valley is currently dramatically different. Earlier this week, Furnace Creek recorded 1.46 inches of rainfall (about 37 mm), the greatest amount ever recorded in August. Death Valley averages just 0.11 inches (about 2.8 mm) of rain in August. Indeed, the remarkable recent downpour was within about half a millimetre of the highest rainfall total in Death Valley on any day of the year. It was also about three-quarters of the 1.94 inches (about 42 mm) that the area typically receives, on average, over the course of an entire year. Image: The waters will presumably bring life to Death Valley. Source: @Aristide_in_Wonderland via Instagram. "The floodwaters pushed dumpster containers into parked cars, which caused cars to collide into one another," the US National Park Service said in a statement. "Additionally, many facilities are flooded including hotel rooms and business offices." Death Valley National Park was closed for a while, however floodwaters have now begun to recede, with fine weather in the forecast and somewhat "mild" temps for August on the cards from this weekend onwards, with nothing higher than about 42°C or 43°C in the forecast.
10 Aug 2022, 8:50AM UTC
Climate change and extreme heat are making us more anxious
Globally, heat waves have become an increasingly frequent summer affair , as much of the world faces extremely high temperatures. The rising frequency and intensity of heat waves can trigger various forms of emotional distress affecting people's mental health. One such emerging form of distress is eco-anxiety, which is defined by the American Psychological Association as the chronic fear of environmental doom that comes from observing climate change. In other words, people are worried about what a changing planet means for them and future generations. According to a landmark survey on eco-anxiety , 68 per cent of adults reported experiencing "at least a little eco-anxiety" and 48 per cent of young people report that climate change negatively affects their daily life and functioning. As a social and behavioural epidemiologist, I study how environments -- social and natural -- influence individuals and their health. For example, recent research by my team at Simon Fraser University found that a small number of people experience debilitating levels of eco-anxiety that cause cognitive and functional impairments that limit their ability to live happy and healthy lives. These worries are normal and even rational . We are connected to the land, air and water around us. So when our environments change, a primal sadness and worry is perfectly appropriate and perhaps even advantageous for survival. For millennia, people have relied on their ability to monitor, adapt to and migrate within their environment in order to survive . However, what we're facing with climate change is a whole new level of change. As highlighted by last year's IPCC report , the evidence showing that climate change causes greater frequency and intensity of extreme heat events is more certain than any other documented effect of climate change. Unfortunately, the same report predicts that global temperatures will continue to rise and their effects will worsen. As our environments continue to change, we will need to adapt to a new era of extreme weather. UBC's Climate Hub has a number of heat coping strategies for individuals, communities and governments to help you stay safe during extreme heat. These strategies include wearing a wet t-shirt, limiting outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day, using community misting stations and promoting long-term urban forestry. Meanwhile, the Mental Health and Climate Change Alliance has identified resources to help people deal with the eco-anxiety that can come from extreme heat. It remains unclear what treatments and prevention strategies for eco-anxiety may be most effective, as public health and therapeutic research in this area is an emerging field. However, one thing is for certain: none of us can fix climate change, at least not alone. Climate change is a collective problem, not an individual one. Mitigating and adapting to it will require investments to build happier and healthier communities that will ensure that during extreme heat and other weather events people are not left to fend for themselves. Governments and international agencies must make mental health a priority in the era of climate change if we are going to effectively navigate the challenges ahead. In particular, local governments must begin processes of identifying climate vulnerabilities and working with households, neighbourhoods and community organizations to address them. In some areas such as British Columbia , funding is being made available for climate change mitigation and adaptation. This is critical to ensuring climate resilience. It provides a framework for future investments in other jurisdictions and thus helps ease eco-anxiety. In Canada, there are an array of community projects that are leading the way in raising awareness about the importance of social connection in promoting health, wellness and resilience. Interventions such as these can ensure that neighbourhoods are ready to deal with crises when they come by ensuring neighbours are aware of who in their communities might be vulnerable. As we continue to deal with extreme heat this summer, one of the most important things we can do is work together to stay safe and healthy. Without dedicated support, the work necessary to adapt to climate change won't happen until it's too late. The time for climate action is now.
10 Aug 2022, 4:23AM UTC
More rain as another northwest cloudband crosses Australia
This week’s weather will be a perfect example of how a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) affects Australia, with a thick northwest cloudband causing widespread rain and flooding. The satellite image below shows a northwest cloudband extending over Australia on Wednesday, August 10. This northwest cloudband is forming as upper-level winds transport moisture-laden air from the tropical Indian Ocean across the Australian continent. This stream of tropical moisture is linking up with a mid-latitude low pressure system and associated cold air mass to creating a large and thick band of cloud. This type of weather pattern is common during a negative IOD and this is the second such cloudband that has affected Australia since the negative IOD was declared last week. After soaking parts of WA earlier this week, this cloudband will drift further east over the next few days and produce widespread cloud and rain over parts of every other state and territory in Australia. The maps below show where one forecast model predicts rain on each of the next four days. Image: Forecast daily rainfall during the rest of this week, between Thursday and Sunday. This system is likely to produce around 10 to 30 mm of rain over a broad area of eastern and southeastern Australia between Thursday and Sunday, extending from central QLD down to TAS and SA. Showers are likely to continue over parts of TAS, VIC and NSW early next week as a low pressure system lingers above the western Tasman Sea. Another cold front should also bring a burst of rain in WA from around Tuesday next week. Over the next seven days, rain that is heavy enough cause flooding could affect several states and territories. This includes parts of the Murray Darling Basin, as well as areas in NSW, VIC and TAS that were affected by flooding last week. Image: Forecast accumulated rain during the next seven days (Wednesday to Tuesday) accoring to the ECMWF-HRES model. Flood watches and warnings are likely to be issued in the coming days, so be sure to check the latest warnings in your area.
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.