At a time of bushfires in the news – a reminder about facts of Black Saturday 7 Feb 2009 temperaturesJanuary 6th, 2013 by Warwick Hughes
The Bureau of Meteorology through the media is prone to quote the 46.4 degrees temperature recorded in central Melbourne on that day – also spruiked as all time Melbourne hot day. Although what exact relevance the temperature in the middle of the huge and growing Melbourne urban heat island (UHI) has to conditions on the fire grounds – I do not know.
It is worth remembering that the maximum temperature at Kilmore Gap on Black Saturday was 42.7 – that is the nearest recording available to where a power line failure ignited the Kilmore fire – which amidst Govt Fire Authorities confusion – birthed the Black Saturday disaster.
It needs saying that there are other constant biases in what the media report from the BoM.
Statements such as “Hobart or Melbourne or Perth had their hottest day ever on a certain date” – quite apart from not warning readers/viewers that the UHI will only drive temperatures higher over time – does not take into account that our long term temperature stations are mainly in cities and towns. There are very few long term stations from rural locations around which people have not congregated over the decades.
Also we have many more weather stations in recent times than say in the 1880′s – so once again here is a bias in the BoM claiming recent “hot day” records and watching for their latest “Holy Grail” – the “overall Australian hottest day”.
Currently the BoM claims the highest daily average maximum temperature, averaged over Australia is 40.2 on 21/12/1972. HTChris Gillham
Earlier data was too sparse to be comparable so of course eventually they will claim that a certain day will be “Australia’s hottest day ever” but there will be no comparable data to check back over our history.