Australia’s hottest day?.....1828 at a blistering 53.9 °C Back before man-made climate change was frying Australia, when CO2 was around 300ppm, the continent savoured an ideal pre-industrial climate…….. RIGHT? This is the kind of climate we are spending $10bn per annum to get back too….. Right again? We are told today’s climate has more records and more extremes than times gone by, but the few records we have from the early 1800’s are eye-popping. Things were not just hotter, but so wildly hot it burst thermometers. The earliest temperature records we have show that Australia was a land of shocking heatwaves and droughts, except for when it was bitterly cold or raging in flood. In other words, nothing has changed, except possibly things might not be quite so hot now! Lance Pidgeon has been researching records from early explorers and from newspapers. What he’s uncovered is fascinating! It’s as if history is being erased!
For all that we hear about recent record-breaking climate extremes, past records that are equally extreme, and sometimes even more so, are being ignored.
In January 1896, a savage blast “like a furnace” stretched across Australia from east to west and lasted for weeks.
The death toll reached 437 people in the eastern states.
Newspaper reports showed that in Bourke, NSW, the heat approached 120°F (48.9°C) on three days; The maximum at or above 102 degrees F (38.9°C) for 24 days straight! ……
1. By Tuesday Jan 14, people were reported falling dead in the streets.
2. Unable to sleep, people in Brewarrina walked the streets at night for hours, thermometers recorded109F at midnight.
3. Overnight, the temperature did not fall below 103°F.
4. On Jan 18 in Wilcannia, five deaths were recorded in one day, the hospitals were overcrowded and reports said that “more deaths are hourly expected”.
5. By January 24, in Bourke, many businesses had shut down (almost everything bar the hotels).
6. Panic stricken Australians were fleeing to the hills in climate refugee trains.
As reported at the time, the government felt the situation was so serious that to save lives and ease the suffering of its citizens they added cheaper train services.
What is most interesting about this was the skill, dedication and length of meteorological data taken in the 1800′s.
When our current climate is “the most important moral challenge” why is it there is so little interest in our longest and oldest data?
One of the most meticulous and detailed temperature records in the world from the 1800′s comes from Adelaide, largely thanks to Sir Charles Todd.
The West Terrace site in Adelaide was one of the best in the world at the time, and provided accurate historic temperatures from “Australia’s first permanent weather bureau at Adelaide in 1856″.
Rainfall records even appear to go as far back as 1839. Lance Pidgeon went delving into the National Archives and was surprised at what he found.
The media are in overdrive, making out that “the extreme heat is the new normal” in Australia....BUT...The 'Great Australian Heatwave' of January 2013 didn’t push the mercury above 50C at any weather station in Australia.
Yet, it’s been 50C (122F) and hotter in many inland towns across Australia over the past century, especially in the late 1800′s and early to mid 1900′s.
So, there you have it.........a little bit of history trivia in answer to the current furore about 'climate warming' in Australia.............