It’s well-known that Australia is a hot dry land. Most of the country is desert. And deserts are the hottest places to live. This summer (2012-2013) in particular has been a hot one. Ever since spring places like Melbourne and Adelaide have been consistently hitting temperatures above 35°C. Even the island of Tasmania has been recording temperatures.
Since December Mother Nature has upped the ante, with Melbourne and Adelaide having temperatures above 40°C. Given that these cities are on the coast, some inland areas can easily reach temperatures of 46°C+. The the desert areas which commonly receive these temperatures are, the inland areas in the subtropical region below the Tropic of Capricorn.
Alice Springs Australia’s largest inland city and closest city to Ayers Rock has had consistent temperatures around 44°C. And while further down south in the often mentioned cities of Melbourne and Adelaide, can at least get some respite fluctuating between 21°C and 45°C
While every sane community of human beings is asking mother nature to turn down the temperature Birdsville in Queensland is looking to break the record. With the weather forecast to hit 50°C plus on the 9th January, 2013, Birdsville wanted Australia’s record high temperature to become theirs.
Australia’s highest ever recorded temperature of 50.7°C was at Oodnadatta in the warm north-west of South Australia. Sadly on that same day while the residents of Birdsville walked to the swimming pool with their flip-flops (they are called thongs in Australia, so I changed the name for better understanding) melting on the bitumen, the temperature peaked at 49°C
To add salt to their wounds Moomba in South Australia reached 49.6°C beating Birdsville on that day. The only record that came on that day when was Sydney recorded its highest ever temperature of 45.8°C
The strange fact is that the further south you go on the mainland of Australia the higher the highest recorded temperature, given that the south is cooler than the north. The main reason for this is that the warm northerly wind in the north comes from the ocean keeping things cooler. And in the south the northerly reaches them by crossing the desert.
To give you an idea of this phenomena we have made a list of Australia’s main cities in order of latitude from highest (south- closest to the south pole, but still not very close) to lowest (north and closest to the equator)
Adelaide 46.1°C– the amazing fact is that Adelaide is in the driest state on the driest continent on earth
Canberra 42.2°C– the only inland capital city
Perth 46.2°C– completely surrounded by desert, warm weather is not unusual and more consistent for Perth than Adeliade
Brisbane 43.2°C– unlike the other cities Brisbane is set inland on a coastal plain, so we’ve included nearby Gold Coast 40.5°C to show the compare the difference
Strangely enough the highest recorded temperatures ever were at Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley, California at 56.7°C and 55°C at Kebili, Tunisia. But with most of these warm areas in Australia very sparsely inhabited, there is a good chance that Australia’s record could have been broken.
The only heat record truly Australia belongs to the remote town of Marble Bar in north-western Western Australia.
The world heat record for consecutive days goes to Marble Bar in Western Australia, which recorded maximum temperatures equaling or over 37.8°C on 161 consecutive days, between 30 October 1923 and 7 April 1924.
Until then we’ll just have to make do with cooking ours eggs on the pavement to save electricity for the air conditioning, ad find the nearest billabong or ocean to keep cool in.