Australian Heat Wave Is Literally Off The Color Scale

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Weather maps, of course, indicate the temperature of different areas using color gradients. Areas that are hotter are red; and as they get even hotter. The blue areas indicate cooler temperatures.

Due to the fact that there are so many temperature differences even on very small areas of maps, color gradients are a neat way to show those differences — it’s not very useful to simply print temperature readings in text form on every mm of a map to show temperature gradients that are a fraction of a degree.

It has gotten so hot in Australia this week that extra colors has actually been added to the country’s temperature maps — dark purple and magenta. The new color is for 51 to 54 degrees Celsius (123.8 to 129.2 degrees Fahrenheit). Previously, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology used the color black for the hottest temperatures on the map, which went as high as 50 degrees (122 degrees Fahrenheit). The extreme heat, of course, has broken temperature records in the country.

Australia’s new temperature gradient in use on extremely hot day. (Image Credit: Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology)

“In order to better understand what temperatures we might see … we introduced two new colors,” said Aaron Coutts-Smith, manager of climate services at the Bureau of Meteorology.

He said that temperatures are forecast to exceed 50 degrees (122 degrees Fahrenheit) over a large area of Australia next Monday.

I guess Australians won’t need hot water for baths at this time!

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Australia’s average maximum temperature of 39 degrees (102.2 degrees Fahrenheit) has been exceeded for seven consecutive days. The last time anything similar happened was when it was exceeded in 1973 for four consecutive days.

Australian Wildfires

The heat wave has fueled fires in 5 of 6 Australian states, including at least 90 wildfires in New South Wales in Southeastern Australia, as well as the island of Tasmania.

With reduced rainfall and plants losing water, plants are withering and drying out, making them more combustible.

Lightning can strike and ignite one little patch of dry plants, and it can spread as far as the dry fields of plants extend.

This is why wildfires can last days, and become so enormous.

This is only one of multiple unusual phenomena which signify that the global climate is indeed warmingClimate change is real, and these stories of temperature record increases should help the few remaining deniers to realize this.

Main Sources: Reuters and Think Progress


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Nicholas Brown

Has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is: Kompulsa.com.

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