Australian Dome of Heat increases maximum temperature range and bushfires

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Weather forecast charge with purple and black colours added to extend temperature range to 54C
Weather forecast charge with purple and black colours added to extend temperature range to 54C

During late December 2012 and early January 2013, a "Dome of Heat" weather pattern formed over the Australian mainland. The "Dome of Heat" is a stationary hot air mass over the Australian continent that continued to increase temperatures across the country.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology extended its interactive weather forecasting chart with new colours – deep purple and pink – to extend its previous temperature range to 54C. The upper heat range was previously capped at 50 degrees.[1]

Australia's first six days of 2013 were all among the hottest 20 days on record in terms of average maximums, with January 7 and 8 adding to the list of peaks. This resulted in four of the top 10 hottest days in Australia in a little over a week.

The resulting extreme heat wave conditions, coupled with strong northerly winds, resulted in:

  • dozens of bushfires across Tasmania, including the catastrophic fire that destroyed 100 houses and building in the town of Dunalley
  • a bushfire forecast of "catastrophic level" in some regions across New South Wales, and several resulting severe bushfires, many started by lightning
  • total fire bans across the entire state of Victoria, followed by several bushfires
  • the hottest average maximum temperature ever recorded across Australia – 40.33 degrees, set on Monday 7 January 2012[2]

"The current heatwave – in terms of its duration, its intensity and its extent – is now unprecedented in our records," the Bureau of Meteorology’s manager of climate monitoring and prediction, David Jones, said.

"Clearly, the climate system is responding to the background warming trend. Everything that happens in the climate system now is taking place on a planet which is a degree hotter than it used to be."

As the warming trend increases over coming years, record-breaking heat will become more and more common, Dr Jones said.

External links


  1. Bureau Of Meteorology Weather Chart | Deep Purple, The Age, 8 January 2013
  2. Record Breaking Heat Across Australia | Bushfires Rage, The Age, 9 January 2013]
Cateogry: Bushfires
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