Saturday, September 10, 2016

Let's talk about the weather

 Australia is a big country. It is also a continent on its own. It is fatter than it is taller, but still north to south is quite a distance. It takes four days to drive from the east coast to the west coast and I would guess about three days to drive south to north. That may impress or distress Europeans but probably not North Americans. They would understand distances. Nevertheless, in spite of  Americans understanding distances in their country, the answer to the question, if I am staying in Sydney, can I visit my friend in Perth for lunch and be back in Sydney for dinner? We have hired a car. The answer is no. Think New York to LA and then some more.

It would be close to 4000 kilometres from Hobart in the south to the northern tip of Australia, about 2500 miles. That is a long way.

The north of Australia in tropical, hot and humid in summer and still mildly hot and humid in the winter and the monsoon rains arrive each year where humidity beforehand is extremely high and there is tension in the air and people are driven mad, well they were before air conditioning, and then it breaks and down comes the rain, the wet season. The build up sees spectacular storms with brilliant lightening. The wet season sees a deluge of rain, flooding and rejoicing by farmers that the rain has arrived, or occasionally not. Nothing to do with global warming though.

To the extreme south, the city of Hobart in the Australian island state of Tasmania, it is a cool temperate climate, not so different to where I live in Melbourne. Hobart is a bit cooler than here, a bit wetter and not quite as hot in summer.

So, you now know Australia is a big country and has very different climates, north to south. What I don't get is why no where in Australia do we have the awful weather of Japan or New York? Japan, hot and humid in the summer and snow and cold in the winter. New York, the same. Hobart is very south, next stop Antarctica but it must be about latitudes, so I must educate myself. You can come along too.

New York is latitude 40.7 degrees north. Tokyo is 35.7 degrees north. I will average that to 38 and see where 38 degrees south in Australia is. I am a bit stymied by a clothing company called 38south.

Mein Gott. I had truly had no idea. The 38th southern parallel runs through greater Melbourne just a few kilometres south of us. So why is our weather not like New York or Japan's? Melbourne is as far south of the equator as Japan and New York are north of equator.

I am in shock. The parallels are not equal? I am going to cop out here and ask you. Please explain why the weather is so different at about the same distances from the equator.






18 comments:

  1. Maybe it has something to do with the tilt of the Earth and the distance from the sun. Actually that just sounds a rubbish answer so I'll shut up and wait for some intelligent person to explain it all.

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    1. Marie, that is quite plausible.

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  2. Anonymous8:16 am

    I remember flying to Singapore for my first trip to Asia 40 years ago and being amazed that for the 8 hour trip, it took four hours to fly out of Australia. It adds a whole new perspective to the phrase 'are we there yet, are we there yet?' Here's another conundrum - why is the flying time between Oz and Singapore or Thailand shorter for the return journey than the outward flight? I always thought it was because it's downhill on the way back. - Ian

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    1. Ian, of course it is downhill from Singapore. How could it be anything else. No doubt it is to do with tail winds. It is much quicker to fly from Perth to Melbourne than the opposite and that is not downhill, only level cross country.

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  3. Stop we don't want snow and freezing conditions or super hot and humid although Sydney can get pretty humid sometimes, one thing I really like about Australia is the weather well most of the time so I'm not saying a thing.
    Merle...........

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    1. No we don't Merle. Our weather really is so much better than the places I mentioned.

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  4. I am clueless.
    As well as the distances I have been amazed at the ignorance on the population front.
    I have several times met people who said things along the lines of 'my friend x lives in Brisbane. Of course you know him???? (Interobang).

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    1. EC, I think most of the world think Australia is quite empty of people. They should try driving in our evening peak traffic, well not so much yours!!!

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  5. You just had to talk about the weather. Last week, a hint of spring, today I have the heater on again.
    The weather comes with the ocean currents and they are changing. Without the warm water of the Gulf Stream around England it would be like Iceland regardless of latitude.
    Fish love the warm waters and sharks love fish which is why we've had so many shark attacks lately.

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    1. Jah Teh, I know that about Britain and I guess it is a combination of ocean currents, land masses, mountains etc. Sharks don't seem like people much. They only ever bite them, not eat them.

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  6. That is an interesting question. Ocean currents, winds and height above sea level also make a difference.I reckon you have had a cold winter this year or is it that I am more aware of your weather now that my daughter lives there. She can't wait to come up here in the school holidays to warm up. We have also had a Swiss person ask us if he could visit us for the day in Brisbane while his friend attends a wedding in Perth.

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    1. Diane, R would say we have had a long, cold and wet winter and I might agree. The tyranny of distance needs to be explained.

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  7. We have a much larger flat surface area capable of absorbing so much more heat from the sun and storing it, so of course icy/snowy NY style weather is out of the question.
    Or, we're just plain lucky.

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    1. One I did not think of, River.

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  8. My grandma used to wonder why my mum and I didn't visit for coffee and chats, my mum (Port Pirie) would say I was in another town (Adelaide), but my grandma couldn't see that as a reason, since in Germany, the next village was often just a short walk away.

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    1. Yes, such distances were probably beyond your gran's comprehension.

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  9. Andrew your country is so vast I can't imagine travelling four days i one country... From Poland to Spain it takes about 36 hours so it is a long distance... What about the wetaher I am the most important is location and sea or ocean it definitely shapes the local weather

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    1. Gosia, there are area of Australia where it never rains, or maybe once every few years.

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