Some perspectives about recent conditions

We've seen devastating fires over the last few months - so a chance to look at the bigger picture to help understand why it is happening.

The current bushfire crisis is, literally, off the scale. It takes a certain set of conditions before we can see such fires…and also worth seeing how they fit into the global picture. For me it doesn’t make what is happening any easier, but it does help me understand just how things could get so bad. We certainly knew it was coming, with many posts on this page through August and September flagging the potential of this season. And, sadly, it all came together as forecast…in fact significantly worse than even looked possible at that time 🙁

Here’s how the fires compare to other fires around the world:

And here is why – such fires need a combination of hotter than average temperatures and drier than average conditions. 2019 looked looked like this…Temperatures were record breaking across much of Aus, including our region:

This fits with the significant increase in average temperatures seen across SE Aus over the last few decades. Here’s how it looks for Canberra:

We’ve also seen drier conditions intensity over the last couple of decades…and increasing pressure across Aus definitely has a role to play. Here is how pressure has increased across much of Aus over the last 20 years (compared to the previous 20):

…and, not surprisingly, rainfall totals were also in the record-low territory across much of NSW (though we escaped record breaking territory on this one, with more regular rain along the coastal fringe):

And how does this compare to other years – again, literally at the edge of the scale:

Note the trend – the 2000s have been significantly drier and hotter than average. This last year comes on top of a longer term drought. Here’s how the last three years looked:

Again, record breaking low rainfall totals across much of NSW. We should be heading into our wetter time of year, and global climate drivers are looking better for us than they have done for some time…but at this time, although some showers look possible, more significant drought (and fire) breaking rains are not appearing in the models. The only upside is that at this time we do not look like seeing a repeat of Saturday over the next few days. We still have fire burning in our region so still a time to be keeping an eye on RFS forecasts. May it rain soon, and may we soon have a government that takes real action on climate change.

Images: Bello Weather / Twitter

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Sandra Finn

    Hi keV a new year wish for you and your family may it bring peace and health ,good fortune in abundance
    Thank you for continuing weather, fire updates and your generous community service
    Australia’s ,sadness and disastrous present situation ,that so many find could have been helped sooner and a very different outcome to one that has unfolded ,a change in attitude would be a different government to the present one ,for l feel and witness a total disregard for the Australian people by the government in power ,may the spirit of Australia survive ,recover, never to repeat acceptance or betrayal by a leader ,and his party again ,wishing to see in my day a fair government caring for the voters ,for the land and have a vision for the future which the present government lack ,l am sorry that this is unrelated to our weather but with out ,caring for the people especially ones whom fight fires putting their all on the line ,ones whom will never see the weather again,or experience soft welcoming rain on theirs faces to the devastation of animals ,bush that will not recover , property not enjoyed our weather had changed and the government as we know it has to accept and adapt it’s polices to accommodate , compensate, assist Australians ,and our country ..not selling of especially our precious water ,thank you again keV may you and all our Hero’s on the front line of the biggest fire in our land be recognised given a large reward and honor,’s that they deserve

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