One good thing about being a pensioner is that this doesn’t matter too much… If it’s warm under the covers, why not?
That’s Mount Canobolas, Orange NSW – a way west of here. See also Blizzards, gale-force winds, heavy rain continue to descend across continental Australia, while Tasmania ‘escapes’ the cold and Illawarra weather: severe cold front hits NSW, though in fact we got off rather lightly. Mind you, the wind is howling outside right now.
Port Kembla on that map is just south of here; you can see Orange out on the other side of the Great Dividing Range. That map, from the Bureau of Meteorology, is in fact a forecast of Sunday’s conditions and turned out to be pretty accurate.
There is nothing all that unprecedented about this recent cold spell, though is has been rather more extensive than usual. It is winter after all. And lately the phrase “Antarctic Vortex” has appeared. It is worth pausing to consider what polar vortexes (vortices?) actually are. One thing you can be sure of is that US loudmouth Rush Limbaugh will see it as a leftist plot – and no doubt his clones here will follow suit. See Left Creates “Polar Vortex” to Make You Think Winter is Caused by Global Warming and gnash your teeth. Inconvenient fact: the term has been used and the phenomenon studied since at least the 1990s; indeed the (arctic?) polar vortex was first described as early as 1853.
For a measured account see What is a polar vortex? from Cornell University.
There is intense interest in whether climate change is affecting the pattern of the polar vortex and winter cold snaps. Many climate scientists believe that natural variations in the climate system are sufficient to explain the frequency of cold spells in recent years. Others suggest these weather phenomena could be influenced by climate change due to the ongoing decreases in arctic sea ice and the faster rate of temperature increase in the arctic compared to lower latitudes. This is an area of intense current research and considerable concern.
See also well-known climate scientist Michael Mann on Does Polar Vortex Mean ‘So Much for Global Warming?’ And just in case you still believe the crap about Mann see “Hockey Stick” and Michael Mann Vindicated, Again. The “ClimateGate” Case is Closed.
As for our current weather, it really isn’t all that extraordinary.
As one might expect, climate sceptics are having a sadly ignorant field day on the back of the present dump of snow in south-eastern Australia. Fortunately, most junior secondary school geography students could set them straight. In Australia students learn about the basic differences between climate and weather. Most understand that climate is not to be confused with weather. Unlike climate, weather is the state of the atmosphere at a particular place and time in respect to temperature, cloud cover, humidity, sunshine and wind…