Its even been rather hot here on our usually slightly cooler mountain abode and like every other sensible person I have sought to get through that less than salubrious weather as best I could. I have not however succumbed to the silly notion that the current heat wave is a sign from on high that we are experiencing the wrath of the deity in the from of “global warming” and thankfully Miranda Devine’s column has a rather timely reminder that such heatwave are far from unprecedented in this country:
Sir John Henniker Heaton kindly recorded it all for us in 1879 in the Australian Dictionary Of Dates, which a reader has provided.
It is an invaluable primary resource, as you will see. (I have translated temperatures from fahrenheit to celsius).
December 27, 1790: “Great heat in Sydney, 39C in the shade. Settlement visited by myriads of flying foxes, birds dropped dead from the trees.”
February 10 and 11, 1791: “On which days the temperature at Sydney stood in the shade at 41C, the heat was so excessive at Parramatta, made worse by the bushfires, that immense numbers of the large fox-bats were seen to drop from the trees into the water, and many dropped dead on the wing.”
Heaton quotes from The Sydney Gazette of November 29, 1826: “The heat and hot wind of Saturday last excelled all that we ever experienced in the colony. On board the Volage man-of-war (a naval vessel), in the shade, the thermometer was 41C, and on the shore it was, in some parts of the town, 38C, and in others 40C.
“To traverse the streets was truly dreadful, the dust rose in thick columns, and the northwest wind, from which quarter our hot winds invariably proceed, was assisted in its heat by the surrounding country being all on fire, so that those who were compelled to travel felt themselves encircled with lambent flames. Sydney was more like the mouth of Vesuvius than anything else.”
Again from The Sydney Gazette, February 21, 1832: “Saturday was one of the hottest days ever remembered. The recent rains having saturated the earth, the atmosphere was impregnated by an aqueous vapour not unlike steam issuing from a boiler, while the sun poured down all the fury of his heat. It was dreadful.
“Man and beast groaned beneath the oppression, and numbers of working oxen dropped down dead on the public roads.”
The bullocks were even worse off on Saturday, March 18, 1832, which The Sydney Gazette reported was “insufferably warm. At 1pm, the thermometer was 54C in the sun. The cattle suffered much. Working bullocks dropped dead.”
Of course it was much hotter in Central Australia.
I am also rather drawn to note that in the northern hemisphere there has been experiencing rather harsh and unpleasant “cold snap” Oh but of course the Warministas will insist that colder winters are “just weather” where as a heatwave is evidence that AGW is real and happening now.
The global climate is extremely variable now if only the Warministas could work out a way of credibly discerning the amount of the human activity signal in the data they might just be more convincing. As it stands I am very firmly of the opinion that when one steps back from the alarmist claims and look at the bigger picture that there is nothing unprecedented about this heat wave at all and certainly not enough evidence to claim that it is anything other than an example of “weather” .