Perth swelters in record summer

Wednesday 02nd Mar 2011 by theWeather Club

It seems that after the raging floods and howling winds, normal service is being resumed by the Australian weather. Hot. Too hot, to be precise. Perth has released data showing that the city has just gone through the harshest summer on record. There were 60 days when the maximum temperature passed 30°C, surpassing the previous record of 56. There were also 15 consecutive nights where the minimum temperature did not fall below 20°C, breaking the previous record of 13 nights set in 1990. The average maximum temperature for the summer was a scorching 32°C. And it didn’t stop on land. Sea surface temperatures around western coasts have been higher than usual. In fact at the end of 2010, the sea surface temperatures reached record levels. This is what has been responsible for the high night time temperatures as the water has not had its usual cooling influence on nearby land after the sun has gone.

Weathermen say that a strong La Niña in the Pacific is behind the record breaking summer. While the phenomenon led to the extreme rainfall in eastern Australia, it also tends to strengthen the easterly trade winds which blow hot dry air from the interior. This in turn reduces the number of weather systems moving in from the ocean, so western areas have been drier than usual, and missed the cooling ocean breezes. Of course such conditions have had consequences for the city. Bushfires were a real problem, with several homes and businesses being destroyed in the region as the fires took hold in the hot and dry environment.