Australia Adds New Weather Map Colors to Accommodate Extreme Heat
With temperatures reaching near-record levels and forest fires raging, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has added pink and deep purple to its heat index to extend its temperature range past 50 degrees celsius (122 fahrenheit).
Via The Sydney Morning Herald:
The range now extends to 54 degrees [129.2 fahrenheit] – well above the all-time record temperature of 50.7 degrees reached on January 2, 1960 at Oodnadatta Airport in South Australia – and, perhaps worringly, the forecast outlook is starting to deploy the new colours.
"The scale has just been increased today and I would anticipate it is because the forecast coming from the bureau’s model is showing temperatures in excess of 50 degrees," David Jones, head of the bureau’s climate monitoring and prediction unit, said.
While recent days have seen Australian temperature maps displaying maximums ranging from 40 degrees to 48 degrees - depicted in the colour scheme as burnt orange to black – both Sunday and Monday are now showing regions likely to hit 50 degrees or more, coloured purple.
As the SMH points out: “Australia’s first six days of 2013 were all among the hottest 20 days on record in terms of average maximums, with January 7 and today likely to add to the list of peaks. That would make it four of the top 10 in a little over a week.”
Meantime, there’s rash of wildfires breaking out (map) with some small towns being “warned that it is too late to try to flee the incoming flames,” according to the Telegraph. In 2009, 173 people in Australia died during one particular period of wildfires.
In the United States, 2012 was the hottest year on record, breaking the previous yearly high by 1 degree fahrenheit, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Image: Screenshot, Australian Bureau of Meteorology interactive weather map. Select to embiggen.