Articles on Weather

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It’s a good job they come with built-in jumpers. PA/Niall Carson

How cold has it really been in the northern hemisphere?

If you are one of the many people with a larger than normal heating bill for recent months, you would probably be under the impression that it has been exceptionally cold in the northern hemisphere. We’ve…
Another summer, not quite like the other summers. Steve Lacy

Floods, fires and lots of heat: summing up summer 2012-13

We all know what to expect from summer in Australia. From December through March it will be hot, there will be storms and floods, and there will be bush fires. It’s been like that for as long as history…
Australia’s latest summer has been significant for weather and for climate. VIBE Audio

Hot summer? Yes: the hottest

This summer hasn’t just felt hot. It’s been hot. In fact, the summer of 2012-13 is now the hottest on record. Average temperatures beat the record set in the summer of 1997-98, and daytime maximum temperatures…
The Australian media might call them ‘mini-tornadoes’, but they’re just as destructive as the real thing. AAP Image/Paul Beutel

Tornadoes in Australia? They’re more common than you think

There is a long-standing myth that Australia doesn’t get tornadoes. This simply isn’t true. Just ask residents of Burnett Heads and Bargara, on Queensland’s southeast coast, or the Melburnians who were…

How to predict a perfect storm

A study from Stanford University suggests that “perfect storm” disasters can be anticipated using an engineering risk analysis…
Residents of Virginia have begun sandbagging against the arrival of Sandy. EPA/MIchael Reynolds

Hurricane Sandy mixes super-storm conditions with climate change

As I write this, Hurricane Sandy remains a very large, powerful hurricane. On Sunday afternoon (local time), Sandy brought winds gusting to 103km/h to coastal North Carolina. Heavy rains are already occurring…
Over summer, the US has been dry and hot. It’s not alone. EPA/Larry W Smith

Northern hemisphere has another hot, hot summer

The 2012 northern hemisphere summer, like its two predecessors, has seen a wide range of climate extremes, many involving heat. In most recent summers there has been at least one part of the world with…
Vulnerable people and places are worst affected by weather-related disasters, especially those most reliant on the land. Chaim Zvi

Disasters and mental health in rural and remote areas

Mental health problems cause profound suffering and are worthy of attention for that reason alone. But despite policy and service reform, such problems remain as common, expensive and disabling as they…
Derivatives can allow farmers to reduce their risk by guarding against changes in the weather. Flickr

Why hedging a bet on Mother Nature is a hot commodity

For some industries, the weather plays a significant role in determining revenue. Unexpected weather events can often cause significant financial losses. For instance, a drought can yield a severe impact…
A precise weather forecast, months in advance, will never be possible. Matt Smith

A chaotic beast, probably: wacky weather and climate forecasting

“Prediction is very difficult. Especially about the future” – so said Neils Bohr, the Danish physicist and 1922 Nobel Prize winner. And you know what? I think the bloke was onto something there, especially…
A satellite picture of Cyclone Yasi from the Japanese weather satellite MTSAT 1R. German Meteorological Society/DPA

Australia in space: letting others watch us … but at what cost?

Australia’s Chief Scientist Ian Chubb has more than once described the Australia of the past as a “mendicant country” regarding science. While this is a controversial, perhaps overly-broad, generalisation…
When it comes to weather, scientists and the media have different understandings of risk. Ameel Khan

Spinning uncertainty? The IPCC extreme weather report and the media

The “reasonable person” would agree that disaster risk is best avoided. Under a changing climate, how exposed people are to risk and how socially and physically vulnerable they are affects how often disasters…
We all want to know how bad the next fire season will be, but working it out isn’t easy. AFP/Torsten Blackwood

‘The worst fire season ever’ … until next year

Bushfires are part of the Australian landscape and the psyche of its human inhabitants. This is particularly true as months of hot, dry weather approach. Recent warnings have predicted a dire summer ahead…

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