For the first time, ambient temperature in this part of Australia has been measured at just below 50 degrees above zero C. That is 122 degrees F. Hot.
This is near Shark Bay, which is already hot. So hot, normally, that the bay has a very high evaporation rate, causing the water to be very saline, too saline for snails to live, and thus, this is one of the only places in the world where you can find stromalites. This is also where the dolphins showed up one day to play with the humans, and continued to do this regularly. It became an important dolphin study site for that. Oh, and there are sharks. But I digress. The climate news from the area:
“It looks like we might get some 49s but with the observational network pretty sparse out there, it’s probably unlikely that we’ll actually observe a 50,” Mr Hicks said
Current modelling suggests the heat will linger in the region, extending the area of potential 50-degree condition to the Pilbara by Friday.
“The longer the air sits over the land, the more it heats up,” Mr Hicks said. “It just sits there and just bakes … Those poor buggers living out there tend to swelter for quite a few days in a row.”
Australia has recorded just three days of 50-degree heat since instruments were standardised nationally with the bureau’s formation in 1910. The most recent was on February 20, 1998, when the mercury hit 50.5 degrees in the Pilbara town of Mardie.
The bureau sparked international interest two years ago when it updated its weather charts to add temperature coding for both 50-52 degrees and 52-54 degrees.
Heat records are expected to continue to tumble as global warming pushes up background conditions, climate experts say.
But there is some good news.
A possible category-one cyclone forming off the Kimberley coast will help break up that region’s extreme heat if it pushes moisture and clouds into the Pilbara, Mr Duke said.