Jan-Feb 2009 will go down in history as 2 months of extreme weather conditions for Australia.
NASA has captured these events via their satellites showing us a new photographic perspective of the world – you can subscribe to new “image of the day” at their NASA Earth Observatory website.
First, the meteorological engine that started it all off – the tropical rains in far north Australia which not only flooded a vast region of northern Australia, particularly northern Queensland, but the massive amounts of ascending air which formed the clouds and rain to produce these floods had to descend elsewhere as hot, dry air mass with strong winds – and these came in unprecedented extremes from north-west Western Australia flowing south-east across the Australian deserts where they became even hotter and finally hitting south-east Australia producing the hottest temperatures on record in Victoria reaching 47.6deg C near Melbourne following an unprecedented 3 day heat wave and a record driest start to a year.
This image from the NASA site shows the extremes in temperature variation from normal for the regions in Australia which clearly shows the extreme heat in south-eastern Australia while the north is flooding – dark red his 10deg C or greater hotter than normal, blue is colder than normal (click on image to be taken to its source web page):
and the extent of the main bushfire damage only 65km north east of Melbourne which claimed well over 200 lives in its extremely rapid spread of previously unseen firestorm ferocity: