Winter? Technically we're in it, yes. But it's feeling a lot more like spring or autumn out there.
Australia is enjoying a super warm start to winter 2017, with temperatures well above average in all capital cities except Darwin.
The good news? It'll be a gorgeous sunny weekend ahead in 90 percent of the country. So get out there and enjoy yourself -- especially if you live in Sydney, where a shower or two may fall but sea temps are still a balmy 20 degrees.
The bad news is that large parts of southern Australia which rely on winter rainfall for agricultural reasons, or snowfall for recreational reasons, are currently struggling. Some of the anomalies have been quite worrying.
For example, June is normally the second wettest month of the year in Perth. It usually rains on average every second day. But so far in 2017, the West Australian capital has had just ONE rain day.
Tasmania has been having some super warm nights.
Did you feel hot last night?? Well maybe an overexaggeration, how about warm!! 10-14 degrees across many places in #Tas overnight.— BOM Tasmania (@BOM_Tas) 14 de junho de 2017
And on Tuesday this week, the Mt Hotham ski resort in Victoria had a day of 11.6 degrees, its hottest in 24 years. The average June maximum for Mt Hotham is 1.4. This exceeded that by more than 10 degrees.
Here's a breakdown of the capital cities for the first half (15 days) of June. As you can see, every city except Darwin has been a fair way above average. And Darwin is only 0.1 of a degree below the norm.
Sydney June average max: 17
Sydney June average max so far: 18.4
1.4 degrees warmer than usual
Melbourne June average max: 14.1
Melbourne June average max so far: 15.3
1.2 degrees warmer than usual
Brisbane June average max: 21.9
Brisbane June average max so far: 22.1
0.2 degrees warmer than usual
Adelaide June average max: 15.8
Adelaide June average max so far: 16.8
1 degree warmer than usual
Perth June average max: 19.4
Perth June average max so far: 23.3
3.9 degrees warmer than usual
Hobart June average max: 12.0
Hobart June average max so far: 14.7
2.7 degrees warmer than usual
Canberra June average max: 12.3
Canberra June average max so far: 14.0
1.7 degrees warmer than usual
Darwin June average max: 30.7
Darwin June average max so far: 30.6
0.1 degrees cooler than usual. YIKES, BETTER BUY A JUMPER, TERRITORIANS!!!
The Bureau of Meteorology actually predicted this in its seasonal outlook issued on May 29. It forecast a drier than average June in much of southern Australia -- and dry weather tends to be warmer than wet weather, for the obvious reason of all that extra sunlight.
SO IS THIS A CLIMATE CHANGE THING?
You can never infer long term trends from a small sample of data: That's like confusing the difference between the outfit you're wearing today and your entire wardrobe.
Having said that, experts like David Karoly have found that winter weather patterns do appear to be changing in southern Australia because of the complicated effects of global warming.
One such effect is that cold Southern Ocean storms (which we call cold fronts) are veering north over the Australian mainland less often in winter -- and that's certainly how this winter has started off.
But it's only early winter and things could change. And for those of you who are snow lovers, the cold clear nights have at least provided great snowmaking conditions at ski resorts.