[QODLink]
Weather

Southern hemisphere sizzles

Record temperatures hit Southern Africa and Australia.
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2013 09:34

   A bushfire rages at Cessnock, 120km north of Sydney. [Reuters]

Globally, 2012 was among the 10 warmest years since official records began in 1880, and 2013 has begun with several impressive temperature records in the southern hemisphere.

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Sydney reached 45.8C at Observatory Hill on Friday and 46.4C at the Airport. These temperatures beat the previous record set back in 1939.

This is the second day this month that temperatures in the city have exceeded 40C, something that has only happened four times in the previous 100 years.

Late on Friday a maximum temperature of 41.6C was confirmed in Canberra, making it the hottest day in the city since 1968.

Canberra, Adelaide and Melbourne have also reached at least 40C on two occasions so far in 2012.

 The 40C maximum in Melbourne on Thursday caused problems for the tennis players at the Australian Open.  Ice vests and towels were used to keep the players cool and 10 minutes breaks between sets in the ladies’ matches were introduced later in the day.

The source of the heat, which is also affecting much of the interior of the country, is the Pilbara in northern Western Australia. This desert region has seen lower than average cloud cover and above average nearby sea temperatures in recent weeks.

Relief from the heat is expected over the weekend with maximum temperatures in Sydney falling to a more comfortable 23 to 24C.

This will be welcome news to firefighters battling wildfires raging across Victoria and New South Wales.

South Africa has also seen record-breaking heat. On Wednesday, Vioolsdrif in the northwest of the country recorded a temperature 48.4C. This is the third time the mercury has risen above the 48C mark here.  It happened back in 1995 and in 1993.

Upington, Brandvlei and Vredendal in the west of the country have all exceeded 40 degrees in the last 24 hours.

Temperatures are expected to return to more average January values over the next two days.

354

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
The Pakistani government is proposing reform of the nation's madrassas, which are accused of fostering terrorism.
Weaving and handicrafts are being re-taught to a younger generation of Iraqi Kurds, but not without challenges.
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Featured
After years of rapid growth, Argentina is bracing for another economic crisis as inflation eats up purchasing power.
Deaths of 13 Sherpas in Nepal has shone a light on dangerous working conditions in the Everest-climbing industry.
Al Jazeera investigation uncovers allegations of beatings and rape in Kenya's ongoing anti-terrorism operation.
Incumbent Joyce Banda has a narrow lead, but anything is possible in Malawi's May 20 elections.
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
join our mailing list