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Meteorological Work in Australia

Meteorological Work in Australia: A Review

Map No. 1—February 18th, 1890

Map No.2—January 14th, 1891

Map No.3—March 12th, 1891

Map No. 4, February 5th. 1890, and Map No .5, May 27th, 1893

Map No. 6, June 22nd, 1893

Map No. 7, July 14th, 1893

Seasonal Forecasts




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Australia, lying between the parallels of 11° and 39° S, has a tropical and sub-tropical climate, with monsoon summer rains on the north coast and winter rains on the south coast, both extending well inland. A great part—all the interior—is within the anticyclonic region of high pressure and dry south-east winds; it is therefore subject to severe droughts, more or less prolonged. The driest portion appears to be a belt of country reaching from north of the Great Bight and Lake Eyre, or about lat. 30°, to near the north-west coast, which is swept nearly throughout the year by the south-east trade. The climate of the eastern half of the continent is more favorable, as the monsoonal rains extend further south over the coastal ranges, which form the watershed of the large rivers and watercourses running through the interior on the one side, and to the coast on the other.

With regard to the winter rainfall in South Australia, pur records appear to show—

  1. That in the thirteen Years when the mean summer pressure was above the average and the temperature below, the following winter rain was below the average in nine years, above the average in only one year, and about an average in three years
  2. That in the nine years when the summer pressure was below the average and the temperature above, the following winter rain was above the average in seven years, below in only one year, and an average in one year:

From which we obtain the following general rough rule:—

  • Summer cool, with high barometer: winter dry.

  • Summer hot, with low barometer: winter wet.

As regards the future, if I may venture to make any suggestions, it appears to be desirable that the meteorological observations of the different colonies should be published in a more uniform and systematic manner, in such complete detail as will assist theoretical deductions, and be accompanied by fuller discussion of results. general character of the weather, storms, extent and duration of droughts, and any abnormal conditions that may have occurred during the year. Mr. Russell has done very much in the latter direction in his publications on the climate of New South Wales, and rains, and state of rivers, &c.

We also require normal isobaric and isothermic maps for each. month and the year, but the observations as at present published hardly afford sufficient data for these, and many of the stations have been too recently established to furnish more than roughly approximate averages.

New Caledonia would be a valuable reporting station in regard to cyclones approaching the Queensland coast from the east, and I trust the cable now laid will be utilised as early as possible. I would also strongly urge an exchange, by mail, of weather charts and observations with the Cape of Good Hope, Natal, and Mauritius.

People in Bright Sparcs - Todd, Charles

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Todd, C. 1893 'Meteorological Work in Australia: A Review' Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science vol. v, 1893, pp. 246-270.

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