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Saltuarius Jan 30th, 2009 03:25 PM

Tropical Weather and Climate
 
Sitting here in my office at 17* 20' South in summer, January 31, with the HEATER on I am moved to comment on weather and climate related threads on this and other boards.

Firstly, our experiences and responses to weather are highly personal. This is valid but leads to claims being made which are qualitative rather than quantitative. These can be highly misleading to those whose body shape, fitness, age or prior experiences differ from that of the poster. If two or three of these things differ then the qualitative experience is largely irrelevant. It is not hot in north Queensland or the Northern Territory in March, April and May except for very rare days in my experience. However I am not coming here from Seattle or Whitehorse.

I have often suggested to those making inquiries that they check out the official meteorological sites of the countries people are visiting. In Australia that is http://www.bom.gov.au/. Bushranger made a good point on another thread that it is good to make a comparison with somewhere you know. This is interesting to me as I was thinking about this last night as I watched the tennis from Melbourne where people have suffered 40*+ temperatures for days now. If something is completely outside your experience it is not possible to tell how you will relate to that event. However by getting good data on the climatic variables one can make better decisions.

Some also use the words 'weather' and 'climate' interchangeably. This is at best sloppy!

Back to the heater, mostly it is on to dry out the library but if I was sitting at my desk without it I would need more than one layer of clothing, shorts and short sleeved shirt. It is also relevant to note that my office is at 750 metres above sea level.

Orlando_Vic Jan 30th, 2009 03:56 PM

Excellent reference! Thanks.

Bushranger Jan 30th, 2009 05:34 PM

Salty,
" It is not hot in north Queensland or the Northern Territory in March, April and May except for very rare days in my experience. However I am not coming here from Seattle or Whitehorse."

At least up on the tablelands you'll not be having to deal with too much salt spray.

But lets not confuse things too much for we all have a reasonable appreciation I'd think that higher altitude locations adjacent to tropical coastal areas do offer some relief, be it Atherton tablelands, Cameron in Malaysia and even India has highlands retreats without having to go as far as the Himalayas.

And so let us say that NQ can have some cooler days in March to May and you'll get cooler still days at altitude virtually anytime of the year.
Experiences do come into it for whether it's true about you blood thinning when living in a warmer climate or not, I've experienced examples myself of visiting Brisbane in July - World Expo'88 and despite some unseasonable tropical intensity downpours, in having driven up from Victoria it was still shorts and teeshirts for the whole family, an uncle having lived near Brisbane for a number of years in woolies at about 18C saying that it was either woolies for the locals or move up to Cairns for the winter.

On the way back south you knew by about Coffs Harbour [~400km. south]there were chillier days ahead.

Likewise, a lot of Victorians in the current 40C heat will swelter, many hoping the power will not be off and they can stay inside with the airconditioning - bad news for many as if that's how they condition their bodies then many more could likely suffer worse and seeing as many work in airconditioned offices, drive airconditioned cars and live in airconditioned houses, it is no wonder deaths are being reported with the heat.
Back in 2003, it was something like 35,000 people across Europe died through heat stroke when they experienced a heatwave of only about 35C, just not being used to it, 18,000 alone in France I think was reported at the time.

And for mentioning weather and climate together as being sloppy Salty, well whatever grabs you, but simple as weather is what you are experiencing at the time, what it could be next week or next month or likely at any given time whereas climate is really much the same, perhaps a more general word for describing what type of weather is the norm for a a country or region, hence inland Australia is known for having a dry climate, southern and eastern coastal areas and Tasmania a temperate climate - even hear the word Meditteranean Climate often used for southern SA and then northern Queensland and NT is considered to have a tropical climate.

The weather within those climates is forever changing, variations year to year and within seasons year to year.

Having lived in different areas of southern Queensland for quite a few years my own May experiences are that it'll be warm enough up north, warm enough to have you working up a sweat before even climbing Mt White and tackling Mt Sorrow at Cape Tribulation it was like drinking two litres of water on the way up.

And so to say "It is not hot in north Queensland or the Northern Territory in March, April and May except for very rare days in my experience."
is to me very misleading for March is damm hot, April less so but what some people in the NT refer to as build down time as against October/November build up to the wet season and worse even than the build up, and May is becoming more moderate, perhaps still getting into mid/high twenties most days and will still have some mugginess attached to it.

Quantitatively speaking, I suppose it is what different people can regard as hot, 30C being a yard stick for me, getting hot heading towards it and more than warm enough past it.
I've known of people from Sydney finding Cairns hot enough in September adn of people from America being very surprised at just how warm it was in October.

The Tablelands will be cooler and myself, it is not so much severe heat either for we have relatively few days past 35C and more often than not weather about the 30C mark often with sufficient breeze that a walk on the beach is enough, not even a cooling swim required, but when you have summery weather from September to May, that may sound great [and is] to US people snowed in/iced up though by summers end you're thankful for a few cooler months.

Darwin by the way rarely falls below 30C and there in Kakadu last July it was a real mixture of nippy overnight[camping out] just one night to quite humid days - keeper at the Border store did say it was unusual weather for that time of the year.

Moving over to Kununurra it was 33C,
chilly nights in Broome, July being their windiest month for anyone who wants to know and being out on a headland to see the "Stairway to the Moon" I near froze and in Melbourne for a couple of nights I was fortunate enough to have a duffel coat and earlier, back in May, having driven down I was fortunate enough to have taken a lined Drizabone for some night football.

But again Orlando, the humidity there at 28 Lat ain't going to be a touch on what you can expect in Darwin, particularly in wet season.

Saltuarius Jan 30th, 2009 11:00 PM

Bushy,

On serious reflection I'll have to retract my statement about my personal experience of heat in northern Australia. I would have to limit it to not finding it hot in coastal northern Australia in March to April.

I guess I'll just have to disagree with your definition of hot. This I pre-empted with, "Firstly, our experiences and responses to weather are highly personal. This is valid but leads to claims being made which are qualitative rather than quantitative."

I think you may have got the weather/ climate thing sorted. However by the time I had finished reading to the end of the sentence I could not remember the beginning. My point was not that it is sloppy to mention them together but to use them as synonyms was at best sloppy but is really just wrong.

"Quantitatively speaking, I suppose it is what different people can regard as hot, 30C being a yard stick for me, getting hot heading towards it and more than warm enough past it."

Just because you use a quantity, 30*C, does not make your statement quantitative. The qualitative nature of your statement is born out by, "what different people can regard," and "for me."

I enjoy most of your posts. Some are informative and others a good laugh. This is not meant as a personal attack but northern Australia does not start at Brisbane.

Melnq8 Jan 31st, 2009 12:47 AM

It's currently 84 F (28c) in my house in Perth with the worthless evaporative AC on full tilt. I think today's high was about 33c (91F) but it feels much hotter thanks to the 59% humidity, which isn't helping the struggling AC.

We all have different tolerance levels when it comes to heat. Personally, it's the humidity that kills me, but I guess that's to be expected as I'm originally from a highland mountain climate, where at 6,200 feet in elevation your sweat evaporates before you even realize you've broken one.

Bushranger Jan 31st, 2009 02:20 AM

Salty
"On serious reflection I'll have to retract my statement about my personal experience of heat in northern Australia. I would have to limit it to not finding it hot in coastal northern Australia in March to April."

Still a huge call that, and maybe you've got March and May mixed up like my quantitative and qualitative though I'll still leave quanity to the actual numbers and quality if I was to use it about weather more as you say on how one is affected.

If not, then on March not being hot I'll agree to disagree even if that means my ol mate the Ducky one wants to chide me about it.

I'd certainly never suggest to anyone that they are likely to have a quality weather experience in northern Queensland nor the NT in March.

And no argument on where north Queensland starts for being around that Capricornia line I still know I have a ways to go until it would be considered north Queensland, some people thinking that starts about Townsville and then you enter the far north heading north from Cairns, though it is also refereed to as capital of FNQ - more from default I imagine as there ain't too much further north.

But I'm always open to agreeing with whatever local I'm talking to calls it.

Anyway, sounds like you got a good drenching - roof leaking? or jiust that pervading dampness that hangs about?, and more on the way it seems!
If only it was all spread out more through the year and more further south.

Keep dry and cheerful Salty.

Bushranger Jan 31st, 2009 02:26 AM

And Mel,
I know high humidity ain't what you need for evaporative coolers to work any sort of wonder if they can and I wouldn't have thought Perth got such a high humidity.

One former Premier over there didn't even bother to put downpipes on his roof and may have even had a section with no guttering - his philosophy was that it didn't rain enough and whenit did it would come in a heavy burst and then be gone - he had a length of chain instead of a downpipe.

But last time we talked about your evaporative cooler, I asked if you had had it serviced, make sure ther's a good flow of water from the pump through the pads etc.

northie Jan 31st, 2009 01:46 PM

as the owner of a whole house evaporative cooling sytem I was under the impression they did not work well in humidity. This makes them ideal in Melbourne when even though it was 45.1 it was only 10% humidity.

Bushranger Jan 31st, 2009 02:31 PM

Author: northie
Date: 01/31/2009, 05:46 pm
as the owner of a whole house evaporative cooling sytem I was under the impression they did not work well in humidity.
........................
That's what we're saying northie, and Mel is in Perth with for surprisingly higher humidity.

But I was just on phone to someone in Melbourne [expecting 31 today] and an older house had an evap and even at 45 it was marginal
They might bring temps down a few degrees if functioning to best capacity and suppose 41 might seem better than 45 but to get that you'd need a really good airflow through the house.

Melnq8 Jan 31st, 2009 02:41 PM

Bushranger -

Yes, I had the AC serviced a few weeks back, but there's been no improvement.

It's ducted AC and I open the doors and windows as I'm supposed to, but it's really pitiful. It lowers the temp a few degrees, but doesn't seem to do squat if it's the least bit humid.

The house is two story, and really needs a second unit, but it seems the homebuilder or owner went as cheap as possible and only put in one.

Finding a rental house with reverse cycle AC was at the top of our wish list when we moved here, but alas, we had to settle and now we're paying the price. As far as I'm concerned, evaporative AC is only good in places like Nevada and Colorado where it's dry as a bone.

northie Feb 1st, 2009 02:30 AM

too true Bushranger and of course today we had 70% humidity!!!!

Saltuarius Feb 1st, 2009 04:17 AM

Melnq8 it is just as well you are not visiting me at the moment as our humidity is close to 100%. Only reached a maximum of 22*C but the lowest humidity was about 90%.

That is the reason for the heating being used to dry out the office. No floods in the Salty house.

stormbird Feb 3rd, 2009 02:24 AM

I agree with you both Salty and Mel. It does come down to tolerance levels and our own personal responses to temperature.

When I lived in Papua New Guinea where the humidity was high I thrived up there but I was only in my early 20's at the time.

Now in my 50's I just don't take to that so well any more.

It can be compared to how some people feel the cold. Some people seem to feel it more than others. Why is that? Is it all to do with the blood?

But yes, when someone asks what is the weather like in..........well, it's a pretty broad question and to be helpful, I suppose, the best we can do is give a broad reply.

I'm tired, going to bed and am not sure if what I've just written makes sense.Good night all.
Stormer

Saltuarius Feb 4th, 2009 03:24 PM

Stormer,
'Why is that? Is it all to do with the blood?' Quite lucid by the way, which is above par for this thread.

To answer your question: largely. How thick it is and how well it circulates are important. Weight and body shape also contribute to the retention or loss of heat. So as we age, gain weight and become less fit we a less able to regulate the body temerature.


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