By JR on Friday, June 01, 2012
Australia was founded as a branch of the most advanced civilization of its day (Britain) and was therefore very early in adoption of the latest science. One of my ancestors, for instance, was vaccinated against smallpox on his arrival in Sydney in 1828.
And meterorological records were kept from early on. Such records are rare in the Southern hemisphere so deserve some attention. If something is "global", there should be records of it in the Southern hemisphere too. We find here a careful record of Sydney temperature minima and maxima from 1859 to December 2005.
The very first line of the table is interesting. It is for January -- which is of course midsummer in the Southern hemisphere. We note that the highest maximum temperature for any month in any year was 45.3 (Celsius) on 14/01/1939. Yes: 1939.
We also note that the highest average temperature was 33.7 (Celsius) on 13/01/1896. Yes: 1896.
And I can assure you that my ancestors were not driving SUVs at that time -- though I do have a picture of one of their bullock teams proudly displayed on my wall. I am a descendant of teamsters!