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Name: Peter
Status: student
Grade: 6-8
Location: PA
Country: USA
Date: Winter 2012-2013

Why do certain part of Australia (Sydney for example) experience such drastic and random spikes in heat? For example, one day this summer it was 84, the next day 100, and the following day back down into the low 80's.

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the question. I would look at the wind patterns. If the wind blows from the ocean onto land, the wind will cool the land. If there is no wind blowing, then the amount of cooling is less and the temperature will rise. Also, one needs to look at the cloud cover. Clouds usually make the temperatures cooler by blocking some of the sunlight.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any more questions. Thanks Jeff Grell


Sydney occupies an interesting place for weather variability.

Just 200 miles west of Sydney and beyond are dry areas of New South Wales and 500 miles northwest and beyond is the very dry interior desert area of Australia. Therefore, depending on the wind direction, you can have very hot and dry air transported from the dry interior (west to northwest wind direction) or much cooler and damper maritime air transported from the north, south, or east.

David R. Cook Meteorologist Atmospheric and Climate Research Program Environmental Science Division Argonne National Laboratory

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