They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words.
Here are 3 pictures and a little more than 1,000 words that add some fuel to the climate change debate as published by the Sydney Morning Herald.
Flashback, 1939: Sydney’s hottest day
80 years ago today, 38 people died across New South Wales as a prolonged heatwave reached its crisis point. The maximum temperature recorded that day still stands as Sydney’s hottest.
By Staff reporters – 14 January 2019
First published in the Sydney Morning Herald on January 16, 1939
City People Swelter.
Saturday was the hottest day ever experienced in Sydney. The maximum temperature, 113.6 degrees (45.3 degrees Celsius), broke a record which had stood for 32 years, since January 13, 1896, by a margin of 5.1 degrees.
The previous record temperature of 108.5 (42.5) degrees was overshadowed at the early hour of 9.30 a.m., and for the ensuing six and a half hours, until 4 p.m., the temperature did not fall below 109 (42.8) degrees.
The intense heat in the country caused an appalling death roll, especially among children and aged people. Up to last night the deaths of 79 persons had been reported during the heat wave. Thirty-eight died on Saturday.
About 6.30 p.m. a cool, squally southerly wind swept over Sydney, bringing instant relief. Within 10 minutes the temperature fell from 105.1 (40.6) degrees to 79.5 (26.4), and it fell steadily during the remainder of the night, to reach a minimum of 67.5 (19.7) degrees at 8.50 a.m. yesterday.
Heat Haze Obscures Sun.
Outstanding as were Saturday’s temperatures they give only a limited idea of the discomforts to which people living in the city and suburbs were subjected. A scorching north-west wind, which, to use the words of the State Meteorologist, Mr. Mares, “tapped the tremendous reservoir of heat which has been building up for a month over the parched interior of the continent,” brought with it dense masses of dust and bushfire smoke which completely enveloped the city, reducing visibility, particularly on the harbour, down to dangerous limits.
So dense was the haze that the sun was almost obscured. It appeared as a dull, red ball, which could be looked at with the naked eye with ease. Late in the afternoon, when the sun was low in the sky, It was not visible, only a halo of dull light showing its position. A peculiar light, similar to that of a total eclipse, was cast over the city.
Ever since the heat wave, the longest and most severe in the history of the State, came Into being, the surge of hot air from inland areas had been pressing towards the coast, but was kept at bay by sustaining sea breezes,which, day after day, acted an a buffer, forcing the heat back from Sydney.
Late on Friday the barrier collapsed when the sea breeze fell to a dead calm. As soon as the buffer was removed, the wall of heat advanced unchecked, and on Friday night the phenomenon of temperature rising by leaps and bounds, long after sundown, astonished Sydney residents, many of whom went to theatres at 8 p.m.. when the temperature was just over 80 (26.7) degrees, and came out to faceblasts of scorching wind, which had caused it to rise to over 90 (32.2) degrees.
The night that followed was probably the most remarkable ever experienced in Sydney. Sleep was practically impossible, as the hot, dry air permeated through the coolest houses, and made furniture, floors, and bedding hot to the touch. It was oppressive indoors, but far worse out of doors.
During the early morning the wind set in steadily from the north-west, blowing over more than a thousand miles of scorched country, where, for a full month, the temperature has not fallen below 100 (37.8) degrees, and, as the day wore on it increased in strength.
Contrast in Temperatures.
The following table of temperature readings at the Weather Bureau for Saturday and Sunday show the tremendous variation between the registrations on Sydney’s hottest day and the one that followed it: —
Record Drop in Temperature.
Saturday night’s southerly caused still another weather record to be broken. The drop in temperature from Saturday’s maximum at 1.30 p.m. to yesterday’s minimum at 8.50 a.m. was 46.1 degrees, which was the greatest variation of temperature ever recorded at Sydney within 24 hours. The previous record was 45.6 degrees in January 1863.
An outstanding feature of Saturday’s heat was the way in which it banished moisture from the air. During the hottest part of the day the relative humidity dropped to 4 per cent., by far the lowest ever recorded.
There was no escape from the heat. The sands of the beaches were so hot that they burned the feet and the off-shore wind blew the hot sand into the faces and eyes of bathers.
Most people agreed that by shutting all doors and windows of their homes, thus keeping out the hot wind with its attendant dust and smoke, they secured the greatest degree of comfort possible in the extremely unusual circumstances.
While Sydney endured its day of record heat the remainder of the State experienced similar conditions. To the west it was another day of 110 (43.3) degrees.
Inland New South Wales, however, did not reap any benefit from the cool change that refreshed Sydney and coastal areas on Saturday night. Yesterday southern areas experienced some relief from the prolonged heat, but it was not widespread.
At Bourke yesterday the maximum was 116 (46.7) degrees, making the 30th day of over 100 (37.8) degrees, and Dubbo recorded 112 (44.4) degrees. Wentworth, Ungarie, and Riverina centres, however, reported a southerly change which, though it did not bring rain, cooled the air appreciably and brought welcome relief from the heat wave.
Hope for Rain.
Mr. Mares said last night that although the rain which was approaching had been delayed, he was confident that It would arrive this week.
The effect of the cool change, Mr. Marcs said, would probably begin to wear off at Sydney to-day, and warm and sultry conditions would return. Tile amount of cloud in evidence was conducive to thunderstorm activity, and there was reason to hope that a rain- storm would bring further relief during the day.