Forgotten extreme heat, El Nino of 1878 — when miners would “knock off” at 44.4C!
What really happened in 1878? The raw data at Nobby’s near Newcastle (graphed below) shows monster heat in 1878, 1879, and 1883 — far hotter than modern times. Its unlikely that it was recorded with modern equipment, so it’s hard to compare. Was it really hotter? We don’t know when the Stevenson screen was installed. I went hunting through our wonderful historic Trove archive of old newspaper records. It doesn’t help us make any accurate comparisons, or even tell us about annual averages, but there is a remarkable story of exceptional heat and dryness in January 1877 that few Australians know. Let’s revisit the times of forgotten people who lived when CO2 was perfect and the climate was ideal. How hot were the 1800s in Australia? My favorite quote is about the miners near Braidwood (in the mountains between Canberra and the coast). It reached 108F but look at the cultural norms: “Years ago in the valley the miners always ‘knocked off’ if the thermometer registered 112 degrees (44.4C) in the shade, but times and wages are changed now, and the poor men are willing, to work on days like last Friday 18.1.78″ (see the Freeman’s Journal link […]Rating: 9.9/10 (13 votes cast)
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