What happened to winter?

No wonder we were getting messages in Europe that it was cold in Adelaide this June – it was the driest June since 2006, so it was probably the lack of humidity which made it seem so cold, even though temperatures were close to average. Rainfall for Adelaide in June was only 15 mm, compared to the long term average of 80 mm.

Rainfall for the first six months of 2015 has been highly variable for Adelaide

Rainfall for the first six months of 2015 has been highly variable for Adelaide


Interestingly, at the same time, it was the coldest and wettest June in Denmark for many years, leaving the Danes asking ‘where is our summer?’ The strawberry season was very poor, as there had not been enough sun to ripen the fruit, and the available berries were smaller and often mis-shapen.
The 2015 Danish summer strawberry crop has been poor due to cool wet conditions

The 2015 Danish summer strawberry crop has been poor due to cool wet conditions


Back in Adelaide again for July, it seems that the seasons have got confused. Some plants think it is autumn, still flaunting their autumn colours, while standing next to golden wattles in full spring flower. At the same time, almond blossom is already well-developed, much too early for the annual almond blossom festival at the end of July. The usual green grass cover of winter is definitely lacking in country paddocks.
Autumn leaves persisting to mid-winter in the Adelaide Hills

Autumn leaves persisting to mid-winter in the Adelaide Hills


The weather map has three major high pressure systems sitting right across the southern half of Australia, pushing the cold fronts further south so that the rain is missing the mainland. Adelaide’s rainfall over the past 12 months has been highly variable, with no rain in December or February, 10% in March but double the average volume in January. With El Nin҄o already confirmed, it is concerning that a winter rainfall deficit may be developing, with serious implications for Adelaide’s water supply in the coming months.
The winter rainfall anomaly for SA shows the naturally high variability and the recent trend of dry years

The winter rainfall anomaly for SA shows the naturally high variability and the recent trend of dry years

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About redgumgirl

Dr Anne Jensen is an environmental consultant with a passionate interest in sustainable management of our natural resources, particularly the River Murray and wetland environments. She is particularly interested in using photographs and stories to explain issues around water and protecting natural ecosystems in terms that are understood by the wider community, so that we can manage our environment sustainably for our common future.
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