El Niño gets stronger

The 2015 El Niño has continued to strengthen over the past fortnight. The ocean and atmosphere are reinforcing each other, with tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures well above El Niño thresholds, consistently weakened trade winds, and a strongly negative Southern Oscillation Index. Strong coupling of the tropical Pacific Ocean and atmosphere is typical of a mature El Niño, and suggests only a small chance of the event finishing before the end of the year.

From the Archives – Teachers in bye gone days

The other day I was reading an article about schoolteachers in the early days of Maleny and District and the problems they experienced during the ‘wet’ season, when they had to be at the school early in readiness for the arrival of the first child.l Mention was also  made of two ‘Guidance for Teachers’ documents, that were hardly guidance but more like Conditions of Employment.

The first was dated 1878 and comes From the NSW education archives


  1. Will each day fill lamp, clean chimneys before beginning work.
  2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s session.
  3. Make your pens carefully; you may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the children.
  4. Men Teachers may take one evening a week for courting purposes or two evenings for to attend church regularly.
  5. After ten hours in school, you may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.
  6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
  7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum for the benefit during the declining years so that they will not become a burden on society.

Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool and public halls or gets shaved in a barbers shop, will give good reason to suspect his worthy intention, integrity and honesty.

The second document is from Burpengary School archives for Women Teachers dated 1915

  1. You will not marry during the term of the contract.
  2. You are not to keep company with men.
  3. You must be home between the hours of 8pm and 6am unless attending a school function.
  4. You will not loiter down town in ice cream parlours.
  5. You may not travel beyond the city limits without the permission of the Chairman of the Board.
  6. You may not ride in a carriage or automobile with any man unless he is your father or brother.
  7. You may not smoke cigarettes.
  8. You may not dress in bright colours.
  9. You will under no circumstances dye your hair.
  10. You must wear at least two petticoats and your dresses must not be any shorter than two inches above the ankle.
  11. To keep the schoolrooms clean, you must sweep the floor at least once daily, scrub the floor with hot soapy water once a week, clean the blackboard once a day and in winter start the fire at 7am so that the room is warm when the children arrive.

No Teachers Union in those days!

Forecast to August 19

New Picture (2)

July 2015 Summary

Weather in the first week of the month was dominated by a high of 1022hPa over the country bringing light winds and blue skies- idyllic conditions for the visitors to the region. In the second week the high drifted off shore leaving a trough along the eastern seaboard and showers on the Ranges. In the middle of the month a new high of 1037hPa passed through the Bight bringing stable conditions to the Ranges and long hours of wintry sunshine. In the remainder of the month we came under the influence of a ridge of high pressure up the east coast.


The month’s rainfall of 28.4mm was the third month in succession with below average rainfall of 85mm. The reason for this was due in part to the 2015 El Niño which is now well-established and continues to strengthen. In the coming weeks, the central tropical Pacific Ocean may exceed the peak values reached during the 2002 and 2009 El Niño events, but current anomalies remain well short of the 1982 and 1997 peaks. International climate models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology all indicate that El Niño will continue to strengthen, and persist into early 2016. Typically, El Niño peaks during the late austral spring or early summer, and weakens in the following year. El Niño is usually associated with below-average winter–spring rainfall over eastern Australia.


The Mean Daily Minimum Temperature was 9.1°C, which is the all-year’s average for July. In contrast, the Mean Daily Maximum was 18.8°C , an increase of 0. 6 degrees above average.

On the 26th of the month the maximum temperature was 25.8°C – a July record for Maleny . The previous record was 24.2°C on 30th July 2010.


On Thursday July 30th at 9.41am the region was shaken by a 5.3 Magnitude earthquake. The epicentre was 100 kilometres  off Fraser Island. at a depth of 30 kilometres.  Reports of damage was limited to minor cracks in plaster..

July 2015 Chart

July chjart 2015)

Wartime Weather Forecasts OZ

In Australia, at the outbreak of World War II, strict censorship was imposed and all radio programs had to be submitted to censors three weeks before broadcasting

In June 1940, the Department of Information took control of the ABC 7.00pm nightly national news and weather.  However, after considerable protests by listeners on the poor standard of broadcasting, control was returned to the ABC three months later! The Bureau of Meteorology was taken over by the Department of Air in July 1940, with responsibilities for providing all meteorological services needed by the defence forces, and as far as possible in days of strict censorship, meet the requirements of essential primary and secondary industries.

On Sunday morning 7th December 1941, a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour and Australia became highly vulnerable to attack from Japanese forces.  All meteorological broadcasts of weather information in plain language was suspended’


Action was also taken to discontinue transfer of weather information over the network of pedal wireless stations situated in various outlying areas in northern and central Australia because of it’s possible worth to the enemy.


At the same time censorship regulations closed the normal channels of weather information to private citizens through the press, radio and other media. Meteorological reports and forecasts for pastoral, industrial and general civilian purposes were not possible.  However, in the interests of national security it was essential that means had to be found to overcome this problem whilst still denying information to enemy agents.


A conference was called between the, the RAAF Director of Meteorological Services, Chief Publicity Censor and Chief Intelligence Officers of the armedservices and they laid down general principles to govern communication of weather information to the public sector

It was resolved firstly, that the needs of primary and secondary industries in regional districts should be met by special district weather forecasts designed to meet the requirements of the main industry in each district. This was to be telegraphed each day in code to all post offices in the district.

Postmasters were authorised to decode messages and issue plain language weather information to residents whose bona fides were established.

Secondly, that all government departments, municipalities and public utilities to be provided with necessary meteorological information under confidential conditions; and that the needs of private firms and individuals requiring weather information for industrial business purposes would be met on personal application to the Director of Meteorological Services.

Defence service would supply this information in code through official channels, and shipping requirements would be met through the Director of Navigation, Customs Department and Naval authorities. At the same time wireless broadcasts of weather information was limited to daily river heights, weekly rainfall and weather warnings, temperature information 24 hours after the time of observation, river levels,  flood and bushfire warnings authorised by the Director of Meteorological Services.

Wartime Weather Forecasting in UK


Today it is very easy to find out what sort of weather has been forecast, whether it is for a day, or longer periods.  UK and Australian farmers, fishermen and the general public did not have this luxury during World War 11

In the early days of the war in the UK, there was a limited one-day forecast issued by the Air Ministry who at that time were responsible for the Meteorological Bureau. However, it soon became apparent that clear skies were an open invitation for the Luftwaffe to attack and a complete ban was imposed on all plain language weather forecasts.

The harvest of 1942 was a critical factor in the outcome of the war, and it changed the farming scene in most parts of Britain.  Pastures disappeared as land was ploughed and drained for cereal crops, much for the first time in history. Farmers needed to group together to provide sufficient labour for harvesting and to do this they had to have knowledge of future weather conditions for their area.

After much consultation the Air Ministry finally agreed to issue a daily weather forecast to assist farmers in providing food for the nation. A cypher message was passed through Ministry of Agriculture for a local War Agriculture member to decipher and pass a coded message on to farmers in his area.

A simple code was used. The message would begin with Pubulum (Latin for food for thought) followed by the name of the county and the further outlook and forecast words in sequence. The further outlook code word precedes the forecast code word. For example: ‘Pubulum Kent Buy Dog’ would mean ~ no rain in Kent during next 24 hours, low humidity and sunshine, with a further outlook of continuing settled or good weather for some time ahead.

The code names for the 24 hour forecasts were Dog, Horse, Cow, Sheep and Pig, and for further outlook forecasts Buy, Fat and Sell


June 2015 Climate

June 2015 Stat

El Niño is Getting Stronger

Issued on 23 June 2015 |

The 2015 El Niño continues to strengthen. Central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean sea surface temperature indices are more than 1 °C above average for the sixth consecutive week. International climate models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology indicate further consolidation is likely. El Niño events typically strengthen during the second half of the year, reaching full strength during late spring or early summer. It is not possible at this stage to determine how strong this El Niño will be.      El Niño episodes in the south-east usually mean we are in for a drier than normal Winter and Spring

Clement Wragge -Meteorologist

Our Maleny weather records going back to 1885 partly due to the foresight of   Clement Wragge.


Clement Wragge  was Queensland’s first government meteorologist had the foresight to set up a rain recording station at Maleny and we now have over 120 years of accurate records

Clement Lindsay Wragge was truly an extraordinary person. He was tall, lean and restless with a mop of red hair and bounding energy. Born in England in 1852 and son of a solicitor he trained in law. His love of natural science proved too much and he ran away to sea where he learned, navigation, astronomy and meteorology.

Clement Wragge then joined the Royal Meteorological Society and was given the task of setting up a weather stations at Fort William and on top of Ben Nevis – Britain’s tallest mountain

Arriving in Australia to take up his appointment as Government Meteorologist of Queensland on 1st January 1887 it rained incessantly for several weeks resulting in him receiving his nickname of “inclement” Wragge.

Wragge’s rise to fame was that in an incredibly short space of time he had established 400 rain recording stations, including Maleny, and 100 synoptic weather stations, including Crohamhurst Observatory, near Peachester It was here under the guidance of his pupil and assistant, Inigo Jones, the observatory was to become a world famous centre for long range forecasting using a European technique of 30 year cycles that Wragge had learned about at one of the International Meteorological Conferences he had attended in Munich and Paris and later improved upon by Inigo Jones.

Another first for Wragge was naming of tropical cyclones, using the Greek alphabet, progressing through Greek and Roman mythology and finally to names of politicians of the day, on the grounds that both were ‘national disasters’. The system of naming of cyclones lapsed for many years but was resumes by the BOM in 1963.

Wragge thought he could break droughts by firing Steiger Canons at rain bearing clouds. He set up a ring of canons around Charleville and fired them all at the same time to create a tremor in the atmosphere. The experiment was a failure. One of the Steiger canons is still place and can be seen at Charleville, Queensland…