Bishop’s Ring

On 5th September 1883 the people of Hawaii were amazed to see their sun turned green with rings of pink, red, orange-rose and brown. This phenomenon was observed and accurately recorded at the time by Sereno Bishop of Honolulu and is now known as Bishop’s Ring.

Ten days earlier and more than a thousand miles away a small island in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra blew itself apart with the loudest bang on earth. The blast was heard across 4500 kilometres, and even in London instruments registered the concussion and continued to do so up to nine days later, when the echoes of the report were making their seventh circuit of the world!

A sea wave 100 metres high swept aside lighthouses like matchsticks, left a Dutch warship three kilometres up a Sumatran valley and drowning over 36,000 people

This was Krakatau.  The explosion pushed a gigantic column of smoke and dust through the ceiling of the troposphere up to a height of 50 kilometres.

Something that made Krakatoa different from other major events in the 19th century was the introduction of the transoceanic telegraph cables. The news of Lincoln’s assassination less than 20 years earlier had taken nearly two weeks to reach Europe, as it had to be carried by ship. But when Krakatoa erupted, a telegraph station at Batavia (present day Jakarta, Indonesia) was able to send the news to Singapore. Dispatches were relayed quickly and literally within hour’s newspaper readers in London, Paris, Boston, and New York were being informed of the colossal events in the distant Sunda Straits.


Climatologists started to study the effect of volcanic dust in the atmosphere using Krakatoa as the baseline and today we have the International Airways Volcano Watch (IAVW) system for the safety of air transport following volcano eruptions.

Since volcanic ash is composed of very abrasive silica materials, it can damage the airframe and flight surfaces, clog different systems, abrade cockpit windows and flame-out jet engines constituting a serious safety hazard. Volcanic ash can also have a serious effect on aerodromes located downwind of a volcanic ash plume since it contaminates runways, ground equipment and aircraft parked or taxiing around the aerodrome.

The IAVW system is designed to detect and track the movement of volcanic ash in the atmosphere and to warn aircraft in flight about this hazard. There are nine Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres responsible for the provision of information related to areas affected by volcanic ash and its future movement. The centres are located at Anchorage, Buenos Aires, Darwin, London, Montreal, Tokyo, Toulouse, Washington and Wellington.


Deep underground, Vulcan, the blacksmith to the gods, keeps his forge going constantly building up enough heat and pressure in readiness for the time to  ‘blow its top’ and throw debris and dust into the atmosphere

Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres

VAAC Centres

Maleny Weather May 17 – 23

Weekly Weather 23.5.10

The Rain Gauge

The rain gauge is probably the oldest meteorological instrument.

The first measurements of rainfall amount were made in the orient, where reference was made in rainfall readings in a work called The Science of Politics by Chanakya, a minister of Chandragupta, who ruled India from 321 to 296 BC’

Rainfall measurements were also made in and around Palestine nearly 2000 years ago.

The son of King Sejong the Great, who reigned the Choson Dynasty from 1418 to 1445, is credited with inventing the first rain gauge. King Sejong sought ways to improve agricultural technology to provide his subjects with adequate food and clothing.

In improving agricultural technology, Sejong contributed to the sciences of astronomy and meteorology. He invented a calendar for the Korean people and ordered the development of accurate clocks. Droughts plagued the kingdom and King Sejong directed every village to measure the amount of rainfall.

His son, the crown prince, later called King Munjong, invented a rain gauge while measuring rainfall at the palace. Munjong decided that instead of digging into the earth to check rain levels, it would be better to use a standardized container. King Sejong sent a rain gauge to every village, and they were used as an official tool to measure the farmer’s potential harvest. Sejong also used these measurements to determine what the farmer’s land taxes should be.

Benedetto Custelli (1577 – 1643), a student of Galilio, is credited with originating the modern rain gauge in about 1639.

Robert Hooke, who discovered the law of elasticity and designed several meteorological instruments, made a rain gauge he called an ombrometer, derived from the Greek word ‘ombros’ and from which we get the word for an umbrella.

The basic design of the rain gauge has been the same for the past 350 years, but some have had square rather than round funnels and the sizes have varied.

Maleny Weather May – 16

Week's Weather 16.5.10

Maleny Week’s Weather 9.5.10

Week's Weather 9.5.2010


The influence of meteorological and climate conditions in the transmission patterns of influenza and its possible seasonality are as yet not adequately understood and are the subject of ongoing research.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) works on aspects of weather, climate and health with the World Health Organization (WHO). While there are some indications that influenza epidemics may be associated with weather conditions, non-climatic factors, including virus type, existing levels of immunity in the population and human behaviour are generally considered to be more closely related to epidemics.

April Rain and Evaporation

April 10 Rain & Evap

Maleny Weather Summary April 2010

April Summary10