Antarctic weather records: Davis station

Antarctic weather records: Davis station

In this segment we bring you highlights of the recent weather experienced at each of Australia's Antarctic stations in turn. Last issue we brought you Mawson Station, the western outpost, and we now move eastwards to Davis station.

Weather extremes at Davis for the year 2000

Extreme Value Date
Highest air pressure 1009.8 hPa December
Lowest air pressure 954.6 hPa September
Highest daily minimum temperature 0.6°C 30 November
Lowest daily minimum temperature -30.1°C 21 May
Lowest maximum temperature -27.3°C 20 May
Highest maximum temperature 5.8°C 24 November
Highest maximum wind gust ENE @ 163 km/h (88 knots)

Weather phenomena

Phenomena Number of days % of the year
Strong wind (= >22 knots) 103 28
Gales (= >34 knots) 39 11
Blizzard 14 4
Snow fall 113 31
Blowing snow (=< 1km) 15 4

A blizzard is defined as a period of > one hour when the visibility is reduced below 100 m by blowing snow, the temperature is < 0°C and the wind speed is >33 kts.

Month by month overview of 2000, and of the six months to June 2001

January 2000

An average month weatherwise.

February 2000

Noticeably windier than usual but otherwise an average month.

March 2000

Slightly windier than average.

April 2000

Highest monthly snowfall (51.4 mm) for any month at Davis since records began in 1957.

May and June 2000

Average months weatherwise.

July 2000

Almost twice as much snow fell (13.4 mm) as the long term July average (6.8 mm).

August 2000

Another average month.

September 2000

A warmer than average month with a mean maximum temperature of -10.6°C and a mean minimum temperature of -16.8°C compared to the long term means of -13.2°C and -20. 1°C respectively.

October and November 2000

Reasonably average months.

December 2000

A sunny month, with an average 14.2 hours per day of bright sunshine compared to the long- term mean of 9.7 hours.

January and February 2001

Windier than normal.

March 2001

The number of days (17) on which snow was observed was a record since observations began in 1957. Note though that the total precipitation for the month was slightly below average.

April 2001

Twice as many days of strong wind (11) and gales (5) compared to the long term averages of 6.1 and 2.6 days, respectively.

May 2001

A windy month with the average daily wind-speed (23.3 km/h) only 0.7 km/h below the previous highest value of 24.0 km/h.

June 2001

An average June weatherwise.

Steve Pendlebury
Bureau of Meteorology, Hobart

Data contributed by Joe Hopkins and Philip Smart, Senior Observers at Davis 2000 and 2001 respectively.