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Marble Bar’s hottest day? Today might reach 49.1C again like it did 110 years ago

Posted By Joanne Nova On January 23, 2015 @ 4:46 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

UPDATE: 6pm — Despite the hype, the BOM shows no towns making 50C in WA. Marble Bar was the hottest at 49.0C. At least, the BOM, WA Today, The Australian and the ABC have printed the old record correctly as 49.2C.

Will it be a hottest record at one of the hottest towns in the world today? The forecast for Marble Bar, Western Australia, is 49C. The record for Marble Bar stands at 49.2C or 120.5F recorded in 1905 and 1922. I guess if we give up our cars and airconditioners the temperatures in Marble Bar will go back to these ideal conditions?

Thermometer-spotting: the temperature has varied up and down.| The BOM page for Marble Bar: 48.3C at 2.54pm but the highest was 48.9C at 2:46 (8 minutes earlier?). | At 3:30pm the current temp is 48.4C but the highest as listed as 49C at 3:12pm. |  Now at 3:50pm the temperature has fallen to 47.9C and it looks like the peak was reached just short of the old record.

Overexcited journalists get 50C into headlines already

Marble Bar record heat 1905

Sat Jan 14, 1905

At least one journalist is so excited he predicted it’s “highly likely” one of the towns in the area will hit the magic 49.5C which can be rounded up to 50C! (Seriously, Anthony Sharwood says that. Marvel at the power of odd versus even numbers and rounding conventions. It is not as though our modern media can report to one decimal place in a headline after all.) And who needs rounding, or even a measurement? That same headline today already assumes the BOM are wrong and it will hit 50C. “It’ll reach 50 degrees in parts of Western Australia today”. Hey, it might turn out to be right.(It didn’t). This article also gets the record maximum wrong saying it was 48.6C in 2008. It’s on the news.com site, but frustratingly it’s not clear which newspapers it was printed in or how many people saw it. Andrew Burrell from The Australian also gets 50C into the headline:“Pilbara miners brace for 50C scorcher “ and “Weather records set to tumble with temperatures in WA tipped to hit 50C “. How many people in Australia will already think 50C happened, even if it doesn’t.

Historic hot days in Marble Bar

Here are historic newspaper stories of the day the 120F records were set:


Sat Jan 14 1905



Marble Bar, January 10.

Great heat was experienced here yesterday and to-day. Yesterday the shade reading of the thermometer was 115.5 degrees and to-day it was 17 degrees. Between 11 a.m. and noon today the mercury rose 15 points. A hot wind, like a blast from a furnace, prevailed.

Marble Bar Jan 12

Terrific weather still prevails. Hot eastern winds sent the thermometer up to 120 degrees by 12.45p.m., but it only rose half a degree higher, the top reading in the true shade being 120.5 which is a record.

The other record day in 1922


5 Jan 1922 Kalgoorlie Miner


120.5 IN  THE  SHADE

Perth. Jan. 4. At Marble Bar yesterday the shade reading, showed a maximum of 120.5 degrees, and a minimum for the 21 hours of  81(?) degrees. Roebourne came a good second with 117 degrees.



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