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Wetlands bone-dry as heat begins again for ACT

Acting RSPCA CEO, Jane Gregor, in one of the bird hides at the Jerrabomberra Wetlands.

Acting RSPCA CEO, Jane Gregor, in one of the bird hides at the Jerrabomberra Wetlands. Photo: Rohan Thomson

There's more heat on the way for the nation's capital, with at least five days over 35 degrees in the next week and Canberra almost certain to experience its driest January since 1985.

With just 5mm of rainfall this month so far, the Jerrabomberra Wetlands are bone-dry and most of the local birds have left.

No more rain is expected before the beginning of February at least.

Hot weather over the last few weeks has dried up the wetlands which usually attract a large variety of bird life.

Hot weather over the last few weeks has dried up the wetlands which usually attract a large variety of bird life. Photo: Rohan Thomson

The heat is expected to begin again on Wednesday, with the ACT forecast to have at least five days over 35 degrees in a row over the next week.

Weatherzone meterologist Rob Sharpe said the coming heat wave has the potential to break further temperature records in the ACT.

"This one looks like it could be consistently over 35 degrees for a longer period, just not near 40. It’ll still feel pretty darn hot and be pretty similar to the last spell, in terms of how uncomfortable as a whole [heat wave] will be," he said.

Big difference ... there was much more water when this photo was taken on January 1. <em>Photo: Jane Gregor </em>

Big difference ... there was much more water when this photo was taken on January 1. Photo: Jane Gregor

Temperatures are expected to peak in Canberra on Saturday, with a maximum of 39 degrees and a minimum of 18.

Tuesday will be the last day below 35 degree for the foreseeable forecast.

Mr Sharpe said there was a possibility the heat could ease on Monday week, but he wasn't holding his breath.

"There’s no source of moisture for the next week and half in the Canberra area at least. It’ll be a while before we see some cooler and wetter weather move through the Canberra area."

As a result of the recent extreme conditions, the Jerrabomberra Wetlands out near Fyshwick have completely dried up due to the high temperatures and low rainfall.

Canberra has had just 5mm of rainfall this month so far, barely a tenth of the average rainfall for January and only 4mm above the record low.

It is likely to be the driest January since 1985, when the city had just 3mm of rain.

Normally a thriving colony of waterbirds, only a few snipe remained in the dried out swamp areas on Monday.

RSPCA acting CEO and bird-watcher Jane Gregor said it was the driest she had seen the wetlands in months.

"It got this dry round about July or August... But it was good because they had a lot of carp in here and they needed to clean them out, so last time it was really beneficial," she said.

"But it was less beneficial this time."

Ms Gregor said there when she had been down to the wetlands just a few weeks ago there had been eight or nine pelicans, two species of spoonbills, ducks galore and water everywhere.

Now there was barely 10 per cent of birds left in the area.

"Most weekend you'd come down and there'd be lots and lots of people, but now there's no water," she said.

"It's the dry lands rather than the wet lands."

 

 

 

 

9 comments

  • But there is no such thing as climate change, is there.
    *sigh*

    Commenter
    Joe
    Date and time
    January 27, 2014, 6:38PM
    • Joe - please get it right. Your comment leaver the way for those critical of climate-change theory to make comments about the extreme cold in the northern hemisphere more than countering any heatwaves here. Bottom line - they will win such simplistic arguments. You need to focus on extreme weather changes (which are certainly happening) and result from excess heat in the atmosphere (known to cause thunderstorms which can cause massive hailstorms) causing major shifts in weather patterns.

      Commenter
      John
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      January 27, 2014, 8:27PM
    • The climate is always changing, the question is whether it is driven by the big ball of fire in the sky or by Anthropogenic means.

      Commenter
      The Sun
      Date and time
      January 28, 2014, 8:36AM
    • Good to see all the curly feathered drongo's haven't flown the area because of summer.
      The wetlands are man made along with the man made lake Burley Griffin and the lake levels that are lower than normal as they have been working on the dam wall...sigh!

      Commenter
      dusty
      Location
      canberra
      Date and time
      January 28, 2014, 2:54PM
  • Joe, there maybe is such a thing as climate change — however — doing something about it is another matter. You can't get blood out of a stone and reverse this climate change unless we stopped everything that puts out greenhouse gases altogether. Otherwise, we're grasping at straws and talking about 5.999999999°C instead of a 6°C temperature increase.

    Face facts: there is no viable solution

    Commenter
    Climate change debaters PLEASE LISTEN
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    January 27, 2014, 9:35PM
    • Well, like most people, I am over the stinking hot summers of thus dust bowl city Whoever thinks they need to put up with it just for a job here needs their head examined. On that note, I'm helping for a sea change where rage afternoon sea breeze rolls in. GOODBYE to this festering, dusty city.

      Commenter
      OVAH It
      Date and time
      January 27, 2014, 10:10PM
      • Like most peolpe????? Ha ha ha ha ha. Very funny when more than half this country is drought affected.

        Oh yeah....... bye

        Commenter
        Deutsch
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        January 28, 2014, 12:44PM
    • Ms Gregor took my only joke. I'm left with only a dusty afterthought - perhaps my just deserts?

      Commenter
      My Joke!
      Date and time
      January 28, 2014, 7:17AM
      • It amuses me to see the warmists jump on every report in the news where it's deemed "hot" or "bloody hot." In all my years on this planet, the climate is definitely, uncategorically and without a shred of doubt, NORMAL.
        After the amusement, however, comes anger. That we have been duped into paying billions of dollars for "global warming" or "climate change" that is obviously a fabrication is crminal!

        Commenter
        Choc Hudson
        Location
        Queanbeyan
        Date and time
        January 28, 2014, 2:01PM
        Comments are now closed
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