airport heat islands … artificial maximum temperatures

Airport heat islands, such as we have in Broome.

Broome 13/10:30am 33.6 34.6



One sharp peak when the wind conditions are right, shows up remarkably well. One flight arrived at

Broome 13/01:00pm 33.9 34.7


 NW NW 35

Then the maximum at 12.05 was another  sudden spike.


Today, Monday 14th, a flight scheduled to leave at 8.55, a sudden spike of 1C at 9.03 compared to 9.00am when it was 32.9C

Broome 14/10:00am 33.2 33.9



If that’s not airport heating island, what is? the wind was completely in line from the runway to BoM facilities.

I have also noticed maximum temperature as shown on Sky News Weather are different to BoM, and don’t reflect the sudden increase.tides 036The airport to the left, helicopter hangars to the centre, with BoM and radar tower just behind hangars. High King tides added en extra dimension. This time of year, Westerlys are the most common, during winter, it’s the Easterlies, possibly affecting temperatures at high tide.

Looking west:

Looking East, below, with 3 helicopter hangars, (now 4) and BoM on top left of the runway in the image. (The terminal, on the right side opposite BoM.)

I started checking after seeing this post: Once upon a time in the late 1990’s GISS made tapered adjustments for the urban heat island UHI

Update, another spike this afternoon, 34.2C at 12.53pm, then back to 32.9 at 1.00pm. It was 32.9C at 12.30pm. The difference here though, the next flight arrivals by scheduled airlines was just after this time. It could have been caused by one of the many helicopters or charter flights, but no further info is available. It’s too big a sudden spike to be natural.

Update, the next day, a 1C spike 5 minutes after 12.30 was the maximum for the day. No jet arrivals or departures at that particular time, so another reason for a spike. All other recorded temperatures each half hour show an even range around 33.5C. No change in wind direction from WNW most of the day.

I noticed an airliner yesterday, turning onto the parking apron has the jet exhausts pointed directly at the BoM complex.

Update, after a couple of short lived temperature spikes near midday over the last couple of days, making the Broome maximum more than 1C at times higher over just a couple of minutes, i had a look. Yes, 5 large helicopters leaving their nest right next to BoM’s radar tower and instruments:

5 helicopters at 12.18pm

5 helicopters at 12.18pm

Soon after, at 12.40pm, just 1 left to go. BoM radar tower seen behind hangars.phone1 035

About Tom Harley

Amateur ecologist and horticulturalist and CEO of Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Inc. (Tom Harley) Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Incorporated Kimberley Environmental Horticulture (KEH) is a small group of committed individuals who promote the use of indigenous plants for the landscaping of parks and gardens. Rehabilitation of Kimberley coast, bushland and pastoral regions are also high on our agenda. This includes planting seedlings, weed control, damage from erosion or any other environmental matter that comes to our attention. We come from all walks of life, from Professionals and Trades oriented occupations, Pensioners and Students, Public Servants and the Unemployed. We have a community plant nursery where we trial many old and new species, with a view to incorporating these into our landscaping trials. Our labour force are mainly volunteers, but with considerable help from the 'work for the dole' program, Indigenous Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) groups and the Ministry of Justice, with their community work orders; in this way we manage to train many people in the horticultural skills needed for indigenous plant growing. We constantly undertake field trips that cover seed and plant collection in the Kimberley. Networking around the Kimberley region and the east Pilbara is a necessary part of promoting our activities. We consult on a range of Environmental and Landscaping matters that deal with our region. Our activities involve improving Broome's residential streetscapes by including 'waterwise' priciples in planting out nature strips. Sustainable environmental horticulture is practised by members of our group. We use existing vegetation as the backbone of any plantings, using these species to advantage when planning to develop tree forms or orchards. The Broome region is sensitive to development. Subsequently many weed species have become dominant in and around developed areas. The use and movement of heavy machinery is the biggest single cause of environmental degradation. We dont live in a 'Tropical Paradise' but on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert. The plants that survive best here, grow in well-drained pindan sand, and are found from the Dampier Peninsular southward to where average rainfall is below 600mm. When we use rainforest species, detail is important when planting, water catchment, sunlight and understorey species are all considered. The use of recycled 'grey' water is an advantage here as well as treated waste-water, although many local species do not fare well with nutrients from this source. We use waterwise planting methods which include harvesting asmuch rainwater as possible, with swales designed to hold up to 200 litres, to help recharge the local groundwater aquifer. There has been a serious decline in this aquifer over the last few years. With the fast expansion of the Broome peninsular, more and more land is being covered by concrete, iron and bitumen so that much less water is available to replenish the aquifer, allowing the salt content to become significantly higher. The small Broome Peninsular is on the south-western corner of the Dampier Peninsular (bound by Broome, Derby and Cape Leveque at the northern tip). Compaction by vehicles also inhibits water retention due to the content of our local pindan sand, hard as concrete in the dry, going to soft and sloppy mud after rain. None of us are botanists, inevitably we have got some names wrong, names changed, or have not gone to sub-species level. If you note a photo or description may be wrong, please e-mail to
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3 Responses to airport heat islands … artificial maximum temperatures

  1. Ian G says:

    This happened when Sydney recorded its highest temp a couple of years ago. The temp was 44.9C at 2:49pm, went up to 45.8C at 2:53pm and then dropped to 44.8C at 2:59pm. This was recorded at Sydney Observatory. It broke the 1939 record of 45.3C.
    I wonder what the temp would have been if a highly sensitive thermometer had been around then?

  2. Pingback: “man-made inflated temperature trends … | pindanpost

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