Mr. Baracchi, the Government astronomer, gives a denial to the idea that the summers of Melbourne are cooler than of old.
Memory is apt (be says) to misguide. The records fail to show it right in this case. In fact, the
five years 1895-1899, inclusive, were notable examples of what I call the long, hot, dry summer—the summer that begins in October and lasts until nearly the end of March with high temperatures and lack of rain.
The February of 1898 has hardly been equalled in the weather history of Melbourne for long spells of heat.
There were about eleven days in that month, practically consecutive, in which the shade
temperature exceeded 100deg.
That does not look like an indication of climatic improvement.
Our records of forty or fifty years, if gone through thoroughly, would show you that every variety of summer has been experienced—the long dry, hot summer, as well as the short cool summer, and the intermediates.
If anything, those five years I took are above the normal summer of Victoria for heat. Yet it would be doubtful argument to hold that the summers are becoming hotter, as some others think, who point to the clearing away of trees and the baring of the land as probably causes. Absolutely, there is no indication of any serious change in the climate of Victoria.
Each kind of summer has been seen before.
This summer, so far from being exceptionally mild, is nearer the normal than the five before it. These alternations of hot days and cool changes are our normal Melbourne summer.
In five years people have forgotten what our summer should be. In fact, in the normal
summer the cool changes would last longer even that they are doing this year.