The Sun in Australia

ANZ-May15Time for a reprint of one of my recent articles for Australia and New Zealand magazine, this one is all about the sun and daylight hours. As I write this, it’s the middle of summer in the UK and I believe you are getting quite lengthy glimpses of the sun at the moment.

But how does it compare long-term with Australia?

This article appeared in the magazine’s May edition, I called it ‘Bring me sunshine‘, they called it…

Walking on sunshine

Brighton BeachI recently wrote a couple of articles on my blog about the sun which, here in Australia, is a big bright yellow hot thing that appears in the sky on a regular basis.

It is, of course, the same sun that you get in the UK, but for some reason your sun doesn’t seem to behave in the same way as our sun does. To prove that point I wrote two posts; one was called Sunny Days: England Versus Australia Compared and the other Daylight Hours Australia and the UK: Winter and Summer Compared.

I thought you might like me to share some of my findings here.

My research into the sun led me to some very interesting facts and figures; let’s start with those daylight hours.

Daylight hours

The UK definitely wins on those long summer nights, it doesn’t get dark until gone 9 PM in most places and in Aberdeen it’s closer to 10 o’clock in the evening. Here in Australia, our earliest summer sunset is in Brisbane at 6:48 PM. In Sydney though it is at just gone 8 o’clock and in Hobart and Melbourne it’s closer to 9 PM.

The tables are turned on the UK for the winter though. Over there it gets dark by around 4 o’clock in the afternoon; for most of our cities it is 5 o’clock or later and in Darwin it’s 6:36 PM.

Sunset at Mindil BeachSunny days

I also found some good information about sunny days and partly sunny days for some of our Australian cities. For clarification, a sunny day is when cloud cover is 25% or less at the two check times which were 9 AM and 3 PM. A partly sunny day means cloud cover was between 25% and 75% at those same times. The information draws from nearly 30 years of data, so I think we can assume is pretty accurate.

Australia’s sunniest state capital is Perth with 144 sunny days and 121 partly sunny days per year. Brisbane came in second with 126 and 134 respectively. Melbourne was rock bottom, yes, even behind Hobart, with a miserable 46 sunny days but a semi-respectable 139 partly sunny days.

No such similar information was available for sunny days in UK cities, but readily available was sunshine hours per annum for cities in both of our countries. This is where he gets a little interesting.

Sunshine hours

Perth, once again, tops this table with a massive 3212 hours of sunshine a year beating Darwin (3103) into second and Brisbane (2884) into third. Melbourne comes last again with 2079 sunny hours a year, but if Melbourne were in the UK, it would easily be the sunniest city.

London gets just 1481 hours and Birmingham 1364.

The UK’s least sunniest location is a place called Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales with just 1143 sunny hours a year. The UK’s sunniest location, for those who would like to know, is Eastbourne with 1888.

Who knew?

Imagine moving from Malham Tarn to Perth and almost tripling the amount of sunshine you see each year. Or even from London to Brisbane, as I did, and nearly doubling. Would it bother you that it gets darker earlier in the summer?

I don’t think so, it certainly doesn’t bother me. It’s nice to catch some ‘shade’.

hat n sunnies
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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Martin September 11, 2018, 4:02 pm |

    Bob, I created a ranking of the sunniest cities in the world (using the same data that you used) and recently focused on Australia.

    Thought you might find it interesting that among the bigger cities/towns, by far the sunniest (when taking into account the number of overcast days) is Port Hedland (just 22 overcast days a year). The second place is Broome (also 22 overcast days) and then Alice Springs (29 days).

    Out of the biggest cities, Darwin is the sunniest (41 overcast days), then Townsville (41 as well), then Mackay (43), Brisbane (44), Gold Coast (48), Perth (53), Cairns (55), Sydney (60), and Newcastle (69). I don’t take into account colder places, but for comparison purposed I checked Melbourne and Hobart, too – Melbourne gets 114 overcast days and Hobart 123. Compared to 150 in London, they still aren’t that bad.

    • BobinOz September 11, 2018, 7:04 pm |

      Hi Martin, I just checked out your page, some good stuff on there and very well laid out.

      Being someone who loves sunny myself, I’m very happy living in Brisbane which does very well for sunny days. There aren’t that many towns and cities above Brisbane in your list, but none of them would tempt me into moving.

      I could halve my number of overcast days to 22 if I move to Port Hedland, but I’m just not ready for that yet 🙂

      As you say, they all stack up pretty well when compared with London, which is one of the main reasons I don’t live there anymore. 10 years I’ve been here in Australia now, still loving it.

      Thanks for the comment, Bob

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