Do you ever wonder why it’s so windy in Western Australia? From the roaring winds of the Pilbara to the chilly gusts in Perth, Australia is a land of many winds.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at why Western Australia is so windy and how we can use that wind to our advantage.
So if you’re curious about the windy weather Down Under, read on!
The “Roaring Forties” and the Sea Breeze of Western Australia
The “Roaring Forties” and the Sea Breeze of Western Australia are two significant factors that contribute to the windy weather in Western Australia.
The Roaring Forties are strong westerly winds found in the Southern Hemisphere, between the latitudes of 40°S and 50°S.
These westerly winds blast over the South Island and the lower portion of the North Island and stop northwards at about Whanganui.
The strongest westerlies blow through this wind zone, making it a bane of sailors since Cook’s time.
Meanwhile, the sea breeze is a phenomenon that occurs in coastal regions during summer, when warm air rises above land and cool air from the ocean replaces it.
This creates a pressure gradient which can create powerful winds in certain areas, such as Lancelin.
The Windy Weather in Lancelin
In the coastal town of Lancelin, the windy weather is highly noticeable. Located in Western Australia, the area experiences a unique combination of winds known as the “Roaring Forties” and the Sea Breeze.
The average monthly wind speed for Lancelin is 15 to 20 km/h, tending east to southeasterly in the evening.
In the summer months, a southerly sea breeze kicks in around 12.30 am, providing relief from the hot sun.
These powerful winds can make it difficult to host events outdoors, so be sure to use tablecloth weights if you plan on doing so in any windy weather.
The South-West Area’s Summer Sea Breeze Activity
The South-West Area of Western Australia experiences significant sea breeze activity during the summer months.
This is because of the major temperature difference between the land and sea, combined with the Coriolis Force that causes the wind to move counter-clockwise.
The prevailing wind is a strong, gusty, hot easterly, and when the location of the west coast trough is such that the synoptic pattern induces southerly winds, the sea breeze enhances them.
As it begins to blow directly from the sea towards land, it creates a northerly wind but more often than not a north-westerly one.
This cooler air brings relief from the hot summer temperatures and can be felt all over the region.
The Pressure Gradient and Powerful Winds in Australia
The pressure gradient between the low-pressure area over the southwest region of Australia and the high-pressure area over the eastern states creates powerful winds as the atmosphere attempts to balance things out.
Perth, in particular, is the windiest city in Australia and is frequently blasted by southwest winds.
This large pressure gradient is also responsible for driving some of Australia’s worst maritime disasters, with destructive winds, torrential rainfall, and rough seas accompanying stronger East Coast Lows.
Perth’s Long Cool Wet Winters and Windy Clear Year Round
Perth is the capital city of the state of Western Australia and has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa), with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.
During the winter months, a system moves to the north and is responsible for clear skies, sunny days, and easterly winds in the tropics.
This system also brings much-needed rain to Perth during the winter months.
The amount of sunshine in Perth is very good in spring and summer, but the winters are long, cool, and wet; and it is windy and mostly clear year-round.
This combination of mild wet winters and hot, dry summers makes Perth an ideal destination for those looking to explore the East or Inland in Western Australia.
The “Fremantle Doctor” sea breeze also plays an important role in moderating temperatures in Perth during summer.
Despite its windy nature, Western Australia remains a popular tourist destination due to its pleasant weather, beautiful landscapes, and interesting culture.
Australia is the Size of Europe and its Weather Varies
Western Australia is a huge continent, with a size similar to that of Europe and its weather varies greatly depending on the latitude.
The northern area has a tropical-influenced climate, with hot and humid summers and warm, dry winters.
The southern area is characterized by cool and cloudy weather, with rain brought by the windy zone between latitudes 40° and 50° S. Jet streams, and strong winds in the upper levels of the atmosphere, also play a role in shaping Australia’s weather.
In addition, the pressure gradient created by the hot sinking air of the subtropical high-pressure belt contributes to powerful winds across Australia.
This windy weather brings different temperatures throughout the year – Perth experiences long cool wet winters, while summer sea breeze activity is common in the southwest area.
The “Fremantle Doctor” sea breeze is also known to have an impact on Perth’s climate.
Whether you choose to explore Australia’s east or inland, one thing is for sure – you should expect strong winds when visiting this windy continent.
When is the Warmest Time to Visit Western Australia?
The best time to visit Western Australia is during the summer months, between November and March.
During this period, temperatures are high and the weather is mostly clear, making it an ideal time for outdoor escapes.
It is also during this period when the South-West area of WA is most affected by significant sea breeze activity
The prevailing wind is a strong, gusty, hot easterly, and it is also during these summer months that temperatures in some parts of the south coast decline.
This is why it’s important to plan your trip accordingly if you want to enjoy the warmest weather in Western Australia.
The “Fremantle Doctor” Sea Breeze and Its Impact on Perth
The “Fremantle Doctor” sea breeze, named after the nearby city of Fremantle, is a regular afternoon breeze that helps to cool Perth during the hot summer months.
This sea breeze has a major impact on the weather in Perth and its surrounding areas, providing relief from the heat and humidity.
This windy weather also means that Perth is one of the windiest cities in Australia and can experience some powerful gusts of wind at times.
Exploring the East or Inland in Western Australia
For visitors looking to explore the eastern or inland parts of Western Australia, they will find that the prevailing winds of the area blow east-west rather than north-south.
This is caused by the pressure gradient between the warm air of the south and the cooler air of the north.
The windy weather in Lancelin is a result of this pressure gradient, creating some of the strongest and most consistent sea breezes in the world.
The South-West area also experiences significant summer sea breeze activity, which adds to the gusty, hot easterly winds that blow throughout much of Western Australia.
In winter, cold fronts tend to move north, resulting in cooler temperatures and more wet weather for parts of Perth, the South West and the Rainbow Coast.
Despite this, there are still warm days up north and clear skies year-round due to these powerful winds.
Why is Western Australia So Windy?
Western Australia is known for its windy weather, and the reason for this can be attributed to two main factors.
The first is the “Roaring Forties”, which are strong westerly winds that blow from around 40 degrees south latitude, bringing with them strong and gusty winds.
The second factor is the presence of a strong sea breeze, known as the “Fremantle Doctor”, which helps to cool down Perth during the summer months.
In addition to this, the area around Lancelin experiences extremely windy weather due to a pressure gradient created by the desert and the Indian Ocean.
These two forces combine to create powerful winds throughout Western Australia that make it one of the windiest places in the world.