A severe storm passing through the Gladstone region.
A severe storm passing through the Gladstone region.

Gladstone’s weather not impacted by ‘Simpsons dome’

GLADSTONE’S weather is not influenced by a “Simpsons style” dome due to heat output from heavy industries, says the Bureau of Meteorology.

And there is also a simple explanation for the port city’s weather patterns.

Many people from around Gladstone believe the “urban myth” that heat generated from Boyne Smelters, QAL, Rio Tinto Yarwun and Queensland’s largest power station, the Callemondah NRG plant influences local weather.

Discussions have emerged on Facebook about the influence these plants have on the weather, creating a dome similar to what is featured in the Simpsons animated movie, which results in the city missing out on rain and storms.

Meteorologist Livio Regano said the geography of the coastline was the principal factor that influences Gladstone’s weather.

“There is a much simpler explanation which is scientifically a lot more viable,” he said.

“It is simply the shape of the coastline and Gladstone is no exception.

“There are heaps of examples of what we call dome towns, that seem to have domes over them where it doesn’t rain, and Townsville is another classic one, and Bundaberg.”

The glass dome placed over the town of Springfield in the Simpsons by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The glass dome placed over the town of Springfield in the Simpsons by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Mr Regano said the shape of the coastline influenced rainfall.

“Basically wherever the coastline runs more east-west, as opposed to north-south … you get less rain,” he said.

“It’s simply a matter of the fact that our prevailing winds come from the south-east for most of the year and those winds carry showers off the ocean.

“If the coastline is facing directly into the south-east wind, like for example around Yeppoon, where it’s almost north-south, the coastline would intercept the showers, therefore the rainfall will fall.

“If you’re in a place like Gladstone, where the coastline is more east-west and the south-east winds just blow parallel to the coast, the showers stay off shore and don’t strike land.

“It’s very easily explicable, there is no mystery or supernatural explanation, it’s been well understood for a long time.”

Creating enough heat in a certain area, Mr Regano said, could affect the weather, but that impact may not be felt locally.

“The whole atmosphere is connected, which is how global climate change works,” he said.

“Small changes in one part of the world can affect the whole atmosphere.

“But if the heat sources are as described in Gladstone, they wouldn’t just affect the weather locally, they would affect the weather over a much larger area because all those influences are dispersed.

“A lot of the rain that Gladstone gets isn’t formed locally anyway, it comes off the ocean, so it is formed a long way away, where it is completely unaffected by the heat sources that are being talked about.”

To monitor the Gladstone region weather conditions visit the Bureau of Meteorology’s Gladstone radar website.

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