The science of art: BOM releases its 2021 Australian Weather Calendar

Lottie Twyford 6 November 2020
Hail stones on lawn at Parliament House.

The aftermath of Canberra’s devastating hail storm on 20 January, 2020. Photo: David Foote.

As thoughts (finally) begin to turn to next year, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has released its 2021 Australian Weather Calendar.

It’s a mixture of art and science which aims to educate Australians on weather events and the risks that can be associated with them.

According to BOM’s community engagement manager, Brooke Leung, because Australia experiences such a “dynamic range of extreme weather events” it is vital that Australians are educated about what exactly is going on.

Every year, hundreds of photographs are submitted to BOM, and from these only 13 are chosen for the calendar.

This year, every state and territory has its remarkable weather patterns showcased – from the aurora australis in Tasmania, to waterspouts off Sydney Harbour, floodwaters in Queensland, storms in South Australia, and plenty of interesting clouds all over.

Other memorable weather photos in the calendar include Col Leonhardt’s internationally renowned image of a circular rainbow near Perth – which was even noticed by NASA – and May 2019’s epic dust storm near Mildura, Victoria, which was snapped by Robert Klarich.

Canberra gets an extra special shout out this year as it finds itself on the cover.

David Foote’s image of Parliament House’s lawns blanketed in hail after the catastrophic hail storm on 20 January, 2020, will definitely bring back some interesting memories for locals in the capital.

Mr Foote is the official photographer for Parliament House and his job generally involves photographing dignitaries such as prime ministers, presidents and queens. He says determination is key when taking photos, and this winning image is no exception.


READ ALSO: Jerrabomberra and northern ACT suburbs hardest hit by January storms, says NRMA


Along with the rest of Canberra, Mr Foote had never seen or heard anything like the hail storm, which he initially thought was rain.

He said he was initially concerned with how he was going to be able to take a picture safely during the storm, but by the time he was outside it had already stopped. What he saw instead was damage and destruction everywhere.

He was inspired by the ‘blanket of white’ covering the lawn of Parliament House and his aim was to emphasise both the size of the hail and to include the iconic building in the background.

BOM’s 2021 Australian Weather Calendar can be ordered online and by phone on 1300 798 789.


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