Thursday, November 5, 2015

Newfoundland verses Tasmania

Okay, so you junior high and high school students are going to think I'm crazy, but I've been wanting to do a research paper! Whew, my secret is out and you can think I'm weird as you want to :) But, you see, I'm going to kinda cheat. I'm going to just find out all the details about something that I'm curious about, and fling them all over the place. I might work on this for an hour, or maybe a bit for a few days. "Hm," you say, "if I had that choice I wouldn't mind researching something either!" So here goes, and I hope all will find this interesting and fascinating as I think it is going to be!

Last night Matthew and I watched a "Smarter Every Day" video by Destin. If you don't know who he is, you need to look it up on YouTube! Here's the video if you want to watch (warning: graphic images of cancer on an animal). So I was like, "Wait, the Tasmanian Devil actually exists (I did already recently learn that somewhere else) and were on the earth is Tasmania?" So we pulled up a map. My first thought was "Wow, that's way south, I wonder what the weather is like there?" After watching the video and seeing eucalyptus trees in the background (that Matthew pointed out) and these interesting little rat/squirrel/mink/whatever creatures, I was really curious about the climate. Also, everyone thinks Newfoundland is way North when the south part is very close to Maine's latitude. What is the actual latitude compared to Newfoundland and are there currents that affect its climate like the Northern current does Newfoundland. Is Tasmania bigger than NL? Is it considered an island? What do people do there? What's the population? What's the landscape? What other odd creatures live here? What language do they speak? Do they fish? Are there whales? Icebergs? The whole idea of it being to me what Newfoundland is to many other people, totally intrigued me! I don't know much about it and is what I suppose about it actually correct? Some of the ideas people have about Newfoundland are pretty far fetched, but if I was to talk to someone from Tasmania, they'd most likely think the same things I do about people's misconceptions about NL. So I decided to find out!

Newfoundland statistics include Labrador. Which is great as it is a joint province BUT for purposes of comparing two islands, one an Australian State and the other half of a Canadian province, I'd like to stick closely to the similarity of the island aspect.

NL pop: 500,249  TAS pop : 515, 000. Almost half of TAS' population lives in the capital city of Hobart and its metropolis with much of the island being nature reserves and parks. The same holds true for NL with St.John's and surrounding cities/communities coming in at 211,724. While NL's parks and nature reserves don't match TAS, much of the interior is uninhabited.

Newfoundland has 42,030 square miles of land with 6,000 miles of coastland. Tasmania clocks in at 35,043 square miles of land (6,988 less) with only 3,033 miles of coastland. This makes NL the world's 16th largest island and TAS the 26th largest. Both have many small islands surrounding them.

Newfoundland is about 7 degrees farther north than TAS is south. Remembering the seasons are switched because they are on opposite sides of the equator, let's compare by seasons. (Also, sorry all who are used to temperatures in Fahrenheit, but both NL and TS go by Celsius so I'm not converting everything! Just remember 0 C is equal to 32 F.)

Spring in NL lasts for 2 months with the average high being 8 degrees Celsius and the low being zero. While spring in TS lasts 3 months, it is not uncommon to get snow in the higher regions at times. While the temperature varies quite a bit over the island, the average high is 17 and low 8.

Summer NL, lasting 3 months: high average of 19 degrees and low average of 9. Summer is always the recommended time to visit Newfoundland! There is still no guarantee that every day will be sunny skies, but probably enough to get in some sights. Summer TS, lasting 3 months: between 20-24 degrees. A bit warmer, but still the peak season in Tasmania, summer sees all tourist attractions open including swimming ("bring your bathers" in one place I read) though it is a little nippy. I read another place about a swimming club. They do long swims all year around but wear wetsuits.

Fall NL, lasting 2 months: high average of 13, low of 9. Fall TS, lasting 3 months: temperatures between 17 and 9 degrees.

So are you wondering where NL's other 5 months are?! Yep, winter! I'd consider November to be a mix of autumn and winter. Sometimes there is an Indian summer over a week or two with temps in the high 50s/low 60s, sunny days with light breezes and blue skies! But other Novembers consist of RDF (rain/drizzle/fog), often snow squalls, and sometimes early snows that sticks (and doesn't leave until March). The average temperature for those 5 months are between 1 and -6, often with a windchill factor lowering what the temp feels like by several degrees. March, at the end of winter, can also vary quite a bit. Sometimes there is snowstorm after storm and March leaves with blankets snow still on the ground. Other years, while there are always storms in March, some of the snow has melted except for drifts and where it is piled up.

Winter in Tasmania lasts a lovely 3 months with temperatures between 3 - 11 degrees Celsius. Snow is to be expected in the mountains regularly, though it doesn't sound like the cities and towns at lower altitudes and near the coast get much. The city of Hobart is Australia's second driest, but doesn't often have water restrictions due to the nearby resources in the mountain reservoirs.

Precipitation varies quite a bit over TS with some areas getting just over 600mm per year and west coast getting almost 1,500mm to create a rainforest environment! Newfoundland's average precipitation starts at 1,000mm and goes to over 1,500mm!

I am fascinated by looking at pictures of Tasmania! Why? Because I would guess many of them were taken not far from where I grew up. Some pictures have different landscapes, but there are beaches and other formations in NL also. The mountains do differ quite a bit in appearance as well as elevation. NL's highest peak is in the Long Range Mountains in Gros Morne National Park. The Cabox, is 814 meters (2,671 ft) above sea level. Tasmania's rugged peak, Mount Ossa in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, stands at 1,617 meters (5,305 ft) above sea level. Tasmania is one of the most mountainous islands in the world with over 30 peaks higher than 1,200 meters.

Well, it was over a month ago that I last worked on this. I'd love to get find a way to get pictures on here to make it more interesting, but you'll just have to look up some pictures of Tasmania and Newfoundland. I really enjoyed learning more about Tasmania and even meet (through blog) someone that lives in Australia and is planning on visiting Tasmania sometime soon!

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