As we swelter in the summer heat, mysterious patches of ‘ice’ have been forming at one beach.
As we swelter in the summer heat, mysterious patches of ‘ice’ have been forming at one beach.

Weird reason 'ice’ is forming during sweltering heatwave

A HEATWAVE that has Queensland this week has become so severe, water has been evaporating from rockpools at one of the northern Cairns beaches creating an "ice" effect.

Ice-like layers of salt have formed on the surface of small rockpools at the northern end of Yorkeys Knob, as the mercury peaked at 33.1C on Wednesday, more than 2C above the city's daily average for December.

Salt layer across rockpool at northern end of Yorkeys Knob. Photo: Daniel Bateman
Salt layer across rockpool at northern end of Yorkeys Knob. Photo: Daniel Bateman

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jess Gardner said there was a combination of factors that led to the unusual phenomenon.

"Depending on the rock types, the hotter they get, the more heat they can absorb from the sunlight," she said.

"It also depends on whether the rocks are in shade.

"And obviously the water is not boiling: it's just evaporating.

"You can put a dish of water out in the sun, it will also evaporate: it just depends on how long it takes to do it.

"If you have particularly low humidity, it will happen faster."

Combined with high (75 per cent plus) humidity, temperatures have made the current heat feel much hotter than it really is.

Temperatures are expected to hover around the early to mid-30Cs for the remainder of the week, with a slight chance (30 per cent) of showers next week.

"The temperatures are still going to stay the same next week, except there's the possibility of a shower," Ms Gardner said.


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