Forecast of a wetter winter
IT WAS a frigid start to the day yesterday with the mercury dropping to a nose-numbing three degrees before mother nature turned on some more of that spectacular May weather and raised the temperature to 22.
The first day of winter is just 10 days away but Gympie region residents can expect the days to stay cool as the cloud cover increases today and rain develops tomorrow and Thursday.
With the mornings and nights getting distinctly colder this month, predictions of a cooler winter have firewood sellers across the Gympie region stockpiling their supplies.
Already they are being run off their feet with an influx of orders.
Cedar Pocket farmer and firewood supplier Greg Bath sells his wood by the ute-load and cuts it to size for use in a 10-inch combustion stove.
Greg uses the hard wood Gympie messmate, and started chopping and delivering in earnest six weeks ago but said yesterday things had become seriously busy in the past two weeks.
Peter Meehan delivers wood to households throughout the Gympie region, the South Burnett and the Sunshine Coast and says the orders have been pouring in over the past two to three weeks.
"We have sold about 150 tonne of wood this month," he said.
"We are well over what we normally deliver. We are 30-40 loads up this year on last year. We have just got busy in the last two to three weeks. June is usually our busiest month but this year things have really taken off in May."
The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a 60% chance of cooler-than-average temperatures this winter for south-east Queensland.
Sky News senior meteorologist Tom Saunders said we could also expect a wetter than normal winter.
"Due to warm sea surface temperatures off our west coast we are expecting a wetter than normal winter over central and northern Australia, including south-east Queensland," Mr Saunders said.
"The added cloud cover should lead to below average maximum temperatures but above average minimum temperatures, so cooler days but milder nights."
While there is nothing quite like a wood fire for ambience and gentle heat, some households have the convenience of gas heating or reverse cycle air-conditioning.
Whether gas is a cleaner alternative comes down to cost versus efficiency, according to Dr Graeme Palmer from Southern Cross University's school of Environment, Science and Engineering.
He said gas and wood both had advantages and disadvantages.
Dr Palmer said wood was a renewable resource that produced no net gain in greenhouse gases.
He said slow combustion was the best method of generating the most heat from wood, but it generated smoke and particles as pollution.
The cost of gas has risen since the introduction of the carbon tax, but Dr Palmer said gas generated more heat than a similar volume of wood more efficiently while producing less pollution.
Dr Palmer said ideally electric heating generated from a renewable fuel resource was the best environmental solution.