UPDATED: Correction. The interview was done by a fan of John Cook, not John Cook. Notes in the post and apologies. – Jo
Hm, curious event on the ABC today. Credit to Bronwen O’Shea, host of the ABC morning radio program for the Goulburn Murray, for asking both Jennifer Marohasy and the BOM to discuss the Rutherglen temperature adjustments. Good-o, I say – public debate and answers! (Note that link is just to their website, I have not found a copy of the interview or transcript).
But everything worked against the ABC. First the BOM chose not to even try to answer. (Hm?) Then not long after the interview started, the line suddenly went dead and Marohasy was abruptly cut off. She waited for the call back, but it never came. What bad luck eh? Even more unlucky – when the ABC tried to call her back they got a fan of John Cook on the phone instead*. Then, things got even worse for poor ABC listeners — because the fan of Cook mistakenly thought Rutherglen was different to the surrounding stations, but the BOM raw records say otherwise (see the graph below). UPDATED: Apologies to John Cook from Jen and myself for the error. If he wants to explain his views on the BOM and homogenization, I’m happy to post them here. – Jo
I’m sure the ABC wouldn’t want to mislead its listeners and hide serious questions about the BOM’s record of our temperatures. They are concerned about climate change after all, so for the sake of the environment I expect they’ll ask Marohasy back on to finish her points and explain why the talkback caller was wrong. [We are trying to get a transcript or copy of the interview. The ABC said they are unable to supply one.]
Doesn’t the BOM want to defend these attacks on ACORN (their new temperature record)?
Strangely, the BOM said “no thanks” to the chance to answer Marohasy’s points on air. Their homogenization process transformed a 0.35C cooling trend as read by the actual thermometer at Rutherglen into 1.73 C of warming — a very strange and large adjustment to what appears to be one of the few ideal and long rural temperature records in Australia. If the BOM had good reasons for making that remarkable adjustment, you would think they would be keen to explain that, and put an end to speculation and questions about the validity of it. Perhaps they were busy?
Previously the BOM had said that comparisons with neighboring thermometers was “consistent” with a site move, but then Bill Johnston, who had worked there, came forward to say the Rutherglen station had not moved at all. Perhaps the BOM realized that nothing they can they say justifies the almost 2 degree C adjustments to what thermometers recorded 100 years ago?
Jen Marohasy explains the ABC of Rutherglen on her blog:
Bronwen began the interview by suggesting that Bureau have only tweaked the figures for Rutherglen. I disagreed. I explained that the Bureau has actually completely trashed the temperature record by changing what had been a slight cooling trend into warming of 1.73 degree C for the last 100 years. I also explained that this had been achieved by progressively dropping down the original temperatures from 1973.
But then the line cut out.
I wanted to explain that the largest change was back in 1913, with the difference between the actual recorded temperature, and the new official temperature a massive 1.8 degree C.
I was cut-off, before I got to explain too much.
I waited, assuming the line had dropped out. But after no one phoned me back I rang back myself. I phoned ABC Goulburn Murray and was put on hold. Guess whom Bronwen was now interviewing?
Answer: the infamous John Cook, a faux sceptic from the University of Queensland.
Mr Cook was telling Bronwen that the temperature record for Rutherglen had to be corrected because it was different from everywhere else.
We’re looking forward to seeing John Cook explain
that the scientific reasons for the temperature adjustments on his blog. Both Ken Stewart and Jen Marohasy have looked at nearby stations and the whole area shows a slight cooling trend of the mimima.
Rutherglen matches its neighbors without adjustments
Ken Stewart graphed the five near neighbors and found the average of the area was a cooling trend that matched Rutherglen rather well without any adjustment. The stations graphed here are Deniliquin, Wagga Wagga, Sale, Kerang, Cabramurra.
Jennifer Marohasy has also put up a page on Rutherglen.
Don’t give Bronwyn too hard a time in comments. She looks quite young.
* UPDATED — Apparently the caller was someone called David from Sandy Creek (or something like that) who was quoting John Cook or John Cook’s site skepticalscience rather than John Cook himself. I’ve bolded the edits.