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The lost climate knowledge of Deacon 1952: hot dry summers from 1880-1910

Posted By Joanne Nova On September 11, 2014 @ 8:01 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Once upon a time, Australian climate scientists discussed and published climate trends of the late 1800s. And lo, the long lost hot weather decades were apparent in many places in inland South Eastern Australia. While skeptics are accused of cherry picking data from Bourke, Rutherglen and Deniliquin, there are plenty of other examples. In the last post, the 1953 Argus story described hotter drier summers in Omeo, Bendigo, Hay, Bourke, Alice Springs, Echuca, Albury, and Cooma. Here is a Deacon et al peer reviewed graph of the long term trends at Hay, Narrabri, Bourke and Alice Springs.

Thanks to Chris Gillham for finding the Deacon paper of 1952. [On another point, I'll have a response up to the new BOM "adjustments" page later. In short, their data still has many inexplicable errors like where maxima are lower than minima, and they are still not providing all the details we need to replicate their data and homogenization methods. - Jo]

But just have a look at this graph. Degrees Fahrenheit of course. State of the art, 1952.


These  cooling trends cover “only” a couple of million square kilometers of Australia:

The location of Alice Springs, Bourke, Narrabri, and Hay (Click to enlarge)

Imagine, they even had barometric data from 1880 in small country towns of NSW.


There is a lot more data from South East Australia than other parts of the nation.  But the CSIRO and BOM don’t seem to be in a hurry to try to calculate the longer trends in those places, where the data is available. There are legitimate reasons why it may be difficult to compare the older trends with the newer data. But it’s a public discussion we need to have. Shouldn’t the Australian public know about all this carefully recorded data, and the very hot summers that happened when CO2 was ideal?



Copied from the Deacon et al 1952:



Australian climatic data. show that, for the period 1911-1950, the summer rainfall
over much of the southern part of the continent was considerably greater than in the
previous 30 years and, for the same season, mean daily maximum temperatures in
the interior were appreciably lower. A difference in character of the annual variation
of atmospheric pressure between these periods also suggests a shift of mean position of
the subtropical high pressure belt.

It is tentatively concluded that, contemporaneous with the increased meridional
interchange which has taken place over large parts of the northern hemisphere, a
. similar increase has occurred in the Australian region.


The climate of large regions of the Earth has been subject to wide variation
over long periods of time as has been amply shown by many lines of geological
and palaeobotanical evidence. From these studies it seems that fluctuations
of greatly varying intensity and time scale have occurred, ranging probably
all the way from the ice age glaciations and interglacial epochs at one extreme
to the year to year variations at the other. Although many theories have been
advanced to explain these phenomena (see Brooks (1949) for a discussion and
bibliography), none has yet achieved general acceptance and consequently much
attention is being given to the lengthening series of instrumental observations
in the hope that detailed study of such changes as have occurred in this period
may eventually lead to an understanding of the causation of climatic variation.
As yet the main emphasis is on establishing the extent of climatic change in the
instrumental period and the relation of changes in any one region to those
elsewhere. ‘

Convincing evidence of an appreciable climatic trend in recent decades over
much of the northern hemisphere has been put forward, and Ahlmann (1948)
has reviewed much of this material together with the results of glaciological
studies which have demonstrated a notable retreat and thinning of glaciers in
many areas, trends which have in most cases accelerated since about the beginning
of the century. The climatological evidence points to an increasing transport
of heat into high latitudes by the general circulation of the atmosphere during
this period, with an appreciable increase particularly in the mean winter
temperatures over large areas mainly in high latitudes. A possible reversal
of this trend since about 1940 is not yet fully established.



Deacon, E.L. (1952) Climatic Change in Australia since 1880, Australian Journal of Physics, Volume 6, Pages 209-218.  [PDF]

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