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Sydney before “climate change” — over 50C, 122F recorded at Windsor Observatory, 1939

Posted By Jo Nova On January 9, 2018 @ 5:15 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

This was Sydney before “Climate Change” hit — fifty degrees:

Penrith may have recorded 47.3C for at least one-second this week, but Windsor is only 23 km north-east of Penrith, and on January 13th, 1939, it recorded 122F or 50.5C with an old fashioned liquid thermometer,  not a modern noisy electronic one.

Apparently, climate change makes our extreme heat less extreme.

Furthermore, this was not measured on a beer crate in someones back-yard, but on the historic Windsor Observatory which was built in 1863 by John Tebbutt F.R.A.S who had discovered The 1861 comet, and published many scientific reports in Astronomical Journals. His meteorological observations are published at Harvard in 1899 (among others). Tebbutt died in 1916, so it’s not clear what instrument the 122 F was recorded on in 1939, but a Stevenson Screen had been installed around 40 years earlier, and the measurement was made by Mr Keith Tebbutt, presumably his son.

Tebbutt’s portrait graced the back of our 100 dollar note from 1984 -1996.

See, Many Collapse in the Heat: Thursday Jan, 12, 1939, The Northern Star

Windsor Observatory

Windsor Observatory | Photo: Winston M. Yang Wyp

All part of Greater Metropolitan Sydney

In 1939, I doubt either town was considered part of Sydney. But now both are on the metro network. Penrith is 54km from the CBD, Windsor, 56km. Notably, Windsor is a few train stops closer than Richmond, which the BOM acknowledges recorded 47.8C in 1939 on January 14, three days after the high of 122F recorded at Windsor.

Apparently Penrith that particular day, January 11th, was 110F, while Richmond was 115F or 46.1C. Neither Penrith nor Windsor appear to be recognised in BOM climate records.

Extreme heat of long ago — 48.2C (118F) at Windsor in 1896:

Thanks to Warwick Hughes, who has been looking at Windsor historic records too:

The Windsor and Richmond Gazette for Sat 18 Jan 1896 Page 6 Hawkesbury Heat – On Monday 13 Jan 1896 John Tebbutt’s Observatory recorded 118.8°F or 48.2°C – also well clear of the 47.3 at Penrith last Sunday.

So in 1896, as recorded in an old liquid in glass instrument, temperatures were very similar to 2017, as recorded with an electronic sensor. The old thermometer was probably reading a bit high in a Greenwich Screen, but the new thermometer is reading a bit high due to electronic noise.

It follows then if the BOM was interested in our climate history, they could build side-by-side models and figure out how to compare these historic records. That they don’t — when climate is the Biggest Threat To Human Civilization — tells us all we need to know about how interested the BOM is in the climate history of Australia.

Imagine if Tebbutt’s 40 years of records from the late 1800s showed a cooler climate? Hands up, who thinks studying them would have been a hot topic for Australian PhD students…

Windsor Observatory, 1906, Photo.

Note the Stevenson Screen and Greenwich Screen side by side at Windsor Observatory in 1906. h/t Daily Telegraph.

More extreme heat — 117.1 F was recorded in 1878

Yesterday (Sunday) the shade temperature at this Observatory reached 116.8 degrees, or the same as that attained on the 6th instant. To-day, however, the maximum recorded was 118.8degs, the highest experienced here since 1862. The next highest was recorded in 1878 when the thermometer registered 117.1 degrees. During the 33 years of my experience I have never till today recorded as high as 100 degrees at 9 o’clocka.m. At that hour this morning the reading was 102.8 degrees, and at 6 o’clock this evening the temperature had not sunk below 105 degrees.

From what I have stated it will be seen that the heat of to-day is quite phenomenal.

—  JOHN TEBBUTT. The Observatory, Windsor, January 13, 1896.

Old Windsor Observatory — more scientific than the modern BOM?

Here’s a bit of curious history. At Windsor Observatory there was a Greenwich Stand from 1862 til at least 1897, then a Stevenson screen was added:

At Windsor the old Greenwich stand was employed ever since 1862, while at the College the thermometers are enclosed in a Stevenson’s stand. I suggested that a Greenwich stand should be placed beside the Stevenson’s stand and a series of comparisons be made with both modes of exposure in order to get an equation .

Tebbutt made comparisons between Greenwich stand and the Stevenson, and published them, putting him ahead of the current $365 million a year Australian Bureau of Meteorology which has not published side-by-side comparisons of the two main thermometer types currently in use:

In accordance with the suggestion recorded on page 17 of the last Annual Report, I have had constructed a Stevenson’s themo- meter screen exactly similar to that employed at the Hawkesbury Agricultural College. It has been placed beside the old Greenwich stand employed at this Observatory during the past thirty-eight years, and a series of themometer comparisons is now being conducted in order to get an equation between the results derived from the two methods of exposure. I trust to be able to give, in my Report for 1901, a table embodying the results of these comparisons. The readings in the Greenwich stand are, as anticipated, considerably higher than those in the Stevenson’s screen.

It’s hard to tell, but as best as I can make out from an unformatted text page, at very high temperatures — over 100F, the Greenwich screen recorded temperatures about 2-5 F higher. (I’d like to see the original, can anyone help find it?)

For what it’s worth, the old Observatory has been renovated and was on the market this year “for the first time in 170 years” for $5 m.

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