There are probably only ten people in Australia who haven’t heard it was the Hottest Ever, Record Summer Downunder. And they were probably born yesterday.
Summer here was so scorchingly awful it was Angry. But a funny thing happened on the orbit overhead. Check out the UAH satellite data on summers since the UAH records began. The graph below (thanks to Ken) is the temperature data from the NASA satellites, processed by UAH (University of Alabama in Huntsville). Strangely there is a disparity between what the satellites recorded and the BOM.
The satellite data shows that the summer of 2012-2013 was close to ordinary, compared with the entire satellite record going back to 1979. Not a record. Not even extreme?
According to UAH satellite measurements summer in early 2013 was not a record. Not even close.
The graph data comes thanks to John Christy, Director, Earth System Science Center, Distinguished Professor, Atmospheric Science University of Alabama in Huntsville, Alabama State Climatologist and Roy Spencer. It was graphed by Ken Stewart at KensKingdom, and inspired by Tom Quirk at Quadrant. I was very happy to connect them this weekend. The data cover “average lower troposphere temperature anomalies for land grids [...]
There were not many long term sites (in black dots) in the centre of Australia in 1930.
This summer the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) invented a whole new metric to measure average national heat, which might be all very well except no-one (other than the BOM) seems to know what it is.
On January 7th the BOM claimed Australia set a new “average maximum daily temperature record”. Now the headlines are about the “hottest” Australian summer.
With both records, no one outside the BOM team has access to the methods or data. This post is about the new “daily” temperature of Australia used to declare Jan 7th was a record, but the same point applies to the “hottest summer” records, even though they may be a different data set. Where is the data? Where are the methods?
Is the BOM a science agency or a PR bureau?
The January 7th heatwave supposedly broke all previous “daily” records in this category — a dubious honor since no-one can remember any records like it.
It’s a bit like winning the Side-Jump. It’s not an event anyone knew was on until the medal ceremony. Worse, no one knows how the [...]
Despite the wild hype about records being broken, and how hot this summer has “felt” for most Australians there have been many hotter summers, and for millions of people this summer was not remarkable at all.
The BOM is planting the unscientific suggestion it “felt warm” when thermometers in most major centres tell us it was just summer. The population of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne combined is almost 11 million. Nearly 50% of all Australians experienced an average to above average summer, but none of them experienced an extreme summer or a record hot season.
Since there are 100 different ways of measuring a “record”, could it be the BOM is cherry picking whatever record it can find, but ignoring all the non-records, the average measurements, and the ordinary heat?
Melbourne, hot but not extreme
In Melbourne there have been nine hotter summers, and two of those were more than a century ago. Those summers weren’t just a bit hotter. It was nearly a whole degree hotter (as an average of maximum summer temperatures) in 1898 and 1951.
In Melbourne this summer qualifies as the tenth hottest. It was far hotter in 1898, 1951, 1981, and 2001
You could almost be forgiven for wondering if the Bureau of Meteorology is a science unit or a PR agency. They seem professionally adept at getting headlines, but not so hot at predicting the weather.
On Jan 7th the BOM models forecast 50 spanking hot degrees across hundreds of square kilometers in central Australia. But it was a whole week ahead, the prediction itself cooled with a day or two, and in the area under the “purple searing spot” the result on Jan 14th ended up being around 40C instead. That’s fine in itself — predictions are difficult. What’s not fine is the PR storm that ensued, which is still being used, as if somehow the very fact that our faulty climate models predicted a record temperature (but failed) is evidence of man-made global warming. How many thousands of people all around the world now think that Australia had a 50C plus day this January? Did anywhere hit the fifty mark? No report of one so far. Watch the loop of Australia’s January temperatures here. The highest brown bar on that graph is 45 – 48C, and those hot spots are a thousand kilometers from the purple patch.
That said, [...]
Eight reasons why this current heatwave is a boring, overhyped example of weather being used for political purposes.
1. It’s the long term trends that matter — not a few weeks of hot weather
As climate scientists keep telling us (except when they have a heatwave to milk), ”weather is not climate”. It’s the long term trends that matter. One short four week period is not a long term climate trend, but it is an excellent opportunity to create hype and scaremongering in the newspapers. Scientists with little scruple and low standards are making the most of this.
2. The “records” we are breaking are pitifully short
Even if this is the hottest heatwave “ever recorded”, it doesn’t mean much in the long term scheme of things. Natural climate cycles work on scales of 11 years, 60 years, 200 years, 1500 years, and 100,000 years. We have decent temperature records for many locations for only 50 years. We have a scratchy patchy thermometer record for 150 years. Any scientist raving about breaking a 50 year record as if it means something is … embarrassing. There is too much noise in this system and too little data.
3. If a few weeks [...]
The media are in overdrive, making out that “the extreme heat is the new normal” in Australia. The Great Australian Heatwave of January 2013 didn’t push the mercury above 50C at any weather station in Australia, yet it’s been 50C (122F) and hotter in many inland towns across Australia over the past century. See how many are in the late 1800′s and early to mid 1900′s. You can’t blame those high records on man made global warming. [feel free to post some old records of your own and the source reference we can check and we will update the map]
Did CO2 cause extreme heat in the 1820′s?
In explorer Charles Sturt’s time it was so hot that thermometers exploded. Was this Australia’s hottest day all the way back in 1828? It was 122F or 53.9C! Naturally it is not a BOM-registered-record (the BOM did not exist then). Nonetheless, Charles Sturt was engaged to explore the nation and given careful instructions to take accurate readings of the climate. Yes, inadequate thermometer shading may have exaggerated the maximum by 1C, 2C, maybe even 3C, but at 50.9C it would still have been considerably hotter than anywhere in January 2013.
Even that [...]
Photo: Jo Nova
Post by: Lance Pidgeon with assistance from Chris Gillham and others.
It is as if history is being erased. For all that we hear about recent record-breaking climate extremes, records that are equally extreme, and sometimes even more so, are ignored.
In January 1896 a savage blast “like a furnace” stretched across Australia from east to west and lasted for weeks. The death toll reached 437 people in the eastern states. Newspaper reports showed that in Bourke the heat approached 120°F (48.9°C) on three days (1)(2)(3). It stayed above 100 degrees F (38.8°C) for 24 days straight.
By Tuesday Jan 14, people were reported falling dead in the streets. Unable to sleep, people in Brewarrina walked the streets at night for hours, the thermometer recording 109F at midnight. Overnight, the temperature did not fall below 103°F. On Jan 18 in Wilcannia, five deaths were recorded in one day, the hospitals were overcrowded and reports said that “more deaths are hourly expected”. By January 24, in Bourke, many businesses had shut down (almost everything bar the hotels). Panic stricken Australians were fleeing to the hills in climate refugee trains. As reported at the time, the government felt the situation [...]
If Alan Jones needs to get “educated” because he got the level of CO2 wrong once, the Climate Commission surely needs to go back to do high school maths, because anyone who has done junior high can see that the running average in the graph below is an impossibility. The latest Climate Commission report: “The Critical Decade: Queensland climate impact and opportunities” starts with blatantly incorrect figure. Since when do “averages” run outside the extreme highs and lows? Thanks to reader Ian E.
Eyeballing this graph suggests Queensland’s average temperature has risen by 2.7 C since the 1950′s.
The text on the same page says: “The average temperature for Queensland has risen by about 1°C since early last century”. So at least the writing matches the official (if exaggerated) records.
Who proof-read this document?
Three professors (Will Steffen, Lesley Hughes, Veena Sahajwalla) and Mr Gerry Hueston, all Climate Commissioners, signed off on it.
The correct graph should look more like this.
(Graphed by Ian E)
Even the 1 degree trend in this graph above is likely to be exaggerated [...]
Australia’s hottest day? Not 2010, but 1828 at a blistering 53.9 °C
Back before man-made climate change was frying Australia, when CO2 was around 300ppm, the continent savoured an ideal preindustrial climate, right? (This is the kind of climate we are spending $10bn per annum to get back too?)
We are told today’s climate has more records and more extremes than times gone by, but the few records we have from the early 1800’s are eye-popping. Things were not just hotter, but so wildly hot it burst thermometers. The earliest temperature records we have show that Australia was a land of shocking heatwaves and droughts, except for when it was bitterly cold or raging in flood.
In other words, nothing has changed, except possibly things might not be quite so hot now.
Silliggy (Lance Pidgeon) has been researching records from early explorers and from newspapers. What he has uncovered is fascinating. — Jo
Charles Sturt (1930 postage stamp) Wikimedia
Lance Pidgeon writes:
“EXTENSIVE FLOOD”, “AWFUL BUSH FIRES”, “PROLONGED DROUGHT“ AND “CHANGES OF CLIMATE“.
These Australian headlines from the 1800′s above describe extremes the early colonists faced. At the time the European explorers who were instructed and equipped to [...]
UPDATED AGAIN #4 — Now with Vukcevics Hale cycle graph of Echuca. and #3 David Archibalds suggestion of the Hale Cycle at work. #2 with Willis Eschenbach’s graph and my thoughts, (see below)
Ian Bryce sent me a striking graph (or two). Looking at the original raw data from Echuca Victoria shows a dramatic cooling trend of nearly half a degree since 1900, and rather than being a siting anomaly, it’s repeated in two towns about 100km away.
Curiously he also finds peaks in the maximums at Echuca that look for all the world like they match the solar cycle. Is it a fluke, or could it be real? If it’s real, what conditions make the solar sun-spot cycle so apparent in Echuca — where its maximum temperatures seemingly peak with each second solar cycle. Can anyone find this signal in other places? — Jo
The area is inland Northern Victoria
Has there been Global Warming or Global Cooling in Echuca
Guest post: Ian Bryce
I have spent about 37 years working with processing tomatoes in the Goulburn Valley in Australia, and the last 25 years or so, with research into growing and processing canning tomatoes. Since 1984, our [...]
Joanne Nova and Ken Stewart
A team of independent auditors, bloggers and scientists went through the the BOM “High Quality” (HQ) dataset and found significant errors, omissions and inexplicable adjustments. The team and Senator Cory Bernardi put in a Parliamentary request to get our Australian National Audit Office to reassess the BOM records. In response, the BOM, clearly afraid of getting audited, and still not providing all the data, code and explanations that were needed, decided to toss out the old so called High Quality (HQ) record, and start again. The old HQ increased the trends by 40% nationally, and 70% in the cities.
So goodbye “HQ”, hello “ACORN”. End result? Much the same.
That meant the ANAO could avoid an audit, since the BOM had changed data-sets, the point of auditing the old set was moot.
For me, this version is so much worse than the previous one. In the HQ data set the errors could have been inadvertent, but now we’ve pointed out the flaws, there can be no excuses for getting it wrong. Instead of fixing the flaws (and thanking the volunteers), it’s almost as if they’ve gone out of their way [...]
The BOM say their temperature records are high quality. An independent audit team has just produced a report showing that as many as 85 -95% of all Australian sites in the pre-Celsius era (before 1972) did not comply with the BOM’s own stipulations. The audit shows 20-30% of all the measurements back then were rounded or possibly truncated. Even modern electronic equipment was at times, so faulty and unmonitored that one station rounded all the readings for nearly 10 years! These sloppy errors may have created an artificial warming trend. The BOM are issuing pronouncements of trends to two decimal places like this one in the BOM’s Annual Climate Summary 2011 of “0.52 °C above average” yet relying on patchy data that did not meet its own compliance standards around half the time. It’s doubtful they can justify one decimal place, let alone two?
We need a professional audit.
A team of independent engineers, scientists, statisticians and data analysts (brought together by the joannenova blog) has been going through the Australia Bureau of Meteorology records (BOM). They’ve audited some 8.5 million daily observations across 237 High Quality and other close sites in Australia. Shockingly, while [...]
Despite all the headlines we see, 2011 in Australia was remarkable for its extraordinary averageness. It is a rare year that is more average than 2011 was.
(This email was spotted on it’s way to various government officials. – Jo)
Guest post from Steve Woodman 2011 was the 52nd coldest year on record in Australia, colder than 1912, 1914, 1915 & 1919
Alarmist propaganda outlets such as the ABC were clearly disappointed by 2011 and were forced to resort to decadal temperatures rather than individual years to provide it with its headlines 1:
“Last decade equals warmest on record: UN”
The article then goes on to say:
“2011 ranks as the 10th warmest year since 1850, when accurate measurements began”
That may be so in a global sense, but if the ABC took a more local perspective, in Australia, 2011 was below the 1961-1990 average (see the graph below) 2.
The key question — with all the billions spent on cutting Australia’s carbon production: the trade and income lost; the jobs cut; the pain of living near wind farms; the foreign holidays avoided and then paying more for petrol and electricity than we have to — how many degrees will our actions cool the world by?
Assuming the IPCC are right about the effects of CO2, and that Australia stopped producing CO2 entirely (if we all left the country) by 2100 the world would be 0.0123 degrees cooler, and sea levels would be 2mm lower. These are so small they are unmeasureable.
Abandon Australia and save
The statistics every Australian should know: Australia produced 1.38% of global human emissions of CO2 in 2011. (EIA, 2011a) Each year global emissions increase by twice Australia’s total annual output. (2.8%/year (EIA, 2011a). If we all emigrated and left a bare deserted continent, it puts off the warmer Armageddon by just six months. [...]
A team of skeptical scientists, citizens, and an Australian Senator have lodged a formal request with the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) to have the BOM and CSIRO audited.
The BOM claim their adjustments are “neutral” yet Ken Stewart showed that the trend in the raw figures for our whole continent has been adjusted up by 40%. The stakes are high. Australians could have to pay something in the order of $870 million dollars thanks to the Kyoto protocol, and the first four years of the Emissions Trading Scheme was expected to cost Australian industry (and hence Australian shareholders and consumers) nearly $50 billion dollars.
Given the stakes, the Australian people deserve to know they are getting transparent, high quality data from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). The small cost of the audit is nothing in comparison with the money at stake for all Australians. We need the full explanations of why individual stations have been adjusted repeatedly and non-randomly, and why adjustments were made decades after the measurements were taken. We need an audit of surface stations. (Are Australian stations as badly manipulated and poorly sited as the US stations? Who knows?)
Warwick Hughes has spotted a neat trifecta: whether it be rain, maximums or minimums, the BOM gets it wrong.
For this spring the Australian BOM predicted it would be dry and warm, instead we got very wet and quite cold. The models are so bad on a regional basis, it’s uncannily like they are almost useful… if they call things “dry”, expect “wet”.
On August 24 the Australian BOM had pretty much no idea that any unusual wetness was headed their way. Toss a coin, 50:50, yes or no. Spring 2010 was going to be “average”, except in SW Western Australia where they claimed “a wetter than normal spring is favoured.” What follows were 100 year floods, or at least above average rain to nearly every part of the nation bar the part that was supposed to be getting more rainfall. In the chart below, all shades of “blue” got above average rainfall. The dark blue? That’s the highest rainfall on record.
The rainfall deciles chart original is here.
On August 24 the BOM predicted that spring would be “hot across the north”. Instead it was cold everywhere except in the west [...]
What would you say if you knew our high quality temperature record included sites with 100 year long “records” which were based on just 12 years of data and some undisclosed method was used to construct 90% of the graph?
Wow? I mean, Wow?! Why are these sites with such little actual data being included in a series called “high quality”?
Presumably the “adjusted” trends were recreated (in a sense) by homogenizing data from nearby stations, but why not use just the stations with long records in the first place? Out in the vast outback there are long distances between stations, and while a “splice” might overlap for ten years, who knows whether the dramatic PDO oscillations don’t shift weather patterns during their 30 year cycle and mean that any ten year period is not indicative of the longer time frame.
BOM compensate for the Urban Heat Island effect by making adjustments that essentially result in almost no change in the trend. They remove the “urban” stations, but UHI affects even small populations, and Andrew Barnham speculates that the largest changes in the UHI effect may occur in these smaller rural locations that are still included.
How bad are these datasets? How sloppy are the data records?
Western Australia (WA) covers 2.5 million square kilometers (1 million square miles, about a third as big as the USA). The average of all WA stations over one month last year was adjusted up by as much as a gobsmacking 0.5 degrees due to a database “bug” – which contributed to August 2009 being the hottest August on record?! That’s one heck of a bug!
Could it get worse? Unbelievably, GISS seems to have lost data for key WA locations that an unpaid volunteer found easily in the BoM online records. GISS only has to maintain copies of records for sixteen stations in WA* which have temperatures current to 2010, but in seven of them they are missing data, and it affects the results. Are they random errors? No, shock me, six errors are upwards: in one case making the spring 2009 average temperatures for Kalgoorlie-Boulder 1.1 C degrees warmer!
But with no-one auditing our BoM or NASA’s GISS, and no team jointly receiving raw data or regulating standards in either agency, temperatures recorded in the field could potentially be listed in official records as being quite [...]
Ken Stewart has been hard at work again, this time analyzing the Australian urban records. While he expected that the cities and towns would show a larger rise than records in the country due to the Urban Heat Island Effect, what he found was that the raw records showed only a 0.4 degree rise, less than the rural records which went from a raw 0.6 to an adjusted 0.85 (a rise of 40%). What shocked him about the urban records were the adjustments… making the trend a full 70% warmer.
The largest adjustments to the raw records are cooling ones in the middle of last century. So 50 years after the measurements were recorded, officials realized they were artificially too high? Hopefully someone who knows can explain why so many thermometers were overestimating temperatures in the first half of the 1900′s.
50 years later?
The raw Australian urban temperature records are in blue. The adjusted records in red. Note that temperatures in the middle of last century appear to be adjusted downwards. These are the annual average recordings for all 34 sites.
Remember Dr David Jones, Head of Climate Monitoring [...]
Ken has been a very busy man. Another soul in the dedicated army of volunteer auditors. He’s been going through the entire Australian High Quality Data Set as supplied by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). He’s been assisted by two readers from this site — Lance and Janama — and we’ll be looking to increase the team (see below).
In the State of the Climate report, both the BOM and CSIRO told us that “since 1960 the mean temperature in Australia has increased by about 0.7 °C. The long term trend in temperature is clear… ” but as usual, what they didn’t say was that the raw data since 1910 (not just from 1960) increased only 0.6°C.
The BOM claim their adjustments are random and neutral. Yet when Ken looked at the raw data from Australia’s 100 high quality rural sites, the adjustments increased the trend in the raw data by 40% — from a 0.6°C rise over 100 years, to 0.85°C over 100 years.
In an email to Ken, Dr David Jones, Head of Climate Monitoring and Prediction, National Climate Centre, Bureau of Meteorology, made a clear claim that the adjustments had no [...]
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