JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Magically correcting Australia’s thermometers from 1,500 kilometers away

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology uses “surrounding” thermometers to adjust for odd shifts in data (caused by things like long grass, cracked screens, or new equipment, some of which is not listed in the site information). The Bureau fishes among many possible sites to find those that happen to match up or , err “correlate” during a particular five year period. Sometimes these are not the nearest site, but ones… further away. So the BOM will ignore the nearby stations, and use further ones to adjust the record.

These correlations, like quantum entanglements, are mysterious and fleeting. A station can be used once in the last hundred years to “correct” another, but for all the other years it doesn’t correlate well — which begs the question of why it had these special telediagnostic powers for a short while, but somehow lost them? Or why a thermometer 300km away might show more accurate trends than one 50km away.

One of the most extreme examples was when Cobar in NSW was used to adjust the records at Alice Springs –almost 1500km away (h/t Bill Johnston). That adjustment was 0.6°C down in 1932 (due to a site move, we’re told). This potentially matters [...]

Bureau of Met reads tea leaves and finds warming at Horn Island that no thermometer can see

Ken Stewart has been looking at the mysterious pattern of temperatures on Horn Island — right at the top of Cape York Australia. It’s almost as far north as things get in Australia. There was no thermometer there before 1995, so the Bureau of Meteorology has rattled the nearest tea-leaves to find out how warm it was.

The towns listed on the map are its nearest neighbours. “Near”, in the Australian sense, meaning loosely within  500 kilometers.

Horn Island and it’s nearest neighbours

This, below,  is the way 70 years of temperature dregs roll at all those sites.

This is what the Bureau of Meteorology sees (note the scale has changed on the temp axis). That’s two degrees of warming in far north Queensland.

So the average minimum temperature now looks half a degree cooler in 1960 than what your lying eyeballs suggest.

Ken goes into much more detail and deserves our thanks for bothering to try to unpack the mysterious merging of thermometer records in at the BoM department of Tasseomancy.

Visit his site:  Garbage In, Garbage Out- Horn Island

 

[...]

Giles weather station — sited next to almost the only bitumen for 500 km

I visited the famous Giles weather station a couple of weeks ago. It’s an ACORN top ranking site, it even has a Met office. Because it so central and so remote the measurements here are used to estimate temperatures across a vast area — indeed, arguably, it’s the most influential site in terms of Australia’s area-averaged temperature. It’s 1,700km drive from Perth (1,000 miles) and the last 800 km of that is dirt road with wild camels. It’s so remote the nearest post box is 340 km away across the state border at Uluru / Ayers Rock.

This could have been the best site in Australia, unaffected by UHI, open since 1956, staffed with professionals.

Despite the site being surrounded by three deserts and 500,000 square kilometers of wilderness somehow the only short stretch of bitumen for miles starts 600m from Giles and runs within 10m of the Stevenson screen.

Giles is arguably the most central and most remote station in Australia.

Never fear, civilization is here:

 

Giles, Bureau of Meteorology, ACORN, site, Stevenson screen, WA.

Stepping back — the site is surrounded by gravel:

There is even a kind of gravel car park beside the [...]

Feast your eyes on Streaky Bay’s thermometer — over bitumen for 31 long hot years

Ken Stewart rates the Streaky Bay site as one of the worst he has seen  This is an influential site because it’s in a remote area, is used to “correct” official ACORN sites, and has been running for a long time. Last October the BOM finally moved it to a completely new (and much better site) – only three decades too late.  Strangely, they didn’t give the new site a new station number? Normally the old and new sites would be run concurrently with two different numbers so the data from both could be compared and the differences in temperature between them could be worked out. Is that an accident? Does it hide the terrible quality of the previous site?

The Streaky Bay information (site 018079) tells us it opened in 1865 but the site only has monthly data from 1926 and daily data from an even shorter period. The rest presumably hasn’t been digitized yet. As best as I can tell, the station metadata appear to mark this site as being at the post office from 1865 to 2018, and record the ground cover as becoming asphalt in July 1987. That means for 31 years the Australian Bureau of [...]

Maitland SA: Another expert thermometer site — and with incinerator “forcing”

Some days in Maitland are hotter than others.

The very non-compliant Maitland, SA, thermometer site  #022008 |   Imagery  ©2019 Google, Oct 2014.

Thanks to Ken Stewart, the tour through the Great sites of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology continues.

Once again, the experts have carefully graphed, diagrammed, checked and ignored all the things that shouldn’t be within 30 meters of a thermometer. See Maitland Site Info. That fence is described as “Galvanised iron”. The ground is bitumen. The incinerator is labeled “incinerator”. And there are two tanks just out of view to the right, not to mention the tin sheds, trees, buildings and wind breaks.

In 1967 the site only had two tin sheds within a 30 meter radius, which was still not compliant, but vastly cooler than present. The incinerator is about 6 or 7 meters from the Stevenson Screen, and only appears on the maps in 2014.

As Ken says “the site is a heat sink”. It’s not an official “ACORN” star site, but records here get mentions in the media. Worse, Maitland  is one of the sites used to adjust official ACORN data in Adelaide, Cape Borda, Ceduna, Kyancutta, Port Lincoln, and Snowtown.

Ken has also [...]

Murray Bridge, South Australia, where thermometers record junk every day

Thanks to Bill in Oz sending in the shot of Mt Barker, Ken Stewart started auditing other sites in South Australia and discovered this masterpiece of expert siting. And thanks to Ken, you can see The Wacky World of Weather Stations: No. 2- Murray Bridge.

Year opened: 1885. Who thinks the site looked like this 130 years ago?  | Image capture Mar 2018, Google ©2019

As he points out:

The screen is in a houseyard near concrete paths, vegetable gardens and shrubs, close to a picket fence, within 5 metres of sheds, sheltered from the south by a 1.6 metre high fence, with buildings to the east, north, and west, and less than 10 metres from the bitumen road.

Like Mt Barker, this is another site which is not an ACORN “top ranked” site that the Bureau of Meteorology use, but results from here are used to adjust ACORN sites like Mount Gambier, so it is de facto a part of that network.  Sites like this are also used to create propaganda, sorry, press releases about “hottest ever records”.

The BoM know exactly how bad this site is, and in carefully measured detail.

Somewhere a paid bureaucrat has [...]

Mt Barker — How not to measure the temperature

Thanks to Bill in Oz who sent in this photo of the Mt Barker site in South Australia.

Ken Stewart at Ken’s Kingdom writes: The Wacky World of Weather Stations: No. 1- Mount Barker

Photo: Bill in Oz.

Count the ways this site breaches the Bureau of Meteorology own rules:

Ken Stewart finds the relevant BoM guidelines. Clearly this site is on a slope, too close to buildings, too close to tall foliage, too close to heat sinks, it should not be artificially watered, or near asphalt. It should have a 30 meter buffer zone, and not be shielded from the sun, rain or wind. BillinOz points out that it is totally screened from the southerly cold winds, and the cold air will be drained from the spot down the slope.

How much do the Bureau of Meteorology care about climate change? — About 1m out of 30m or 3% of their advertised “care” factor.  That’s a a 97% Junk-Science rate. The future of life on Earth is supposedly at stake and the “experts” can’t even be bothered accurately measuring the climate change they tell us we need to pay billions of dollars to solve.

Could it be worse? [...]

Wow, look at those BOM adjustments – trends up by two degrees C!

The mystery of Australian temperature adjustments

Ken Stewart has been checking the Australian BOM official ACORN minima data against the raw data. This week he highlights the six very strange cases of Brisbane Airport, Amberley RAAF, Dubbo, Rutherglen, Rabbit Flat, and Carnarvon. In all these places the adjustments change the trend by more than 2 whole degrees C. It’s a kind of hyper-homogenization.

Thermometers are supposed to be accurate to a tenth of a degree. Australian average trends are sometimes calculated to one hundredth of a degree. What then do we make of adjustments that change the trends by a whopping 2 degrees, and decades after the data came in? The only thing we know for sure about Australian temperatures is that we need an independent audit. Why is it left to volunteers to check? Surely the Greens want good data too?

Some of these stations are isolated outposts, so theoretically they are the heavyweights on Australian area-weighted averages. The map scales can be a bit deceptive. In outback Australia the nearest neighbours can all be 500 km away (300 miles). Some dots on the map are not so much a town as a motel and a gas station. [...]

Australian BOM “neutral” adjustments increase minima trends up 50%

UPDATED, Ken has now finished the full tally of comparisons and the adjustments to minima increase trends by 47% . (Headline changed from 60% to 50% to reflect the shift.) See the new details of the last few stations at KensKingdom.

Billions of dollars, climate models, predictions, and hundreds of press releases depend on the BOM records of Australian temperatures. There were so many inconsistencies, inexplicable adjustments and errors that we put in a Senate request for the ANAO to audit the records. In response, to dodge the audit, the BOM dumped its HQ (“high quality”) dataset entirely, and established a new “best practise” ACORN dataset.

Independent volunteer auditors have been going through the ACORN records — thanks especially to Ken Stewart who is publishing his findings on his site as he works through the set. He’s analyzed 84 out of  104 sites, and finds that ACORN is just as bad as the HQ set. At Kenskingdom he shows that so far, the adjustments used to create the official Australian temperature record increase the warming trend by13% for maxima and a whopping 66% for minima. (Note the caveats in the conclusions below.)

The raw Australian data suggest the [...]

Hottest summer record in Australia? Not so, says UAH satellite data

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 [...]

Mystery black-box method used to make *all new* Australian “hottest” ever records

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 [...]

Threat of ANAO Audit means Australia’s BOM throws out temperature set, starts again, gets same results

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 [...]

Australian temperature records shoddy, inaccurate, unreliable. Surprise!

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 [...]

Australian sea level rises exaggerated by 8 fold (or maybe ten)

The Daily Telegraph exposed the NSW state government protecting the world from some dangerous scientific analysis of sea-levels. The officials pulled papers and posters within days of when they were due to be released, late in September 2011. Doug Lord examined 120 years of tidal data from Sydney Harbour, and found a 1 mm year on year rise which didn’t fit with the 900 mm rise projected by the Wizards of Climate Change at the Department. He finds the official figures exaggerate ten fold.

Ken Stewart has taken the dangerous data from 19 sites around Australia and finds it averaged 1.4 mm/year over the last 100 years. He finds about an 8-fold exaggeration. This is another sordid tale in the Science-perverted-for-PR category.

Sea Level Change in Australia: What’s Likely?

The mean sea-level rise recorded at 19 stations around Australia (warning, data is limited in the first half of the series). The trend is a steady rise. The last 20 years is not unusual.

Seas have been rising in a reasonably continuous trend around the world since 1800.  The last two decades are not unusual.

[...]

Announcing a formal request for the Auditor General to audit the Australian BOM

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?)