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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Sydney Observatory where warming is created by site moves, buildings, freeways

The iconic Sydney Observatory is Australia’s longest running weather station. But everything around the site has changed. Bill Johnston has spent months researching, photographing, and hunting through historic files to document those changes. He wasn’t paid for this work, but what he found was that the BOM has missed that the area around the thermometers has changed dramatically over the last century, so much so, that he claims it’s scientifically meaningless to try to construct climate trends from this data. Aerial photographs show exposure of the instruments changed in 1950, when Stevenson screens were moved, and after a brick wall was built metres from the screen in about 1972. It is suspicious that the changes are undocumented in Bureau reports, especially given they are responsible for much of the “unprecedented warming” in Sydney’s temperature data.  The BOM may counter that this site is not used to calculate warming trends across Australia, but as Bill points out, Sydney Observatory is used to homogenize other sites that are. So site changes and the urban heat island effect infects many country sites, and the traffic in Sydney “warms the nation”.  — Jo


Its fake news week! Guest post by Dr. Bill Johnston[1]. [...]

Blockbuster: Anthony Watts skewers Muller, BEST, and the surface record all in one paper

It’s all up on Watts Up now.

What Anthony Watts and Evan Jones have revealed is breathtaking.

[Art thanks to: Cartoons by Josh]

This new pre-print paper by Anthony Watts accomplishes so much. Assuming that no major problems are found, the pieces of the jigsaw fit and pass the common sense test. Yes, hot air rises off concrete. There goes half the warming trend. The most accurate thermometers in the right places are not recording high trends. High estimates come from combining good records with poor ones then adjusting that up. They show Muller and BEST’s latest exaggerated claims of 1.5C are meaningless. They show that only class 1 and 2 stations (which are placed well, not next to concrete, car-parks, or air-conditioners) give reliable data and the warming trend from these stations is much lower than the warming trend from Class 3, 4 or 5 stations. It’s what we always knew — thermometers near artificial heat sources are measuring artificial warming, but it’s not the global kind. Mueller, BEST, GISS, Hadley and all the others should have removed the data from poor stations entirely. No amount of statistical chicanery can correct the artificial warming effect no [...]

Has North Victoria cooled, and is that the ghost of a solar cycle signal we see?

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 [...]

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 [...]

Messages from the global raw rural data. Warnings, gotcha’s and tree ring divergence explained!

Have you wondered what the global raw rural data tells us?

What did those thermometers say before the adjustments, smoothing, selection, and averaging?

This just might be the first time anyone has publicly compared the global raw data to published adjusted data sets in this way.

Frank Lansner has been dedicated in the extreme, and has developed a comprehensive Rural Unadjusted Temperature Index, or RUTI. One of the most interesting points to come out of this extensive work is the striking difference between coastal stations and inland stations. Frank kept noticing that the trend of the inland stations was markedly different from coastal stations and island stations.

Fig1. Red-Blue lines mark regions where there was a different coastal to inland trend. In green areas the two trends were similar.

What he finds is perhaps not so unusual: The coastal areas are heavily influenced by the sea surface temperature. Inland stations record larger rises and falls in temperature, which is hardly surprising. But, the implications are potentially large. When records from some stations are smoothed over vast distances (as in 1200 km smoothing), results can be heavily skewed by allowing coastal trends to be smoothed across inland areas. What Lansner [...]

The Great Dying of Thermometers

It’s like watching the lights go out over the West. Sinan Unur has mapped the surface stations into a beautiful animation. His is 4 minutes long and spans from 1701-2010. I’ve taken some of his snapshots and strung them into a 10 second animation.

You can see as development spreads across the world that more and more places are reporting temperatures. It’s obvious how well documented temperatures were (once) in the US. The decay of the system in the last 20 years is stark.

For details on just how sinister the vanishing of data records is, see my previous post on Anthony Watts and Joe D’Aleo’s extraordinary summary of Policy Driven Deception.

The Great Dying of Thermometers


Sinan points out that people might not realize that many thermometers haven’t actually disappeared — they are often still collecting data — it’s just that their records are not being included in the “global” compilations. Though, as Watts and D’Aleo point out, sometimes these forgotten thermometers are still used to calculate the baseline averages.

I’m sure one day the chronological spread (and decay) of thermometers will be a useful marker for some socio/economic/historic marker (though it’s [...]

The urbanising effect even in wildest Africa

Image thanks to Navy’s Solant Amity I Cruise 1960

All that wilderness, and where did they put the temperature sensors? Near a concrete slab. These guys aren’t even trying to be serious.

Talk about a gorgeous view. This jaw-dropping wilderness is also the site of one of the 20 GAWS (Global Atmosphere Watch Station, for the WMO) which tracks stuff like CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. There’s a temperature station there too, and Tim Wood helpfully sent me up-to-date pictures.

You might wonder, at such an important site and among the wilderness, how could anyone find a place to put a temperature sensor that wasn’t a Class I, top notch siting? It was all too easy. By the looks of this photo (below), it might just qualify as a Class 4, since there a large brick or concrete and metal structure… less than 10 meters away. (For info on classifications: Surface Stations Project*, NOAA Site information here.)

Tim W writes:

“As you can see from the pictures, if this is what passes for a world class station then….

Note the gazillion undeveloped hectares in the background that would be more suitable. But that [...]

The main “cause” of global warming is air conditioners. p7

The headline is tongue in cheek, but the message is serious.

Look at these pictures of NOAA’s U.S. temperature stations. These thermometers on the ground have recorded faster temperature rises than sensors on satellites and weather balloons.

Lucky heat doesn’t rise off asphalt…

Things may have looked different at this site in 1909.