BoM forum been, gone. Rejoice! Invisible problems being solved behind closed doors

You’ll be glad to know the BoM problems are all dealt with. Some hand-picked statisticians met with some BoM people yesterday, and they had a robust private chat about secret temperature stuff at the technical advisory forum (that’s the tea-and-cakes one-day-wonder). I’m so relieved to know it was “productive”. (Imagine if the press release had said it was “predictable, boring and unproductive”?)  In a few months we will find out a small, filtered version of what they said and possibly something of what the BoM approved statisticians think about the nameless, unlinked, public-submissions.

We do know that the BoM didn’t want public submissions, but in their good grace, they have given them to the select forum members anyway. (Be grateful serfs, you don’t get acknowledgment or answers, but your dedication in listing and referencing known scandalous problems with our national dataset is worthy of one line in the last paragraph of a press release. Congratulations — maybe. Only one two submissions have been formally acknowledged which means the others, with months of work, might fall off the back of a truck, lost in the mail.*It’s possible. Is it too much to expect officials to send an email receipt with acknowledgment?)

We still don’t know how the BoM defend their ACORN dataset in response to these submissions, or when these errors (which have been reported on blogs and in emails for nearly three years) will be fixed. I predict that we’ll get some answers — but only the week after Graham Lloyd puts a problem in The Australian (eg like last August).  National media attention is the only kind of “submission” the BoM seems to respond too. (Not that their responses make a lot of sense.)

Bob FJ notes the press release has a custom tab that suggests the press release was written two days ago. I guess they knew it would be productive and robust. It could be no other way. UPDATE: I added this last line to highlight the artificial nature of the modern press system. I’m sure it would be standard practice for government departments to write press releases before events to get them pre-approved and ready to go. In theory, they would argue that they would change keywords after the event and before they were released if the event went very differently to what was expected. I’d like to break the illusion that press releases are written after the fact, and let everyone know how much the press team are factored into the program these days (at least for those who have a press team). The point of the forum is largely for show, a theater, as far as I can see. The press release is part of that show. If the BoM were genuinely interested in the accuracy of their data they would thank the volunteers who found errors and fix them. Three years of inaction speaks for itself.


Press Release   26 March 2015

The Technical Advisory Forum held its first meeting today to advise on part of Australia’s official climate record – the Australian Climate Observations Reference Network Surface Air Temperature (ACORN-SAT) data set.

Today’s discussions were robust and productive, and the Forum would like to thank the Department of the Environment for managing the Forum’s membership and assisting the Chair. The Forum would also like to thank the Bureau of Meteorology for providing information and answering questions on the ACORN-SAT data set.

The Technical Advisory Forum was appointed by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Bob Baldwin MP as an independent advisory body to provide greater transparency and an impartial framework for quality assurance tests and analysis of the Bureau’s data sets.

In line with its Terms of Reference, the Forum discussed three aspects of ACORN-SAT: the extent of the public availability of the ACORN-SAT information; developments since the 2011 Independent Peer Review of the Bureau’s data and analysis methods; and the scientific integrity and robustness of the Australian climate record and the homogenisation process. The Forum considered a broad range of information and data concerning the management and development of the ACORN-SAT data set provided by the Bureau.

The Forum also received some additional information from members of the public about the data set. Members of the Technical Advisory Forum were appointed to provide advice on the basis of their formal expertise, and the Terms of Reference do not therefore require the Forum to receive public submissions. However, this additional information was provided to all Forum members to ensure that Forum members were aware of public concerns regarding the Bureau’s management of ACORN-SAT during their deliberations.

  1. The Forum will deliver its report, including detailed recommendations, by June 2015.

Further information

*Obviously we bloggers have copies of all the submissions. They are going to be discussed. More details coming…

9.3 out of 10 based on 73 ratings

74 comments to BoM forum been, gone. Rejoice! Invisible problems being solved behind closed doors

  • #
    Geoffrey Williams

    From the Technical Advisory Forum;
    “Discussions were robust and productive”
    Sounds like bureaucratic jargon to me without any substance.
    Let’s see what they have to say June.
    We must not let this issue be ‘whitewashed’
    Let’s keep at them.
    Geoff W


    • #
      Sceptical Sam

      “Robust” is a good word. In bureaucratese it means somebody or other said something somewhat challenging which elicited a couple of defensive responses.

      Now, that is productive. No?


      • #

        Robust, means there was a punch up… If true this possibly bodes well. The report could recommend independent oversight and transparency, let’s hope so.

        What we should do is put some pressure on the committee to do just that, open up the process to public criticism.


        • #
          Greg Cavanagh

          Robust means the speaker at the time declared “this is what you’ll think” and thumped the table a few times. Thus a robust discussion was had.


          • #


            Robust in this sense means someone in the forum asked if the window could be opened. The Chairman said the window could not be opened.

            End of robust discussion.


      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        I have these sorts of discussions with bureaucrats quite frequently.

        I am with Bobl on this – it was a verbal punch-up. That is what the word “robust” means in bureaucratise. The word “productive”, means that at least some of the bureaucrats changed their position, or at least changed the words they now use to describe their position, even if their position did not change at all.

        “The name of a curse has the same power as the curse itself.” Thomas Wright.


        • #
          Peter C

          We can only hope, until we know more.

          Maybe some one on the panel doesn’t want to be known as being responsible for whitewashing the BOM.


          • #
            Peter C

            For the record:
            Forum membership
            The Forum membership is as follows:
            Dr Ron Sandland– Chair
            Professor Bob Vincent – Vice Chair
            Dr Phillip Gould
            Dr John Henstridge
            Ms Susan Linacre
            Professor Michael Martin
            Professor Patty Solomon
            Dr Terry Speed


            • #
              Bob Fernley-Jones

              The Chair seems to have an “interesting” history
              Do a boolean Googlie of: “ron sandland” tobacco lobbyist

              Of several reports this one in Australasian Science a few years ago is a tad worrying given a thought that he might be sympathetic to his BoM buddies:

              How a Tobacco Lobbyist Won over CSIRO


        • #
          Bob Fernley-Jones

          Rereke and PeterC,

          Please see #22 below


        • #
          Robert of Ottawa

          The word robust was used to IMPLY a verbal dust-up, when in fact everyone was completely supine.


  • #

    It’s nice to see ‘peer reviewed science’ at work! (>sarc<)


  • #

    The Bureau of Meteorology is a statutory agency which reports to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment. The current holder of that position is the Honourable Bob Baldwin MP. He is the appropriate person to write to if you arew not satisfied with the conduct of the BOM.


  • #
    Bob Malloy

    The blueprint for this investigation tea and cakes gathering was set in cement by the various Climategate inquiries, dusted of and transported to Australia to highlight it’s effectiveness.


  • #

    Typo in title – I presume the second ‘being’ should read ‘behind.’

    Thanks! Fixed. – Jo


  • #

    Last night I spent two or three hours touring the back waters of the World Wide Web looking for social psychology papers and articles on the collapse of social memes.
    It was all Jo’s fault as she put that post up a day or so ago on the rapid increase in the percentages of Americans who are now definitely skeptical when it comes to the global warming catastrophe meme.

    [ From Wiki;

    A meme (/ˈmiːm/ meem)[1] is “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture”.
    A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme.]

    And so we have the global warming / climate change “meme” within our society’s culture today and I decided to do another bit of digging to try and find a bit more info on memes and their creation, life, structure and disappearance and / or collapse.

    So there I was because of Jo and the challenge she inadvertently threw out in my direction, a 76 year old retired grain farmer who left school at 15 1/2 years old, digging around in psychological papers on the structure and development of memes within society, trying in vain to find a paper somewhere, anywhere amongst all the psychological verbosity and turgid phraseology that makes your average crop and plant geneticists and string theory physicists language look almost kindergartenish, trying to find a psychology paper that actually dealt with the manner of collapse of a social and cultural meme.

    There are truckloads of psychology papers spelling out how social and cultural memes develop and change through their existence.

    Zilch! Zero! Nana on how and why a deep seated and well established cultural and social meme such as the catastrophic global warming / climate change “meme” collapses as this one appears to be well on the way to doing.

    If you believed the psychologists we should be so overwhelmed with cultural and societal memes by now that we wouldn’t have any mental space left for anything else.

    However in my internet roaming I came across a South African web site where a SA statistician with an unpronounceable Polish name has been digging around in some global temperature data.
    As it seems particularly relevant to our headline post and he has a couple of graphs which posters and lurkers might want to have a look at I will post his blog entry which makes a another mess of the BOM’s and the NOAA’s attempts at the homgenisation of the global temperature data.

    The Saffas of course being the other advanced country along with Australian and NZ in the SH that kept good records possibly going back even longer than ours.
    And it does appear as if the Saffas meteorology department hasn’t caught the homogenisation disease as yet.

    Good news: Long-term temperature data shows earth is cooling. Global Warming scare over?

    Statistics guru Krzysztof Wojciechowicz retired as Director Statistical Analysis at the DTI.

    By Krzysztof Wojciechowicz* [ December 6, 2014 ]

    The topic of “global warming” has serious implications for electricity in South Africa as most of our energy comes from coal. Our political masters are not sufficiently educated to understand this problem.

    From the beginning it struck me how similar it is to the previous scare of ‘ozone hole’. This, however, soon disappeared after billions of dollars had been spent on replacing fridges and air-cons. Global warming is a longer term swindle – analysts predict that in a few years turnover of Carbon Exchanges will surpass that of the world’s Stock Exchanges.

    No wonder all the tricks have been employed to mislead the global opinion. At the time of Durban Conference, the media found a good marketing gimmick – disastrous floods in Natal which killed many squatters. Global warming and the resulting heavy exceptional rains were hold responsible.

    But what do the facts tell us? I checked my database. In the last 130 years the average monthly temperature in Durban dropped by 0.73 degrees C. The average monthly precipitation in Durban in the same time period dropped by 18.59 mm.

    A similar trend was registered in:

    Cape Town: 0.49 C. temperature drop over the last 114 years;

    Port Elizabeth – drop of 0.19 C. over last 130 years;

    Dakar (Senegal) – drop of 0.19 C. in the last 130 years;

    Darwin (Australia) – drop of 1.18 C. in the last 133 years;

    Encarnation (Paraguay) – drop of 0.24 C. over last 74 years;

    Punte Arenas (Chile) – drop of 0.37 C. over last 127 years, etc.

    Many stations on the southern hemisphere registered long term global temperature drop. I found the same negative trend in many American and other weather stations.

    And I also found that the official ‘global warming’ figures were based on the most convenient time period – measured from the trough of previous temperature cycle to the peak of the present one. This method can prove anything. For example, the longest existing weather station De Bilt [ Netherlands ] shows the temperature increase of 1.51 C. over the last 309 years, but a drop of 0.3 C. over the last 160 years.

    And I found falsified, so-called ‘homogenized’ figures. I managed to download a set of original data collected by WWWR GHCN, and the same set of data, later ‘homogenized.’

    Hundreds of weather stations were treated in this way – please see one example:

    [ graphs; Darwin Airport ]

    I wrote a computer program to analyze hundreds of these ‘adjustments’. The blue line shows past history ‘homogenized’ in such a way as to prove global warming.
    There are not many long term climate stats for Philippines but I found one weather station Dagupan, which shows an average monthly temperature drop of 0.63 C. over the last 64 years. So much for global warming!

    I sent this graph to the newspaper, but it was never published. Similarly, my letter to the press at the time of Durban Conference, was never mentioned.



  • #
    el gordo

    The whole business has a ‘Yes Minister’ quality, the bureaucrats have implemented a stalling process and eventually put it in the bottom draw.


  • #
    Aaron m

    Lets give them a big round of applause *jazz hands*.


  • #

    The BOM will have good reasons for the homogenization adjustments. They genuinely want to create a temperature data set that reflects actual trends over the whole of Australia. There are a couple of issues that prevent that from happening.

    1.The raw temperature data is unevenly spread geographically, and the data is increasingly sparse the further back in time you go.
    2.There are biases in the individual weather stations, such as relocations and UHI.
    3.Temperature trends for individual weather stations appear chaotic. The data is full of noise, obscuring the underlying trends.

    Like with UCHN and GISS on a global scale, there are problem with this chaos. It is not totally random, but can throw out apparent trends. At a sub-regional level this can be over decades. If the desire is to expose the underlying trends from local to global level such noise needs to be filtered out. But what is real and what is noise? For all climatologists part of this lies in an a priori truth that underpins all surface temperature data.

    The world is warming and humans are the cause of it.

    The standard for filtering is to look for those weather stations that show a warming trend in area. There are strong justifications for this. The majority of weather stations show warming over many timescales. Also, the spikes in the data for exceptionally warm or cool years are often consistent, though not in magnitude.
    The process is complex. There has been much work gone into refining the processes all over the world. After multiple adjustment cycles the final data sets end up with an overall pattern with most of the bumps and wiggles of the original, and something much closer to the a priori truth. In reality BOM has excluded most of the noise, but amplified the rest. Also, they have changed weather stations from showing the real data at that point into grid reference points that are influenced by trends hundreds of kilometres away. For BOM and the rest of the climate community this is cleansed data. But they do not know the difference between beliefs/hypotheses and reality. It not only explains why there were no representatives from those in “denial” but also why such prominence is given to opinion surveys. Understanding the distinction explains why there is a huge amount of genuine anger towards people who question this data, or refuse to recognize the practitioners as scientists. There is no cover-up to be found, just a lot of people not knowing a fundamental foundation of science.


  • #

    Bob FJ notes the press release has a custom tab that suggests the press release was written two days ago. I guess they knew it would be productive and robust. It could be no other way.

    I guess they saw that comment, the data has now been homogenised !

    That pdf is now showing it was created yesterday.
    Created :Thursday 26 March 2015 06:00:20
    Modified:Thursday 26 March 2015 06:00:20

    Anyone with a ealier copy should keep it safe ( share it ) and post a screencap of the properites tab, showing it was created before the meeting. What a crock !

    That is just so much how they operate. LOL.


    • #
    • #


      As Jeremy suggests @7.49pm you or some else should send this to Bob Baldwin ( along with both copies of the PR) and cc it to Graham Lloyd. el gordo @ 9.25pm is right that this is a “Yes Minister” move and it shouldn’t be left unnoticed by the general public.
      Time to put “the boot in”.


    • #
      Bob Fernley-Jones


      You are quoting the DESCRIPTION tab but if you go to the CUSTOM tab it said (some minutes ago):

      Registered date 24March 2015
      Record point submission completed 2015-03-23
      Clearance Due Date 25 March 2015
      Clearance Actual Date [Blank]

      On Jo’s PDF copy the Description tab details have changed to:

      Created 26/03/2015 5.00.20 PM Modified 27/03/2015 4:55:58 PM
      Was on 27/Mar:
      Created 26/03/2015 5.00.20 PM Modified 26/03/2015 5.00.20 PM

      I suspect all of these transactions may have been accesses… For instance, if someone within the dept accessed and copied something, it would show as a modification I think.


      • #

        The tabs and registrations have been homogenised.


      • #
        Peter C

        Where do you find the description tab and the custom tab.

        All I saw was the document itself.

        This Terms of reference document does not even have an author or a date?


        • #
          Bob Fernley-Jones


          If you right-click the document, select ‘Document Properties’ from the drop-down menu. It is generally only of value on PDF files and seldom on html files


          • #
            Peter C


            That was informative!

            The author of the document is none other than Leah McKenzie, who you have identified below as Bob Baldwin’s advisor.


  • #

    Needs ter know basis. Serfs don’t need ter know. (


  • #

    BoM features in both pieces below. yet i have still not seen their definitive categorisation of TC Marcia!

    27 March: SMH: Peter Hannam/Reuters: Record warmth reported in Antarctica as Melbourne shivers
    Melbourne’s meagre maximum of 15.3 degrees on Tuesday was actually more than 2 degrees cooler than Esperanza Base, an Argentine research station on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.
    The Victorian capital may be famous for its temperature swings – often within a day – but the 17.5 degree reading at Esperanza was outlandish even by Melburnian standards. That maximum is likely to be the highest ever recorded on the Antarctic continent, according to the Weather Underground blog.
    Tuesday’s high at Esperanza – which translates to “hope” in English – beat its previous record, set in 1976, by half a degree, according to the blog post’s author Christopher Burt. The new maximum was also about 17 degrees above the March average for the site, he said…
    Climate specialists say strong north-westerly winds may have contributed to the unusual warmth over the Antarctic Peninsula, creating a so-called Fohn wind effect…
    Reports of the record warmth in Antarctica come as a study published on Thursday in the journal Science found the region’s massive floating ice shelves are shrinking as the globe warms up.
    The study, covering satellite observations of more than 1 million square kilometres from 1994-2012 found some shelves have shrunk 18 per cent in that time…
    While records may be melting at the Earth’s polar extremes, the same was not true for Melbourne this week.
    The chilliest March day on record was back in 1940, when the mercury made it to just 12 degrees, according to the Bureau of Meteorology…

    27 March: SMH: Peter Hartcher: A real fixer has won the climate debate
    The Abbott government’s climate change policy is named Direct Action. This has long been regarded in the environmental community as being an Orwellian title for a policy of deliberate Non Action.
    This week, however, the government’s policy suddenly looked more plausible. Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are falling faster than projected…
    This has happened not because of any decisive direct action or government brilliance. In fact, the government can’t take credit for any of it. As ANU’s Frank Jotzo put it, it’s a triumph of “luck not design”…
    First, forecasts of electricity use have fallen. This is because people are installing more solar panels on their roofs and because Australians are using energy more efficiently…
    Second is drought. Third is the shutdown of manufacturing firms. Fourth is less coalmining amid a global price slump. Finally, the department cites two extra years of historical data and better methods of estimation…
    “It’s just an observation: we’ve seen emissions flatline, pretty much all that’s required to meet the target now is to continue flatlining,” he (Jotzo) told my colleague Lisa Cox.
    John Connor of the Climate Institute differs: “Hunt’s chutzpah is amazing. We just don’t think they can buy sufficient abatement with the amount of money they’ve got” in their Direct Action policy…
    Hunt can also take some credit for the successful conversion of Tony “climate change is absolute crap” Abbott into a leader committed to the next big global climate commitments…
    The issues paper that the government is to publish on Saturday starts to move the focus onto this bigger picture. It commits Australia to being a constructive part of the Paris carbon conference due in December. “A strong and effective global agreement, that addresses carbon leakage and delivers environmental benefit, is in Australia’s national interest,” says the document, titled Setting Australia’s Post-2020 Target for Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
    ***There is no attempt here to elide the reality and the harmfulness of climate change: “The latest climate information from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Bureau of Meteorology indicates that Australia has warmed by 0.9°C since 1910, with most of the warming since 1950…
    “There has been a rise in sea levels of about 20 centimetres over the past century, increased ocean acidification and a shift in rainfall patterns.
    Australia’s climate will continue to have high variability. Nevertheless, average temperatures are projected to continue to increase and extreme rain events are projected to become more intense. Average rainfall in southern Australia is projected to decrease.”
    There are still strong climate change sceptics in the government, and they are fighting hard, but silently, in its inner counsels. This is clear from the protracted argument over the Renewable Energy Target…
    ***The sceptics have managed to limit the scope of the concession to renewable energy. A final compromise is expected to emerge from the government in the months ahead.
    And this tension within the government will continue as the Paris negotiations proceed. But the Paris issues paper, jointly the work of Hunt, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and the Abbott office, makes clear several points. First, the overarching question, the theology of climate change, is settled within this government. Climate change is real, and it will harm Australia if left unaddressed. Second, the government will set a post-2020 target to further limit greenhouse gases. Third, Australia will participate in the Paris commitments to help bring about a global accord…


    • #

      The ‘theology’ of climate change? Well, there’s another giveaway; a confirmation that it is a ‘religion’.


  • #
    • #

      That was an interesting read, but I’m not sure that he said anything new. The Left (ever since the concept of socialism arose)and especially today’s climate worriers, have always been the ones to claim the moral high ground (especially knowing what is best for all), which drives everything they do. The underlying motivation being the acquisition of power.


  • #

    Bob FJ notes the press release has a custom tab that suggests the press release was written two days ago.

    Isn’t this how all climate change outcomes are developed and presented?


  • #

    The questions have to be asked….

    Who has whispered in the ears of the Technical Advisory Panel members?

    Will the panel members be strong enough to quietly correct the statistical method used by ACORN-SAT after a suitable period of “quiet”, to save the panel members reputations?

    Because at the moment, if the current “closed door” policy is upheld, then the Panel members afore said reputations are in tatters.


    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      That is a very good point.

      The Rationalists should keep the pressure on, in order to limit the options left to the Catastrophists, but in doing so, the Rationalists should also leave the Catastrophists sufficient wherewithal for them to leave the field of conflict gracefully, and with some dignity.

      Nobody retains their reputations if it turns into a massacre, as tempting as that notion might be.


  • #
    Peter C

    Apparently the Forum received some public submissions.

    I hope they got this one:

    Hon Bob Baldwin MP
    Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment
    PO Box 156
    Raymond Terrace, NSW, 2324
    15 March 2015
    Dear Mr Baldwin.
    Technical Advisory Forum for the Australian Climate Observations Reference Network Surface Air Temperature data-set
    Terms of Reference

    The Department of the Environment has released the Terms of reference for the
    Technical Advisory Forum for the Australian Climate Observations Reference Network Surface Air Temperature data-set .
    This document is undated and does not identify the author. However your name is included in the link, so I assume you that you are familiar with it.
    On the face of it the establishment of the Forum fulfils a recommendation of the Peer Review Panel which reviewed the Australian Climate Observations Reference Network Surface Air Temperature data-set (ACORN-SAT) in August 2011, only 3 years late.

    It is hard to see how the Forum could properly discuss even the limited aims included in the Terms of Reference in the proposed time frame of 1 day, once a year. It looks like a white wash designed from the start to confirm the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) methods.

    I am asking you, as the responsible Minister, to establish an enquiry, which would examine specific complaints about the Bureau of Meteorology raised by critics.

    Examples of these complaints are:
    1. The BOM ignores long term climate observations taken in Australia before 1910. The records include some very hot years during the 1890’s and the Federation drought. These records could significantly alter the Bureau’s public view that temperatures in Australia have increased and that the increase is due to human burning of fossil fuels (Anthropogenic Global Warming).

    2. The BOM adjusts the climate records at particular sites by a process they call homogenisation. The adjustments seem to create an overall pattern of warming which was not present in the original data.

    3. The particular method of adjustment has not been made public . This should be done and the nature and the reasons for the adjustments should be detailed for each and every site, as well as any overall processing or averaging involved in calculating the Australian Mean temperature.

    4. The BOM seems to have redacted data for weather stations in the path of the recent Cyclone Marcia in Queensland. The Bureau maintains that Cyclone Marcia was a category 5 cyclone when it crossed the coast, but the previously available wind data from BOM stations only indicate a category 3 cyclone.

    The BOM appears complicit in encouraging a noisy minority who are convinced about catastrophic anthropogenic global warming and are calling for government actions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Actions taken so far have already hurt Australians socially and financially;
    Subsidies for solar panels and wind farms cost tax payers directly .
    High electricity prices as the result of feed in tariffs are costing manufacturing jobs because we are uncompetitive with other countries.
    The government has already made large contributions of our precious tax dollars to the UN for combating global warming and more in promised.

    A carbon trading scheme would be a disaster, not just for our country.

    It is essential that the Theories of anthropogenic global warming are tested against reliable observations, before the Government commits any more public money. There is no evidence at this time of any catastrophic outcomes. The BOM has a crucial role to play here. Hence the BOM must be seen to be both accurate and scientifically impartial.

    Yours Sincerely

    I have not received any acknowledgement from Hon Bob Baldwin or his staff.


    • #

      How in heavens name do you expect them to respond.
      They still have a lot of homogenising to do.


    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      I would be surprised it you do receive a reply.

      I can almost here the Minister from here, “What steps should we take, in regard to this letter?” “Bloody great big ones, Minister, over yonder hill!”.


    • #

      In my relatively limited experience writing such responses, the staff will write in a generalised way that limits avenues for follow-up questions. Don’t expect a response in less than a few weeks.


  • #

    The BoM trashes itself.

    The individuals who conspired to create the BoM were erudite, far more accomplished in everyway than today’s pro-carbon(sic) tax, rent seeking, group thinking ‘shiny bums’*.

    (media.BoM): The first Commonwealth Meteorologist: the farsighted legacy of Henry A. Hunt

    “Ever since William Dawes built his famous observatory at Sydney Cove in 1788, a long line of colourful characters have laid claim to the title of Australia’s first weatherman.

    But it was not until the Bureau of Meteorology started issuing its national weather forecasts on 1 January 1908, that the country officially had its first ‘Commonwealth Meteorologist’, Henry Ambrose Hunt.

    His meteorological career started soon after his family migrated to Australia from Britain, when, in 1886, aged just 19, he began working as an assistant to the influential government astronomer, Henry Chamberlain Russell, at the Sydney Observatory.

    His Essay on Southerly Bursters, which analysed the dramatic summer storms on the New South Wales coast, was awarded the Ralph Abercromby Prize in 1894, and the following year he attracted further acclaim for a pioneering study of 20 different Types of Australian Weather.”

    > You could be forgiven for thinking Hunt’s data & observations of the Federation Drought might be worthy of historical reference. The BoM think otherwise.

    Sir Charles Todd (wikipedia)
    “Charles was educated and spent most of his life in Greenwich before moving to Australia.
    In May 1854, shortly before his appointment to South Australia, he was placed in charge of the newly formed Galvanic Department at Greenwich.
    This was to be an extension of work he had done using the electric telegraph at Cambridge.
    In February 1855, he accepted the position of Astronomical and Meteorological Observer, and Head of Electric Telegraph Department in South Australia.

    Meteorology was work done by astronomers; it was the recording of data so that the climate in different regions was known.
    The Royal Observatory was run by the Admiralty.
    Accurate calculation of time was an important part of the Royal Observatory’s responsibilities.
    Greenwich Time had long been used at sea; ship’s navigators relied on its accuracy to calculate their longitude.

    In 1859 Todd conceived the idea of the transcontinental line from Adelaide to Darwin, Northern Territory.”
    ~ ~ ~

    ~~ A small digression about the issue of women in the BoM. Note the 1931 photo (media.BoM link) and number of women. Compare to this link:

    Go to the top”: women at the Australian weather bureauBureau of Meteorology & Senator Kate Lundy in Senate Estimates
    It claims BoM first intake of women 1965. You can see the photos. They even homogenised that data, despite photos.

    * A ‘shiny bum’ is a bureaucrat worker who sits on an office chair all day, shining their bum.


    • #

      Shiny bums comes from the shine of the back of their trousers from sitting in chairs for long periods of time for years and years.


  • #
    Peter C

    Actually I did get an acknowledgement of receipt from Bob Baldwin’s press secretary.


  • #

    Jo, Can you publish again the contact email details for the Hon Bob Baldwin MO?
    We should all let him know that this lack of transparency is unacceptable.

    His original press release said: “The establishment of this Forum will provide an independent framework for quality assurance tests and analysis of the Bureau’s data sets for greater transparency.” What is a Forum if its meeting notes are not available for scrutiny?
    The terms of reference include:
    To that end the Forum is to examine and provide comment on:
    1. The extent of the public availability of the ACORN-SAT information including:
    – Raw and adjusted data;
    – Documentation of data methods;
    – Computer code;
    – Adjustments;
    – Metadata;
    – Inputs and outputs of peer review; and
    – Ability to reproduce findings.
    2. Developments since the 2011 Independent Peer Review (IPR) of ACORN-SAT data and
    methods including:
    – ACORN-SAT network, in the context of the Bureau’s Observation strategy;
    – Addition of new temperature data, including from individual stations and data post-
    2010, and whether there is merit in inclusion of pre-1910 data;
    – Progress with metadata to allow independent replication of homogeneity analyses;
    – Progress against the IPR recommendations; and
    – Extent of scientific adoption of data and analyses.
    3. The scientific integrity and robustness of the Australian climate record and the
    homogenisation process including:
    – Compared to raw (unadjusted) data, how does homogenisation affect the overall
    climate trend for Australia?
    – Compared to other available data sets how do the trends indicated by ACORN-SAT
    – How does the Bureau’s curation methods compare to other international curation
    – What steps should be taken to document or improve the consistency of decision
    making for the selection of data periods or stations and of the adjustment methods
    and decisions?
    – How has the ABS assessed ACORN-SAT as part of the Essential Statistical Assets for

    So now we are told that they have held their forum, been briefed by BOM, and will now write their report. Presumably that will be written by the BOM “experts”.

    Appalling, a new script for “Yes Minister”?

    We all need to ask the Hon Bob Baldwin, who is responsible for funding this work:
    – What quality assurance tests will be carried out?
    – When will the BOM’s documentation and computer code be published to enable others to reproduce their results?


  • #
    Bob in Castlemaine

    A whitewash was what was expected and clearly that’s what it’s turning out to be.


  • #

    CSIRO Censoring Their Own Climate Research

    In 2013, the CSIRO commissioned a study that found “Deserts ‘greening’ from rising carbon dioxide: Green foliage boosted across the world’s arid regions.”

    The ‘greening’ of deserts, thanks to rising CO2, happens to be a very unwelcome message for the environmental movement and apparently now too for the CSIRO.

    So this week, the CSIRO removed the study from its website.

    Australia’s premier scientific agency, the CSIRO, not interested in sharing scientific discovery, rather adhering to a type of selective thinking with a tendency to notice and to look for what confirms to their beliefs, and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the relevance of what contradicts those beliefs.

    Also know as ‘Confirmation Bias’.

    The CSIRO’s peer-reviewed study can be found at Science Daily.

    UPDATE :

    The CSIRO contacted me via twitter with location of study: …

    Makes it a little tricky for the interested to track down when no link presents on any search engine. Conveniently archived perhaps.


    • #


      It’s acceptable for webmasters to occasionaly move webpages from one location to another. The correct procedure to follow in such cases is to add a line of code to a file on the webserver to redirect incoming requests for a webpage to it’s new location. This is not a difficult thing to do. At All.

      It’s clear that SCIRO has not done this which shows one more level of [ ]. (insert whatever negative attribute most adequately describes your assesment of this behaviour within the square brackets)



    • #


      In their reply, the SCIRO states:

      Our policy is to archive older releases on . . .

      If this is their policy, an alernative solution to the one I mentioned earlier would be to add a statement of this policy to the ‘404 – page not found’ and to place a link on that page to the archive. One sentence in plain english, and one link.

      This solution would take all of about 5 minutes. Less elegant from a webmasters perspective, but accomplishing the same end result.



  • #
    Bob Fernley-Jones

    I’m replying to your #1.1.2 down here for greater exposure:

    I think (and hope ) you are right, that the BoM did not have it all their own way in what was described as a robust affair, and it is interesting that it seems that what was apparently a media release when it first came-out in html is identified only as a communique in PDF format. It looks like perhaps it will stay hidden in Baldwin’s Technical Advisory Forum webpage because as of a few minutes ago it did not appear in his Media Release page.

    I would imagine that one or more of his staff such as Dr Leah McKenzie or Monica Morona were there at least for lunch, and may have recommended him to keep quiet on it


  • #

    Added to the post to clarify the timing of the press release PDF.

    UPDATE: I added this last line (about the date of the press release) to highlight the artificial nature of the modern press system. I’m sure it would be standard practice for government departments to write press releases before events to get them pre-approved and ready to go. In theory, they would argue that they would change keywords after the event and before they were released if the event went very differently to what was expected. I’d like to break the illusion that press releases are written after the fact, and let everyone know how much the press team are factored into the program these days (at least for those who have a press team). The point of the forum is largely for show, a theater, as far as I can see. The press release is part of that show. If the BoM were genuinely interested in the accuracy of their data they would thank the volunteers who found errors and fix them. Three years of inaction speaks for itself.


  • #

    ABC: Drought could ease, with Weather Bureau predicting wetter than normal autumn in much of Australia


  • #

    If you go onto the Bom blog site you find only complimentary comments about their service. I sent a comment asking why the predicted strength of the last 2 cyclones to hit QLD were far and above the reality and why do they use “modelling” instead of observations to predict cyclone strength. Still waiting to see my submission on the site!! Why am I not surprised???


  • #

    Whats with this Armerican spelling then? It is bad enough that you have a socialist party called “Labor”.


    • #

      That is how the Australian Labor Party call themselves. The original members could not spell. They were also rednecks and racists but they have decided to mainly retain their old policies except move them a bit more towards socialism/communism. Also, they are now welcoming lesbians and homosexuals which the original members would have despised.


  • #

    I too wrote to Bob Baldwin and after two months have yet to receive a reply. I did turn all my lights on last night between 8.30 and 9.30 ESST to celebrate both electricity and Mike Baird’s win over lying Labor.

    May I suggest you all write to Bob Baldwin, the Australian, Denis Jensen, Tony Abbott and remind them that the Nationals lost two seats and votes in other electorates because they didn’t do as their constituents demanded. Campbell Newman lost because he ignored the just concerns of the electorate. Voters are sick of being taken for granted so a few well chosen words might wake up even the comatose Baldwin.


  • #
    Lewis P Buckingham

    The problem with this process is that it is one way.
    ‘New’ information is given to the committee,that’s been available for years, considered by the committee, then conclusions published.
    There is no process where the ongoing debate within the committee is reviewed by those whose work found the errors in the data base in the first place.
    There needs to be such a process where the debate is taken to the committee so it may modify its responses to further peer review.
    This could be achieved by involving the working documents being prepared, in a process of external, in camera, review by those who have uncovered the errors.
    Accurate climate data for our continent is vital so that rational decisions may be made about such data.


  • #

    Pat, I dont’ think you want to post email and phone details in public.The bots will spam you. This is an interesting experiment you’ve done. Thanks. – Jo


    Just for fun I decided to investigate how measuring average temperature based on the daily high and low temperature compares to measuring it more frequently. I added a post yesterday on my blog ( showing that (high + low)/2 wasn’t a particularly good estimate.

    I thought it would be fun to look at BOM high, low and average temperatures and compare the results for longer periods of time. I arbitrarily selected January 1, 2014 to March 30, 2015 for the Latrobe Valley Airport, near my home. Imagine my delight when the BOM informed me it would cost me $94.00. They don’t publish dry bulb temperature on the BOM site.

    BTW, I’ll be starting the U of Q “Making Sense of Climate Change Denial”, now starting 28/4/2015. I’ll post my comments and observations about the course on my blog. Mr. 97%, John Cook is one of the star lecturers.


    In reply please quote: Q- F3WE482948 31/03/2015 1:40:13 PM

    Dear Pat,

    Please find a quote for your recent data request in the following section of this email.

    Payment to the Bureau of Meteorology in accordance with this quote constitutes immediate acceptance by
    Name: Pat Lane
    Email: ************

    ‘User’ of the terms of the attached Access Agreement, without variation.

    Bureau of Meteorology
    ABN 92 637 533 532


    Client Name:
    Name: Pat Lane
    Email: ************

    Vendor Product Comments Quantity Rate Amount
    Bureau of Meteorology – CDS Category 1 Request (GST) GST 0/1 $8.55 $8.55
    Bureau of Meteorology – CDS Category 1 Request (ex GST) One-minute temperature at Morwell (Latrobe Valley Airport) {85280}, from 01/01/2014 to 30/03/2015. 0/1 $85.45 $85.45
    Total: $94.00
    A charge of $94.00 (GST inclusive) is applicable for the provision of your requested data.
    This quote is only valid for 14 days and for the items listed above.
    *Please note that requests are only processed on receipt of payment which may take 72 hours via online payment methods.
    Payments made by government clients
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    We (enter agency name), declare that the payment for the provision of the requested data is made by a government related entity from an appropriation under an Australian law for the purposes of s 9-17(3) of the A New Tax System (Goods and Service Tax) Act 1999.

    To accept this quote please make your payment using one of the following methods:
    Credit or Debit Card:
    Log onto Government EasyPay at to pay by Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit or debit card with Payment Reference Number: 177110011316235142. Total Amount Due: $94.00 (GST inclusive). Please note the Payment Reference Number is the same as the Customer Reference Number. A card surcharge applies as calculated on the Government EasyPay website prior to payment and is specified in the Terms and Conditions presented at

    Biller Code: 980243
    Ref: 177110011316235142

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    Contact your bank or financial institution to make this payment from your cheque, savings or transaction account. More info: .
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    Climate Data Services
    Bureau of Meteorology

    Contact details:
    Monday to Friday: 10am – 12noon & 2pm – 4pm
    Head office: 03 9669 4082
    To avoid interstate call charges please use the appropriate number below:
    NSW: 02 9296 1627
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    For internal use only F3VC495897

    Request Description: Request:

    Climate Data Request from the Weather Station Directory [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
    Climate Data Request

    Organisation: LTS P/L
    Client name: Pat Lane
    Region: vic
    Email: *********************
    Phone: **********

    Request details:

    Weather element: ‘Temperature – dry bulb’ (temperatureA),

    Reporting frequency: minute,


    – Morwell (Latrobe Valley Airport)

    Station numbers: 085280

    Start date: 01/01/2014

    End date: 30/03/2015

    Additional notes:

    Thank you. (The HTML version of the email body has been attached to the correspondence as an attachment named AlternateDescription.html)

    Here’s a copy of the email from BOM


    • #
      Ken Stewart

      Yep, that’s the standard cost of anything. That’s what they charged me for 1911-2013 monthly min, max, and mean AWAP data. A bit steep for just one station though.


  • #
    Lewis P Buckingham

    Just as an addenda.
    It may be necessary to have open hearings, perhaps senate, to examine the BOM report.
    Judging by the way things may go in this type of investigation in other countries, particularly the UK, it may be necessarily reviewed.