Today, Graham Lloyd, and Jennifer Marohasy turn up the heat even more on the Bureau of Meteorology’s strange practice of “editing” raw data. The Bureau says it works to the “highest possible standards”. Natch. So an independent audit would clear them, silence the critics, and restore their reputation. Strangely, instead they have been apparently avoiding an independent audit for six years now and counting….
It is the biggest public scandal for BoM since furious debate was sparked three years ago over its treatment of historic and contemporary temperature records to compile its new homogenised national temperature data series known as ACORN-SAT.
For an agency that screams from the rooftops every time the mercury nudges to the slightest record high, losing a half a degree Celsius here and there at the lower extremities is a pretty poor look.
In reply, once again, the BOM promises another do-it-yourself review. The Minister (Josh Frydenberg) has insisted on two external independent experts, but if the BOM gets to approve or appoint them, that box won’t be hard to tick (just ask the NZ NIWA team). Apparently the last public scandal in 2014, the Minister then (Greg Hunt) killed off a proper investigation of the BOM to supposedly “protect the reputation and integrity of the institution” which, of course, did exactly the opposite. Given the BOM’s “excellence”, the effect of another hand-picked one-day forum to study none of the key issues that skeptics raised, told everyone that Hunt didn’t think its integrity would survive a high school debate, let alone a forensic investigation.
As “blogger Jo Nova” is quoted as saying:
“We audit banks, companies, government departments, energy flows, and projects, but we don’t officially audit science.
“Whenever big money is involved we assume things need to be checked.
When it’s just the planet at stake, who cares?
— from the just released new IPA Book — Climate Change: The Facts 2017 (pre-order your copy now!)
Automatic weather stations work in Antarctica, but not in Goulburn?
Bill Kininmonth — the guru himself, cannot figure out why the equipment would fail now:
William Kininmonth, a former head of BoM’s National Climate Centre, says he is puzzled that after decades of service the bureau now claims the automatic stations are not fit for purpose at some cold weather locations.
“My understanding is a lot of testing was done before the automatic weather stations were installed in all different sorts of conditions,” Kininmonth says. “Why this is happening now, unless they have changed their manufacturers who they get them from, I don’t know.
“I would have thought minus 10 would have been well within their scope. They take automatic weather stations down to Macquarie Island and Antarctica, I can’t understand this at all.
“It seems to me they have some sort of automatic collection system in the computer; once the data comes in, they check on it then. I don’t know why they would be doing that at that stage.”
The rise of citizen scientists
Major kudos and plaudits to Lance Pidgeon — one of the original unofficial BOM audit team that gathered together around this blog, who have been posting here for years. See Lance’s other savage BOM critiques here, none of which have been resolved.
Lloyd comments on the unofficial BOM team — the volunteers that won’t stop asking hard questions:
What cannot be controlled is a small army of largely amateur enthusiasts such as Pidgeon who pore over the millions of lines of BoM’s temperature data made public by the high-profile institution. Pidgeon, a freelance radio technician and citizen scientist, has found instances where thermometers accurate to a tenth of a degree were adjusted by as much as two degrees. Original cooling trends in temperature records were being revised to warming trends.
There are vast areas of the nation where identical temperature readings have been recorded over long periods and places where the daily minimum temperature has exceeded the maximum, changes that defy logic.
Records of extremely hot days before the turn of the century have been erased, in one celebrated case simply because a diligent worker had taken the observation on a Sunday, which was outside of usual practice.
Thanks to the dedication of the other volunteers and their cutting work, advice and cameraderie (Thank you Ken, Chris, Bill, Bob, and Geoff and Warwick (thorns for decades, long before me), and David, Andrew, Ian, Phil, John, John, Ed and Tony and of course, Jennifer Marohasy).
Last word from Anthony Watts:
[Anthony] Watts says a solution would be to calculate temperature trends from stations that have a long record, no moves, no equipment changes, no time-of-observation changes, and remain free of nearby infrastructure encroachment.
“Choosing only stations like this ensures that there is no need for adjustment of data, and that this data is representative of the true changes in the surface temperature over time,” he says.
“Until the existing data quality problem is fixed, which has created an artificial warming bias, it is nonsense for the mass media to promote the idea of any year being the ‘warmest year on record’ ”.
— Also from Climate Change: The Facts 2017 .
I’ll have a lot more to say about this article. Lloyd has done a great job. Credit to Jennifer Marohasy for this and for editing the magnificent new IPA book.