Remember Rutherglen, & “Whoever has Honor Follow Me!”

Maria Pita was a Galician heroine who rallied the ordinary citizens of Corunna in 1589.

Maria Pita is a Galician heroine who rallied the ordinary citizens of Corunna in 1589 with the battle cry ‘Whoever has honor, follow me!”.

The results of an independent ­review of the Bureau of Mete­or­ology’s national temperature records should “ring alarm bells” for those who had believed the bureau’s methods were transparent, says a key critic, Jennifer ­Marohasy.  So, begins an article by Graham Lloyd in The Weekend Australian.

Lloyd goes on to write:

Dr Marohasy said the review panel, which recommended that better statistical methods and data handling be adopted, justified many of the concerns raised.

However, the failure to ­address specific issues, such as the exaggerated warming trend at Rutherglen in ­northeast Victoria after homogeni­sation, had left ­important questions ­unresolved, she said.

The review panel report said it had stayed strictly within its terms of reference.

Given the limited time available, the panel had focused on big-picture issues, chairman Ron Sandland said.

The panel was confident that “by addressing our recommend­ations, most of the issues raised on the submissions would be ­addressed”, Dr Sandland said.

The panel is scheduled to meet again early in the next year.

Dr Sandland said that, overall, the panel had found the Australian Climate Observations Reference Network — Surface Air Temperature was a “complex and well-maintained data set that has some scope for further improvements”.

It had made five recommend­ations that would boost transparency of the data set.

Although the panel reviewed 20 public submissions, Dr Marohasy said it had failed to address specific concerns.

“While the general tone of the report suggests everything is fine, many of the recommen­dations (are) repeat requests made by myself and others over the last few years,” Dr ­Marohasy said.

“Indeed, while on the one hand the (bureau’s technical ­advisory) forum reports claims that the bureau is using world’s best practice, on the other hand its many and specific recommend­ations evidence the absence of most basic quality controls in the many adjustments made to the raw data in the development of the homogenised temperature series.”

BoM said it welcomed the conclusion that homogenisation played an essential role in eliminating artificial non-clim­ate ­systematic errors in temperature observations, so that a meaningful and consistent set of records could be maintained over time.

In suggesting that the review was about the legitimacy of homogenization as a technique, the BoM is continuing to play politics.  As I explained in my initial comments in response to the release of the report, we acknowledge that there are times when it is necessary to make adjustments to raw temperature data in the creation of long, continuous, high quality records.  But, we object to the way in which the Bureau makes changes to every temperature series incorporated into ACORN-SAT, and from which the official Australian historical temperature record is constructed.

Indeed, it is curious that while on the one-hand the Forum reports claims that the Bureau is using world’s best practice, on the other-hand its many and specific recommendations evidence the absence of most basic quality controls in the many adjustments made to the raw data in the development of the homogenized temperature series.   For example, the Forum report acknowledges that there is a need to publish, “a brief, plain-language (as far as possible) description of the criteria for adjustment and the basis for adjustment itself.”

This must be a priority, especially for many of the more contentious locations, including Rutherglen in north eastern Victoria.   Indeed, the Forum has obfuscated by not addressing the key issue of why the Bureau has made such dramatic changes to the temperature record for Rutherglen.  If there is nothing wrong with current methodologies, beyond the need for better documentation, then why didn’t the Forum provide its own plain English description of the criteria used to make the adjustments for Rutherglen, which turn a slight overall cooling trend into dramatic warming.

So far, the Bureau has provided lots of documentation, but no actual evidence to support the many adjustments made in the homogenization of the temperature record for Rutherglen.

The warming trend at Rutherglen is essentially achieved by progressively dropping down the minimum temperatures starting in 1973 by 0.5 degree C.  The amount by which the temperatures is ‘adjusted’ down increases back through time to 1913 when there is a massive 1.8 degree Celsius difference between the recorded temperature and the homogenised value.

The homogenised values are then incorporated into the official record that is used to calculate temperature trends for the state of Victoria, and also Australia.  The Bureau has provided information at its website suggesting that there was a need to make adjustments to Rutherglen for the period prior to 1966 and that this “was determined from an objective statistical test that showed an artificial jump in the data during this period.”  But what was the statistical test actually performed on the data?  Why is this not documented?  The raw temperature record for Rutherglen has a virtually identical trend to its six neighbouring comparison sites, while the homogenized ACORN-SAT temperature series for Rutherglen is strongly biased towards warming.

As I explained to Graham Lloyd yesterday, in not answering any of our specific questions, including those concerning the homogenization of the temperature record for Rutherglen, the Forum’s report in many ways should ring alarm bells for those who have previously believed that the Bureau’s methods were transparent.

I’m currently overseas, in north western Spain,  in the town of Corunna, and  I’m inspired by the local heroine Maria Pita, to ask you to join with me in campaigning for change.  Maria Pita is a Galician heroine who rallied the ordinary citizens of Corunna in 1589 with the battle cry ‘Whoever has honor, follow me!”

Leave a comment of support in the thread following the  article by Graham Lloyd in The Weekend Australian.

It is totally unacceptable that the Bureau can essentially rework temperature data until it accords with the theory of anthropogenic global warming.

Also consider writing a letter to The Australian newspaper, and perhaps also other news outlets.  Explain the issue.  I’ve draft something below to get your started.   Next you could write to your local politician, again explaining the issue, and also asking that they read the actual report from the forum, and also the many submissions made by myself and colleagues.   It is extraordinary with all the evidence so far provided, that absolutely nothing is being done right now to get some integrity back into the official historical temperature record for Australia.


Ideas for your own letter:

Dear Editor/Politician/Tony Jones

Following the release of the review of the Bureau of Meteorology’s national temperature records, I agree with Jennifer Marohasy that “alarm bells” should be ringing for those who had previously believed the bureau’s methods were transparent.

It is concerning that the expert panel still cannot explain the exaggerated warming in the official record for Rutherglen.   It seems the only thing wrong with the original observed values is that they did not accord with global warming theory, and so they were homogenized.

 I concur with Dr Marohasy, that to the extent possible, the Bureau should retain the actual recorded temperature values.  If it has to manipulate the data, then strict rules should be adhered to. In particular, the Bureau must not homogenize temperature series, changing actual recorded values, unless there is a documented equipment change or site move creating a statistically significant discontinuity in the data.

The Bureau should start the official temperature record in 1880, not 1910, and not add hotter stations into later years.

Yours sincerely

Maria Pita/Your name

17 Responses to Remember Rutherglen, & “Whoever has Honor Follow Me!”

  1. Debbie June 20, 2015 at 7:09 am #

    “…lots of documentation, but no actual evidence….”
    Well said .
    That’s definitely the MO.

  2. Siliggy June 20, 2015 at 8:47 am #

    Using “Worlds best practice” is nothing to boast about. The standard is very low. It is also a bit like admitting to the teacher that you copied off someone who looked like they knew what they were doing. The simple reality is that these climate scientists are not up to par as a group.
    As I show here the numbers do not add up in other places too.

  3. Debbie June 20, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

    ‘World’s best practice’ is only best practice if it has some practical reason to apply it.
    There does not appear to be a practical reason to apply that practice in far too many instances, Rutherglen included!
    What’s the point of applying those algorithms if there was no practical explanation to apply ‘World’s best practice’?
    I’m starting to think they just did it because they could????
    Or maybe because they thought they should?????
    What’s missing is the ‘practical reason’….or a ‘practical explanation’ for the need to apply that ‘World’s best practice’.

  4. TruthTeller June 20, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

    When data is selectively modified, and when said modifications result in modifications that expose selection bias, the methodology cannot be considered “world’s best practice”. It should, in fact, be dealt with as academic dishonesty.

    The problem… the REAL problem… is that this review detected the most egregious manipulations, resulting in the most drastic distortions. But the same manipulations were used, to a lesser degree, throughout the entire data set. The result is an overall distortion that simply does not rise to the level of Rutherglen. But that only serves to make it the more insidious. Because in order to tease out those widespread manipulations would require a depth of study which no one is prepared to undergo.

  5. Glen Michel June 20, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

    At least we are in no doubt who is the piper, are we David! There is too much of these shenanigans going on elsewhere.Call out the manipulators!

  6. Geoff Sherrington June 20, 2015 at 7:02 pm #

    For your heroine Maria pita, in a Les Patterson moment I’d change “‘Whoever has honor, follow me!” to something like “I’ll follow her if I’m gonna get honor.”

    Which indirectly raises a broader question along these lines:- Ig the keeping and adjustment of records for climate consumes the iunvestiugation time of the CSIRO and others related, why not venture further?

    I would love to see an examination of the basic science that is supposed to support contentions, present and past, that –

    1. There will be a mass epidemic of cancers caused by man-made chemicals. (See the magnificent book ‘The Apocalyptics’ by Edith Efron, ca 1986, which is a wonderful case history of how government science corrupts.)

    2. The element lead Pb and its compounds causes a lowering of intelligence if ingested by youngsters. (For a contra view by an expert in this field when Australian research lead the world, see )

    3. What is really happening with statins?

    There are many major topics that appear settled until you study the ‘proof’ in detail. The CSORO should be well placed to do some hindsight analysis, with the benefit of new data, to see if some of these tales are simply hoary old myths or if something is seriously wrong with the science review system.

  7. Glen Michel June 21, 2015 at 9:05 am #

    As for Sandlands claim that they had limited time to investigate Rutherglen I call BS.Core issues- blah blah.Rutherglen/ processes of homogenising / adjustments being warranted is the core issue.Will wait to see what feed-back comes into the Australian newspaper.

  8. jennifer June 21, 2015 at 9:32 pm #

    There are many good and insightful comment at the thread currently trending at The Australian… . About 160 comments in all.

    At the beginning of the weekend the article was difficult to find online. But now, Sunday night in Australia, it seems to have made it to the front of the online page…

  9. handjive of June 22, 2015 at 9:00 am #


    Media release
    18 June 2015

    The Hon. Bob Baldwin MP

    Advisory panel confirms integrity of Australia’s temperature records

    An independent review has endorsed the Bureau of Meteorology’s management of Australia’s official temperature record.

  10. Anto June 22, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

    So, the review has adopted the IPCC model, whereby the Summary for Policymakers says one thing (viz. all is well and good), whereas the report itself says something else (ie. there are numerous problems).

    Sounds about par for the course in climate whitewashes.

  11. handjive of June 23, 2015 at 8:50 am #


    When the Murray Darling Basin Plan came into effect in 2012, it promised to reduce the historic over-allocation of water to agriculture. Now a group of scientists is raising concerns about the modelling the plan is based on, which does not factor in climate change in any meaningful way.

    Richard Davis also believes that the MDBA board appears to have made a political choice: ‘Partly because they had enough on their plates fighting the argument for returning water to the environment and they didn’t want to open another front with all the climate change sceptics.
    I don’t think they wanted radio shock jocks on their tail over climate change at the same time.’

    Colin Mues, director of environmental management at the MDBA, agrees with the scientists that; the sustainable diversion limits are based on past climate variability of the last 114 years and not predictions that average rainfall in the basin will decrease.

    Cod numbers rising in River Murray, scientists say

    MDBA accused of filtering information, Authority says its independence has not been compromised

  12. Oliver K. Manuel June 23, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

    Thank you, Jennifer, for speaking out.

    And shame on you, worldwide members of National Academies of Sciences, who have betrayed the basic principles of science for more research grant funds from your national political leaders.

    Path # 1. Society will continue the post-WWII path to avoid the reality that humans live exactly 1 AU (one astronomical unit) from a pulsar that made our chemical elements, birthed the solar system five billion years (5 Ga) ago, sustained the origin and evolution of life on Earth after ~3.8 Ga ago, and maintains dominant control over every atom, life and planet in the solar system today. Society is now on path #1, a return path to the Dark Ages.

    Path # 2. Society will merge scientific and spiritual insights into a Higher Level of Evolution, as Nobel Laureate Max Planck explained the matter that orbits the Sun’s pulsar core in his 1944 speech in Florence, Italy:

    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear-headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about the atoms this much: There is no matter as such! All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together . . . We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.”

  13. Daryl McDonald June 24, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

    An entirely predictable outcome from the ‘Forum’.
    I have had the mis-fortune to have been involved in
    this type of nonsense for over 20 years.
    The behaviour patterns of the government agents and pollies
    is as predictable as the sun rising in the East.
    You have to go back a long way in history to find
    cyence as corrupted as it is at present.

    Cheers, SLOWLURNR


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