The biggest global warming conference since Kyoto, opened today in Montreal, Canada. The 10,000 experts from 180 nations are to spend the best part of the next 10 days deliberating about how best to “slow the alarming effects of greenhouses gases and global warming”.
I had a look at ‘global temperature’ some weeks ago in my post titled ‘Global Warming for Dummies’, click here. I concluded that globally, 2005 may indeed be the hottest year on record. But I didn’t scrutinize my data source – just accepted the NASA data and methodology.
Not everyone is convinced that it is getting hotter.
At this blog I encourage the contrarian position. To quote David Tribe, “It’s how we treat our contrarians that tells us whether we are living in a truely civil society, for the contrarians are very valuable to us, because they point to the places where ‘conventional wisdom’ may be getting it wrong.”
Global warming skeptic Warwick Hughes has had a good look at the data for Australian capital cities at the NASA site. In the following guest post from Warwick Hughes he disputes the main premise of a recent Bureau of Meterology (BoM) media release titled 2005:Australia’s warmest year on record?.
The BoM conclusion is based on their specially adjusted data, they choose a start date 1950 which is a cooler part of the record and they ignore all late 19 Century data which in many stations was as warm as recent decades. Furthermore, it seems premature to make claims about 2005 before the year has ended.
A more realistic view of the relative warmth of 2005 placed in century scale perspective is given by the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Surface Temperature Analysis, Station Data, available at,
GISS is run by Dr James Hansen, who I think it is fair to say, has been a ‘global warming proponent’ since at least 1988. GISS data is built from the USA NOAA group’s global GHCN dataset. Looking at records from the “homogeneity adjusted” data choice of GISS for all the Australian capital cities shows that nowhere can the BoM wish come true.
GISS would have adjusted these urban warming affected city stations taking account of surrounding more rural data. I do not agree with everything GISS does and I comment below where I think fit. However NASA/GISS has vastly more experience than the BoM at evaluating temperature trends from the 19C because their dataset is global and Dr Hansen and his team have published a series of papers on global trends over many years.
Let us look at some Australian examples, city by city, using the NASA/GISS dataset, starting with Perth, view image
There is no possibility in Perth that 2005 will be Australia’s warmest year on record. I have people from the WA wheat belt telling me of the worst frost damage to water pipes this year that they have seen for decades.
Adelaide has known many warmer years than 2005. Likewise, if the East Sale record was slid up to compare exactly with Melbourne then it is crystal clear that the BoM will need a very hot couple of months for their proposal to come to pass in south eastern Australia,view image (30 kbs).
It is obvious that 1999, 2000 and 2001 were warmer than 2005 in Hobart so the BoM has no case yet around Hobart that 2005 has been Australia’s warmest year on record, view image(30kbs). Interesting that Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse is showing much less warming than Hobart airport so the adjusted GISS data for Hobart airport may still carry urban warming, further weakening any BoM case.
The best guide for Sydney and Newcastle is to see where 2005 at Williamtown relates to the Newcastle century long data, which is from Nobbies Signal Station, view image (30kbs). From this graph it is obvious that there is no possibility in Sydney and Newcastle that 2005 has been Australia’s warmest year on record. It is equally obvious that the Sydney Airport data, affected as it is by a strong ‘urban heat island’ (UHI) effect, is artificially warming at a rate much faster than Williamtown despite any GISS adjustment.*
Moving north to Brisbane and it is obvious in this region that if the Eagle farm data was ‘merged’ with the old Brisbane Regional Office trend then there is no chance that 2005 has been Australia’s warmest year on record, view image (30kbs).
At this point we have to ask ourselves, “Where in Australia is this unprecedented warming the BoM talking about?”
Checking the circa 125 years of data from Darwin it is obvious that 2005 is a warm year but it was topped by 1998, might equal 1988 and will be topped easily by 1973, view image (30kbs). It is also obvious that if the airport data are merged with the earlier Post Office data then several years 1906 and earlier would have been warmer than 2005. Hence in this area the BoM claim that 2005 has been Australia’s warmest year on record, is not borne out by the data. The GISS team do provide on their web page a full Darwin record splicing the post office and airport but in my opinion it is not one of their better efforts and I prefer my own splice. If anyone prefers the GISS Darwin from 1882 then it makes no difference to the above yearly comparisons.
Moving now to Central Australia for our last graphic, that of the circa 125 year long Alice Springs temperature record. In this case, GISS do not provide a circa 125 year long record in their “homogeneity adjusted” data, but if readers make a graph for Alice Springs from the GISS Dataset listed in their “pull down menu” as “after combining sources at same location”, then you will see a graphic very similar to mine below showing that almost a dozen years have been warmer than 2005, view image (30kbs).
So it seems doubtful that Alice Springs data will provide confirmation for the BoM that “2005 has been Australia’s warmest year on record” but the data at years end will tell.
* Sydney airport is used by the Jones et. al. team at the University of Norwich, to compile the ‘global warming’ trends we all know so well. For my ’20th Anniversary Review’ of the unsound Jones et al 1986 methodologies, see
Warwick Hughes temperature outlook critiques for 2005 are at,
http://www.warwickhughes.com/cool/cool14.htm. Temperature Outlook critiques pre 2005 are at, http://www.warwickhughes.com/climate/cool8.htm.