THROUGH his ongoing study of US weather stations, Anthony Watts has uncovered some remarkable examples of poor placement resulting in a warming bias. I am increasingly of the opinion that the problem in Australia is not so much placement of weather stations, but rather how the data is manipulated post collection. It is also difficult to reconcile the increasing interest in, and funding for, climate related research in Australia with the extraordinary deterioration in the actual recording of data. The important official weather station at Willis Island, off the north east coast of Australia, is a case in point with no recordings made for long periods over recent years.
The following note from Steve Jones explains in some detail his concerns regarding the quality of data collection and processes at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
It is my view that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology is currently tampering with its climate data to fit in with the global warming theory.
Here is a very simple exercise you can do yourself to judge the truth (or otherwise) of my claim:
Go to: Weather Station Data:
http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/data/weather-data.shtml Long record temperature sites,
Open (in Microsoft Excel), Click top left box between 1 & A which will highlight all boxes,
Choose: Data, Sort, Column F, OK which will sort them from oldest to newest. Note some have closed so chose ones with the most complete datasets. Also chose ones which are most remote or which you know or figure have been subject to the least change over time e.g. population growth, land clearing etc.
Then go and find them here:
Go to: Climate statistics for Australian sites:
Choose e.g. (in Monthly Statistics when you go back to chose another one), New South Wales, Gunnedah Pool, Monthly statistics, Click (VERY IMPORTANT)under map All Available, then notice Highest temperature, Lowest Maximum Temperature, Lowest Temperature, Highest Minimum Temperature for each month and also note the date in Column ‘Annual’ when the record occurred.
You will notice for Gunnedah that even though the 19th century comprises only 24 out of 132 years of data that (counting 1900) it includes 6 out of 12 of the hottest days and 8 out of 12 of the coldest days! You will also notice that the period 1975 to 2009 when we have been told the world has been warming most and when extremes of weather have been increasing most that NONE of the hottest days have been in that period but 3 of the coldest have been! Since that period comprises b32 out of 132 of the years of data you should expect a like proportion to that of extreme days of all sorts or 24.24% or about one in four (3 out of 12)as we find with the coldest days. But as NONE of the hottest days occurs in that period (though we should expect one quarter of them to – again 3 out of 12)we can only conclude that Gunnedah at least has cooled in the last 32 years! If you look at the four Annual climate extremes for Gunnedah you will see 24 Jan 1882 (hottest), 4 Aug 1921 (lowest maximum), 27 June 1881 (coldest), 2 Jan 1905 (warmest night).
In other words far from extreme weather events increasing recently it has been 87 years since Gunnedah experienced an extreme weather event! Perhaps the REST of Australia (or the world) has warmed and Gunnedah is the exception?
I have looked at a selection of the more remote sites on the Australian Weather Bureau’s site which have long-term records (e.g. Cape Otway Vic ) and found the same pattern i.e. very few of the hottest days have occurred in the period 1975-2008 and a very high proportion of the hottest days occurred in the 19th century.
You have to choose sites which have long-term records comprising the last quarter of the nineteenth century up to 2008 otherwise some relatively warm years recently will appear to be the warmest when they were not. Obviously large cities WILL have warmed because of the urban heat island effect NOT because the climate has changed.
You have to be VERY careful to notice what years have been averaged in the column ‘Years’ as even though the station may have data from e.g. 1869 to 2008, it may be that the data averaged is only 1970-2008 or the like.
Some sites have moved too and so or not very reliable e.g. Melbourne Regional Office has averages from 1855-2008 but the site only BEGAN in 1908 which begs the question of where the earlier data comes from and is it comparable? Even so, for that site (a very warm site because of the huge growth of the city) only two out of 12 of the hottest days were in that period and they were both back in the 1980’s. The three hottest days by a long shot were in 1938-1940. Sydney Observatory has 6 out of 12 of the hottest days in the defined period but no-one would have thought Sydney had not warmed.
Deniliquin is one of the oldest continuous sites: 2 out of 12 hottest days; Bourke 1 out of 12; Boulia 0 out of 12; Marble Bar 3 out of 12.
I suspect what the ‘global warmers’ have done is to chose the average of ALL sites and since few sites have old records the warmest years on record will be quite recent and therefore the average of ALL sites will show the same pattern but ONLY BECAUSE the older data is missing or drowned out by the more recent data. So it will APPEAR as if there has been global warming when in fact there has not been ANY.”
When I went back to check Cape Otway recently I found that suddenly there had been an increase in the warmest days in recent times.
The BOM’s explanation can be found here:
http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/cdo/about/about-stats.shtml where they say:
“We will soon finish reprocessing many of the data which are used to calculate the climate statistics. This will improve the quality of the statistical information provided to you. In the meantime, the statistics will be based on the same (updated) datasets as used previously. This will mean: You may find small differences when comparing the superseded (pre 2007) version of the climate statistics with the most recent. These changes are likely to be associated with the calculation process or the removal of unsuitable data. Some of the previously identified climate extremes may disappear in this new product. This is associated with data quality issues.”
I view this behaviour on the part of the BOM as unacceptable and serious.
I tried the internet archive to see if I could get back to the earlier version where pretty much ALL the hottest weather had been long ago at Cape Otway as with Gunnedah which will no doubt soon change too. But you can’t get back to the earlier version.
This process is really creating a new reality.
Another strange thing I noticed about the BOM’s data is this: I was looking for data for where I live (Yinnar, Victoria). You can’t have temperature data only rainfall data. (Incidentally you can’t get average DAILY rainfall data anywhere either which was what I was looking for. It would be very helpful to know e.g. whether the first five days of April are wetter or drier on average e.g. for planning future holidays). I looked at the rainfall data for Yinnar here:
when I noticed that 1928 & 9 were incredibly wet (50% more than the greatest BOM recognises (notice 525mm in October!) yet the data for those two years is not included in the averaging or the statistics because there is a month missing from the data (presumably – the Postmaster probably went on holidays!).
The same thing probably happens to the temperature data which would no doubt cause all sorts of distortions to the record.
Anthony Watt’s project, started on June 4th 2007, is designed for the express purpose of photographically surveying every one of the 1221 USHCN weather stations in the USA which are used as a “high quality network” to determine near surface temperature trends in the USA. USHCN is a subset of the larger COOP network of stations in the USA, of which there are about 9000. The USHCN subset has been hand picked by the National Climatic Data Center to be more regionally representative due to their placement, length of service and minimum station moves. Unfortunately, the network has fallen into neglect, and the temperature data produced by it is suspect due to microsite biases. See what has been learned so far here in this slide show. http://gallery.surfacestations.org/UCAR-slides/index.html From, http://wattsupwiththat.com/test/
Marked deterioration in Willis Island temperature data quality, December 1, 2007 by Warwick Hughes, http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=144