No QA of bureau temperature data by CSIRO bushfire modellers

Despite an exceptionally cool end to this October, the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology have just put out a joint report claiming that there is going to be an increase in the number of hot days and thus an increased risk of devastating bushfires — based on homogenised (remodelled) temperatures, of course.

CSIRO experts forecast bushfire risk based on Bureau temperature data, but they don’t first undertake any quality assurance of the Bureau’s data.

If we consider one of the best long and continuous temperature series for southern Australia, which is the Rutherglen raw temperature data, and just maximum temperatures in summer: the hottest summer was back in 1938-1939, as shown in this chart.

Mean Maximum temperatures as measured at Rutherglen during summer (December 1912 to February 2016). Full report at

Mean Maximum temperatures as measured at Rutherglen during summer (December 1912 to February 2016). More more information see

On 13 January 1939 this region experienced one of the worst bushfire disasters in Australia’s history; it became known as Black Friday.

At 33.5°C, the summer of 1938–39 was 2.2°C hotter than the average maximum temperature during the ten most recent summers at Rutherglen, and a full 3°C hotter than the average maximum summer temperature at Rutherglen for the entire period of the record.

And yet today the Bureau and CSIRO are suggesting we should be concerned by a 1°C increase in average temperature over the last 100 years.

Rather than fear mongering, the CSIRO would do well to actually consider the actual integrity of the data being provided by its partner – the Bureau of Meteorology.

In a recent article published by On Line Opinion, I explained that the difference between the official-adjusted maximum temperature for Rutherglen on 13th January 1939 versus the actual measured value is rather large– more than 5 °C. Historical temperature data is used to model and forecast the likely impact of future bushfires, with Fire Danger Indices sensitive to small changes in temperature.

1. The BOM-CSIRO State of the Climate report is here , some media is here

2. Homogenised temperatures, and planning for bushfires

22 Responses to No QA of bureau temperature data by CSIRO bushfire modellers

  1. Debbie October 27, 2016 at 8:53 am #

    It’s about land & water management.
    They need to:
    a) Stop blaming the weather/climate.
    b) Stop pretending they can control the weather/climate
    c) Start looking at how we can better manage land & water to reduce bushfire risk.

  2. Kris Pickering October 27, 2016 at 2:19 pm #

    As if we mere mortals have any control over climate that has never been a static and is continually changing on a macro and micro scale. The question remains and, as always, is never answered. How much taxpayer funding would be available to BoM and the once much respected CSIRO if their press releases contained good news and not misinformation?

  3. David October 27, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

    You work is an invaluable counterpoint to the propaganda of the warmist alarmists. Keep going!

  4. Debbie October 27, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

    Good question Kris Pickering.

  5. Mark M October 27, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

    NASA: Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth, Study Finds
    “In findings based on satellite observations, CSIRO , in collaboration with the Australian National University (ANU), found that this CO2 fertilisation correlated with an 11 per cent increase in foliage cover from 1982-2010 across the arid areas studied in Australia …”
    How and why a CSIRO/BoM State Of The Climate report would fail to report this good climate news is inconveniently suspect.

  6. Ian Thomson October 28, 2016 at 8:07 am #

    Very clear ,indisputable post Jen. We still have a mass of cold water around our SW and a fairly strong La Nina is appearing. With all the Continental moisture lying around , a La Nina and a cool Indian Ocean, it may well be an “interesting” summer, once the Himalayan wind throws hot air into it all. .

    AGW will, of course, be the root cause of any problems. ( just ask Jay Weatherill, in fact don’t ask, he’ll tell you anyway ) .

    The potential for bad fires is there, because of the massive fuel load and that is Australia, after a wet winter.
    A week of Nor Westers in ; summer will do it.
    The great new National Parks might just explode, the fuel there will be probably unprecedented, given that half the forests used to be managed plantations and now even thinning has to be “trialed”.
    The fauna kill will also be unprecedented.
    If that doesn’t happen this summer , more litter will build , for when it does happen

  7. Debbie October 28, 2016 at 8:27 am #

    Yes Ian,
    It’s an accident waiting to happen.
    None of this is actually rocket science.
    We need to manage for fire risk.
    We can’t control the weather, but we can control the fuel loads.

  8. Ian Thomson October 28, 2016 at 11:13 am #

    So right Deb, but it isn’t near Sydney, so they don’t mind and we don’t matter.

  9. Neville October 28, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

    Andrew Bolt starts to pull apart the latest BOM/CSIRO “State of the climate” report. It’s just incredible how wrong they’ve been about droughts in the past. But don’t expect an apology from these exaggerators any time soon.
    Yet they still receive soft interviews from their ABC and Fairfax media.

  10. el gordo October 28, 2016 at 5:46 pm #

    “The changing climate significantly affects all Australians through increased heatwaves, more significant wet weather events and more severe fire weather conditions.

    “Some of the record-breaking extreme heat we have been seeing recently will be considered normal in thirty years’ time.”


    The changing climate has little impact on most Australians, but they are generally aware that its been warm. They have been told often enough.

    Anybody younger than 20 years of age has no actual experience of global warming in their life times, only a vision of the Modern Climate Optimum as seen through a rear view mirror.

    If the Klimatariat want to play weather wars we can beat them every time, they are dependent on a flawed hypothesis and we are unshackled.

    Some of the unusual Cold Air Outbreaks (CAO) experienced over southern Australia this Spring will become common place in the decades ahead.

    There is no need to be concerned, its a cyclic phenomenon, the world is returning to the cool 1950s and 1960s.

  11. Siliggy October 29, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

    Even after years of prolonged drought reduced fuel loads and a well documented Global cool year and local cool summer, Australia still gets severe bushfires.
    “The last summer in the
    Northern Hemisphere was likewise cool
    over a considerable area. It seems, then,
    as though. this phenomenal Australian sum
    mer is the result of agencies operative over
    the whole world. The most prominent
    world wide event of recent occurrence with
    which universal change in weather might
    be associated is the appearance of remark
    able sunset glows. These were first, noticed
    shortly after the terrible vocanic upheaval
    in Martinique, by which Mont Pelee was
    shattered. ”
    A quick search of Trove for that year finds many fires just like other years.
    None the less it should be compulsory for every Australian to pick up a ton or two of fallen timber from feral bush and sides of the road etc especially in Victoria.

  12. Siliggy October 30, 2016 at 7:16 am #

    “More than 1,300,000 acres of New
    South Wales State forests were
    destroyed by bushfires between July
    last year and April this year”

    The temperatures were around average according to the BOM’s AWAP.

  13. Siliggy October 30, 2016 at 7:32 am #

    Ooops wrong link.

  14. Ian Thomson October 30, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

    Siliggy , here is a serious lack of heat and remember the base point in this is a bit dodgy. Now throw in the tropical hot air later.

  15. Chris de Guingand October 30, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

    In discussing so called climate warming no one comments on the fact that the world is producing more food than ever and less people as a percentage are subject to famine than ever before despite the massive increase of population and the diversion of agriculture to production of bio fuels. Greenhouse means warmth and humidity so lets face it a little warmth and moisture is a good thing! This means more growth.
    As a Canadian once said to me- “Roll on global warming”

  16. Siliggy October 31, 2016 at 1:43 am #

    All the extra rain we have had has caused a lot of growth that will begin to die off and dry out. Half a degree either way makes little difference when fires make their own heat and summer here is coming ready or not. Refering to your sea surface temp chart, the warmth can still blow in from Indonesia.
    There has been a long period of high solar wind and the sunspot count is low. I struggle to understand it but think this means a Forbush decrease resulting in less global cloud cover at the same time as short term higher TSI. So while the longer term cooling is coming slowly but surely, we may have a warm few weeks. Then as the delayed cosmic radiation picks up again we may have thunder storms with hail and lightning.
    The lightning may light fires.
    Right now watch out for meteorites.

  17. Siliggy October 31, 2016 at 8:06 am #

    Google translate is doing a superb job with this meteor report.
    try to figure out if this means bushfire is possible?
    “In very rare cases, the meteoroid, if large at its entrance into the atmosphere, can go up to the ground before you totally disintegrate. ”

  18. Wee Willy November 3, 2016 at 6:14 pm #

    Fudged is probably a more appropriate word than homogenized or remodelled for BOM temperature data.

  19. Gerry Ward November 3, 2016 at 7:51 pm #

    I can remember a summer so bloody hot in the 1960s, that we could not sleep through the night. We were wetting sheets and draping them over ourselves and grab a short sleep until the sheets dried out and we got too hot again, and that went on for a couple of weeks. That was near Tamworth. I’d love to see the actual temp records from that time.

  20. Doc November 3, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

    Longer wetter season equals more undergrowth and devastating fire potential, especially in farming areas that in many places lack any stock at all to reduce the
    load. Seems the CSIRO and BOM are on a safe bet. We used to call this stuff despicable propaganda. Add the official attacks on the ‘sceptics’ and it reminds me of prewar Germany. With what is happen in the USA, with the Clintons, where money seems to be flowing everywhere except to the people I wonder how much we are being bought off here to support ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming’! The same people seem to be involved in both situations, and beyond.

  21. Tony Price November 3, 2016 at 8:55 pm #

    Forecasting is very difficult, especially when it involves the future.

    Yogi Berra

  22. Bruce J November 8, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    I’ve just heard, from a contact in Northern W.A., that the BOM have issued a “warning” that in the Kimberley and NW areas there is a 50% chance of a greater number of cyclones of greater intensity than normal in the coming cyclone season. I’m no statistician, so does this mean there is also a 50% chance of fewer and weaker cyclones? Or is the BOM just covering all options?

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