John William Abbot versus Director of Meteorology was to be heard in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Brisbane, yesterday, Friday 3rd February 2023 – a focus of this series of blog posts. While it was to be a public hearing, and I was to be the expert witness, before I could present my evidence, the case was taken back into mediation and the public asked to leave.
I am now a part of the mediation that was not resolved yesterday. I am now legally bound to not comment on this ongoing mediation. That is set down to resume on Tuesday.
I am very grateful to Caroline, Gideon, Charles and Howard, for attending the public hearing yesterday – albeit so brief.
This saga has been ongoing for me in some form since 25th August 2015 when I first requested parallel data for Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse from the electronic weather station relying on platinum resistance probes since September 2000 and as a check from the original liquid-in-glass thermometers (including the mercury), which were installed back in 1872 and theoretically still recording temperatures. I specifically asked:
Could you please also provide me with the complete temperature record (maximum and minimum) as measured from each of these different thermometers for the period of their available record.
I am particularly keen to know if there is a single continuous monthly record for the mercury thermometer installed in 1872, to the present. [end]
This requested was made through the firstname.lastname@example.org portal, and I followed up with phone calls, but my application was never formally acknowledged. We do know it was discussed by Bureau staff as it is mentioned in correspondence that was made public following a partially successful FOI request by Mulholland (#FOI30-6142) concerning limits set on how cold temperatures can be recorded at Goulburn. The correspondence is available online here.
Because a change in measuring equipment can potentially create discontinuities in a temperature record, it is Australian Bureau of Meteorology policy to have new equipment recording side-by-side with old equipment for a period of at least 2 years. In this way, readings from the new equipment can be compared with readings from the old equipment, including to check they are comparable – that there are no discontinuities. This is the parallel data.
It is reasonable to assume this data would be public, but it is guarded by the Bureau and kept secret. The Bureau also claim it is undigitized and only potentially available as hard copies of A8Forms and that the Bureau lacks the available resources for scanning to provide this on request. Access to this data for the Brisbane airport weather station was the objective of an FOI request by John Abbot and so began the current saga.
In 2017, I was successful in acquiring some parallel data for Mildura. After many late nights manually transcribing values from the scanned A8 Forms provided to me following the intervention of then Minister for Energy and Environment Josh Frydenberg I charted the data and did some analysis.
This analysis showed that the first probe, which became the official instrument at Mildura on 1 November 1996, was recording too cool relative to the mercury with some seasonal variability. On 3 May 2000, the Bureau changed the Stevenson screen to a smaller design, and while there is no record of a change in the type of probe, this almost certainly also occurred based on the very different recording pattern relative to the mercury, see Chart 1.
Initially the temperatures as recorded at Mildura, from 3 May 2000 from what I am assuming was a new second probe in the new shelter, were more consistent with the measurements from the mercury thermometer. But then I could see from the data that the temperatures from the probe started to cool relative to the mercury thermometer for the period to 27 June 2012. Cooling was at a rate of nearly 1°C per 100 years.
Then on 27 June 2012 the probe which had been recording the official temperature at Mildura for 12 years while drifting to record ever cooler, was changed. The limited available parallel data indicates that this third probe records too hot relative to the same mercury thermometer – often by 0.4 °C.
This is the extent of the available parallel data, and it suggests:
1. The change from a mercury thermometer to a probe makes a material difference to the reliability of the historical data.
2. This matters for understanding climate variability and change – the trend.
3. This information is in the public interest – given far reaching public policy decisions are being made on the basis of a 1.5C tipping point.
4. We know the data exists because I received the scanned A8 Forms for Mildura with recordings from both probes and the mercury back in 2017. We also know the data exists according to the Bureau’s own referencing of this data and discussion of this data.
On 12th December 2019, John Abbot made a request to access the parallel daily maximum and minimum temperature datasets for the Brisbane airport weather station; that is the measurements recorded using the mercury thermometer as a potential check on the measurements from the platinum resistance probe.
That data has never been provided and is the origin of the current saga to be resumed on Tuesday through private mediation.
Glen M says
The Bureau have much to protect – namely the CO2 , anthropogenic warming. I hope that the hindering or obfuscation on their part stops and the arbitrators do their not. I don’t expect the house of cards to fall just yet.
John Smeed says
Jennifer, The work you and John are doing is important in revealing the loss of scientific integrity in organizations like BOM and CSIRO prepared to falsify data to support UNFCCC ‘greatest mass delusion in history’ (Richard Lindzen) – the invalidated Climate Change hypothesis . I am confident that John Abbot will win.
Keep at it Jennifer we oldies need people like you to continue the fight with the Bureaucrats. I guess we cant expect a report on Their ABC on the proceedings.
Are you permitted to inform us *who* requested the case go back into mediation, so preventing publicity yet again ?
That this happened is no surprise of course. The entire aim of the BoM(bo) management is to prevent hard, publicised analyses of its’ pronouncements. Some of the more honest staff must be fed up with this buffoonery.
I greatly appreciate your persistence here.
Dr Christine Finlay says
Hmm, chilling pardon the pun.
Richard Bennett says
The fact that the BOM will not provide parallel temperature data to the public once again indicates that the BOM is trying to hide the truth because it contradicts the AGW conspiracy theory. Please note that on 25th November 2021 the UK Government climate change minister confirmed in writing to me that historical global temperatures were altered downwards by the IPCC/UN authorities to generate a 20th century warming trend to fit the AGW narrative. This corruption of official government data by authorities on a worldwide scale calls for a total rejection of any government policy based on this corrupted data.
With the cost of lawyers & court proceedings, it would have been cheaper to quote you per month salary staff member to assist your enquiries, review paper records, scanning & data entry as required. If not completed then you could continue paying for the next month (minimum 3months, >4wk notice). Unknown quantity, how much work is required to digitise & check data?
The data should have all been digitised and easily accessible if the process to produce reliable data had been followed to meet responsibility of high quality data fit for purpose. If they can’t analyse the data to review reliability then they haven’t been doing their job properly.
Do errors produce random noise like a natural bell curve as they assume; OR do they create a long term bias towards +/- trend? That’s what you’re trying to find out.
When an area has farmers using hoses to irrigate large areas and/or when people used hoses anytime of day through summer (when we had no restrictions) both reduce temperatures in summer.
Like differences in Penrith & Richmond with land use changes, modern water restrictions, many movements, many equip changes. I wish I had a camera & real time data for time around the observed max temperatures. If it’s hard surface then it heats up more than grass but grass needs motor tools with a heat source to cut & maybe blow.
Check out Onslow, WA, Australia, 2022.
Ian Duncan says
Jen….just pondering what you have said about the accuracy of the new BOM temperature probes. I use thermocouple temperature sensing in my own business and find it unbeleavable that they can’t be super accurate.
It would not be the ability for them to be accuate that is the problem but it is the inaccuracy of the old mercury thermometers that is the issue….in comparision.
So the simple solution would be for the digital sensor to be placed within a volume of mercury to create the exact same thermal inertia that a mercury thermometer has. A very simple process in my opinion.
Thanks Ian. I don’t think I have used the word ‘accurate’. Then there is the issue of precision, that is not the same.
While the platinum resistance probes may very precisely measure temperatures, in fact more so than a mercury thermometer, they are likely to record hotter for the same weather. This is because the probes are indeed more sensitive to fluctuations in air temperatures.
As a consequence, and to avoid discontinuities in the historical record, that is to make probes consistent with mercury thermometers, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) recommend numerical averaging. In the US the averaging is over 5 minutes, in the UK over 1 minute.
Rather than numerically average the BoM take instantaneous spot readings, justifying this on the basis their probes are custom-designed to have a longer time constant than your off-the-shelf variety.
David Houghton says
I am not cognisant of the workings of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal but it seems odd in the extreme that a scheduled public hearing gets cancelled and moved to mediation presumably without the plaintiff’s approval. Obfuscation and delay are amongst the oldest tricks in politics which is what this really boils down to.
Thank you for this campaign and your reporting.
It is clear that it takes great dedication and persistence, and I admire you greatly for your determination in this essential pursuit.
Two news items in the last hour:
From the ABC
“Researchers have uncovered an abundance of healthy, thriving coral along a heavily developed coastline — far beyond what the team expected when they first pitched the project.”
From The Daily Mail:
“Former prime minster Tony Abbott has joined a thinktank sceptical about climate change claiming he wants to ‘save the planet’ without ‘impoverishing poor people’. The ex-politician, 65, has signed up to the Board of Trustees of the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation, which has previously faced accusations of ‘leading the climate denial’ charge in the UK.”