Remember the post two years ago by JoNova – Extreme heat in 1896: Panic stricken people fled the outback on special trains as hundreds die.
Since then of course the BoM has shouted to the rooftops that January 2013 was the “hottest evah”.
This issue has been given some impetus after the speech in parliament by the MP for the Federal seat of Dawson, Mr George Christensen. In his speech – which you can see on YouTube – Mr Christensen made the point that the 1896 heatwave was hotter than anything we have known in recent years.
I thought I would start by posting a series of BoM maximum temperature anomaly maps of 14 Australian hot Januaries from 1932 up to recent years. All maps made at this BoM site which will not go any earlier than 1911. I am working on a map for January 1896 –
“The Conversation” has this recent blog article – FactCheck: was the 1896 heatwave wiped from the record? – which is critical of the speech in parliament by Commonwealth MP for the Federal seat of Dawson, Mr George Christensen. In his speech – which you can see on YouTube – Mr Christensen made the point that the 1896 heatwave was hotter than anything we have known in recent years.
In The Conversation blog under the section headed “Hot history?” the authors mention the long running experiment at Adelaide started by Charles Todd in 1887 where he compared temperatures in a Stevenson screen with an older style Glaisher stand – an experiment which ran on for 61 years to 1947. The blog says – The results of this 61-year experiment show that summer daytime temperatures measured using the Glaisher Stand are, on average, 1C warmer than in the Stevenson Screen. The blog goes on to say – “And this was at a well-maintained station…”. I will show at a later blog post that this 1°C figure is likely to be exaggerated.
The Conversation blog fails to mention that the BoM has a peer reviewed paper which published the results of this experiment.
The 1996 BoM peer reviewed paper – Nicholls, N., R. Tapp, K. Burrows, and D. Richards. Historical thermometer exposures in Australia. Int. J. Climatology, 16, 705-710. – can be downloaded here.
The blog omits a critical quote from page 709 of the 1996 paper which says – “Over the year, the mean temperatures were about 0.2°C warmer in the Glaisher stand, relative to the Stevenson screen.” So in terms of correcting annual mean time series – we need only subtract 0.2°C from questionable pre 1910 readings – I say let the BoM do that.
But let us return to the claim about Adelaide on The Conversation blog – “And this was at a well-maintained station…”.
Following the 1996 BoM paper above – I obtained data from the 1887-1947 Adelaide experiment and published a reply in the International Journal of Climatology detailing my analysis of the 61 years of monthly data.
1997 Hughes, W.S. Comment on, “Historical Thermometer Exposures in Australia.” by N. Nichols et al. International Journal of Climatology, Vol. 17, pp. 197-199. – downloadable here – I produced charts of the seasonal differences – Glaisher minus Stevenson for both maximum and minimum – and it is plain that the 61 years of data is riddled with inhomogeneities producing a dogs breakfast of poorly understood jumps, steps and trends in the differences. This shows that the experiment was far from “well maintained”. Unpublished reports by Swinburne researchers show that records of the 61 year experiment were not well kept.
As reader Ian George has pointed out the BoM in their monthly report for New South Wales say – New South Wales in October 2014: Warmest October on record
Following Ian’s lead I have averaged all the District mean monthly max’s and added them to this map of BoM rain districts – I have shaded orange districts that topped a 4 degree anomaly.
This next map shows the NSW maximum anomaly for October.
As Ian says there are serious differences between the maps – for example – here are many places within the RED +4 degree anomaly contour which did not register a 4 degree anomaly for October according to the district stations listed by the BoM.
Wanaaring, Bourke, Nyngan, Moree, Walgett, Lightning Ridge, Collarenebri, Narrabri, Gunnedah Resource Centre was 4.1 but Gunnedah Airport only 2.3 (UHI in Gunnedah??), Coonabarabran, Inverell, Forbes, Parkes, Deniliquin, Corowa, Tocumwal, Griffith, Lake Cargelligo,
On the other hand I noticed Katoomba had a 4 degree anomaly but is way outside the RED contour.
On balance it looks like Ian is realistic to wonder – “One wonders if the BoM has a flawed shading formula which does not really reflect the actual temperatures.”
This could be a work in progress.
Good to see this new paper – A Reanalysis of Long-Term Surface Air Temperature Trends in New Zealand – by C. R. de Freitas & M. O. Dedekind & B. E. Brill.
Also great to see them use the Fig 3 twin diagram ex NASA GISS – that I have been drawing attention to for years as absolutely vital.
Climate Conversation Group has a blog yesterday – Paper adds interesting perspective on NZ temperature trend
The latest article by Ken Stewart – Rutherglen: Spot the Outlier – builds on the momentum started by Dr Jennifer Marohasy who was a key to articles in The Australian on 23-24 August which questioned the BoM ACORN SAT high warming adjusted temperature series. And of course Jo Nova has been active on this issue for a long time.
Top BoM people need to be questioned about ACORN SAT under conditions where there is no escape – then truth might emerge into the light.
The best reference I know to BoM station diaries is the 45 page summary by Simon Torok for his 1996 PhD thesis – “The development of a high quality historical temperature data base for Australia”
This can be downloaded in full in several parts at –
However the Appendix A1 containing the 45 page summary of all station diaries he accessed can be downloaded as an 8MB pdf at – p38/46 Rutherglen station histories – I note their is no entry for Amberley and the entry for Rutherglen is brief.
You get the picture. Western world economic future is being influenced by this stuff.
I saw these diaries in the BoM library at Lonsdale Street, Melbourne in the early 1990’s – a series of maybe foolscap ledgers. I assumed they were put into Commonwealth archives – National Archives of Australia.
If anybody can locate them – please let me know.
Checking Renmark Aero minimums for 7 days 2 August to 8 August 2014 and they average -3.97°C.
Renmark has two stations with daily max & min T available – 24016 Renmark with data from 1957 to 2001 which had no seven day spell in August even breaking zero. Then Renmark Aero 24048 with data from 1995.
The previous coldest 7 day spell I found was -2.2°C in Renmark Aero from 1st to 7th August 1999.
So this August smashed the record somewhat. There must be many more cold minimum records around SE Australia to be hunted out this month.
Checking Canberra Airport minimums for 14 days 2 August to 15 August 2014 and they average -4.55°C.
I think this is a record cold run of 14 cold minimums in August – since 1939 that is. The next coldest 14 day spell I found was -4.25°C from 4th to 17th August 1994.
Has anybody noticed this months cold reported? There must be other minimum records from this month.
While roughing it in a motel in the wilds of central NSW I heard the ABC weather lady say that Adelaide was enjoying a record cold August morning – a record since 1888 I think.
Yesterday was a pretty hard frost here so I have quickly checked a few records and it looks to me as though Hay, Hillston and Lake Victoria have had record cold mornings. Can anybody add to this list ? Or have additional info re Adelaide – South Australian cold.
It will be easier to check when the Sunday contoured map of minimum anomalies comes available.
Hay – yesterday -3.8 prev coldest -2.5 on 2 Aug 1997
Hillston yesterday -4.6 prev cold -3.3 on 7 Aug 1963
Lake Victoria yesterday -2.5 prev cold -1.4 on 16 Aug 1967
I just checked Google which finds no news on this – what would we hear if it was a record hot day?