Some early contact with bias and mythology in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology BoM near two decades ago

I first got to know the BoM in 1991 when GW was in its infancy and was surprised at the extent to which PC myths coloured peoples thinking.

I noted very early on that many long term small town sites were as warm in the 1880’s as they were in the 1980’s and when I asked about this – BoM sages wisely told me, “Ah yes, that is due to the introduction of the Stevenson screen thermometer enclosure into Australia in 1907 when the BoM was formed.” It was explained that older more primitive exposures could cause the higher readings. Nobody espoused an alternative view, it was group-think.

Ferreting in their very good library I came across proceedings from a number of Intercolonial Conferences from the 19C which referred to the Stevenson screen. I wrote up a draft paper trying to put the references into perspective and circulated it around including the BoM. A response came back from the BoM pointing out the multiple errors of my ways and I gave up any idea of publishing a paper. The story continues a few years later and I explain how I came to publish my paper as a Comment in The International Journal of Climatology in 1995, the 4 pages are scanned.

Some helpful soul in the BoM gave me a copy of the Jones et al 1986 Southern Hemisphere documentation paper; Jones PD , Raper SCB, Cherry BSG, Goodess CM, Wigley TML, (1986c) TR027 A Grid Point Surface Air Temperature Data Set for the Southern Hemisphere. Office of Energy Research , Carbon Dioxide Research Division, US Department of Energy. Under Contract No. DE-ACO2-79EV10098 referred to here.

The pattern of bias I detected in TR027 started me on the road to perdition which I am still travelling. That lead to my review of the Australian component of the Jones et al 1986 data, scroll down above page to.
[2] Tasman Institute 1991 review of the Australian component of temperature records used in the 1986 Jones et al Southern Hemisphere paper.

Recently I have found some of my original Word docs still readable on old HDD’s and one day will prep these for the www.

Scrolling down about 30% on the above page, you can read about a 1990 BoM study which defined, albeit in a simple way, urban warming at most of Australian capital cities.

The 1990 BoM draft Paper, M.J. Coughlan, R. Tapp and W.R. Kininmonth; 1990, “Trends in Australian Temperature Records” by three senior BoM staff, defined urban heat island (UHI) magnitudes by various comparisons between central city sites in all the Australian state capitals and their respective airports, more than one satellite site in the case of the larger cities.

I suggest you download the zip file of scanned pages of this paper.

After easily finding solid evidence of urban warming in Australian city data the BoM failed to Comment in the relevant Journal(s) on the patently wrong Jones et al methodology. I can only conclude that the BoM noted the irritable tone of the Jones and Wigley reply to Fred Wood’s 1988 critique of the Jones et al 1986 papers, read it all on my page.

Note the discussion re San Juan Puerto Rico in point 5 of my Table, two peer reviewed papers help highlight Jones error and I note, 785260 184 660 3 SAN JUAN INTL A PUERTO RICO, still stands in the CRUT3 station list.

The actual station data used is still top secret.

The BoM decided discretion was the better part of valour and decided not to discuss Australian urban warming with Dr Jones through a Journal. Not a battle they wanted to win anyway, no brownie points taking on Jones et al, better to hide, it might all go away.

It is ironic that in 2008 Chinese climate scientists have dragged Dr P D Jones to an acceptance that urban warming affects the Chinese component of his CRUTem3 global land data.

This Jones et al 2008 paper invalidates the entire CRUTem3 global data, it also puts a torpedo into the Jones et al 1990 Letter to Nature, a crucial IPCC defence still against claims that urban warming still affects IPCC GW trends. BoM staffers developed the Eastern Australian trend used in the 1990 Letter to Nature, much promoted by the BoM in the 1990’s. I had told them it was badly UHI affected and I circulated a little paper, titled I think, “Heat Islands in SE Australian Country Towns”. This was slammed by the BoM reviewers, as they slammed my critique of the Jones Australian component(added Apr 4: to be fair the BoM did agree Jones et al used too many cities and that rural data was under-represented), as they slammed my Stevenson screen draft paper.

The Chinese climate scientists have also torpedoed the Chinese component of the 1990 Letter to Nature, which does no good at all to the Eastern Australian trend quoted as being Rural.

I put actual numbers to their Eastern Australian bias in the paper “Eastern Australia temperature variations 1930-1992″. One of the few attempts to generate a near truly rural trend and way below the IPCC trend for the region.

Thats enough for now, I will try and answer questions where people are genuine, and will try to set down more material later, this sets some foundation to the early development of BoM bias.

NASA struggling to play catchup with stunning facts of a very quiet sun, which is of course bad news for the IPCC

NASA’s has a small article on March 22 200 [thanks to Bob Foster for the heads-up]

DEEP SOLAR MINIMUM: Where have all the sunspots gone? As of yesterday, March 21st, the sun has been blank on 85% of the days of 2009. If this rate of spotlessness continues through the end of the year, 2009 will match 1913 as the blankest year of the past century. A flurry of new-cycle sunspots in Oct. 2008 prompted some observers to declare that solar minimum was ending, but since then the calm has returned. We are still in the pits of a deep solar minimum.

Also, Spotless Sun: Blankest Year of the Space Age 09.30.2008

Solar Cycle Prediction By Dr David Hathaway (Updated 2009/03/04) Still talks about the minimum being in August 2008 ?? Although the text file seems to indicate November 2008.

Well informed statistical view of Timo Niroma

Dr Janssens solar expert from Belgium

My solar pages, first comment on divergent predictions for cycle 23/24 was December 2006

Examining in closer detail Jones et al 2008 eastern China land/SST grid box where they conclude urban warming at ~0.1 degrees per decade

Remember from the previous post, that Jones et al 2008 in their section 3.3. Comparisons with SST Data, say.
“As it is difficult to develop a network of specifically rural sites in China, we now compare the CHINA-LI and CRUTEM3v series with one based on HadSST2 [Rayner et al., 2006] for the region (20–45 deg N by 110–125 deg E) to the east of China.”
A quick look at the map in an article below, will show you where this grid area fits in east China.

Their results are given in Jones et al 2008 Table 5 which shows temperature trends in their land based CHINA-LI and CRUTEM3v series compared with sea surface trends of HadSST2. Table 5 quotes comparisons over 3 periods, 1951-2004, 1954-1983 and 1981-2004.
The two longest periods measured in their Table 5 do show the land warming more than the sea, at 0.11/decade 1951-2004 and 0.13/decade 1954-1983. These results back their urban warming conclusion. Only the shortest period they checked, 1981-2004 shows a contrary result.

Jones et al quote the HadSST2 sea surface temperature data but there are at least two other global SST datasets worth comparing to attempt to get a fuller picture. We also compare with the Reynolds V2 and HadISST1 SST data, all downloaded from the KNMI Climate Explorer website. Now Reynolds data is only available from Nov 1981, 1982 on a full year basis so I do two comparisons to get as close as I can to the Jones et al 1981-2004 period.

My results on KNMI data are as follows, all numbers are temperature trends per decade
Trend per decade CRUT3=0.49, HadSST=0.53, Reynolds=0.42, HadISST1=0.42
So differencing CRUT3 and Reynolds & HadISST1 over this 23 year period indicates urban warming of circa 0.07 degree per decade.

Trend per decade CRUT3=0.45, HadSST=0.40, Reynolds=0.29, HadISST1=0.32
So differencing CRUT3 with Reynolds & HadISST1 over this 27 year period indicates urban warming of circa 0.16 degree per decade (Reynolds) and 0.13 degree per decade (HadISST1).
To conclude, these extra SST comparisons strengthen the Jones et al 2008 finding of urban warming over China.

History made as Jones et al 2008 paper admits huge urban warming in IPCC flagship CRUT3 gridded data over China

So sceptics have been correct for decades.

Yes you have to pinch yourself, the old canard so long clung to by the IPCC, that the urban influence in large area gridded data is “an order of magnitude less than the warming seen on a century timescale” is now severely compromised.

The IPCC drew that conclusion from the Jones et al 1990 Letter to Nature which examined temperature data from regions in Eastern Australia, Western USSR and Eastern China, to conclude that “In none of the three regions studied is there any indication of significant urban influence..” That has led to the IPCC claim that for decades, urban warming is less than 0.05 per century.

Now Jones et al 2008 are saying in their Abstract, “Urban-related warming over China is shown to be about 0.1 degree per decade, hey that equates to a degree per century. Huge.

Chinese climate scientists tactfully tell the IPCC that surface air temperature (SAT) trends over north China include a large component of urban warming

Ren et al 2008 measure urban warming in a north China grid box 33 to 43 degrees North and 108 to 120 degrees East by comparing temperature trends in groups of stations of different population size for the period 1961-2000. For a concise summary of the Ren et al 2008 paper, Urbanization Effects on Observed Surface Air Temperature Trends in North China
Ren et al 2008 grid cell north China
Their results are summarised in their Table 3 copied here and they conclude from this, assuming no urban warming in their Rural series which warms at 0.18 degrees per decade that urban warming in their various station groups is as shown in their Table 4 below.
Ren et al Tables 3 and 4
In view of the importance of IPCC global warming underpinning carbon reduction policies being considered by many nations, it seemed vital to compare the Ren et al trends against those for the Hadley Centre CRUT3 land only data which has provided the mainstay for IPCC warming claims over nearly 20 years. Ren et al did not compare their trends with any global gridded datsets.

Taking the Hadley Centre CRUT3 data for Ren et al’s north China grid box from the KNMI Climate Explorer website we find a warming trend of 0.31 degrees per decade over the 40 years 1961 to 2000. When compared to the Ren et al numbers in Table 3 we can see this warming trend is near the top of the range and indeed indicates urban warming of 0.13 per decade or equivalent to a rate of 1.3 degrees per century.
So, more evidence that IPCC data contains serious UHI contamination.

Quickly comparing the Hadley Centre CRUT3 land only data 1979-2008 for the north China grid box with the NASA MSU LT data from University of Alabama at Huntsville, all data downloaded from the KNMI Climate Explorer.
We find that CRUT3 warms at 0.57 degrees per decade, while the lower troposphere warms at 0.27, suggesting urban warming of 0.3 per decade. This comparison indicates that urban warming in north China has increased after 2000.

Ren, G., Zhou, Y., Chu, Z., Zhou, J., Zhang, A., Guo, J. and Liu, X. 2008. Urbanization effects on observed surface air temperature trends in north China. Journal of Climate 21: 1333-1348.

Huge Urban Heat Island UHI contamination in Hadley Centre-Jones-IPCC CRUT3 land temperature data over Eastern China

Now that the NASA-UAH satellite temperature data extends over a clear 30 years 1979-2008, this is a timely opportunity to check again the old IPCC canard that the various global temperature datasets are in agreement. In this case I compare the Hadley Centre CRUT3 land only data 1979-2008 with the NASA MSU LT data from University of Alabama at Huntsville, all data downloaded from the KNMI Climate Explorer.
East China grid box
For this grid-box over Eastern China 110 to 120 degrees East and 20 to 40 degrees North, satellites show the lower troposphere warms at 0.20 degrees per decade while the Hadley Centre land data warms at 0.46 degrees per decade. This suggests that there is 0.26 degrees per decade of urban warming in the Hadley Centre-IPCC data. A rate equivalent to 2.6 degrees per century.
This is twenty years after the UHI contamination in these Jones et al datasets was brought to the authors attention by Dr Fred Wood.

South East Australian heatwave in January 2009 is not detectable in “global warming” data

Increasingly, we are hearing in the media that the January-February south east Australian heatwave and disastrous bushfires in Victoria that have killed over 200 people are the result of climate change or global warming.

This map shows the 10 degree grid cell that the temperature data graphs below is collected from.

SE Australia grid cells

Here is what the local region component of global temperature data speaks to us about January 2009 vs long term trends for South East Australia. These graphics of monthly temperature anomalies from land stations demonstrate that FROM 1880 THERE IS NO WARMING IN SOUTH EAST AUSTRALIA. February data is not yet in but can be added later.

The first graphic is from the UK Met Office – Hadley Centre, their latest CRUTEM3 global land data which has evolved from the datsets of P.D. Jones et al of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of Norwich. These data show a very slight and statistically insignificant warming of 0.03 degrees from 1880 to Jan 2009.

Note the pre 1880 data is riddled with gaps.

CRUTEM3 trend 1880-2009 SE Australia

The second graphic is generated by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) lead by the well known greenhouse warming proponent, Dr. James Hansen.

GISS monthly anomalies shows that SE Australia between 140-150E and 30-40S has a miniscule cooling trend over the 1549 months from Jan 1880 to Jan 2009 which would not be statistically significant from zero.

GISS temperature trend SE Australia 1880-2009

Both sets of data are made available through the The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute who have a web site KNMI Climate Explorer, where it is possible to download a huge range of global climate data.

First let us be clear that “global warming” is measured by monthly mean temperature anomalies, so if a signature can not be seen in that context, then the case for a link between heatwaves – bushfires – global warming, is just arm-waving speculation.

Mean temperature = the average of night and day.

Blaming the 2009 Victorian bushfires on climate change or global warming is likely to become one of those “self evident truths” that our Governments and green media love so much.

It is interesting to remember what the “official” data show and that is that although there have been periods of both warming and cooling over south east Australia for 129 years, these cancel out and there is no overall trend.

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