2013 fails to beat 1932 for hottest January days in Australian history

See comment 5 for update 2 Feb.
Classic bait and switch publicity today by the BoM to cover up a monster FAIL. – Giant heatwave delivers hottest January on record – Readers must understand that after months of talking 95% about maximum DAYTIME temperatures to beat-up their heatwave propaganda, the BoM is today talking “…the average of maximum and minimum temperatures for the month was 29.7 degrees.” A very different metric to the daily max temperatures the BoM has been beating up for months – the BoM is totally opportunistic when it comes to feeding the media heatwave propaganda – shifting goalposts is easy for them.

Here is a BoM chart showing the 1932 January max anomaly record that has NOT been broken this month.

There has to be a blockbuster movie in this NSW ICAC ex Labor Govt coal licences scandal

Just saw this gem from New Zealand. – Rich-lister sues Aussie coal barons
Remember the watchable Channel TV drama series Underbelly ? You get the idea.
I also have a vision of one of those cartoon snowballs that starts rolling down the hill, gathering diameter & momentum as it progresses causing increasing damage – well this ICAC process is something like that for the Australian Labor Party. At the ICAC site look for Operation Jasper. Will add more of an intro later but this from 26 May 2012 by Kate McClymont at the Sydney Morning Herald – And on that farm he had some mates – Conveys some flavour of the early action. This site by a local group has much interesting early material going back into 2010. Just Google – ICAC Obeid – and a stack of links will be laid out for you.

Speculation that parts of New Zealand could hit 40°C in next few days

The NZ Herald quotes long time climate expert Dr Jim Salinger in their article today – Heatwave: Scientist tips a scorcher – Another bio for Dr Jim Salinger.
Further down the article NZ MetService and WeatherWatch people say that 40 degrees looks unlikely. I hope some Kiwis can send in temperatures from – “…east of the South Island and southern North Island…”. Here is a site where you can type in a NZ locality and get weather data.
Is this a case of Fairfax media believing some of the over-hyped rubbish about heatwaves in Australia and thinking that it had to be the turn of NZ sometime.

Mid-Summer – yet Antarctic aircraft crash site can not be revisited

I notice this sad story from the New Zealand Herald – Bodies of ice-crash trio will be flown to Canada – re the Canadian Twin Otter aircraft lost in the Antarctic that has been found on Mount Elizabeth with no survivors.
Early this morning there were plans to recover the bodies but within a few hours the story changes to “Body recovery delayed until October”.
We still have near five weeks of Summer left and I am puzzled that considering the wealth and resources available to three modern Western nations that these fliers can not be recovered and flown home to their people this Summer. I am puzzled that an assumption is made that next Summer season will be better. Also next October is mid Spring – a season far from predictable – only last October the Australian Antarctic supply ship the Aurora Australis was icebound until early November.
Surely with all our national wealth, power and modern technology and a century of accumulated polar experts experience a watch can be kept on weather conditions at Mount Elizabeth and a recovery tasked if a window of opportunity arises before winter sets in. I see now this Canadian article – Officials halt efforts to recover bodies of Canadians in Antarctica crash.
Looking forward to this story developing as more operational people get involved.
From my perspective I like to see officials reported as making sensible utterances. Saying that “…the aircraft appears to have been on course …” – does not cut it for me – likewise the invoking of winter weather while summer has a month to run defies logic.

Amazing error ridden graphic in The Australian – our national newspaper

I have already posted on this article – Records topple, city stumbles as gauge hits 46C – in The Australian Saturday 19 Jan 2013 – I focussed then on Sydney and the near less urban stations. However The Australian gives a clear impression in their opening text that heat records were broken across NSW on the 18th Jan 2013.
[SYDNEY’S city centre was hotter than Bourke in the northwest of the state yesterday as decades-old heat records tumbled across NSW, stung by a stubborn mass of heated air moving from the centre of the country. The city recorded its hottest day since records were kept as the temperature hit 46C.]
What deceptive nonsense – the impression created by the words “…decades-old heat records tumbled across NSW…”, is that 18 Jan 2013 was also a record hot day at country centres. This is not borne out by the facts.
Lets us take this graphic from The Australian 18 Jan 2013. I have left the copy on the left untouched and on the right have added in black under “18 Jan corr” the correct maximum for the 18th Jan 2013. Then in red I have added the max on 11 Jan 1939 if available – stations below Ivanhoe were discussed in my previous article.

Starting with Bourke which was hotter on the 12 & 13th Jan (48.3 & 48) – obviously no record there on the 18th – and 11 Jan 1939 was 117F or 47.2 – it was 48.3 on 10 Jan 1939.
Griffith was hotter on the 5th & 6th Jan (44.7 & 44.3) obviously no record there on the 18th – and 11 Jan 1939 was 116F or 46.6.
Wagga Wagga was 44.1 on the 18th Jan but felt 117F or 47.2 on 11 Jan 1939.
Ivanhoe recorded 44.9 on the 18th but had hotter days on 5th, 6th & 7th Jan (46.7, 46.4, 45.3) obviously no record there on the 18th – and 11 Jan 1939 was 120F or 48.9.
How does The Australian come to publish the clanger errors for 18 Jan 2013 ? Knowing that January 1939 was hot in Sydney – why not do the stand-out obvious thing and run some checks on NSW sites for Jan 1939 ?
Note to see the full article through The Australian paywall – search the exact headline in Google.

BoM quotes Leonora temperature record at a junkyard – JunkScience indeed – anything to beat up heat

Lets be real – after two cool summers – summer 2010-11 and summer 2011-12 – you can not blame the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for hyperventilating about the heatwaves sweeping Australia this summer. They have published SPECIAL CLIMATE STATEMENT 43 – INTERIM Extreme January heat update 14 January, 2013. If you go to Table 1 on page 4 – part screen shot below.

You see that on the 9th 12046 Leonora (at the Post Office) hit 49°C an all-time daily max record – the ONLY record-breaking site in Australia on the 9th. Now there is another nearby station 12241 Leonora Aero and in the screenshot below you can see the daily readings for the two sites.

How interesting that the Post Office warmed from 8th to 9th but the Airport cooled slightly. Digging deeper into the station details – click on the icon map of Australia in top right here – then scroll down and take the link – A basic site summary is available in a pdf document. Readings this pdf of Basic Climatological Station Metadata we find a series of sketch maps of the instruments surroundings starting in 1998. The latest map is on page 4 and we find that between 2003 and 2008 a junkyard has developed in close proximity to the instruments.

Note that the 1.6m & 1.8m solid fences have also increasingly boxed in the instruments. All part of micro-site effects contributing to creeping urbanization. All contrary to the international standards for weather instrument exposures. But no barrier to the BoM claiming another record.

Record hot day in Sydney 18 Jan 2013 pretty much confined to urban heat island

The Sydney all time hot day record of 45.8 tops the 45.3 on 14 Jan 1939 but is in the centre of our largest urban heat island, so the number has to be seen in that perspective. We are fortunate to have a map of NSW from the Sydney Morning Herald preserved online with max temperatures recorded as at 11 Jan 1939.

A check on how widespread were all-time high temperatures around the Sydney region on the 18 Jan 2013 finds little support for the 18 Jan 2013 being a regional non-urban all-time record hot day. This Table summarises the regional comparisons. Comments follow the Table in the same order.

Sydney Airport was open from 1929 but daily data is only digitised from April 1939.
Richmond RAAF data – no record there – the all-time hot day is 47.8 on 14 Jan 1939 – max on the 18th was 46.4, a long way shy of 47.8.
Newcastle Nobbys Signal Station recorded 42 which equaled the all-time high on 23 Dec 1990. But Nobbys daily data is only available from 1957 – about 90 years of daily data is waiting in archives for this wealthy nation to enter to disk.
Jerrys Plains Post Office is an interesting case – a site little changed over a century, site open 1907-2012 yet daily data has only been digitised from 1957. But we luckily have a map from the Sydney Morning Herald for 14 Jan 1939 showing the heatwave across NSW on the 11th. This shows Jerrys Plain recorded 120°F or 48.9°C. That puts the temperatures quoted in the map on the Australian today in perspective. Nothing like the heat of Jan 1939.
The Scone Airport reading was topped earlier this months by 44.2 on 12 Jan 2013 – so obviously no all-time hot day in Scone. But we note the 11 Jan 1939 SMH map had 114F or 45.5 for Scone which would have been at Scone Philip Street 61069.
Bathurst Ag Station 63005 had a 39 yesterday but has an all-time max of 40.1 15 Feb 2004. No daily data digitised pre 1966.
Picton on the 1939 SMH map recorded 116F – 46.6 and the closest I can find to Picton today is Camden which hit 46.4 on Friday 18 Jan. So so hint of all-time hottest day there.
Cowra on the 1939 SMH map recorded 114F – 45.5, likely at the Cowra Post Office 63021. Cowra Airport on Friday recorded 44.8 but pre 1957 data is not digitised. But no hint of all-time hottest day there.
Canberra on the 1939 SMH map recorded 109F – 42.8, now the Airport 70014 did not commence readings until March 1939 so we do not know for sure where the 109F was measured. In Jan 1939 weather records were kept at Duntroon 70103, Canberra Forest 70015, Canberra Solar Observatory 70100 and Acton 70099. I would guess Acton is the source of the 109F on the SMH map. Canberra Airport on Friday recorded 42 but there was a 42.2 on 1 Feb 1968 so no hint of all-time hottest day in the National Capital.
The SMH map shows Jervis Bay near Nowra was not notably hot on 11 Jan 1939 and I can not locate pre 1955 data to check against the 45.4 on last Friday.
Bega has no pre 1965 daily data available so the 44.6 on last Friday is hard to assess.
Moruya was entered on the SMH map at 111F – 43.9 no doubt from the long term station Moruya Heads Pilot Station which only has dailies entered from 1957. On Friday last Moruya recorded 43.8, so once again the all-time hottest day record still stands.
Summing up it looks obvious that claims of Sydneys hottest day ever on 18 Jan 2013 are not supported by surrounding regional stations. Everything the Australian BoM promotes in our main stream media needs examining with a fine-tooth comb.

Radar shows Glenmaggie fire started YESTERDAY 17th near midday – what firefighting was done on the 17th ?

This morning the news is all abuzz with the bushfire threat to townships just SE of Glenmaggie in Gippsland, Victoria.

Cowwarr, Dawson, Glenmaggie, Heyfield, Seaton, Toongabbie all have warnings issued. Weather radar shows the fire ignited west of Mount Useful about 1pm yesterday 17 Jan and moved SSE steadily to where it is now breaking out of bush into inhabited areas. Use the slider to control the image – local time is in bottom left where it says “(Updated on Server)”
I would like to know what was done to fight this fire yesterday ?
And where are multi-engined fixed wing air tankers when you need one ? Answer – sitting idle in the USA.
Just another shambles.

A Warming Australia: Fact or Fiction?

Contributed by William Kininmonth
The media has recently been reporting apparently unprecedented heat in Central Australia in the context of human-caused climate change. But is the current heat wave, with extended periods of days above 40°C at Alice Springs really unprecedented? To answer this question it is necessary to examine the data.
There are two sites at Alice Springs for which readily accessible temperature data are available. The first is the Alice Springs Post Office commencing in 1878 and ceasing in 1953; the other is the Alice Springs airport commencing in 1941 and currently the official observing site for Alice Springs. The sites are about 10 km apart; the difference in January monthly mean maximum temperatures between the sites during the period of common observations (1943-53) was 0.2°C with the airport being the warmer of the two.

For the airport site the January monthly mean maximum temperature for all years of record (1942-2012) is 36.2°C. The monthly mean January maximum temperature for all years (1879-1953) at the Post Office is 0.3°C cooler at 35.9°C. The impression is that, when combined, we have a relatively homogeneous maximum temperature record for Alice Springs that spans 134 years.

The airport site is the basis for conclusions being drawn that warming has occurred during the second half of the 20th century. The 95th percentile for the monthly mean maximum temperature data is 39.0°C; five years exceeded this value making the hottest Januarys 1994, 1999, 2004, 2006 and 2008, all in recent decades. The warmest year (2006 with a monthly mean of 40.0°C) started with 12 consecutive days above 40°C and with a subsequent 4 days above 40°C. To date, 2013 is up with these previously hot months having experienced the first 14 days with temperatures reaching 40°C or above. On these data alone one might conclude central Australia has been getting hotter.

The Post Office data, however, show a quite different picture. The 95th percentile value is 39.3°C, or 0.3°C warmer than for the airport. The hottest years from the Post Office record were 1879, 1881, 1887 and 1881, all in the late 19th century. The hottest year in the Post Office record was 1887 and had 11 days above 40°C, a brief respite then another 10 days above 40°C. Taken in isolation the Post Office record would suggest a very warm late 19th century with a cooling trend since.

When we plot the monthly mean data for both sites an extended pattern of cooling followed by warming emerges. Temperatures are now only recovering to the values of the late 19th century.

It is unfortunate that the Australian government has not considered it sufficiently important to digitise and make publicly accessible all of the meteorological records from earlier years. The Bureau of Meteorology website has a range of important statistics about changing climate but most are generated from data subsequent to 1910 and based on a digitised selection of those recorded. As a consequence, statements based on the post-1910 data that suggest an ongoing warming trend are incomplete and likely misleading.

There is fragmentary accessible data (such as the above for Alice Springs) and much anecdotal evidence to suggest that during the late 19th century over central Australia, western New South Wales and South West Queensland the temperatures were as warm as or warmer than for recent decades. Without ready access to the existing earlier meteorological data a faulty picture of a warming Australian climate is portrayed in official statements. However, based on the Alice Springs data, a coming period of cooling cannot be discounted.