All time record cold January morning in Canberra

That is since 1940 – Canberra Airport data started in 1939 – I can not find daily data from the Canberra city area before that – can anybody help ?
Note that this media item “Cold snap sets new record low temperatures”
skilfully does not specify it is an “all time” record for Canberra – readers have to draw that conclusion – and it is not mentioned that the urban heat island has been increasing for decades.
In the case of Goulburn – recording has changed to the Airport – I can not find any old daily data at this BoM site. There is monthly data for Goulburn going back to 1860 but presumably the daily data has not been entered to disk – not that the public are allowed to see anyway.

9 thoughts on “All time record cold January morning in Canberra”

  1. New record low January temperature for Castlemaine?

    Talking of cold mornings I noticed on the WIN TV news of 12 January that they gave the Castlemaine minimum temperature for that day as 0 C. When I first checked the BOM web site this morning it confirmed Castlemaine had recorded a minimum temperature of -0.1 C, which would have been a new record low for January. But on looking a little later I noticed that the -0.1 C reading had disappeared from the web site. The official data for 12 January, here, now shows a maximum temperature but does not show a minimum temperature reading. Maybe there was some problem with the instrument, perhaps a recalibration?

    Temperature for Castlemaine is measured at the Castlemaine Prison (station 088110) which is sited at Loddon Prison here.

    The station apparently is on or near the oval shaped grassed area inside the prison perimeter. According to BOM Climate Data Sites Castlemaine Prison commenced in 1966, according to the department of Justice construction of Loddon Prison began in February 1988 and it became operational in 1990. To my knowledge prior to that the site was just open bushland.

    According to the BOM site monthly climate statistics (all years of record) for Castlemaine Prison the lowest January temperature recorded is 0.8 C on 10 January 1993. The lowest temperature on record -6.3 C was recorded on 21 July 1982, six years before the prison was constructed? Where temperature readings were made between 1966 and 1988 I’m not sure, but if it was at the Castlemaine Post Office, that site is almost 3 km away, approximately 45 M lower in altitude, and in the centre of Castlemaine. It is a large masonry building with paved surroundings, here.

    The location given by the BOM website, Climate Statistics for Castlemaine Post Office, Latitude: 37.10 °S Longitude: 144.20 °E is wrong. That location is on the southern outskirts of Campbells Creek.

    So was it a record low or not? The two closest Weather Underground stations to Castlemaine – Campbells Creek indicated a minimum of 4.1 C, while the Newstead (which seems to record lower minimums than Campbells Creek) recorded 2.5 C but has an early morning gap of almost 3 hours in the data. At our location between the two, there were no signs of early morning frost.

  2. Gidday Bob,
    You raise several fascinating issues – and I do not have all the answers now but the early morning reading of -0.1 on the 12th did register at the Australian Weather News web site – a useful source at times. Click on the map for district 88 and up comes Castlemaine Prison 88110. That gives a January “norm” for the minimum of 12.9 – which indicates the morning of the 12th was 13 degrees below normal or average.
    I note that the BoM page for Castlemaine has changed even from what you posted – the reading of 3 deg on the 11th has now gone too. Worth asking the BoM about that.
    Making the BoM temperature anomaly maps for the 12th. – we see the deepest cold minimum anomaly near the ACT OK – but the map indicates Castlemaine was only about – you can choose a state – and to see localities click on “Gif” to the right of Print Archive. See that Castlemaine would be in the dark green -4 to -6 degrees of anomaly zone. Vastly different to a 13 degree anomaly which would need the royal blue colour.
    Possibly the -0.1 was an instrument aberration – maybe the 3 deg on the 11th was wrong too – let me know if you get any reply from the BoM.

  3. Around 2003 I was searching BOM for temperatures in Tewantin Queensland, having recently moved there. To my surprise the BOM data showed temperatures in the pre WW2 era having lows of -10C to -14C in some years. Other data was clearly in error as well.
    I emailed BOM and received a reply thanking me for pointing out the obvious errors but saying it could be some time until they were corrected as they were very busy.
    Today of course the public can’t get any historic records even though in the case of Tewantin they go back to 1895.

  4. I drove around the block (so to speak) this morning and was very surprised to see 2 small trees and a bush on the other side of the road, showing leaves changing colour. Right where cold air could spill downhill from hill behind.

    Here in the Adelaide hills we’ve had early morning temperatures in single figures for most of a week, but this was unexpected.

  5. Hi Warwick
    According to advice from the BOM the problem that caused the incorrect minimum temperature readings for Castlemaine between 11 and 15 January (all entries now deleted from the daily data) is most likely the result of observer error. Apparently some skill is required in the procedure for taking certain readings on the old technology mercury thermometers.

    It will be interesting to see if there is any attempt made to reconstruct the missing readings.

  6. That is interesting Bob – thank you; I wonder if the BoM are as diligent checking out high readings ?

  7. As Mark Hendrickx has pointed out, the 29.8 F was on grass. That appears to be for January 31st 1933.

    Daily maximum and minimum temperatures were reported in the Canberra Times every day. A bit tedious to get them all but they are there.

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