Australian Bureau of Meteorology replaces the century old Melbourne Regional Office weather observation site in the Melbourne CBD

They are launching a new Melbourne weather observation site at Olympic Park – surrounded on two sides by tarmac car parks. And of course a freeway just out of view behind the photographer.

I enjoyed how the BoM manages to write 309 words on the subject yets avoids the term “urban heat island”. IMHO it is quite possible that the new site could warm due to increasing urban effects at a faster rate than the old.

13 thoughts on “Australian Bureau of Meteorology replaces the century old Melbourne Regional Office weather observation site in the Melbourne CBD”

  1. And adjacent to a large area of irrigated grass. Irrigation would normally reduce temperatures, due to the greater thermal capacity of humid air, but water vapor also causes some localized GHG warming. To my knowledge no one has ever done a study to quantify the size of the effect. But it looks to be >1C in many cases.

  2. That’s just as bad as next to a runway, the carpark on the other side makes this a mini climate system of its own. Then the sprinklers come on … In all sorts of ways, UHI is all over the place, all the time. In Broome, 4 huge helicopter hangers have been built across the street at the Broome Airport housing a large helicopter pad and fleet of at least 9 large ocean going 18 seaters, just metres from the BoM offices and instruments. I wonder what they adjust now.

  3. University of Melbourne UHI research done a few years back, here, (the original paper has been “disappeared”) confirms that Melbourne has a substantial UHI footprint. Melbourne’s highest summer temperatures usually occur on days of hot north or north westerly wind, these winds presumably push/elongate the UHI hot spot toward the south east – precisely where the new Olympic Park station is located. The new Melbourne weather station, Melbourne (Olympic Park), site 086338 is located approximately 2.28 km SSE of the present site, adjacent to a sports ground close to the Yarra River. It is 2 km from the city centre, while the existing Regional Office station site is only 1.17 km from the city centre.

  4. I remember doing athletics at Olympic Park – it was 108F in the shade in Melbourne and probably 130F out on the track. After every event or every twenty minutes athletes would rush under the stands in the dressing rooms to stand under the cold shower (20 shower heads in a row). As Bob above says hot northerly winds trapped by concrete stands. In winter the opposite cold antarctic winds. I played rugby there with three inches of hail on the ground and a howling wind- maybe 15F a wind factor giving lower discomfort (not as cold as in Bathurst Canada where I was (10 years ago) in a blizzard with temperature of -35F and an additional wind factor of -35F)
    No place to have a weather station. There must be better places – Botanic Gardens, Royal Park, Fitzroy gardens?

  5. “I enjoyed how the BoM manages to write 309 words on the subject yet avoids the term ‘urban heat island’”.
    True, the BoM points instead to dodgy wind readings at the old site as a reason for abandoning it.
    The BoM also says the new site will be more representative of the Melbourne metropolitan area than the old one. That’s true in the sense that the Melbourne metropolitan area has lots of cars, tarmac etc. It’s also true that on a sunny day air temperature rises as the breeze crosses such features. So the new station will be particularly representative of “your Melbourne weather” if you happen to be standing facing north at the southern end of a sportsfield with a car park over both your shoulders.
    OK, we know they can’t have weather stations everywhere and that readings and forecasts for point X1 will only approximate those at point X2. The problem is that they are also using urban readings, all over the country, for “climate-change” purposes, as if specific local distortions of wind, temperature etc. were due to factors operating at planetary level.
    This problem is hard to spot, because nothing the BoM says here is actually wrong. It’s their frame of reference that’s wrong. They assume great planetary changes are going on, and are rummaging for evidence in local weather records. If instead they looked at anomalous records and asked themselves what could explain them, most of the time UHI would be staring them in the face.

  6. I am sure that top of the list of criteria for the selection of a new location for the BOM equipment was access to UHI and future temperature increases in order to keep the CAGW Myth afloat. CAGW has done well on UHI over the last century as it has supplied any and all the evidence that CAGW has had for its alarmism to date. Unfortunately the last 17 years have been very slow and it is time for a Boost in Temperature and Alarm.

  7. Warwick

    Doesn’t it make sense to have observations for a city – in a city – in an environment that people actually live in? AFAIK (and I readily admit I’m in no position to know – but this link seems to demonstrate it – the capital city sites aren’t part of the Australia’s Reference Climate Station Network.

    I know that conspiracy theory ideation runs deep – but I thought it pretty obvious to most people that it doesn’t make much sense to observe and forecast for a location where people don’t live.


  8. We all know there needs to be weather obs in cities George.
    The issue is that for 25 years now the good and the great of IPCC climate science have included far too many UHI affected city weather obs in their measurement of GW.
    Melbourne Regional Office is included in the BoM shiny new ACORN SAT data.
    Recently the BoM classed Canberra Airport as a non urban site.
    As long as that sort of blinkered thinking goes on I will pick at these issues.
    Good to see you back George and all the best for 2014.

  9. UHI is but one of the factors related to weather station sites that the BOM and its overseas affiliates exploit to promote their preferred narrative. In addition to UHI we need to consider the immediate environment of the site and factors such as surface albedo, vegetation proximity and impingement of vehicle exhaust gasses and process waste heat. The old Melbourne Regional Office site scores badly in these non-UHI categories.

    The new Olympic Park site may well be better located in respect of the non-UHI issues, but to my mind there is a real possibility that it will accentuate the UHI impact, particularly on those typical hot Summer days that generations of Melbournians have endured, with their searing hot north or north westerly winds:

    As the summer advanced, the temperature became torrid, and on the morning of the 6th of February, 1851, the air which blew down from the north resembled the breath of a furnace. A fierce wind arose, gathering strength and velocity from hour to hour, until about noon it blew with the violence of a tornado.

    The Argus newspaper of the time reported the temperature on “Black Thursday” to be 117 deg F. The BOM didn’t exist then and CO2 levels were “ideal”?

    A US study by Dr. Andrew Elmore of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science found that “urban heat islands affected the growing season in areas within 20 miles of the city”.
    Here in Melbourne researchers Dr Michael Kearney, Dr David Karoly et el in 2010 found early emergence in a butterfly to be causally linked to anthropogenic warming at Laverton, 11 miles from the CBD, a site they considered to be a “high-quality site, unaffected by changes in exposure, urbanization”.

    It may be relevant to note also that the Australia’s Reference Climate Station Network link provided in an earlier comment above includes Laverton, Victoria, which is referred to collectively with the other reference sites as “in an area away from large urban centres”. Doubtless, that statement would have been true once, but that was long, long time ago.

  10. Good one Tom.
    Thought I should add to my comment above. BOM shows that the max temp at Melbourne Central Station was 42.6C on 17th Jan 1959. on 18th it was 41.8 and on 19th 42.8C. Not sure which of these three days was the Saturday when I competed against other athletes from clubs but I recall that over the whole of the three days the temperature did not drop below 100F (ie the minimum was over a century)
    The only point of a weather station at Olympic Park would be to warn athletes, footballers, tennis players etc what to expect when they compete and give a point of cancellation if the conditions are too hot, too cold or too wet.

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