NASA GISS data does not back BoM hottest decade claim

The NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) has just updated their global temperature land station data to the end of 2009 – so we can make decadal anomaly maps to check on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) claim that the decade 2000 through 2009 was the hottest ever in Australia.
Eyeballing the area of the various colour ranges should give us an idea if GISS analysis agrees with the BoM. Here are my observations – and I am happy to have readers send in their opinions.
If you Read the rest of this entry, I have the global map for 2000-2009 including the colour scale.
1990-1999 map of decadal temperature anomalies compared to 1951-1980 – the GISS default
GISS Autralian T anomalies
2000-2009 map of decadal temperature anomalies compared to 1951-1980 – the GISS default
[1] First the Brown warmest regions (1 to 2 degrees) are similar in area – I have not counted the pixels. I note that these are mainly in regions where temperature data would not be the greatest.
[2] Pale Brown areas (0.5 to 1 degrees) I think are larger in area on the 1990-1999 map.
[3] The 2000-2009 map has a much larger area which cooled (-0.2 to -0.5 degrees), the Pale Turquoise colour.
Weighing it all up, surely it is fair to say that at the very least, there is no ringing endorsement here for the BoM’s claim.
I think a fair statement would be that given the data quality in the outback – it looks unlikely the 2000-2009 decade could be warmer than 1990-1999 in a statistically significant sense.
I am asking – what is the BoM doing wasting our money making dubious lineball claims like this ?
At a time when there is so much more important real work to do.
For example better weather forecasting one to 2 months ahead.
Fixing the scandalous deterioration of the rainfall and temperature networks.

GISS is run by Dr James Hansen a noteworthy advocate for the IPCC position that AGW is a serious problem. So these maps are not from a sceptical source.
GISS T anomalies
GISS would have spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the years on its global T data – vastly more than the BoM I would guess. I just make the point that GISS has decades of experience analysing global data, so their anomaly maps of Australia are worthy to be compared alongside anything the BoM produces.
I have two previous posts on this subject, one looking at Alice Springs and one looking at Darwin.

7 thoughts on “NASA GISS data does not back BoM hottest decade claim”

  1. Warwick

    Given the recent concern voiced by the Russians about the use of their ground temperature station data
    (your blog 17/12/09) & the noted disparity between the MSU data & the ground data in large parts of the
    globe such as East China,Asia & Africa (your blog 07/01/10), it begs the question: how much credence the
    global temp anomaly should be allowed? Particularly if you make allowances for possible (likely)
    poorly adjusted UHI effect in the Western European & United States data. Further of particular interest
    just how sparsley populated the other zones of higher temp anomaly are. Gridding algorithms would be working

    As with flora, once a plant goes ferral & noxious it becomes a weed & then you need to employ agents to
    manage the problem & educate the public about the risks.
    I guess the same holds with ideas/concepts (Hockey Sticks etc.!)

  2. Warwick, I agree. The problem lies at the top of BOM. There is a political agenda. The CEO (Director)and the next layer down should all be sacked. They have clearly not being doing their duty under the Meteorological Act ie (amongst other requirements)to perform functions in the public interest and promote the use of meteorological information. The latter should include the provision of raw data and any alterations which may affect raw data so that anyone can make their own assessment. Providing false data and interpretations is a breach of the Act.

  3. Warwick, I should have added to my comment the part of the Act
    6 Functions of the Bureau
    (1) The functions of the Bureau are:
    (a) the taking and recording of meteorological observations and
    other observations required for the purposes of meteorology;
    (b) the forecasting of weather and of the state of the atmosphere;
    (c) the issue of warnings of gales, storms and other weather
    conditions likely to endanger life or property, including
    weather conditions likely to give rise to floods or bush fires;
    (d) the supply of meteorological information;
    (e) the publication of meteorological reports and bulletins;
    (f) the promotion of the use of meteorological information;
    (g) the promotion of the advancement of meteorological science,
    by means of meteorological research and investigation or
    (h) the furnishing of advice on meteorological matters; and
    (i) co-operation with the authority administering the
    meteorological service of any other country (including a
    Territory specified under subsection 4(2)) in relation to any
    of the matters specified in the preceding paragraphs of this
    (2) The Bureau shall perform its functions under this Act in the public
    interest generally and in particular:
    (a) for the purposes of the Defence Force;
    (b) for the purposes of navigation and shipping and of civil
    aviation; and
    (c) for the purpose of assisting persons and authorities engaged
    in primary production, industry, trade and commerce.

    The dropping of long term rural weather stations certainly does not assist under section 6.2 (c)nor can it help under section 6.1

  4. Warwick, no doubt you have seen this and downloaded the file. Unfortunately, it is centred mainly on US data and it appears that there is no reference to you (although I only glanced through it and may have missed bits).
    I think this will be used in the law case against the (US)EPA.
    Something similar needs to be done for Australia to get BOM back on track as indicated in the post above.
    best wishes

  5. I know the Bureau’s “high quality” data since 1910 may be suspect due to corrections and homogenisation, but it’s still worth analysing since it’s supposed to be the creme de la creme of climate data in Australia and is presumably Australia’s official data feed to GISS and other international organisations.

    Western Australia is my turf and the BoM has 26 WA locations within its “high quality” data set. The latest “high quality” data taking in all of 2009 including December can easily be churned through Excel to obtain the average min, mean and max for all location, each year and each decade since 1910. Excel or I may have slipped up somewhere but the averages for all 26 locations combined are:

    1910-1919 – 19.56018445

    1920-1929 – 19.6552

    1930-1939 – 19.8408

    1940-1949 – 19.7776

    1950-1959 – 19.85069231

    1960-1969 – 19.90246795

    1970-1979 – 20.21713846

    1980-1989 – 20.34732308

    1990-1999 – 20.54858462

    2000-2009 – 20.54797177

    I’m sure there are plenty of arguments about UHI, natural warming, homogenised data, etc, to explain the 1 degree C increase over 100 years, but my reading of the BoM data is that 2000-2009 was 0.0006 degrees C cooler than 1990-1999 across Western Australia. If 2000-2009 was the hottest decade in Australia, it wasn’t because of the 2.5 million square kilometres of Western Australia.

  6. Thanks very much for those calcs Chris – so now we add WA to Darwin and Alice – presumably there must be some strong signal somewhere east to support the BoM claim ? I will eventually do some more checking.

  7. more on GISS
    lead in paras:
    We have lately heard much of the claim that 2010 will turn out to have been “the hottest year on record”. No one has done more to promote this belief than Dr James Hansen, head of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), responsible for one of the four main official global temperature records.

    As reported by the US blogs Real Science and Watts Up With That, in a post headed “GISS temperatures out of line with the rest of the world”, the GISS record has in recent months been diverging wildly from the others. While three have shown global temperatures dropping sharply, by as much as 0.3C, the GISS figures (based, despite the link to Nasa, on surface temperatures) have shot up by 0.2C.

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