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October 30th 2014 print

George Christensen

Wanted: Straight Answers from the BoM

Ever wonder how, year after year, the Bureau of Meteorology can insist Australia is being baked by ever-rising temperatures? So does Nationals MP George Christensen, who lays out in the simplest possible terms the case for an independent and immediate investigation

eraseOn October 29, Nationals Deputy Whip George Christensen called on the Parliament to initiate an inquiry into the Bureau of Meteorology and its habit of “adjusting” temperature records, which by virtue of quite some remarkable coincidence almost always seem to record a warming trend. Jen Marohasy and Jo Nova have both written at length about the Bureau’s innovative approach to mathematics and statistical analysis, but none have put the case for an investigation so sharply and succinctly as the Member for Dawson.

Below is the text of his call to unsettle the settled science of climate catastrophism, as practised by the Bureau and its resident warmists:

“I rise to paint a picture of climate change — a picture where Camden, just to the south-west of Sydney, is sweltering in 50-degree heat. Over in the west it is 51 degrees in the shade at Geraldton. Perth is 44, Geelong is 43, Wilcannia 48, Carnarvon 49½ and Southern Cross is 50 degrees. The death rate is 12 in 100,000 from heat-associated deaths—435 dead over the summer!

This is not a Greens scare campaign but the Federation Drought, 118 years ago. It has never been as hot since.

Yet the Bureau of Meteorology claims it is getting hotter and hotter. How could it be getting hotter, and how could last year, 2013, be the hottest year on record, if it was hotter back in 1896—if it was really hotter 118 years ago? Administratively it is relatively simple: the early years are simply wiped from the official record. Sure, you can find the values I am quoting at the Bureau’s website, but they are not part of the official record, the Australian Climate Observation Reference—Surface Air Temperatures, or ACORN-SAT.

The official temperature record, the record that the Bureau uses to report on climate change issues and temperature trends, only starts in 1910 and only uses data from 112 stations.

But it does not use the same 112 stations for the entire period. Consider Wilcannia, a really hot town in New South Wales, the town that recorded 48 degrees Celsius in the shade back in January 1896. Wilcannia has a record that starts in 1879 and the standard structure for housing a thermometer, a Stevenson screen, was installed in 1908. But data from Wilcannia is only incorporated into ACORN-SAT from 1957. Obviously if you add the hottest towns into a series later, then it will appear that it is getting hotter, even if it isn’t. So, the Wilcannia values are added to ACORN-SAT only from 1957, but not the values as actually recorded at Wilcannia. For example, the maximum temperatures from 1973 are all dropped down by 0.55 degree Celsius. Obviously, if you drop down all the temperatures before 1973 then all the later temperatures will appear warmer even if they are not.

This change to all the Wilcannia maximum temperatures before 1973 is listed in this 28-page summary of ‘adjustments’ released by the Bureau following a series of article in The Australian newspaper by Graham Lloyd, drawing extensively from the work of Dr Jennifer Marohasy and Ken Stewart. The series in The Australian newspaper detailed similar corruption of the record at Rutherglen in Victoria, Amberley in Queensland, and Deniliquin in New South Wales.

The 28-page document makes for extraordinary reading. It says that maximum temperatures are dropped  by 0.56 degrees at Bridgetown before 1981; by 0.56 at Richmond, Queensland, before 1952; and by 0.53 degree at Sale before 1970. The reason given is ‘statistics’. At Cape Otway, an automated weather station is installed in 1994—consequence: a 0.5 degree Celsius drop in temperatures before 1994.

This 28-page document, titled ACORN-SAT station adjustment summary, shows that the temperature series for almost every site that makes-up the ACORN-SAT network that is used to report on official temperature change in Australia has been homogenised. In plain English, the raw data has been changed so that the past appears cooler relative to the present. The document tells us that ‘statistics’ have been used to homogenise the record for Wilcannia from 1957. But it does not tell us why the Wilcannia record does not begin in 1910. It is also unclear why ACORN-SAT only starts in 1910. The Bureau often claims that before 1910 there were no Stevenson screens, a structure now considered standard for housing thermometers, as though this is a good reason for excluding earlier records. In reality, many Stevenson screens were installed from 1889. How can the Bureau justify these actions?

Consider the accountant joke. Three applicants for an accounting job are asked the same question: ‘What is one plus one?’ The first two applicants both answer ‘Two’, but the third turns around, locks the door, pulls down the blind, then leans in and whispers, ‘What do you want it to be?’ I will be writing to the parliamentary secretary this week to request an inquiry into the conduct of the Bureau of Meteorology and the homogenisation process.

We cannot have two sets of books at the Bureau and use fudged figures skewed to support a global warming hypothesis as the official records. These fudged records are being used for media reporting and scientific analysis. We have a scientific process being tainted right at the source by a government department.”

Comments [2]

  1. wisernow says:

    As part of research into a story of Sir John Forrest and Federation, I discovered a newspaper report in the West Australian on the 17th July 1900. Sir James Lee Steere (speaker of the state house) was against Western Australia joining the federation. Among other issues the loss of 300,000 pounds PA revenue with the introduction of free trade between the states was one of his chief concerns. He was also bothered about the affect of free trade on the agricultural sector as produce from the other colonies would be imported into the West duty free. He said — we had not the same extent of good land and we had a 6 month drought every year to contend with and by the meteorological report the average rainfall for the last 24 years during the first 5 months of the year had been only 3/4 of an inch.

    Now I’m uncertain how reliable and wide ranging the bureaus data collection was back then and I’m also familiar with a politician’s of any generations ability to bend the truth to make a point. But these comments were made before climate change was ever a consideration.

    The drought conditions in WA serve different purposes. In 1900 in Western Australia we had politicians talking up the drought as a reason for not joining the Federation and today we have politicians talking up the drought in justification of a carbon tax.

    Handy thing our drought.

  2. en passant says:

    Apart from the ‘committed’ (and they should be) every sane person has been able to see for years that this is a scam. The shocking part is that so-called scientific bodies have been tempted to join the cult, lured by the promise of riches and the praises of supporting Nirvana.
    Almost in the same breath that George is questioning the Faith, chief cultist, Greg Hunt has been grated some loose petty cash from the excess funds we are awash with for the building of his personal plaything: Direct Action. How the pseudo-scientists have rejoiced!

    In 2010 I posed the following Questions to all sorts of cultists and politicians. but have never received an answer:
    ““What is the optimum average global temperature?
    So, what is the optimum global temperature if any rise is thought to be somewhere between dangerous to catastrophic? Surely if we don’t know where we are going it is difficult to see how can we formulate a realistic plan to get there?
    Several years ago I did a rough study by trawling some websites on CO2 and its effects on humans and plants. The personal conclusion I reached is that 2,000ppm – 4,000ppm is the optimum level of CO2 for the majority of life on the planet, with a probable/maybe rise of 2° – 3° centigrade increase in temperature, mainly in the temperate regions. To help you out, please note that US nuclear armed submarines operate with a CO2 level up to 8,000ppm for extended periods without harm to the sailors breathing it. The USN has set a maximum limit of 12,000ppm before they become concerned, so no doubt that still contains a safety margin.
    So, to seriously answer the question I think we need MORE CO2 – and soon as the quiet Sun is going to cause havoc in the coming decades with serious cooling the result. Ah, skiing in Melbourne, now that would send Flannery and Garnaut into a new series of incantations would it not? I await your reply with interest, especially if you can explain your ‘scientifically settled’ answer with references to the science supporting your views.
    I swear that if you can give me a scientifically supportable answer I will vote Labor at the next election. Otherwise, if you cannot I will join the vast majority.”
    The exchanges ended here as I did not receive a reply from either of them.
    My view is that the optimum temperature (when life was at its most prolific) is about 18°C with an error bar of +2°C, but preferably at the higher end of the scale. This is >3°C warmer than at present.
    The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere
    In 1800 it is thought that the atmosphere contained about 280ppm. In 2012 it is 390ppm and rising by 2ppm/year.
    What is the optimum global temperature?
    14◦C (Current temperature is 14.8)
    10◦C (Ice Age trigger)
    So, as we must stop this dastardly gases inexorable rise, can anyone tell me the actual ‘tipping point’ concentration after which catastrophe is inevitable? An open goal for the cultists to score I would think. What will the temperature be at this point and at what level of CO2 will the temperature stabilise into boringly perfect weather?
    What is the optimum level of CO2 in the atmosphere?
    As we are approaching 400ppm it must obviously be less than that. Also, as plants stop growing at 250ppm the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ must be somewhere between the two. I am breathlessly awaiting the answer from a scientist climate deceiver, but I am not expecting to receive one any time soon.”