Every warmish day inspires media references to broken temperature records, the implicit message being that we have just endured further evidence of a planet in its sweaty death throes. Need it be said that those alarms should be taken with the usual grain of salt?
In late January, I was startled to hear the Nine News weather reporter breathlessly exclaim that a maximum of 33C in Sydney on the 21st of that month happened to be 7C above the city’s average January maximum. That’s it — 7C, for Heaven’s sake! My initial impression was that couching the report in those terms had been intended to add a global warming shock-and-awe angle to the report. After all, 7C is well above the 2C we are told is the magical figure beyond which we will all fry. Not that contrasting one day’s mercury with long-term records is an apples-to-apples comparison, but how many gullible warming believers would be capable of, or even bother, making this distinction?
My second reaction was to think that 33C doesn’t seem to me to be remarkably hot for January; neither did it strike me that 26C would be a likely average January maximum, so I had a look at Weatherzone. To my surprise it confirmed that the mean January maximum for Sydney is, indeed, 25.9C. So there you are. This is the long term mean maximum for January. The high mean maximum for January is actually 29.5C and that was recorded in 1896.
A closer examination of the data reveals that the figure of 7C on any particular day is not all that remarkable – so unremarkable, in fact, that it confirms my impression it was cited for purely propaganda reasons.
Sydney’s January high maximum is 45.8C and its low minimum is 10.6. So, historically, daily January temperatures in Sydney range over 35.2C. The maximum temperature on January 21 of 33C was actually 12.8C lower than the highest recorded January maximum.
I started to write this article back in January but was distracted by the demands of moving house. I only just got back to it a couple of days ago and, God help us, they’re at it again. On April 2, as I write, Seven News told us that the day’s Sydney maximum of 31C was 12C above the April mean and that these astoundingly high temperatures are being driven by — yes, you guessed it — climate change. Well, that day’s maximum was actually 3C below the April maximum set way back in 1986. That’s 30 years ago, well before the current 18-year temperature stasis set in. Somehow, I sincerely doubt the reaction of the average Sydneysider was to say, ‘Golly, it’s hot! We’ve just got to do something about climate change.’ While often regarded as a idiots, the greater bulk of the population remains quite sensible — often moreso than TV weathercasters, many of whose prime credentials would seem to be fetching figures and low-cut necklines.
This type of hyperbole has, of course, been going on for years. Back in October, 2014, one news weather report told us that Sydneysiders had suffered the unseasonable warmth of a day that saw temperatures reach an unthinkable 30C. Ironically, this report was accompanied by shots of Sydneysiders disporting themselves at Bondi Beach in their thousands, all courageously concealing their suffering! Weather presenters should be reminded that their job is to report the weather, not editorialise about it.
That by the way, when researching this issue what really caught my attention was Weatherzone’s tabular data showing Sydney’s daily records, month by month. It shows that the record high maximum daily temperatures in each month were recorded in:
The Weatherzone temperature data exactly matches the BoM data for Observatory Hill. I have no reason to doubt the veracity of the years quoted.)
The low-maximum and low-minimum data appears strange, with 1949 being the most recent record for either of these datasets. It suggests that the period 1850 to 1950 was generally cooler than the recent past. However, the high maximum and high minimum data show a completely different picture with high maxima and high minima distributed randomly throughout the record. The Parramatta and Melbourne records exhibit a similar pattern. Other sites, such as Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, are problematical because of site changes (I have not examined them thoroughly). I have sought advice as to why the low-max and low-min temperatures might be concentrated in the past but have not been able to get a completely satisfactory answer. I think that perhaps Urban Heat Island Effect is the major factor in this apparent anomaly.
What stands out to me is the unequivocal evidence that, where we have a long and trusted temperature dataset, record high temperatures are uniformly spread across the temporal record.
I am a simple man and what I have learned about the modern practice of science — in all fields, not just ‘climate science’ — inclines me to defer to William of Ockham more often than not. And what William suggests to me is that there is no correlation between increased CO2 emissions since the 1950s and hotter temperatures being experienced in Sydney, Parramatta or Melbourne. This is a minor point, certainly not a knockout blow, but it is another ‘brick in the wall’ in the ever-rising edifice of the sceptical case against the theory of CAGW.
It is too easy for people to unquestioningly accept the findings of some scientific paper or another on the basis that its authors are highly qualified scientists and what would they have to gain by publishing dodgy research.
In his fascinating book Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us — and How to Know When Not to Trust Them, David Freedman, former Professor of Statistics at the University of California, points out that about two-thirds of the findings published in the top medical journals are refuted within a few years. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, he observes. All sceptics should read this book because the parallels between medical research and climate-change ‘science’ are startling.
Sceptics need to use simple, unarguable themes anyone can understand if they are to counter the obfuscation that alarmists now routinely rely upon by the simple device of quoting the latest ‘peer reviewed’ paper. The fact that the Sydney temperature record gives the lie to CO2-induced warming is one such theme.