On 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.”