David Bidstrup: Was it really a record?

On January 24 2019 Adelaide had a hot day with an official maximum of 46.6C. The “record” set in January 1939, (46.1C), was “smashed” by 0.5C.

The temperature was measured in Fahrenheit in 1939 and the reading was 117.7F. This converts to 47.611C so rounded off to 1 decimal place it was 47.6C, a full 1 degree above the “new record”.

Adelaide’s BoM site was situated on West Terrace from the time observations began sometime in the mid 1800’s. In 1978 the BoM shifted to Kent Town and stayed there for 40 years until they moved back to West Terrace in 2018. I do not know for sure but I suspect the West terrace records were “adjusted” and the 47.6C became 46.1C.

Some might remember the “adjustment” of the Albany W.A record of 44C in 1933 to 51.2C in about 2013. This made Albany the “highest temperature recorded” eclipsing Oodnadatta’s 50.7C in 1960. (See Joanne Nova’s post on this). There was a noise made about BoM “adjustments” but the government squibbed on an enquiry and we will probably never know the true story.

There is no doubt that there is a concerted propaganda campaign to have us believe that “climate change is real” and anything that shows increasing temperatures is paraded in the media without any balance. Our local rag “The Advertiser” is clearly on board with headlines like “46.6C Hottest City on Earth”, (January 25 2019), and “45C Hot as Hell, brace yourself, records set to tumble tomorrow”, (January 23 2019), and articles written by “scientific” pigmies stoking the fires of “climate change”.

On January 13 1939 “The Advertiser” reported the record 117.7F and quoted the previous record as being 116.3F 81 years prior, i.e. 1847. It is interesting that the 1939 “record” was broken 80 years later in 2019.

It’s summer in Australia and it gets hot. Obsessing about it or pretending that we can change things by giving up electricity is about as scientific as sticking needles into Voodoo dolls to get rid of your enemies. The day everyone was swooning in Adelaide it was 53.4C at the Prominent Hill mine airfield, a place dear to my heart having spent 4 years there helping build it.

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32 Responses to David Bidstrup: Was it really a record?

  1. stackja says:

    There is too much hot air about ‘AGW’. Over inflated rhetoric.

  2. DaveR says:

    The other problem with this “January 24 record” is that it is an instantaneous 1 second reading from the the Adelaide AWS, which uses an electronic thermometer measurement. This compares to the mercury thermometer measurement for 1939, which was measured over a much longer time constant.

    The Bureau of Meteorology say the two different measurement methods are equivalent, and they have the comparative studies to prove it. Trouble is, the BOM refuse to release these studies to the public so non-government scientists can check the work (you know – “peer review”).

    And then there is the problem with the secretive historical temperature adjustments (almost always down), called “homogenisation”.

    Strange how a lot of new maximum temperature “records” have been set recently following the introduction of the electronic thermometers and the 1 second readings.

    Records ain’t Records.

  3. Pyrmonter says:

    @ DaveR

    Weren’t the mercury thermometers used of the ‘high-low’ variety – which showed any peak or trough, regardless of duration?

  4. Ian6333 says:

    You say it’s pretense to think we can avoid hot weather by giving up electricity, but consider this: I live in Demark on the south coast of WA and very few people down here have air conditioners in their homes and summer temperatures are usually 8C, often 15C below Perth temps. Surely our decision not to install air-con has something to do with this? It cannot be a coincidence. Lol

  5. Whalehunt fun says:

    I can look my children in the eye [as they shiver freezing in the dark].”

    Stupid bitch. She’s telling us the planet is getting hotter and snivelling about her ugly spawn being cold.
    Which is it you idiot?

  6. Leo G says:

    Was it really a record?

    Who knows?
    Is it valid to compare such single readings separated in time by many years?
    I don’t think so. If each Adelaide record hot day temperature was recorded simultaneously by instruments at many AWS sites distributed across Adelaide the temperature range of readings would likely be close to 10 degrees Celsius (sd about 3 deg C accordingly).
    Even if the readings were identically sited (apparently they were not) and site was unchanged in any significant way, there is always the spatial variation in insolation in an area of interest to upset certainty about the temperature measurement.
    Comparing 2 temperature data points in this way, without any consideration of uncertainty, is nonsense.

  7. Dr Fred Lenin says:

    The leftoids have made it so I dont believe anything in the red media ,not one thing , they cannot be trusted to tell the truth . It used to be politicians ,lawyers and used car salesmen were the biggest liars unhung now the media ,academics and wether
    forecasters have joined that moteley crew . Aussie of the year has been corrupted by the left start a new Dishonours List , ABL,australias biggest liar, AMUT australias most untrustworty tosser ACBAW australia cannot believe a word . The awards could be retrospective so liars of the past could brpe rewarded with great mockery ,the medals should be cardboard to save money ,gold , silver and bronze . Climate ,stolen generation and balanced budgets woukd give an endless supply of tossers to mock .

  8. Peter O'Brien says:

    The one that really gets my goat is the almost daily occurrence of ‘heatwaves’. In a recent edition of the Illawarra Mercury was this headline “Wollongong Set to Swelter Through a Heat Wave”. The accompanying article showed projected temperatures of 28C, 28C, 29C, 31C, and 26C. 31C and thereabouts in summer for God’s Sake! Where will it all end? The other trick is to talk about a single somewhat hot day as ‘heatwave conditions’. This constant refrain of records and heatwaves is a form of subliminal advertising.

  9. Jonesy says:

    Pyrmonter, the question relates to the “agility” of a mercury thermometer to record temperatures. The coefficient of expansion of Hg makes it absorb heat at a set rate resulting in an average of the event. The electronic version, unless fitted with a means of signal smoothing is registering what amounts to noise.

  10. DaveR says:

    Yes Pyrmonter,

    they did. But the inertia of mercury thermometers (time constant) means they cannot respond to a 1 second gust of hot air, whereas the electronic thermometers can.

    Knowing this, the World Meteorological Organisation recommended that 1 second electronic temperature readings be averaged over a longer time, and then only the average reported. In the UK, the Met Office reports electronic temperature readings as a 1 minute average. In the USA they report electronic readings as a 5 minute average.

    But the BOM refuse to do this, and will report a 1 second reading at any time, especially for the daily maximum. Put simply, they are in breach of ISO 17025 which applies to sampling of data and WMO guidlines.

    Dodgy records.

  11. Pyrmonter says:

    Can I say that, as a teenaged Antipodean Eric Olthwaite, I’m sure I’d committed Adelaide’s temperature record to memory as 47.6 – I can’t think from where (probably local ‘Almanacs’ and the like, but they gave the 1939 date). Has anyone actually asked the BoM for an explanation? Or checked the Bureau’s own past publications?

  12. Seza says:

    Luckily, Winston Smith hasn’t yet got around to rewriting the newspapers in Trove, and they still have reporting about the 117.7 F on the 12th of January 1939 in the next day’s Advertiser. This caused an acute ice shortage resulting in rationing.

  13. Exit Stage Right says:

    The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has its HQ in Dannograd by the Yarra and as an Executive arm of the Dept of the Environment, is home to 1663+ employees (2015) whose main function is to scare the shit out of the proles with fake temperature readings, beat ups of weather events and false alarms on everything to fit the UN narrative of climate change. Their jobs and future growth of the Dept depends on perpetuating this fraud, therefore as with all public Service positions they have a vested interest in keeping the alarm bells ringing. I have long been of the opinion that some accountability is necessary in agencies like BOM, some review of the fake scares, but alas they continue to get away with dud predictions on every weather aspect.
    It is just not in their interests to give accurate information that takes into account unadulterated climate history.

  14. David Brewer says:

    The BoM must be adjusting West Terrace temperatures.

    According to their Climate Data Online, 12 January 1939 was 46.1, which is 114.8 Fahrenheit. Actual temperature recorded 117.7, as shown above. Two days earlier, 10 January 1939, is now shown as 45.9, which is 113.0 F, versus actual recorded temperature of 116.9.

    So these two 1939 temperatures, both of which beat 24 January 2019, appear to have been adjusted down by 3.1 and 3.9 F respectively. Yet the BoM site gives no hint that recordings have been adjusted. The maximum temperature page for Adelaide says: “The Daily maximum air temperature is nominally recorded at 9 am local clock time. It is the highest temperature for the 24 hours leading up to the observation, and is recorded as the maximum temperature for the previous day.”

    We are also referred to a lengthy explanation of the data, which again gives no hint of any adjustment having been made, unless you count this

    Climate data pass through a number of stages in quality control which occurs over a period of time. Data are only included in this product if no errors have been detected at the time. Data which have not yet completed the routine quality control process are marked accordingly.

    But to pass off changes of 2 degrees C or more made on actual observations as the result of “quality control” 70 or 80 years later would be little short of fraud. Moreover, if the historical records really are that unreliable, the BoM should give up talking about records being broken, period.

  15. Macbeth says:

    From memory, 114F in Melbourne that day. The State was on fire.

  16. Exit Stage Right says:

    Climate data pass through a number of stages of quality control.
    There you have it.
    Open slather to adjust the data according to their quality control outcomes.

  17. Tel says:

    Climate data pass through a number of stages of quality control.

    We have finally discovered the difference between climate and weather!

    It’s the adjustment process… ohh errr… “quality control”.

  18. DaveR says:

    @David Brewer

    Its not quality control at all, its “homogenisation”.

    Its where past temperatures are adjusted downwards for …..well, a whole range of reasons, some legitimate (site move, screen change etc) but a lot that are not.

    The Bureau (BOM) say there are legitimate reasons for all adjustments, but again, will not release those reasons or the actual adjustments to the public, and maintain their secrecy and say just say “trust us”.

    The further problem here is that the magnitude of these adjustments, greater than 1degC, is greater than the Global Warming signal supposed to be present in the Australian temperature record since about 1910. Take the adjustments out and you have an embarrassing nothing.

    If you did that, the awful truth of the Federation Drought from 1896-1903 would become apparent. How many people know that many of the measured maximum temperatures (as measured, not adjusted) were higher that today? How many people know there was a sizeable death toll caused by the heat?

  19. Entropy says:

    The bureau available data only goes back to 1910 does it not? Our worst drought, the federation drought, is thus parked in the forgettory.

  20. MPH says:

    At this point weather news only serves to reassure the faithful that the end remains nigh.

  21. DaveR says:


    in fact many Australian temperature records such as Adelaide go back continuously to the mid 1800s. Its just that the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) dont want the embarrassment of having to refer to them, because of what they contain – particularly the Federation Drought of 1896-1903.

    To avoid this, the BOM claim the records before about 1905 are of “problematic quality’ or “uncertain” or “not calibrated” etc etc. There is actually a real issue here – the introduction of the standardised measuring set up of the Stevenson Screen housing, and what bias it had on temperatures measurements. But unlike the modern BOM, the older institution did plenty of parallel studies to quantify the bias. But the modern BOM doesnt want to know.

    And thats because validation of the older measured temperatures makes a mockery of the homogenisation process, in which the BOM has adjusted down historical temperatures after ca. 1905 by at least 1 degC. If those measured Federation Drought temperatures were correct (as they must be), then the recent downward adjustment is an error, and cant be justified.

    The importance of this is that the whole Anthropogenic Global Warming signal, mans contribution to temperature increase, is less than the BOM’s temperature adjustment.

    Images of a house made of cards……..all falling down……..public service inquiry…….resignations

  22. Tim Neilson says:

    #2920182, posted on January 28, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    Adjustments of about 1.7 or 1.8 degrees downwards were found at Rutherglen station weren’t they?

    And as best I recall the BoM’s excuse in Parliament was that they thought the station “might have been” moved.
    And they were allowed to get away with that.

    I suspect that among Tony Abbott’s reasons for wanting a proper enquiry were to ask the two obvious follow up questions:
    1. “Might have been”? What grounds are there for thinking that?
    2. From where? Is there actually a location close enough to the current station that it could possibly have been known in the past as “Rutherglen” station, also being a location where the temperatures are so much warmer than they are at the current station site so as to justify “adjustments” of that magnitude?

    Luckily for the BoM Abbott was rolled and the Michael Trumble/Greggo Hunt climate action team decided that the best way to maintain public trust in the BoM was to refuse to permit them to be questioned.
    You know it makes sense.

  23. David Brewer says:

    What gets me is – how can the BoM use the words “recorded”, “data”, “observed” and “observations” when they are displaying model results from a homogenisation procedure?

    Also, who cares what their model says? When assessing records, we want to compare actual readings now with actual readings in the past, not with what some bright spark thinks the “real” temperature was.

    And furthermore, why are they loading homogenised data onto their site, instead of raw data? The homogenised stuff will have to be all changed when they change their minds again, as they have already done at least 3 times – Torok and Nichols in the 1990s, then ACORN-SAT, now ACORN 2. Please, give us the raw data, and leave it there!

    For more on the BoM’s dopey adjustments, see many posts on Warwick Hughes’ site, e.g. here.

  24. iggie says:

    You may be interested in the ACORN 1 temps for Adelaide in Jan, 39.
    The temp for that day is recorded at 46.4C (so now only an 0.2C difference).
    19390107 40.4
    19390108 38.5
    19390109 44.3
    19390110 46.2
    19390111 34.9
    19390112 46.4 ***
    19390113 44.5
    Again another adjustment from the newspaper records to the ‘raw’ temps to the ACORN records. I wonder what temps will be adjusted in ACORN 2.
    The response time for the new electronic thermometers is in seconds. Recently, my town’s site recorded a 1.6C change in temp within the same minute. There was no cloud (but there was a breeze).

    Source: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/change/acorn/sat/data/acorn.sat.maxT.023090.daily.txt

  25. duncanm says:

    Both Adelaide airport and Adelaide have certainly been adjusted on an annual mean temp basis in the GISS records.

    Check it out — what happened to ~1918 annual mean?

  26. duncanm says:

    sorry, this is the GHCN records.

  27. duncanm says:

    Iggie – same data. If you look at the adjusted graph, you can highlight the raw data by clicking on its entry in the graph legend.

  28. Roger says:

    Yes, the “adjusted” BOM numbers are 1 to 1.5K lower than the raw data for every day of the week Jan. 6 to Jan. 14 1939. I could accept that the 24/1/2019 readings were “close to the previous 1939 high” but no more than that. Incidentally, I have a newspaper clipping from Jan. ’39 stating that the ice works could not keep up with the demand for block ice – this could imply that the electricity grid was powering the big (ammonia?) refrigeration compressors at all times.

  29. Rayvic says:

    Misreporting the Centigrade equivalent of the actual January 1939 Adelaide reading of 117.7 degrees Fahrenheit, is another example of BOM’s misleading and deceptive conduct, conduct that is unethical and unprofessional to say the least.

    BOM simply cannot be trusted.

  30. Iggie says:

    The v2 is a slightly different data set to v3 but I agree, not a lot.

  31. duncanm says:


    the official NOAA record now says 115°F (46.1°C) for 1939.

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