Jo Nova responds to the latest abomination from the BOM

Headlines today announce that the Bureau of Meteorology has upped the rate of warming in recent times. Jo Nova and others have been on this case for some time. Her latest commentary.

See also some of the series of posts on Climate Change: The Facts 2017 last year like this one documenting some of the games that the BOM plays.

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23 Responses to Jo Nova responds to the latest abomination from the BOM

  1. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    Capitalism must be smashed by any and every means! Equality for all!

  2. The BOM
    “The Bureau of Meteorology has rewritten Australia’s temperature records for the second time in six years, greatly increasing the rate of warming since 1910 in its controversial homogenised data set”.
    I’m sure this recent rewrite involved detailed planning to meet the rewrite objectives, guidelines to ensure consistency of methodologies across regions and divisions, budgets for man-hours and costs, an extensive internal and external review process to ensure a high quality of the product etc.
    Since the public is rightly concerned about past BOM rewrites it would seem that the whole rewriting process should be made public.
    After all the BOM’s taxpayer funded budget is in the order of $400 million/year which would cover the costs of a detailed report to the public and a follow up review, instead of this arrogant, you just have to accept it pronouncement from on high.
    Terence M

  3. Leigh Lowe

    The headline should read …
    “Jo Nova responds to the latest aBOMination”.
    Get areff to recommend a good sub-editor.

  4. egg_

    Capitalism must be smashed by any and every means! Equality for all!

    BoM staffers on Aunty all appear to be from the Eastern Bloc, they’d be right at home with mutti Merkel.

  5. stackja

    Study aims to help prevent heatwave deaths
    Gemma Najem, Australian Associated Press
    42 minutes ago

    Keeping cool during a heatwave is not just inconvenient, for many Australians it can be a matter of life and death.

    Yet advice from public health agencies is severely lacking and fails to protect those most vulnerable, according to researchers who have launched a study into sustainable cooling techniques during heatwaves.

    As Australia sweltered through its hottest month on record in January, scientists at the University of Sydney had just begun a recruitment drive for research on how older Australians can stay safe when the mercury rises.

    The study, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, began testing on its first two participants last week, with researchers hoping to sign up about 100 Australians aged 60 or above by the end of 2019.

    Lead researcher Associate Professor Ollie Jay says the increasing threat of heatwaves, which are Australia’s deadliest natural disaster, particularly affects older people and those with cardiovascular disease due to their reduced ability to sweat.
    Staying cool may seem simple, but one quarter of Australians do not have air-conditioners and many more struggle to switch them on due to the cost of energy bills, he said.

    Meanwhile, an electric fan uses around 50 times less electricity than an air conditioner, while peaks in air-conditioning use risks overloading electricity grids and causing blackouts which leave even more people at risk.

    Under careful medical supervision, study participants will be exposed to various heatwave conditions and cooling strategies while scientists measure core temperature, monitor the heart and measure dehydration.

    Researchers will explore the effectiveness of applying water to the skin, as a cooling technique, alongside moving air in different ways through modifications of fan speeds and direction.

    They will also investigate hydration strategies: how much water do you have to drink, and does it matter what temperature the water is when you drink it?

    “It’s not an obvious one,” said Assoc Prof Jay, director of the laboratory.

    “When you drink an ice slushie, you reduce how much you sweat and get less evaporative heat loss.”

    The study is the first in a five-year research-series to develop evidence-based guidance on heatwave policies in a bid to improve public health guidelines.

    The series follows findings from a previous study, from the same laboratory, which challenged current public health advice that cautions people not to use fans when temperatures rise above 35C due to extra heat on the body from convection.

    “The message is oversimplified,” Assoc Prof Jay told AAP.

    “It’s dependent on the ability of someone to sweat as it’s the evaporation of the sweat that cools you down.”

    Assoc Prof Jay said the study, which will also take place at a university in Canada, could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change.

  6. Baldrick

    Heat on Bureau of Meteorology over data records rewrite
    The Bureau of Meteorology has rewritten Australia’s temperature records for the second time in six years, greatly increasing the rate of warming since 1910 in its controversial homogenised data set.

    Rather than the nation’s temperature having increased by 1C over the past century, the ­bureau’s updated homogenised data set, known as ACORN-SAT, now shows mean temperatures have risen by 1.23C.

    Bureau data shows the rate of mean warming since 1960 has risen to 0.2C a decade, putting the more ambitious IPCC target of limiting future warming to 1.5C close to being broken.

    Homogenisation of temperature records is considered necessary to account for changes in instrumentation, changes in site locations and changes in the time at which temperatures were taken. But the bureau’s treatment of historical data has been controversial. In recent years there have been claims that the organisation was treating temperature records in such a way that left it exposed to accusations that ideological pursuits had trumped good scientific practice.

    Former prime minister Tony Abbott unsuccessfully pushed for a forensic investigation into the bureau’s methods.

    A number of reviews of the ­bureau’s network equipment and its temperature data handling have been carried out. A technical panel found the homogenisation methods used were largely sound.

    But a key recommendation, to include confidence levels or error margins in the data, remains ­unfulfilled. A BoM spokesman said work was under way on a number of scientific papers looking at uncertainty and confidence intervals for temperature data ­observations, adjustments and national averages.

    “This work will be made available to the public following ­thorough peer review,” the spokesman said.

    The bureau had fiercely defended the accuracy of its original ACORN-SAT data. But more ­recent analysis, including the ­removal of rounding errors, has effectively increased the rate of warming by 23 per cent, compared with the earlier homogenised ACORN version-one data.

    Detailed technical information on the ACORN-SAT ­update was published late last year, but there has been no public ­announcement of the revised data, which is now considered the official national average temperature record. A bureau review of the ­homogenised data said the new version had “increased ­robustness and greater spatial ­coherence”.

    The updating of the ACORN-SAT data coincided with the ­release last October of a new version of US weather agency NOAA’s global land temperature data set.

    A bureau spokesman said ACORN-SAT version two was the bureau’s “improved official homogeneous temperature data set”. The new data set benefited from “the numerous scientific and technological advances which have occurred over the past six years, as well as the ­insights and recommendations from an independent ACORN-SAT technical advisory forum”.

    “It also contains new data which was not previously available when the bureau developed the first data set,” he said.

    The bureau said the updates had been independently peer-­reviewed, and the findings were that the methodology was “rigorous and reliable”.

    Scientist Jennifer Marohasy said that while version two of the data had used the same set of 112 stations as had been used in version one, the data had been remodelled relative to the raw data and also relative to the remodelled version one.

    The bureau said the data in version two was subjected to two rounds of homogenisation, as had been the case with version one. “In total, 22 of the 966 ­adjustments applied in version two of the ACORN-SAT data set arose from this second-round procedure,” the bureau said.

    A technical analysis of ACORN-SAT 2 by the bureau said 1910-2016 trends in Australian temperature were about 0.02C a decade higher than those found in version one. It said rounding errors in version one accounted for much of the new trend.

    Dr Marohasy said the bureau had not explained how it could have generated a 23 per cent increase in the rate of warming, just through updating the official ACORN-SAT ­record.

    The maximum-temperature trend from 1910 to 2016 at the 112 ACORN-SAT weather stations is now an increase of 0.116C a decade. It was 0.09C a decade in the earlier homogenised data.

    The minimum-temperature trend is now an increase of 0.13C a decade, compared with 0.109C in ACORN-SAT 1.

    The bureau said improved ­accounting for the widespread relocation of sites out of towns during the 1990s and 2000s, and the incorporation of recent data from new sites, were also substantial contributors.

    Dr Marohasy said movement of sites was meant to be part of the adjustments made in the first version of the data.

    “The incorporation of data from new sites may account for some of the 23 per cent increase,” Dr Marohasy said, “because the bureau have opened new sites in hotter western NSW, while closing higher-altitude weather stations, including Charlotte Pass in the Snowy Mountains.”

    She said there had been no proper analysis of the effect of changing from manual to automatic weather stations.

    The bureau said no evidence was found of a significant systematic impact arising from the change from manual to automatic weather stations. It said that ACORN-SAT 2 had increased robustness and greater spatial coherence, especially for minimum temperatures.

    The new data records are likely to be seized upon by green groups in the lead up to the federal election.
    Graham Lloyd
    Environment Editor

  7. stackja

    Radar black spot blamed for lack of any BoM warning in floods
    MICHAEL MADIGAN, In Cloncurry, The Sunday Mail (Qld)
    February 17, 2019 1:00am
    Subscriber only

    A MASSIVE radar black spot across Queensland’s northwest allowed this month’s flood catastrophe to develop in an information void as council had to fall back on social media to track rainfalls.

    Flinders Shire Mayor Jane McNamara and Traeger MP Robbie Katter have called for a new weather radar in the northwest to better prepare for massive deluges.

    A triangle of Bureau of Meteorological radars covers Townsville, Mount Isa and Longreach but the coverage has left a black spot for isolated centres such as Richmond, Hughenden and Georgetown.

    Cr McNamara said river and rain gauges were also needed to better prepare for rain events. Families at Porcupine Creek at the headwater of the Flinders River, which flows northwest through the Gulf country, reported 80mm of rain one afternoon just as the flood crisis was unfolding in early February.

    “They ended up having about 180mm in a short while but the only way we knew was because we were messaging them on Facebook,’’ Cr McNamara said.

    “We (the council) could use that information in our calculations as we prepared for the flood but the point it this was not official information, it was anecdotal information. A lot of this sort of information is just not being calculated any more because the gauges are not being monitored.’’

    Only rains when BOM says so?

  8. a happy little debunker

    Study aims to help prevent heatwave deaths

    Of course – heatwaves are not as important for excess mortality than moderate cold conditions.

    The ABC Fact checked such claims and found such were ‘overstated’ – despite completely confirming this increase in excess mortality.

    The Guardian helps out with timely advice – but can we ignore that an increasing number of aging Australians who simply stay in bed, because they can’t afford to heat any rooms?

  9. old bloke

    #2935976, posted on February 17, 2019 at 8:25 am

    Former prime minister Tony Abbott unsuccessfully pushed for a forensic investigation into the bureau’s methods.

    Why was Abbott unsuccessful?

    As I recall, there was a series of articles in the Australian newspaper over a period of time which showed that the BOM was less than accurate. A group of individuals were monitoring daily temperature readings and comparing them with the BOM ‘s “official” reports. There was one such incident when the maximum temperature on one day in one month in Ceduna (from memory) reached 38 degrees, yet the BOM recorded that the average maximum for the month from that location was 38 degrees.

    Abbott responded to the public disquiet by requesting an audit of the BOM’s records and processes, the BOM management said no.

    A compromise arrangement was made that the BOM would conduct its own internal preliminary audit, with the BOM appointing its own auditors. Should this preliminary audit find no major problems with the data handling and processes, then no further action would be required. If the preliminary audit raise concerns, a full audit and review would follow.

    After some months the preliminary audit was completed which raised concerns which would have triggered a full audit. The preliminary audit found that the “homogenisation” process, where lower temperature readings were altered to appear much higher, was entrusted to one or two individuals, the process was undocumented, and it operated in an ad-hoc manner.

    The BOM management reported to the government that a full audit was therefore required, and PM Abbott announced that afternoon that an audit would be conducted.

    The next day, Abbott was gone, and the shiny, new Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, made the first announcement on behalf of the Turnbull government, that the audit of the BOM had been cancelled. The irony of the announcement was that the audit had been cancelled “to restore public confidence in the Bureau’s processes.”

  10. tombell

    and it was Greg Hunt who stymied the external review of BOM in order to maintain the public’s “confidence” in it!! What a complete unadulterated fwit. And we’re expected to vote for him because “he’s better than Labor”.

  11. tombell

    sorry old bloke. was busy venting my anger and see you covered my point already!

  12. Reposted comment:

    Kinky Keith February 16, 2019 at 6:31 am

    I feel sorry for the past temperature data.

    Mistreated, abused and misrepresented.

    Such carefully acquired measurements have been part of Australia’s history and are relevant to each location only.

    As a separate analysis there may be reason to reduce current readings to give parity with older readings because of a known and measurable Urban Heat Island effect but basically all tampering needs to be thoroughly justified.

    Making the past “colder” shows an appalling lack of respect for statistics and science.

    If old and new data obtained by different methods is to be graphed then the raw data should all be plotted with explanations for discontinuities and outliers.

    Data adjustment is not statistics, it’s manipulation.


  13. Crossie

    The next day, Abbott was gone, and the shiny, new Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, made the first announcement on behalf of the Turnbull government, that the audit of the BOM had been cancelled. The irony of the announcement was that the audit had been cancelled “to restore public confidence in the Bureau’s processes.”

    Doing Malcolm’s bidding still didn’t do Greg Hunt any good. He committed the unforgivable sin of not remaining bought and is now being challenged in his own seat by a Turnbull harpy.

    Greg, when you do the dishonourable thing to someone else in politics you are contributing to the lowering of standards in public life. You are now hoist on your own petard or as they say payback is a beeatch.

  14. Crossie

    The next day, Abbott was gone, and the shiny, new Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, made the first announcement on behalf of the Turnbull government, that the audit of the BOM had been cancelled. The irony of the announcement was that the audit had been cancelled “to restore public confidence in the Bureau’s processes.”

    Now that my venting about Greg Hunt is out of the way, this move by the Turnbull government to kill off the audit of BOM should have been a huge red flag as to how he meant to proceed. This was a big signal that he is was and is greener than the Greens.

    If I remember correctly, his chief of staff was a former Greens apparatchik confirming the truism that personnel isnpolicy. Turnbull was prepared to back off many of his stupid economic and immigration policies but he never wavered from the Big Green.

  15. Squirrel

    Day-to-day forecasting from the BoM often seems to influenced by the same panic-merchant mindset – the first sign of a small band of yellow or orange on the weather radar and they’ll be out with a “for immediate broadcast” warning about heavy rain, flooding, large hail etc. etc.

    Occasionally, the apocalyptic forecasts may turn out to be accurate, or reasonably close to it, but so often they are very wide of the mark. Anyone who followed the warnings and took them al literally would be in a semi-permanent state of nervous collapse.

  16. And meanwhile, Barcaldine was lucky to break the 1.5 inch mark.

  17. Mon

    So Turnbull has such a lot to answer for, the audit of the BoM, the inaction of the Royal Commission into Unions and the list goes on.

  18. PoliticoNT

    Team – I don’t know if Jo’s aware, but ANAO have been conducting an audit of the BOM. Apparently they’re a nice group of people although not very good at handing over information required. And now that the ANAO’s report is in final draft – BOM have been sending 30+ SES officers to meetings with reams and reams of information. Also now requesting that how BOM responded to the Townsville floods is included in the report – long after submissions closed. (Sense I get is BOM has developed some very good AI tech for forecasting, hence it is now having to reinvent its forecasters in a ‘value-adding’ role with every appearance on the news, inter web et al.). It’s too late for public submissions for the audit but someone should make Jo aware.

  19. Percy Popinjay

    It isn’t known as “the Bureau of Mediocrity” for nothing.

  20. Dr Fred Lenin

    The bureau of mediocrity as Percy rightly calls it ,has been badly let down by that Gaia the gangrene communists worship ,he .,she or it just wont let it get hot enough for more “hottest day ever “ announcements . They must be wearing the knees of their daks out praying for climate disaster ,they are a bit like those US doomsyer nutters , pity they didnt do a Jonestown and leave us in peace . Privatise the bloody thing like a lot of government departments and the alp/sbs propaganda machine . Use the proceeds to pursue crooked pollies and public servants and their corrupt cronies and jail them fo lifr=e plus twenty years .

  21. Kneel

    On a somewhat related topic, I will be meeting with one of Australia’s leading scientists on Monday, who is concerned about weather data quality and provinence, to discuss ways to implement low cost weather data loggers. BoM might lose their “monopoly” on such data, if this person gets their way. We can hope. I would prefer not to say any more on the matter at this time, other than: keep an eye out for something like this, it is likely not what you first think it is.

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