David Bidstrup: Climate bullshit alert.

Here in Adelaide we are expecting the next few days to be above 40 C. Our morning newspaper carried a “report” in which a spokesman, (or person), from the BoM was quoted as saying that there was “the potential to exceed the warmest average temperature on record for Australia as a whole”. Apparently the benchmark was set on 7 January 2013 when the “Australian average maximum temperature” was 40.3 C.

Averaging usually ends up with some nonsensical statistic that has absolutely no relevance to reality and I think an “Australia wide” average is just another example. Put 9 ordinary people in a room with Andrew Forrest and the “average” wealth is $900 million but in reality Andrew still has $9 billion and the rest have bugger all.  Average every phone number for the name Smith and then ring it to see if a Smith answers.

Just for fun I found the maximum temperatures for 9 locations for 7 January 2013. See table below.

Place Place T max BoM T max Avg Aust Difference
Adelaide 41.2 40.3 0.9
Hobart 27.9 40.3 (12.4)
Melbourne 32.5 40.3 (7.8)
Sydney 27.5 40.3 (12.8)
Perth 37.8 40.3 (2.5)
Brisbane 30.5 40.3 (9.8)
Cairns 31.6 40.3 (8.7)
Alice Springs 43.1 40.3 2.8
Darwin 34.2 40.3 (6.1)
Average 34.0 40.3 (6.3)

I guess about 90% of the total population live in these places. Note that 2 of them are above the “record” and 7 are below, some by substantial margins. See chart below.

The Bureau say they will be “closely monitoring the heat”, which is code for recording the temperatures, as they think “we could approach or exceed our warmest Australian day on record”.

Of course they “expect December temperature records to fall this week”. These will be the adjusted records that leave out anything before 1900. Everyone is in a tizz because the weather is “extreme” and we are doomed.

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49 Responses to David Bidstrup: Climate bullshit alert.

  1. Lee

    I was flabbergasted last night, when on Channel 9’s supposedly serious news report, a reporter talked nonsensically about Australia’s “average hottest December day on record” coming up.

    How can a country have an “average temperature”?

  2. duncanm

    .. and today ‘Sydney to hit 41C!’

    A sea breeze has kicked in, and observatory hill got to 37.6 max this arvo.

    I posted this in the open thread, but its worth repeating:

    duncanm
    #3266028, posted on December 18, 2019 at 10:14 pm
    A random sample of ‘the hottest evah!’ day in Aus. Remote stations with some sort of history, so we can ignore UHI. This is BOM’s own data.
    I’ve picked what looks like a common hot day in the past for the following sites.

    Site / Today / 2Jan1973
    Bourke NSW: 40.4 / 43.6
    Broken Hill NSW: 41.3 / 41.8
    Birdsville QLD: 47.2 / 45.5
    Halls Creek WA: 43.8 / 41.5
    Giles WA: 42.9 / 44.5
    Oodnadatta SA: 43.8 / 45.3

    mean: 43.2C / 43.7C

    Sure, this isn’t comparing apples, but it shows that this random scattering of remote sites had a least one hotter day in the past (and I just randomly poked around, so I am certain this is not the highest).

    Giles only goes back to 1956. I’d love to see the homogenization bullshit the BOM came up with to determine older records. I wonder just how old their ‘Australian average’ number goes back.

  3. The Missing Link

    Well we wont be breaking any records in Perth today, currently 20 deg C , wet and windy!

  4. Looking at Their ABC online news and you’d think that we’re about to face Armageddon. Where’s Bruce Willis when you need him?

    On another note, Their ABC seems to be able to post constant reports about the Trump impeachment, which is quite different to how things rolled with the UK elections. I wonder why?

  5. stackja

    Site name: CENTENNIAL PARK ROUND HOUSE
    Site number: 066009
    Latitude: 33.90 °S Longitude: 151.23 °E
    Elevation: 38 m
    Commenced: 1907 Status: Closed 31 Dec 1967
    Latest available data: 31 Dec 1967
    The pdf contains no data
    SYDNEY AIRPORT AMO
    Site name: SYDNEY AIRPORT AMO
    Site number: 066037
    Latitude: 33.95 °S Longitude: 151.17 °E
    Elevation: 6 m
    Commenced: 1929 Status: Open
    Latest available data: 19 Dec 2019
    1939 2019 Mean December 25.9
    Mean December 3pm 23.9

  6. stackja

    bemused
    #3266655, posted on December 19, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    ABC reporting?
    I am shocked!

  7. duncanm

    Sydney Observatory hill, December Maximum Temperature since 1860 shows absolutely zero trend.

    The two lowest maximums occurred in 1999 and 2011.

  8. stackja

    Fireys focus on saving lives after blaze destroys Balmoral homes

    There are reports of 20 homes lost in the small community of Balmoral in the NSW Southern Highlands as the Green Wattle Creek blaze sweeps through the village. The blaze is expected to reach the Hume Highway within 20 minutes.
    Janet Fife-Yeomans, The Daily Telegraph
    Subscriber only

    December 19, 2019 1:53pm

    Balmoral in the NSW Southern Highlands as seen by Google Maps.
    Bargo State Conservation Area to the west.

  9. Boambee John

    Lee at 1418

    How can a country have an “average temperature”?

    The concept is slightly less farcical than the “Global Average Temperature” routinely touted around by the IPCC and various other alarmists.

    The temperature near the poles can routinely be around minus 40 to 50, and at the equator plus 40.

    Average that and call it zero to minus 10? Eureka, gerbil worming is defeated!

  10. Shy Ted

    Armageddon a bewdiful tan.

  11. Bronson

    Interesting concept of a country average temperature considering the various climatic zones across Australia from the tropics to the temperate. Totally meaningless really in any practical sense and a pointless exercise at the end of the day but hay when you need a filler for the 6 o’clock news…….

  12. Adam D

    I had a jumper on two days ago. I notice they didn’t report the day we didn’t reach 20 degrees in Summer

  13. I notice they didn’t report the day we didn’t reach 20 degrees in Summer

    And we had a fire going for half of December. But that’s just weather, not global warming or climate emergency, as it is when it’s 35C.

  14. Gertrude

    Third highest second-innings fourth wicket partnership by two left-handed batsmen in an England-Australia Test match played at the Adelaide Oval.

    BOM is becoming rather like television coverage of the cricket.

    The commentators have “statisticians” beside them who provide fodder for breathless yet tedious reporting of endlessly obscure new records for every conceivable permutation of batting, bowling and fielding.

  15. iggie

    Apparently the previous hottest day ever before 7 January 2013 was 21st Dec, 1972 – beaten by 0.2C.
    Up to that point the hottest day ever for Australia in 1972 was never mentioned by the BoM – no one knew about it – until it was beaten.
    Probably had to wait until the one-second response time ethermometers before it could happen.

    BTW, I wonder if we did some temp averaging for the summer of 1895/96 we might find some ‘hottest day ever’ stories.

  16. Steve

    I spent 12 years 300km west of Katherine. From about mid September until December (if we were lucky and the stirms came) it was around 40* every day, with increasing humidity. You just got on with it. We laid a concrete slab and built a big shed for our fire station starting in late October, and we had to wear leather gloves to hold the metal. We’ve turned into a nation of sooks.

  17. Leo G

    “the potential to exceed the warmest average temperature on record for Australia as a whole”

    To a BoM afficionado all that counts in the whole is a small number of holy weather stations. Accordingly, there is the potential to exceed the warmiest average of variably offset daily minimum and maximum temperatures of a select bunch of scatttered bits of platinum wire maintained at various nonrepresentative sites across the country.

  18. duncanm

    the potential

    aka: “We’re working on it”

  19. Tel

    All temperatures are a statistical property that applies over a bulk volume of matter. An individual molecule flying through vacuum has velocity, but not temperature.

    How can a country have an “average temperature”?

    How can a room have an “average temperature”?

    How can a cup of water have an “average temperature”?

    Easy answer: because nothing in the world ever achieves perfect thermodynamic equilibrium, it is therefore necessary to make an estimate as to what it would be if it did get to equilibrium. Depending on how you calculate it, you might get a result that is more or less accurate.

    If the average temperature of a glass of water goes up by 30 degrees then you have something going on there.

  20. I_am_not_a_robot

    Thanks for that work David Bidstrup.
    Very few inland weather stations go back over one hundred years and many, particularly at airports, only a few decades at many different opening dates so an average is meaningless.
    The highest December maximum T recorded at Alice Springs Post Office (1878 – 1953) was 47.5C on 24 Dec 1891 and if that temperature seems implausibly high due to measurement technique, the highest at Birdsville Police Station (1954 – 2005) was 49.5C on 24 Dec 1972.
    The highest T in recent days at Alice Springs was 43.6C and Birdsville 47.2C both yesterday.
    I agree the BoM’s ‘warmest on record’ claim is meaningless b.s.

  21. Your easy answer is crap Tel.
    No consideration of scale.

  22. DaveR

    There are two major problems for all these “hottest days ever….”

    One is that the BOM moved to Automatic Weather Stations progressively since the 1980s, measuring temperatures every second with the new electronic machines, versus a manually read thermometer station prior to that, with a much longer time constant. The calibration of the new system against the old has not been properly undertaken, and the suspicion is all the new AWS temperatures are systematically higher.

    The other is that the BOM has already adjusted downwards all the historical temperatures through its homogenisation process for its ACORN-Sat database. So when they say “hottest January 7th since 1931..” the Jan 7th 1931 temperature they refer to is not the temperature measured on that day, its been adjusted downwards in the last few years, by as much as 2 deg C.

    The trouble is too many in the Federal government are captured by the Global Warming religion, and instead of a proper independent scientific audit of BOM and its practices, we get naked vote-getting and the accompanying economic damage.

  23. Chris M

    Here in Adelaide we are expecting the next few days to be above 40 C

    Hey David I just visited a retail shop in the city were the millenial serving me commented that business was quiet probably due to the heat (my car showed 47 deg) and that it was “unbelievable we still have politicians that deny climate change and won’t do anything about it”.

    Haha of course she was too cute looking to trigger… the level of education these unthinking NPC kids get is terrible.

  24. Spider

    Hottest day on record. In Brisbane on Tuesday evening a group of friends was out at a local park and a number of people put on jackets because it was so cool. WTF.

  25. Minimum = 10. Maximum = 40. Average = 25.
    Minimum = 20. Maximum = 30. Average = 25.
    Averaging temperature is meaningless.

    Furthermore, according to the “Gold Standard of Climate Science” the IPCC, warming due to man’s emissions of CO2 should manifest itself mostly in minimum temperatures, mostly in winter.
    Therefore, talking about summer highs in relation to Global Warming is wrong (and fraudulant by those who should know better).

  26. I_am_not_a_robot

    @ DaveR:

    … the temperature measured on that day [has] been adjusted downwards in the last few years, by as much as 2 deg C. …

    And yet they claim that is ‘world’s best practice’.
    I don’t understand how ‘adjustments’ to measurements long after being dutifully recorded by conscientious technicians can be justified under any circumstances.
    If a measurement is dubious add uncertainty bars graphically or better still don’t use it at all, having no information is preferable to having fake ‘information’.

  27. Squirrel

    Perhaps BoM should be given the job of producing the CPI – then we’ll meet the RBA’s inflation target band in no time.

  28. TFX

    Very interesting article and thank you for showing me how to access the historical records on the BOM website.
    I looked up the maximum temperatures for a few inland towns which I know, from experience, are extremely hot in summer. The towns are with their maximum temperatures for 7 january 2013:
    – Dubbo 37.9
    – Walgett 36.9
    – Mount Isa 39.5
    – Longreach 37.9
    – Blackall 35.6
    – Tennant Creek 39.6

    None of these towns which are the service areas for large geographical regions reached the supposedly average for Australia on that day.

  29. Spider

    Gertrude

    The commentators have “statisticians” beside them who provide fodder for breathless yet tedious reporting of endlessly obscure new records for every conceivable permutation of batting, bowling and fielding.

    Good analogy with cricket. The beauty of weather stats is that there will always be records on any given day.

    Lower Wombatville had the highest three day temperature record for a month ending in “y”.

  30. Leo G

    I don’t understand how ‘adjustments’ to measurements long after being dutifully recorded by conscientious technicians can be justified under any circumstances.

    I don’t understand how ‘adjustments’ to measurements, without corresponding extension of measurement uncertainty, can be justified.

  31. TFX

    Sorry to post again but now playing with the BOM database after they said Wednesday 18 December was the hottest day ever recorded for Australia. Again some simple site specific official BOM statistics for major inland Australian towns and cities makes me wonder how they got the national average of 41.9 C. The towns I’m providing information for are not on the coast with the moderating ocean influence but well inland. Some towns recorded above the supposedly official national maximum but most were below it. My simple sample from highest to lowest in the hottest regions of Australia.
    – Mount Isa 45.0 C
    – Kalgoorlie 44.0 C
    – Tennant Creek 42.8 C
    and towns below the official maximum
    – Broken Hill 41.8 C
    – Katherine 41.6 C
    – Longreach 41.1 C
    – Charleville 39.9 C
    – Blackall 39.6 C
    – Cobar 39.2 C
    – Dubbo 38.9 C
    – Walgett 37.4 C
    – Moree 35.3 C

    What explanation can the BOM provide for their assessing the new maximum?

  32. DaveR

    @IANAR, @Leo G

    The BOM know that temperature measurements today in cities are artificially increased by the increased buildings, asphalt etc compared to when the city sites were first established (Urban Heat Island effect). So really, those temperatures should by adjusted down, and the historical temperatures kept as measured.

    But thats not really practical, lowering the current measured city temperature by 1-2deg C. It makes it difficult to do when the actual reading is higher. So what they do is cool the past, and keep the current (artificially increased) temperature as it is.

    But the problem arises when they spread this correction to all other stations across the nation, including UHI unaffected rural stations, through the process called homogenisation.

    What should be done is to exclude all the heavily UHI affected urban stations, and use the unaffected rural stations to form the nations’ temperature index.

    Trouble with that approach (surprise, surprise) is that there is much less warming in the rural station index than the whole-of-nation ACORN-Sat II series, the one currently used. It doesnt fit the political narrative.

  33. Tel

    Your easy answer is crap Tel.
    No consideration of scale.

    Explain the relevance of scale to the concept of temperature. Are you suggesting that big things no longer have temperature? At what size exactly does temperature vanish?

  34. Bruce

    Whatever happened to Marble Bar; once taught in schools as having the highest temperature recorded in Oz?

  35. Bruce

    Station House, just east of Windorah, south-west Queenslan, early January, 1982:

    House built of stone and rammed earth.

    Kitchen thermometer read 120F (close enough to 49C), at nine AM

    Slow-combustion stove was on, however.

    Fairly interesting being out there in January, on a motorbike and mustering cattle on days like that. Getting the silly bovines to stop sifting mud from a rapidly drying dam through their teeth and to walk slowly to the actual river channel was interesting. Once they could “smell” water, getting them to head for the bit with a sandy river bed as opposed to deep mud was an entirely different matter.

    Ah, to be younger and sillier once again!

  36. Nob

    Chris M
    #3266915, posted on December 19, 2019 at 6:17 pm
    Here in Adelaide we are expecting the next few days to be above 40 C

    Hey David I just visited a retail shop in the city were the millenial serving me commented that business was quiet probably due to the heat (my car showed 47 deg) and that it was “unbelievable we still have politicians that deny climate change and won’t do anything about it”.

    I got variations of this several times last month.
    Each time I laughed and said, “Politicians can’t change the weather!” and left it at that.

  37. Nob

    Bruce
    #3267060, posted on December 19, 2019 at 8:15 pm
    Whatever happened to Marble Bar; once taught in schools as having the highest temperature recorded in Oz?

    highest average maybe.

    Highest was Oodnadatta.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-18/outback-locals-battle-to-keep-cool-amid-heatwave/11810002

    If you’re goin to Oodnadatta mate, with me you can ride …

  38. duncanm

    TFX
    #3267031, posted on December 19, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    Sorry to post again but now playing with the BOM database after they said Wednesday 18 December was the hottest day ever recorded for Australia. Again some simple site specific official BOM statistics for major inland Australian towns and cities makes me wonder how they got the national average of 41.9 C.
    ..
    – Charleville 39.9 C
    ..

    they make it up, that’s how.

    Let’s pick the above example. Just the first five of days of the year at the start and end of the record at Charleville Aero. 1943 versus 2019.

    Data is here for Charleville aero:
    raw data
    Acorn Sat (adjusted) , which is the stuff they use for long-term temperature.

    1943:
    Raw: 32.9, 30.2, 31.1, 32.0, 30.9. mean=31.4
    Adjusted: 30.8, 28, 27.7, 29.2, 27.7. mean=28.7
    so in 1943, they’ve adjusted the temperatures down by 2.7°C

    2019
    Raw: 39.1, 39.1, 38.8, 38.8, 38.5. mean=38.9
    Adjusted: 39.1, 39.1, 38.8, 38.8, 38.5. mean=38.9
    ie: no adjustment to the instrument record.

    Magically, we have 2.7C degrees warming at Charleville over 70 years.

    How the hell you adjust a site in that direction, when development (its an airport!), and UHI says you should go in the other direction, is beyond me.

  39. duncanm

    Sorry – the correct link for Charleville Acorn data is this one. The numbers above are correct, but I linked to Longreach

  40. PeterM

    Looking at he BoM observations for the ACt today, the highest temp I can find is 38degC. Didn’t stop the ABC announcing that every state and territory except Tasmania experienced temperatures over 40c.

  41. iggie

    duncanm
    Yep, they make it up.
    Here’s how the BoM adjusted Bourke’s max mean in January, 1939.
    Bourke 40.4 (Raw max mean) 40.04 (ACORN1) 39.8C (ACORN2)

    That’s down 0.42C in two hits (or nearly half the warming since 1910).
    And they have just increased all of Australia’s annual max means by around 0.1C from 1995 to 2017.
    Originally 2000, 2001 and 2011 were below average years – now only 2000 remains.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/change/#tabs=Tracker&tracker=timeseries

    Time for ACORN3.

  42. I_am_not_a_robot

    Tony Heller at RealClimateScience.com (not RealClimate.org) does a terrific job at debunking the hysteria and thanks PaulW for the post.

  43. DaveR

    Its not just hysteria, its also fraud on the Australian people. Remember, the BOM findings form the basis for governments approach to climate change, energy policy, the massively subsidised renewables industry, and legitimises attempts to close down the coal power sector (SA, Vic). It was behind the attempted deception of the Turnbull-Frydenberg NEG. Not crucial for the nation?

  44. John A

    Tel #3266872, posted on December 19, 2019, at 5:41 pm

    All temperatures are a statistical property that applies over a bulk volume of matter. An individual molecule flying through vacuum has velocity, but not temperature.

    How can a country have an “average temperature”?

    How can a room have an “average temperature”?

    How can a cup of water have an “average temperature”?

    Easy answer: because nothing in the world ever achieves perfect thermodynamic equilibrium, it is, therefore, necessary to make an estimate as to what it would be if it did get to equilibrium. Depending on how you calculate it, you might get a result that is more or less accurate.

    If the average temperature of a glass of water goes up by 30 degrees then you have something going on there.

    A statistical average can have meaning only within a homogenous body of matter, as your initial statement implies.

    Even then, the average is only of any use if the body is energy stable, meaning no energy inputs are affecting the temperature of any of its component molecules.

    A cup of water can conceivably have an average temperature, under certain limiting conditions. Likewise the air in a room, but not the planet.

  45. Tel

    A statistical average can have meaning only within a homogenous body of matter, as your initial statement implies.

    Is that a general property of statistics, do you think? Seems to me that if you can only take a statistic over homogeneous entities, that would largely defeat the whole idea of having statistics. Or is it a special thing that only applies to statistics relating to temperature … if so, then why?

    Even then, the average is only of any use if the body is energy stable, meaning no energy inputs are affecting the temperature of any of its component molecules.

    That’s called thermodynamic equilibrium (as mentioned above).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermodynamic_equilibrium

    Thing is, in the real world that never happens, no more than economic equilibrium ever happens. It’s a theoretical construct to describe how the world would settle if left alone. By the way, even when equilibrium is achieved you don’t get homogeneity, you instead get Boltzmann statistics, or what Wikipedia calls the Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution. And at different temperatures, that distribution changes shape, there is a curve for it.

    A cup of water can conceivably have an average temperature, under certain limiting conditions. Likewise the air in a room, but not the planet.

    So John, if the cup of water got bigger, suppose a bucket of water, would it still have an average temperature? As the bucket gets larger and becomes a wading pool, does the average temperature go away?

    Tell me the size of water where this phase transition occurs … a pond? a lake? an ocean?

  46. classical_hero

    It’s easy to heat up the average temperature by having more thermometers in the desert than there previously was. But if they are correct, then making energy expensive is the opposite of what we need, especially considering people were dying when the temperature was around this level.

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