Australian Meteorologists Caught Fudging Temperature Measurements

Published September 23, 2014

Australian Meteorologists Caught Fudging Temperature Measurements

By Darren Nelson

A storm of sorts has been brewing in Australia, a tempest caused by anthropogenic global warming activism. Scientist Jennifer Marohasy and environment editor Graham Lloyd, among others have been reporting on the fact the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has been ‘fudging’ historical temperature records to fit a warming narrative.

On her blog, Marohasy reported, “[T]emperatures have been diligently recorded at places like Bourke in outback New South Wales since 1871. Then there’s the Bureau’s official record that takes a revisionist approach: first truncating the data and then passing it through complex mathematical algorithms.”

“[BOM] has constructed a synthetic climate record whose relevance to climate change is not scientifically defensible,” said William Kininmonth, a retired meteorologist and former head of the National Climate Centre (NCC) at BOM.

Prof. Bob Carter, science policy advisor at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), said, “Official correction of the temperature records by national agencies was first detected in the USA for NASA, and shortly thereafter the release of the Climategate emails revealed similar procedures were in use by the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, which prepares the UKs temperature records.”

Changed Cooling to Warming

Marohasy reported she had “analysed the raw data from dozens of locations across Australia and matched it against the new data used by BOM showing that temperatures were progressively warming.” “In many cases,” Marohasy added, “temperature trends had changed from slight cooling to dramatic warming over 100 years.”

BOM said the agency had used global best practices and a peer-reviewed process to modify the physical temperature records from weather stations across the country. The data from some of weather stations underwent a process known as “homogenization,” allegedly to correct for anomalies. Historical data was altered to account for a wide range of non-climate-related influences such as the type of instrument used, choice of calibration or enclosure, and where it was located.

However, Kininmonth noted, “There is no justifiable basis to modify actual observations without evidence of changed instrumentation or environmental factors; where there is evidence of such changes the adjustments can only be considered speculative, especially if the adjustments are made on the basis of statistical links to independent observations from tens of kilometres away.” According to former television meteorologist Anthony Watts, “[e]ssentially all the homogenization does is spread the warm bias around.”

Specific Data Manipulation Revealed

The Australian and Weekend Australian have been closely following and reporting on this developing story through environment editor Lloyd. In the August 23, 2014 Australian, Lloyd wrote, “It goes to heart of the climate change debate, in particular, whether computer models are better than real data and whether temperature records are being manipulated in a bid to make each year hotter than the last.”

In a statement to Environment & Climate News, Lloyd emphasized, “The Australian responded to legitimate concerns that were being widely raised. It is the media’s job to ask questions with the aim of making people better informed. I will leave judgement about who is right to others.”

On her website, Marohasy cited a problematic example of the BOM’s temperature alterations: “[T]he unhomogenised/raw mean annual minimum temperature trend for Rutherglen for the 100-year period from January 1913 through to December last year shows a slight cooling trend of 0.35C per 100 years. After homogenisation there is a warming trend of 1.73C per 100 years. [T]his warming trend essentially was achieved by progressively dropping down the temperatures from 1973 back through to 1913.”

Greenpeace cofounder Patrick Moore blasted the process as “institutional lying.” “Firstly, ‘homogenization’ of temperature readings is a new and contrived concept. It is a pure rationalization to fake the actual record. Secondly, the motivation for this institutional lying is the continued flow of taxpayer money to support the fiction that we are responsible for the natural change in climate that has been going on since life began,” Moore said.

‘Reason for National Shame’

A 2011 independent review panel told BOM “to be more transparent and make public all details of the computer models used to adjust historic temperature . . . [and] to clearly explain any changes that were made between raw and homogenised data.”

Lloyd said, “Transparency is always important. This was clearly recognized by the bureau’s own independent peer review panel, which called for greater openness. Publication of all adjustments made and the decision making process is good practice.”

Marohasy has covered this story extensively on her blog. At the outset of the controversy, Marohasy wrote, “the adjusted records resemble propaganda rather than science.” More recently she wrote, “That the Minister has not yet intervened, and that many within the Australian scientific community attempt to justify the practice of homogenisation that creates these adjustments that changes cooling trends to warming trends at a whim, is reason for national shame.”

D. Brady Nelson is a Washington DC-based neo-Austrian economist, writer, and speaker from Brisbane, Australia and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is a regulation expert with The Heartland Institute.

Internet Info:

Graham Lloyd, The Australian, August 23, 2014.