Sunday, April 11, 2010

The "Climate Data Derivatives" Market

To understand how the CSIRO+BoM can make the assertion that "all of Australia has experienced warming over the past 50 years" it is essential to pay close attention to the language used in the introductory paragraph of their brochure:
Since 1960 the mean temperature in Australia has increased by about 0.7°C.
The key is in the words "mean temperature", which is also used in the caption accompanying the Figure on page 1 ("Trend in mean temperature 1960-2009 (ºC/decade)"). To understand the precise significance of this term "mean temperature" requires a bit of digging.

Firstly, a bit of history. The BoM maintains a network of weather observation station across Australia. These stations (and their data) can be accessed from the following web page:

The BoM also maintains a Reference Climate Station (RCS) network. This is the so-called "high quality, long-term climate monitoring" stations, which are in fact a subset of 103 of the weather observation stations detailed above. These RCS stations can be access from the following web page:

When accessing the underlying data for these weather observation stations, the navigation ultimately takes you to the same search-engine page, namely:

On this page, there are a number of options as to the temperature data series that can be searched, as follows:

The options available are:

- Mean maximum temperature
- Mean minimum temperature
- Highest temperature
- Lowest maximum temperature
- Highest minimum temperature
- Lowest temperature

Hmmm ... no "Mean temperature" search option.

It turns out that the BoM also maintains what it calls the "Australian high-quality climate site networks". This is accessible from the following web page:

Why do we need yet another "high-quality" climate data network, you ask? The answer can be found on their explanatory page:
Several high-quality (or homogenised) observational datasets have been developed to identify, monitor and attribute changes in the Australian climate. These datasets have been produced using a variety of quality control and correction techniques.
Interesting. It's not a "real" weather station network after all. It is a "climate data manufacturing" facility. And this is where they cook up the "mean temperatures" that they quote in their brochure.

To understand just how this climate data manufacturing process works, it is instructive to compare and contrast the last three stations that were examined in Queensland District 4 yesterday, namely:
  • 031011 - Cairns Aero (1941)
  • 032004 - Cardwell Marine Pde (1871)
  • 032025 - Innisfail (1881)
We shall examine and compare the data that is obtainable for these three stations from both the Weather Observation stations network, and the "High-Quality Homogenised" climate data networks.

031011 - Cairns Aero (1941)

As we saw previously, the Cairns Airport station was established in 1941 and weather data is more or less continuously available from this site from 1942 onwards. When we look at the "Annual mean maximum temperature" graph, we see that temperatures were more or less stable for the first 40 years, then took a small upward jump when the airport was extended and the international airport opened:
However, once the data fabricators have had a chance to play with the data, they concoct an "Annual mean temperature" graph which paints a completely different story:

In this graph we see that the "annual mean temperature" has been climbing steadily since 1942.

Also fascinating to see is the temperature "spike" in the mid-1920s. Given that this station didn't open until 1941, one wonders where this additional 30 years' worth of data has materialised from. Presumably this is not a difficult problem to a competent "homogeniser".

However, if we look at the GISS "adjusted" data for Cairns Airport, we can perhaps see why this bogus data for the years 1910 to 1941 has been grafted on. The addition of this spurious earlier data, which is then "adjusted" downwards, turns what was a 0.18ºC/century gradient into a 0.63ºC/century gradient.

This is climate data baking at its very best!

032004 - Cardwell Marine Pde (1871)
Cardwell is another interesting subject to examine closer. When we look at the "Annual mean maximum temperature" graph, we see that there are some missing early years of data, and that there has been a noticable decrease since the late 1980s.
However, once the "homogenisers" have worked on the data, we again see a different picture. Who would think that the following graph represents exactly the same station as above?

032025 - Innisfail (1881)

Cardwell is another interesting subject to examine closer. When we look at the "Annual mean maximum temperature" graph, we see that the temperature trended up to a peak around 1950, dropped significantly over the next ten years, and has been more or less stable since then.

The homogenisers see a completely different history, though, as illustrated in the following graph. To them it is all "up".

There is an endless series of "high-quality" homogenised stations that could be examined in this fashion - all with the same result. However, my favourite so far is 029063 - Normanton Airport. The station was only opened in 2001, yet here is its graph with 100 years of homogenised data:

The really curious thing about this graph is - if you're prepared to go to the trouble of manufacturing 90 years worth of historical data, why baulk at cooking up the last five years' worth?


If an accountant were to use these same methods in preparing financial reports, he would surely go to jail for his efforts. And yet this obvious data manipulation seems to be the mainstay of modern "Climate Scientology". It bears similarities to the financial manipulation that underlies the derivatives market in that the end product is almost unrecognisable from the data on which it is based. One wonders whether this "homogenised data" might better be labelled "Climate Data Derivatives".

Whatever claims the BoM may have to operating an efficient weather station network, it is all for nothing when they let their data disappear into this cesspool of "homogenisation".  As we can see from this small sample, none of the "homogenised" records bears any resemblance to the graphs produced from the presumably more realistic station data records. And when a whole century's worth of "homogenised" data can be produced out of thin air, one has to ask - "what happened to the quality assurance procedures we were told about".

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cairns - Making Numbers Work For You

The Queensland District 4 (North Tropical Coast and Tablelands) lists twelve weather observation stations, of which ten have historical data.

Two of these stations (032004 - Cardwell, and 032025 - Innisfail) have temperature data records which go back as far as 1908. Both of them show no significant warming over the last 100 years.

The Cairns Airport station, on the other hand, was only commissioned in 1941 and, at first glance, indicates a period of warming beginning in the mid-1980s and extending through to current times.

It will come as no surprise, then, that Cairns Airport is the station that has been selected as the District 4 representative in the RCS network.

The following is a complete list of the weather observation stations in District 4.

031011 - Cairns Aero (1941) - [data] [graph] - Data start date: 1942 (1 year missing)
031037 - Low Isles Lighthouse (1887) - [data] [graph] - Data start date: 1967 (80 years missing)
031192 - Green Island (1992) - [data] [graph] - Data start date: 1993 (1 year missing)
031209 - Cooktown Airport (2000) - [data] [graph] - Data start date: 2000
031210 - Mareeba Airport (2000) - [data] [graph] - Data start date: 2000
031213 - Cape Flattery (2003) - [data] [graph] - Data start date: 2003
032004 - Cardwell Marine Pde (1871) - [data] [graph] - Data start date: 1907 (36 years missing)
032025 - Innisfail (1881) - [data] [graph] - Data start date: 1908 (27 years missing)
032037 - South Johnstone (1920) - [data] [graph] - Data start date: 1944 (24 years missing)
032141 - Lucinda Point (1980) - [data] [graph] - Data start date: 1980
200845 - Norman Reef (1993) - [no data]
200846 - Moore Reef (1993) - [no data]

The BoM represents Cairns Aero as a "rural" weather station - certainly the photo in the station record gives that impression. But just how "rural" is Cairns Aero?

Google Earth shows that the weather station is situated adjacent to the main runway of Cairns Airport, which in turn is less than 6 km from the centre of Cairns itself, a fairly densely populated urban centre:

Cairns and its surrounding district has undergone rapid growth since the late 1970s - its population having doubled in this period, as indicated by statistics taken from Wikipedia:

A significant part of this growth has been fueled by tourism - which received a major boost when the Cairns airport was extended and upgraded to an international airport in the early 1980s.

If we check the Cairns Airport website ( we note the following significant dates:

1982:  Stage 1 redevelopment begins - Runway lengthened to 2600m
1984:  Completion of Stage 1 - Dual international and domestic terminals opened.

Following the completion of this redevelopment, Cairns Airport has grown to become the seventh busiest airport in Australia.

No surprise, then, that the weather station adjacent to this runway should record temperature increases during the period when air traffic movements increased to a level which generated this growth:


Once again, Cairns Airport demonstrates the problem of cherry picking "data" to support a narrative. Two more representative rural weather stations in this district (Innisfail and Cardwell) - both with much longer data histories - have been passed over, presumably because they support the wrong narrative. Instead, a station which is located at one of Australia's fastest-growing airports, in one of its fastest-growing regional centres - has been selected. Again, presumably because it provides some support for the politically correct narrative.

Only if we ignore all the substantial population and infrastructure growth over the last 30 years does the Cairns Aero weather station data provide any support for the CSIRO+BoM Climate brochure assertion of temperature increase over the last 50 years. All it demonstrates is that Cairns has, indeed, been at the epicentre of a remarkable explosion in the tourist industry during this period. A look at the records for Innisfail and Cardwell provides the proof - if indeed any more is required.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Richmond - More Confusion

The Queensland District 3 (Northern Goldfields and UpperFlinders) lists only four "everyday" weather observation stations. All four are airports, and the oldest has measurements only back as far as 1992. The stations are as follows:

030022 - Hughenden  -  [data] [graph]
030124 - Georgetown  -  [data] [graph]
030161 - Richmond  -  [data] [graph]
034084 - Charters Towers  -  [data] [graph]

And again, there is a disconnect between the "everyday" weather stations and the RCS "high quality" stations, which includes:

030045 - Richmond Post Office - [data] [graph]

Because all four of these stations have less than 20 years worth of data, none of them would satisfy the BoM's objective of "high quality and long climate records", and accordingly Richmond Post Office has been selected as the RCS station for this district.

A couple of observations can be made about this Richmond PO station. Firstly, as was highlighted in the "More Dodgy Post Offices" item, the siting of this station does not appear to meet CRN1 standards, with paved roads on all boundaries.

Secondly, in spite of this, where is the warming that the CSIRO+BoM have noted in their Climate brochure?

At best, this graph illustrates continuity or perhaps a slight cooling over the 100 year period.


From a quality assurance point of view, it is suprising that a station can qualify as a "high quality" RCS station, but not be part of the everyday weather observation station network. Yet this is exactly what we find for both Queensland District 2 ("Burketown PO") and now also for this "Richmond PO" in adjoining District 3.

Furthermore, the CSIRO+BoM Climate brochure makes the assertion that "All of Australia has experienced warming over the past 50 years". Clearly on the basis of the only station record for this District 3 which stretches back over 50 years, this is not the case.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Where is the Quality Assurance?

When the BoM+CSIRO released its "State of the Cliimate" prolefeed brochure in mid-March, the BoM website listed 103 climate stations that comprised the RCS network. At that time, this listing included the following three stations:
  1. 010035 - Cunderdin (1914 - )  [data] [graph]
  2. 029004 - Burketown PO (1886 - )  [data] [graph]
  3. 078031 - Nhill (1897 - 2009)  [data] [graph]
The proof of this is that - as at today - these three stations still have their photographs and station details included in the RCS "Site Details" database, and clicking on the station numbers above will take you to these records.

Following the coverage of the "Dodgy Post Offices" item (which included Cunderdin) on the Andrew Bolt blog, Cunderdin was summarily dropped from the RCS network. Dropped at the same time was Nhill - a station which had actually been closed last year. Substitute stations were added to the RCS network for both of these dropped stations. Just like that!

After completing the "Burketown - Which One?" item, it was pointed out that the 029004 station had also been summarily dropped from the RCS network listing.

As at today, the following three stations have been substituted for the ones noted above:
  1. 010286 - Cunderdin Airfield (1942 - )  [data] [graph]
  2. 029077 - Burketown Airport (2001 - )  [data] [graph]
  3. 078015 - Nhill Aerodrome (2003 - )  [data] [graph]
Apart from the glaringly obvious quality control issue whereby a station which has been closed a year ago (078031 - Nhill) continues to be a "high quality, long-term climate monitoring station", it also raises the question of just how valid it is to substitute newer stations for ones with a data history stretching back over a century.

Taking these three in sequence, we notice that:
  • Cunderdin, a station which began in 1914 (but only has data since 1950) has been replaced by Cunderdin Airfield, which began in 1942 (but only has data since 1996). A loss of 46 years' worth of data for this location.
  • Burketown PO, a station which began in 1886 (and has data since 1890) has been replaced by Burketown Airport, which began in 2001. A loss of 111 years' worth of data for this location.
  • Nhill, a station which began in 1897 and was closed in 2009, has been replaced by Nhill Aerodrome, which began in 2003. A loss of at least 106 years' worth of data for this location.
In simple terms, for Cunderdin, this:

...has been replaced by this:

For Burketown, this:

...has been replaced by this:

And for Nhill, this:

...has been replaced by this:

Apart from the obvious issue of older stations being substituted with newer stations, where are any of these changes documented? How can a closed station be simply left in the network for a year? And how can one station simply be substituted for another on the basis of bad publicity?

When the CSIRO+BoM released their Climate brochure in mid-March, Greg Ayers, Director of the BoM, was interviewed by Sarah Clarke on the ABC, and he offered the following self-assessment:

GREG AYERS: For the Australian region, we have around 100 climate reference stations, as we call them, where we pay a great deal of attention to doing the best possible measurements, making sure that there's quality assurance on the way the data is brought in and then used
Where is this quality assurance process and where is it documented? How do the above three station pairs fit within this quality assurance process? How much of this statement is a work of fiction?


In their Climate brochure, the CSIRO+BoM make the assertion that "since 1960 the mean temperature in Australia has increased by about 0.7°C". Over a 50 year period, this represents about 0.014°C per year, and for this conclusion to be drawn, some exceedingly accurate record keeping would clearly be required. Of the stations which have been examined so far, it is hard to see how either of these assertions (namely, a quality assurance process or the temperature increase) can be supported.