Archive for November, 2012

Summer Rain Outlook Update November 27 2012

November 27, 2012

Progress so far:

I remind readers again of my area of interest- subtropical Queensland.

Here’s a summary of my predictions since 1 August, illustrating changes and refinements to my methods as I attempted to be more precise.

On 1 August I predicted enhanced activity for early to mid November and early to mid December.

On 5 September I refined this to November 15 +/- 10 days, December 5 +/- 7 days, and December 16 +/- 7 days.

On 20 September I changed this to November 13 +/- 10 days, November 26(?), and December 4 +/- 4 days, December 20 +/- 8 days, and December 26 +/- 2 days.

On October 5 I included November 7 +/- 3 days.

On 6 November I added November 20 +/- 3 days, and December 9 +/- 3 days.

On 12 November, I predicted enhanced activity with surges around 18, 22, and 25 November, and on 14 November updated this to include “I expect a vigorous disturbance bringing heavy rain in early December (5th +/- 5 days), and another vigorous disturbance with heavy rain around December 20 +/- 5 days and probably extending past Christmas. I expect more rain around the New Year.”

Violent storms passed through south east Queensland on 17-18 November.  There were scattered storms on 22 November (though no rain fell in the rain gauges I monitor) and on the night of 24-25 November a large storm brewed up in south west Queensland around Augathella and moved rapidly north east, reaching the coast at the Whitsundays next morning.  The graph shows this as a small blip, as only 16mm was recorded at only one of my sites (Clermont Aero).  I’m not sure whether to attribute this to the predicted surges for 22 or 25 November- the next couple of days will tell if we get a disturbance from the system bringing rain to Victoria at the moment, but that is more likely to be the 1 December disturbance.

This map is for one day- 25 November:

Outlook for the rest of the year:

There will be further activity in early December (possibly a small event around 1st, with a larger system with widespread rain around 5th +/- 5 days, and 9th  +/- 5 days, most likely 5 to 9 December), and a major disturbance mid to late December with surges around 18-22 and 26, plus possibly 30 (and probably 2-4 January), all +/- 5 days.  I expect this to bring heavy rain, especially in the week leading up to Christmas.  This may include the appearance of the monsoon in north Queensland.  If so the monsoon could return around 30 January and possibly 8 March.

It will be difficult to match individual events with predictions (as they are so close as to overlap, and sometimes enhancements bring cloud but little rain), but I can say early to mid December, and mid to late December will see several rain events.

I should mention that rainfall is measured at 9.00 a.m. on the day after it falls.

Outlook for 2013:

January:  3, 14, 18, 25, and the big one 30-31.

February:  7, 14, 20, and maybe 26th.  (Rain will continue through the first three weeks of February, but with peaks near these days.)

March:  2, 7-8, maybe 13, maybe 17, 20, 31st .

April:  7, 13-14, 19.

All of the above +/- 5 days.

I will concentrate on the accuracy of my algorithm (for want of a better word) for the rest of this year before I improve on forecasts for next year.

SOI 30 day mean (to 25 November) is + 3.51 (neutral).

Weekly NINO 3.4 Index (to 18 November) was + 0.39 (neutral).

The Indian Ocean Dipole is currently +0.44 (neutral).

30 day mean Minimum percentage anomaly for the 10 subtropical Queensland sites I monitor (as at 27 November) was -0.005.  It has been negative for all but 30 days of this year so far.  With 34 days to go for 2012, the 365 day running mean is -0.29 and has been negative since 10 August 2011 so there is no doubt that this has been the coolest year of the last 10.

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Catalyst- still deceptive

November 18, 2012

An update on my recent post about Catalyst.

Most viewers (myself included) would not have realised that the “330 months since February 1985 of above average temperatures” reference had nothing to do with Australia, but was in fact based on an as yet unpublished paper by Dr Mark Howden of the CSIRO, who seems to have obtained his data from the NCDC.  (Unpublished? So not yet peer-reviewed?  Tut-tut, ABC!)  As it is not yet published, we can’t access it or check Dr Howden’s methods and calculations, so the 1:100,000 chance of having 330 months in a row of above average temperature not being caused by the greenhouse effect seems a bit odd. 2 to the power of 330 is somewhat more than 100,000!

Whatever.  I’m sure it’s very interesting.  But that had nothing to do with the stated subject of the program, which was “Taking Australia’s Temperature”.  It appeared to be thrown in as a late filler.  Perhaps there was no deliberate deception planned, however to include that claim without clarifying that it was not Australian data but global data resulted in at least one viewer (me) being misled.

But let’s have a closer look at this claim, seeing as it has been raised.  Yes the world has warmed, and so has Australia, over the last 100 or so years, somewhere between 0.4 and 0.7 degrees Celsius.  Thanks to Chris Gillham, here is a graph of the NCDC data, from 1880.

I’ve marked in the period between 1944 and 1976, when there was a distinct cooling period.

And this is the monthly data since 1985.

Warming?  Of course.  Continuously?  No.  The warming has definitely slowed, plateaued, or possibly even reversed since 2001-2002.

Yet every month of this data series is above the average for the 20th Century, which apparently was reached at the beginning of 1985, so Dr Howden and the CSIRO are technically correct.

But let’s look at some completely different data.

This is a graph of the Australian share index, courtesy of the ASX.

In spite of the 1987 crash, the Asian bust, the GFC, every point since 1985 is above the value then.

Another example.  Imagine driving from say Brisbane to western Queensland.  The average altitude of Australia is 330m.  Half way up the Toowoomba Range you pass this altitude.  Past Toowoomba, driving across the fairly flat Darling Downs, be warned that every kilometre is above the average altitude.  So when you reach Roma we can say that for more than 300 kilometres every kilometre has been above the average altitude.  (OK, there are a few dips when you get close to Roma, but let’s homogenise them.)  Scarey hey!

The point?  The world has been warming since the mid 19th century.  In a warming climate a point will eventually be reached where despite cooling episodes, every data point will be above the average.  The little exercise with the wine bottles in Catalyst proves absolutely nothing, especially not about Australia’s temperature.

Oh, and by the way, the poor birds dropping dead in mid flight from the heat.  The presenters failed to report that this is nothing new, and was documented in newspapers many times before World war II:-

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/85767152 – 1896

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/63914363 – 1899

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/15468919 – 1913

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/66926094 – 1924

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/32333002 – 1929

The trouble is, some people believe the mis-information spread by the BOM, the CSIRO, and the ABC.

Catalyst, the BOM, the CSIRO- caught out again

November 16, 2012

Last night I watched the ABC “science” program Catalyst, featuring “Taking Australia’s Temperature.”  I tried to post a comment at the Catalyst page but got a Server Error and my comment disappeared.  Amongst so much misinformation in the program, here was the real clanger:

” since February 1985, we have had… 330 months in a row of above-average temperatures. “

There was no mention of where or what temperatures were being referred to, although the context was grape growers moving from Victoria to Tasmania, so let’s check with the Bureau’s High Quality temperature records, for Victoria,Tasmania, South East Australia, and Australia as a whole.  I’ve marked 1985 to make it clearer.

Minima

Maxima:

And Australia as a whole, means:So there have been several years of below average temperature, and you can’t get a below average year without a number of below average months.  Don’t take my word for it, search the Bureau’s web pages for yourself: there is no State or Region with 330 consecutive months of above average temperature since February 1985.

Perhaps they were referring to the specific locality of the Brown Brothers vineyards at Milawa?  Milawa’s closest town is Wangaratta.  Here’s the Bureau’s record for Wangaratta Aero (opened 1987):

If the data from such a site as Milawa is so obviously not consistent with that of other sites around it, its State,or Region, the following possibilities must be checked:

a) a problem with the siting

b) a problem with the instruments

c) a problem with the recording

d) a problem with the adjustments to the data

e) a problem with the basic honesty of the presenters of this program in not highlighting that this was not representative of the broader record.

It was Dr Mark Howden of the CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship who made this fantastic claim.  Dr Jonica Newby, scientist/ journalist that she is, accepted and repeated it without question, so is jointly responsible.  If I am not looking at the relevant data, I stand to be corrected, and will apologize.  Unless they can offer some explanation or correction, they must obviously stand by their untruth.

UPDATE:  I have since found out from Chris Gillham that the “330 Months” is from an upcoming CSIRO paper, based on NCDC data- for global temperatures.  Which raises the questions:  why was there no reference to this in the program? and why are we referring to global temperatures when we are discussing Australia’s temperature?  So my criticism stands- this was deceptive behaviour- the average viewer would think the 330 months were in Australia’s data.  (And no comments have been allowed at Catalyst since midday.)

Once we could trust and be proud of our great institutions.  Now it seems it’s up to ordinary people to hold them to account.

Summer Rain Outlook Update November 12 2012 (Updated again 14 November)

November 12, 2012

Progress so far:

I remind readers again of my area of interest- subtropical Queensland.

Outlook for November and December:

The instability of the past few days will be repeated.  For the next 2 weeks I expect enhanced activity throughout Central and Southern Queensland and possibly beyond (circle these dates):

Mid to late November  with surges around 18, 22, and 25 (each +/- 5 days so very likely merging).

UPDATE and EARLY WARNING:   I expect a vigorous disturbance bringing heavy rain in early December (5th +/- 5 days), and another vigorous disturbance with heavy rain around December 20 +/- 5 days and probably extending past Christmas.  I expect more rain around the New Year.

It will be difficult to match individual events with predictions (as they are so close as to overlap, and sometimes enhancements bring cloud but little rain), but I can say mid to late November, early to mid December, and mid to late December will see several rain events.

I should mention that rainfall is measured at 9.00 a.m. on the day after it falls.

SOI 30 day mean (to 10 November) is + 1.53.

Weekly NINO 3.4 Index (to 4 November) was + 0.42.

The Indian Ocean Dipole is currently +0.03 and falling.

30 day mean Minimum percentage anomaly for the 10 Subtropical Queensland sites I monitor (as at 12 November) was -0.22.   (Correction-  4 November was -0.47).  It has been negative for all but 30 days of this year so far.

Spring-Summer Rain Outlook Update November 6 2012

November 6, 2012

This page will be regularly updated, as soon as I have enough RAINFALL and MINIMUM TEMPERATURE data.

This series of posts is a continuing public testing and refining of my hunch that surges in minimum anomalies indicate later upper level disturbances.

Progress:

On October 5 I tipped for October 18 +/- 3 days a possible disturbance.  This was out by one week (although the October 11-14 rain could have been a continuation of the earlier disturbance, and on 1 August I had tipped “late September to mid-October”).  I also tipped on October 5, for October 28 +/- 3 days, “Possible disturbance- Possible storms” and this was exactly right.  There were widespread storms throughout the region.  Note I had also predicted a disturbance for late October- early November back on 1 August.

This is how we went: I remind readers again of my area of interest- subtropical Queensland.

And the plot of rainfall events since 1 July:

Outlook:

SOI 30 day mean (to 3 November) is + 4.48.

Weekly NINO 3.4 Index (to 28 October) was + 0.55 and rising.

The Indian Ocean Dipole is currently +0.29 and falling.

Here’s what I said for the remainder of the year back on 1 August:  “Indications are that there will be heavier rain events starting in the period early to mid-November and early to mid-December. These events may affect NSW as well, but I am restricting my study at this stage to Queensland”.

Rain events will become more frequent and more significant as the year progresses.  I’m tipping an early and heavier Wet, and a return to La Nina next year.  I’m not so sure about January now: earlier I thought it would be hot and dry but I will have to wait until further into the season.  Normal or above wet season rains are likely in early February.

For Central and Southern Queensland, indications for the next 5 months (with updates in BOLD) are:

Commencement period Description Likely result
November 7 +/- 3 days Possible disturbance Cloud and rain
13 +/- 10 days Enhanced weather activity to begin in this period Possible storms.  This may last   to early December.
20 +/- 3 days Possible disturbance
Possibly 26?
December4 +/- 4 days Possible upper system Possible storms
9 +/- 3 days Possible disturbance
20 +/- 8 days (13-28 December) Indications of a stronger system Probable heavier storms or rain starting in this period, possibly   lasting past Xmas.
26 +/- 2 days Possible extra influence
Januarypossible 13 +/- 3 days? Possible early storms?
22 +/- 2 days? “ “
Late January- February (in the region 28 January-onwards)  Probable upper system enhancing wet season begins in this period Widespread rain, amount unknown (no-brainer- this is the wet season)
30 +/- 7 days
February6 +/- 4 days  Probable upper systems enhancing wet season in this period Widespread rain, amount unknown (no-brainer- this is the wet season)   with several enhancements
13 +/- 3 days Likely surges
18 +/- 3 days “ “
26 +/- 4 days “ “
March6 March onwards Possible upper system
17 +/- 5 days “ “
27 +/- 5 days “”
April10 +/- 5 days  “” Last of the Wet season?  Possibly clearer weather after this.

I will monitor conditions and refine my predictions as the season develops.

30 day mean Minimum percentage anomaly for the 10 Subtropical Queensland sites I monitor (as at 4 November) was -0.099.  -0.1 is no change from 5 October.