How Angry Was Summer?

Ken Stewart, 17 March 2012

 We’ve all heard about the Climate Commission’s report, “The Angry Summer”.

Tom Quirk has been able to obtain UAH lower atmospheric data for Australia, and has put together a comparison of BOM and UAH data for Australia and his conclusions are correct- there has been no significant warming since 2002.

Fig. 1Tom's graph1

I have used Tom’s work to compare the ACORN annual data with that of UAH.  I have to thank Tom- without his initiative I would not have been able to obtain UAH lower atmospheric data for Australia.

To compare Acorn with UAH I calculated approximate Acorn anomalies from a 1981-2010 climatology (the same as UAH), instead of BOM’s 1961-1990 climatology.

Fig. 2Acorn UAH 79-12 new

The reasonably close match is remarkable, and confirms Tom’s finding.

This is in spite of all of our reservations about Acorn’s shortcomings, so it’s still good for something!

We may conclude that if BOM sticks to its 112 Acorn stations and maintains them, and if BOM manages to reduce the uncertainty in their data to +/-0.2C, then we can generally rely on their annual data into the future.   Note to believers in man-made global warming: do not read too much into this: it is “near enough for a sheep station”, but not near enough for predictions of doom.

That bears repeating: BOM’s Acorn annual data matches UAH satellite data reasonably well.

Let’s look at the Angry Summer- in fact all summers in the satellite era.

Once again I re-calculated approximate Acorn summer anomalies from the 1981-2010 mean, as UAH does.  Figure 3 shows the Acorn data for summers compared with UAH:

Fig. 3Aust uah v bom 1981-10 means

According to BOM last summer was a record, yet the satellites say it was pretty ordinary- 14th warmest out of the last 35.  The last time there was such a large discrepancy was 1983- the two series since then have been reasonably similar.

Again I ask: what’s going on?

23 Responses to “How Angry Was Summer?”

  1. Phantom of the Underpants. Says:

    We’ve had four short, cool summers in a row in VIC. We’ve been about due for a long hot one. After a good healthy cool, wet winter, I figured we’d get just about what we got. That’s not empirical science. It’s just a feeling of how things happen. It happened.
    I’m better than the Flannery because my prediction came true. Even then it wasn’t that hot. Reminded me of the summers I spent at the local pool in my teen years, roasting my back lobster red, swimming and surreptitiously watching girls in their bikinis.
    Long time ago.

  2. Nick Says:

    You do realise that the satellites are not measuring temperature at the surface layer?

    • Ken Stewart Says:

      You don’t say Nick! Your point being?

      • Nick Says:

        Discrepancy between surface measurements and sat measurements is to be expected. Year by year the differences are obvious and have no ‘pattern’/ratio/regularity. A couple of years are remarkable for their closeness given the different layers measured ..What was your point again? Was it ‘Whats going on?’ That’s a question answered by remembering the meaning of ‘troposphere’.

        • Ken Stewart Says:

          The discrepancies between surface and satellite measurements are indeed expected but certainly DO have patterns- not regularity. In a future post I will discuss this issue. Suffice to say at the moment that the discrepancies depend on the season- wet years (surface cooler relative to troposphere) or drought years (warmer). My point again: this last summer has not been remarkably dry, yet the discrepancy between Acorn and UAH is as much as it was in the worst droughts (summer 1983, autumn 2002 and 2005) and in absolute terms this summer was higher than summer 1998. So my rhetorical query is- why the remarkable discrepancy in a non-remarkable season?

          • Nick Says:

            Maybe the relationship you describe needs to consider warm ocean temperatures as well, and certainly very large areas of the country have been very dry,despite decaying cyclones in the Pilbara,a burst of wetness in western WA and a damp east coast inland to the divide. I’m not so sure the season can be adequately covered with a description like ‘non-remarkable’.

  3. sillyfilly Says:

    Ken,

    Are you able to provide the climatology adjustments on which you based your data.

    Also, can you produce the UAH data set for the Australian and the summer period you plotted. Obviously is it not a standard MSU product

    Without these, you’re making assumptions that cannot be tested for the reality of the data, rather than another episode of statistical trickery.

    Until then one must remain very sceptical of any analysis. Particularly as your source has proven unreliable on many previous occasions.

    • Ken Stewart Says:

      Yes. 1981-2010 climatology 22.105. (vs 1961-90 21.8).
      And yes: Annual:
      -0.105
      0.506
      0.009
      -0.228
      -0.097
      -0.6
      -0.195
      -0.264
      -0.203
      0.405
      -0.199
      0.108
      0.239
      -0.537
      -0.272
      -0.356
      -0.016
      0.187
      -0.202
      0.65
      -0.127
      -0.217
      -0.265
      0.251
      -0.024
      0.043
      0.459
      0.303
      0.407
      0.07
      0.561
      0.11
      -0.112
      -0.095

      And summer:
      0.209
      0.456
      0.423
      0.426
      -0.078
      -0.721
      -0.07
      -0.131
      -0.237
      -0.058
      -0.278
      -0.505
      0.767
      -0.652
      -0.632
      -0.168
      -0.303
      0.037
      0.306
      0.874
      0.356
      -0.548
      0.328
      -0.743
      0.016
      0.24
      0.049
      0.476
      0.054
      0.059
      0.302
      0.452
      0.092
      -0.61
      0.161

      The data is straight from John Christy and Roy Spencer and is UAH for the Australian land region.

      Ken

      • sillyfilly Says:

        Ken,

        Data from the BOM for the summer period is available here:
        http://www.bom.gov.au/web01/ncc/www/cli_chg/timeseries/tmean/1202/aus/latest.txt

        With a climatology of: Average (1961-90) 27.5 °C

        Annual data climatology is: Average (1961-90) 21.8 °C

        Ref:

        http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi?graph=tmean&area=aus&season=1202&ave_yr=0

        Sources are ACORN

        So it appears that your data set or the calculation of the relevant anomalies are widely disparate from that which your reported.

        Do you have more details?

        • kenskingdom Says:

          Yes, those are exactly the values I used, and I used them to recalculate 1981-2010 means for annual and summers; those latter are the values I gave you. The new annual anomalies match very well with ACORN (correlataion 0.8725), but not summer (correlation 0.566595).
          So it appears that my dataset and calculations are exactly as reported. I explained all this in the text of the post, and in my reply to you specified “1981-2010 climatology 22.105. (vs 1961-90 21.8)”- didn’t you see that? Do you have any other (sensible) queries?

          • sillyfilly Says:

            Perhaps you misunderstand. What was your climatology calculation for summer (being DJF: BOM says 27.5 DC). Simple question, yet no answer? And where is the baseline data you sourced from Dr Roy and what anomaly calculation did he use? Highly reasonable questions given your assertions!

  4. Pat Says:

    @Nick You do realise that NOTHING measures temps at the surface, not even thermometers in weather stations. So not sure what your point is.

    • Nick Says:

      Hmmm. Are you being facetious? I said ‘surface layer’ meaning standard meteorology not skin. Sats sample lower troposphere well above the surface layer, Weather stations are within 2m of the surface. Why would anyone expect two metrics to closely agree in anything more than a coincidental way when one measures at 1.5m and the other infers temperature from a swathe centered many hundreds of metres up?

  5. Ken Stewart Says:

    Reply to sillfilly @12.35pm:
    BOM Summer 1981-2010 climatology 27.72.
    UAH Seasonal Anomalies 1 = DJF
    1979 1 0.209
    1979 2 -0.524
    1979 3 -0.488
    1979 4 0.080
    1980 1 0.456
    1980 2 0.615
    1980 3 0.266
    1980 4 0.794
    1981 1 0.423
    1981 2 -0.301
    1981 3 -0.189
    1981 4 -0.039
    1982 1 0.426
    1982 2 -0.215
    1982 3 -0.379
    1982 4 -0.536
    1983 1 -0.078
    1983 2 -0.131
    1983 3 -0.379
    1983 4 0.381
    1984 1 -0.721
    1984 2 -0.606
    1984 3 -0.406
    1984 4 -0.844
    1985 1 -0.070
    1985 2 0.083
    1985 3 -0.031
    1985 4 -0.760
    1986 1 -0.131
    1986 2 0.340
    1986 3 -0.781
    1986 4 -0.431
    1987 1 -0.237
    1987 2 -0.304
    1987 3 -0.200
    1987 4 -0.215
    1988 1 -0.058
    1988 2 0.385
    1988 3 0.629
    1988 4 0.594
    1989 1 -0.278
    1989 2 0.306
    1989 3 -0.768
    1989 4 0.082
    1990 1 -0.505
    1990 2 0.414
    1990 3 0.003
    1990 4 0.258
    1991 1 0.767
    1991 2 -0.037
    1991 3 0.671
    1991 4 0.108
    1992 1 -0.652
    1992 2 -0.129
    1992 3 -0.139
    1992 4 -1.229
    1993 1 -0.632
    1993 2 -0.300
    1993 3 0.193
    1993 4 -0.587
    1994 1 -0.168
    1994 2 -0.611
    1994 3 -0.184
    1994 4 -0.638
    1995 1 -0.303
    1995 2 -0.356
    1995 3 0.225
    1995 4 0.379
    1996 1 0.037
    1996 2 0.222
    1996 3 0.229
    1996 4 0.341
    1997 1 0.306
    1997 2 -0.372
    1997 3 -0.715
    1997 4 -0.296
    1998 1 0.874
    1998 2 0.824
    1998 3 0.555
    1998 4 0.563
    1999 1 0.356
    1999 2 -0.154
    1999 3 0.139
    1999 4 -0.461
    2000 1 -0.548
    2000 2 -0.158
    2000 3 -0.567
    2000 4 0.132
    2001 1 0.328
    2001 2 -0.576
    2001 3 -0.065
    2001 4 -0.547
    2002 1 -0.743
    2002 2 0.296
    2002 3 0.528
    2002 4 0.690
    2003 1 0.016
    2003 2 -0.128
    2003 3 -0.037
    2003 4 -0.118
    2004 1 0.240
    2004 2 -0.016
    2004 3 0.123
    2004 4 0.077
    2005 1 0.049
    2005 2 0.746
    2005 3 0.175
    2005 4 0.591
    2006 1 0.476
    2006 2 -0.114
    2006 3 0.231
    2006 4 0.971
    2007 1 0.054
    2007 2 0.752
    2007 3 0.001
    2007 4 0.658
    2008 1 0.059
    2008 2 -0.273
    2008 3 -0.162
    2008 4 0.640
    2009 1 0.302
    2009 2 -0.068
    2009 3 1.134
    2009 4 0.720
    2010 1 0.452
    2010 2 0.482
    2010 3 0.166
    2010 4 -0.484
    2011 1 0.092
    2011 2 -0.584
    2011 3 0.316
    2011 4 -0.091
    2012 1 -0.610
    2012 2 -0.236
    2012 3 -0.366
    2012 4 0.636
    2013 1 0.161
    Monthly Climatology
    198101 201012 1 280.25
    198101 201012 2 280.07
    198101 201012 3 278.38
    198101 201012 4 275.48
    198101 201012 5 273.69
    198101 201012 6 271.94
    198101 201012 7 271.38
    198101 201012 8 272.41
    198101 201012 9 274.15
    198101 201012 10 275.37
    198101 201012 11 277.18
    198101 201012 12 279.32

    This should be enough for you to do your own calculations, as I did.

    Anything else? Perhaps if you have doubts about UAH data you could approach John Christy or Roy Spencer yourself. I’d advise you to be somewhat better mannered in your dealings with them.

    • Greg Goodman Says:

      Hi Ken,

      Is this data the most recent one that includes Tasie and not PNG?

      If not could you post it please, with the fullest description that John Christy provided as to what exactly it represents.

      Normally they only provide latitude bands, so it looks like this is a special extraction for a long/lat box around Australia.

      It’s pretty important in all this to have a clear record of what the data represents. I could go directly to John but he’s a busy man and I’d rather not add to his mail bag unless necessary.

      thanks.

  6. Ken Stewart Says:

    Reply to Nick @ March 22:
    Nick, please check for yourself the rainfall anomaly maps for 3 months to Feb 2013, Feb 1983, May 2002 and May 2005 (http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/awap/rain/archive.jsp?colour=colour&map=anomaly&year=2013&month=2&period=3month&area=nat) There is no comparison. Sea temperatures have nothing to do with Acorn surface temperatures, and the UAH data is for land grids. I will put up a new post shortly to illustrate this.

  7. anthony Says:

    Well done Ken, dealing with such advocates of AGW as SF and Nick [S]. I look forward to your post on the difference between surface and near Earth satellite temperature measurment by the satellites. You might consider this paper:

    http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/r-345a.pdf

  8. The Angry Summer | CACA Says:

    […] in Huntsville, Alabama State Climatologist and Roy Spencer. It was graphed by Ken Stewart at KensKingdom,and inspired by Tom Quirk at Quadrant. I was very happy to connect them this weekend. The data […]

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