In today’s Australian there was another article by Graham Lloyd, “Climate scientists defend data changes”. The Bureau of Meteorology is quoted as claiming that “statistical analysis of minimum temperatures at Rutherglen indicated jumps in the data in 1966 and 1974….. These changes were determined through comparison with 17 nearby sites”.
Two and a half years after being asked to explain the reasons for the myriads of changes to the data, the Bureau has finally given up some of the information it should have released in 2012. I have been given the names of these 17 sites. They are:
74034 Corowa, 82053 Wangaratta, 82002 Benalla, 72097 Albury Pumping Station, 82100 Bonegilla
74106 Tocumwal, 81049 Tatura, 81084 Lemnos, 72023 Hume Reservoir, 82001 Beechworth
72150 Wagga Wagga, 74114 Wagga Research Centre, 80015 Echuca, 74039 Deniliquin (Falkiner Memorial)
74062 Leeton, 74128 Deniliquin, and 75032 Hillston.
This at last allows me to understand how they went about turning a cooling trend of -0.33C per 100 years into a warming trend of +1.74C.
Fig. 1: Rutherglen unadjusted data vs adjusted, 1913 – 2013
I checked the monthly unadjusted minimum data for Rutherglen, the adjusted data for Rutherglen, and the unadjusted data at all 17 of the listed neighbours, in the period 1951 – 1980, which according to the Bureau is the critical period containing the 1966 and 1974 break points. 30 years is a suitably long period for analysis. For the technically minded, I calculated monthly anomalies from the 1951-1980 means for each record, then 12 month averages. This should allow us to see the problems around 1966 and 1974.
Here is a chart of the results. Can you spot the outlier?
Fig. 2: Rutherglen raw (unadjusted), the 17 neighbours’ raw data, and Rutherglen Acorn (adjusted)
You won’t be able to pick out the light blue line of Rutherglen raw data in the spaghetti lines of the neighbours, but you should be able to see the dark red of the adjusted data peeping above and below the others.
For a clearer picture, here is the same information, but with the 17 neighbours averaged to a single orange line.
Fig. 3: Rutherglen unadjusted (blue), average of the 17 neighbours (orange), and Acorn- the homogenised version of Rutherglen (dark red).
Forgive me, but I thought the idea of “homogenising” was to adjust the data so that it is not so different from the neighbours. That happens in1966. They got that right, but not in 1974, where the adjustments have increased the difference, and have produced warming. Odd things also happen in 1952, 1954, 1957, 1969, and 1975-80.
It is clear that the changes to the temperatures at Rutherglen do not “homogenise” them. They make the differences from the neighbours greater, and change a cooling trend into a warming one.
This is not unique to Rutherglen- adjustments warm the temperature trends at 66 of the 104 Australian sites, and warm the national mean temperature trend by around 47%.
But what would I know- I’m just an amateur according to Professor Karoly.