The Wacky World of Weather Stations: No. 11- Streaky Bay (SA)

A good move- but the ghost lives on in adjustments.

A week or so ago I was using Latest Weather Observations for South Australia when Streaky Bay, a site I had just looked at the day before, disappeared from the list of stations.  Zombie-like, it returned to life next day, but with new co-ordinates and a more recent Site Summary.  The BOM moved Streaky Bay observations from one very poor site to another much improved site at some time in the last year or so and had only just updated the site information.

Unlike Murray Bridge, where the weather station was moved from a poor site to a much worse site, this is a good example of a sensible move to a more open site.  However, there’s a catch.

Please refer back to my first post for site specifications.

Station:  Streaky Bay 18079

Opened: 1865

Daily Temperature data from: 1957

Data used to adjust Acorn sites at:  Adelaide, Ceduna, Eucla, Forrest, Kyancutta, Port Lincoln

Location: Co-ordinates  -32.8084 134.1979  (new site)

Streaky Bay 18079 map

About 400km north-west of Adelaide

2017 BOM Site Map:

Streaky Bay 18079 plan

2019 satellite image of the old site:

Streaky Bay 18079 aerial

2015 street view:

Streaky Bay 18079 street 2015

Wow- no wonder they got around to moving it!

Well out of town:

Streaky Bay 18079 move location

Satellite view:

Streaky Bay 18079 new aerial

The screen is the white dot in the red ellipse.

Plan of new site:

Streaky Bay 18079 move plan


The old site was arguably the worst in South Australia, completely on asphalt carpark, very close to galvanised iron fences and buildings- a terrible heat sink.

The new location is about two kilometres from the town in an open and exposed position, although there are a couple of shrubs nearby.  This is much better and temperatures are likely reliable.

However, for such a large change, it should have been given a new station number.

And the catch is-  Acorn has been adjusted using data from the old site.

Streaky Bay’s temperatures have had a large impact on climate analysis, as they were used to adjust temperatures at the Acorn sites at Adelaide, Ceduna, Eucla, Forrest, Kyancutta, and Port Lincoln. Acorn sites are used for climate analysis- whether winters are getting warmer and summers hotter for example.  So the lack of quality at any site DOES MATTER!

Congratulations- the new site is very good.

But another FAIL for not declaring a new station number, and for continuing to spruik how good Acorn is when it is based on adjustments using data from the old site (and many others like it!)


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11 Responses to “The Wacky World of Weather Stations: No. 11- Streaky Bay (SA)”

  1. Bill in Oz Says:

    Well spotted Ken !
    I wonder when BOM os going to confess it’s incompetence and make amends for it’s past mistakes. ?

  2. Bill in Oz Says:

    Ken have you looked at Lameroo ?
    It is still open I think. And grossly non compliant. But nothing since January recorded.

  3. Bill in Oz Says:

    Ken I have been looking over the BOM’s temperature records for Streaky Bay.
    First they start in 1926 not 1957.
    Much more interesting is that the recorded average Maximum monthly temperature in 1926 was 23.1 degrees.
    But by 2013 it was 24.7 degrees. And in 2014, it was 24.5 degrees. Subsequent years show a slight decrease to the high 23 degrees with

    Nothing at all for 2018. I wonder why ? And I wonder what 2019 will show.

    I suspect that BOM knew that it’s Streaky Bay BOM station was recording very high & false readings. That’s why BOM moved it out of Streaky Bay township to the airport.

    But this did not stop it using this fake data for it’s ACORN homogenising processes.

    And the BOM not giving the new weather station at Streaky Bat airport a new number is I suggest, an attempt to conceal it’s incompetence.

    • siliggy Says:

      Pity the record at streaky bay only goes back to 1926 at the site opened in 1865.
      Mon 2 Aug 1886 The following correspondence between Mr.
      C. Todd, C.M.G., and Mr. Clement L.
      Wragge, F.R.G.S., has been handed to us for
      publication, with an intimation that Mr.
      Wragge s letter was unanimously approved
      of at the last meeting of the Meteoiological
      Society in Adelaide :—
      “ In addition to this we
      have barometers at Port Augusta and Streaky
      Bay; one will be mounted immediately at
      Farina, and another shortly at the Peake, all
      of which places will be provided also with
      thermometers, and completed as stations of
      the ‘ second order.’” Todd.

      Then in 1909 the barometer seems to be observed.
      “in fact, the –
      highest barometer readings in each of the
      systems arc 30.04 at Menzies, ‘30.02 at
      Streaky Bay, .and 30.03 at Clarence Head.

      Fri 18 Feb 1910
      “The Weather Office reported on
      Friday:—”The cool south-easterly wind,
      which set in over the coastal
      ‘districts yesterday morning early,
      continued to Blow throughout the
      day, and in consequence cool to moderate
      temperatures resulted, the maximum reach
      ing onlv 87 deg. at Streaky Bay, ..”

    • kenskingdom Says:

      Monthly temperature records start in 1926; daily in 1957.

  4. Graeme No.3 Says:

    Neither Sir Charles Todd or Clement Wragge were noted for ‘half doing a job’.
    Wragge, when in Scotland, climbed Ben Nevis daily for 3 months to get readings.
    Todd wanted daily temperature figures, esp. from west of Adelaide, to help with forecasting. That’s why so many early sites were at the Post Office connected by telegraph to Adelaide.

  5. JCalvertN(UK) Says:

    What a fantastic opportunity for a bit of good ol’ BOM-style “cooling the past”!
    The raw temperature record will now show a large downward step-change. (Maybe 2 degrees?)
    BOM’s SOB will be to adjust *all* the old temperatures downward by a constant amount equal to the magnitude of the step-change – a la Amberley QLD.

    Such an adjustment would be quite wrong, because the old site would have gradually got worse and worse as the asphalt expanded, the surrounding buildings encroached and the building materials changed from wood to brick and concrete. The error would not have been constant throughout the life of the old station. So the error correction/adjustment should not be constant either.

    I studied Amberley QLD, and found that BOM’s adjustment was basically a constant block of 2 degrees going back from the time of the step change (1980) to the opening of the station (1940). This BS method of ‘cooling the past’ yielded a strong warming signal overall.

    I then tried doing my own adjustments to the raw data by a gradually-increasing amount – i.e. from zero degrees adjustment in 1940, to 2 degrees adjustment in 1980, and back to zero degrees adjustment after 1980.
    I would argue this adjustment pattern is reasonable. In 1940 the Amberley RAAF base was just a huge expanse of grass with a scattering of Nissen huts and small wooden hangars – i.e. very close to being the ideal weather station location. (Hence zero error/adjustment.) By 1980 the base was the size of a good-sized town and the weather station was surrounded by enormous expanses of asphalt and concrete pavement, and large air-conditioned buildings. (Hence a large error/adjustment.) They then relocated the weather station to the far side of the airfield – where it enjoys an almost ideal location to this day. (Hence zero error/adjustment from 1980 onwards)

    Using this pattern, I found the past was not cooled and it practically wiped-out the warming signal.

  6. Ronald Hayes Says:

    Great site. Plenty of useful info here. I’m sending it to some friends ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks for your effort!

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