Australia’s Wacky Weather Station Comparison 3: Echuca (Vic)

UPDATE 20/02/2020: As reader Phil has reminded me and as I said after Figure 5 below, Kyabram appears to be irrigated and so should be added to the non-compliant list (making 329 or 49.25% of checkable stations). Therefore these sites are not suitable for comparison as factors other than siting (e.g. cooling due to evapo-transpiration following irrigation) will affect temperature difference. It is very difficult to find compliant sites that are near enough to non-compiant stations- but these are still interesting sites.

After surveying 666 weather stations across Australia and finding nearly half (49.25%) are not compliant with Bureau of Meteorology siting specifications, in this series of posts I compare daily temperature data from pairs of compliant and non-compliant stations. Here’s the first in this series.

Echuca and Kyabram

These stations are about 170km north of Melbourne, about 33km apart.

Fig. 1:  Echuca map location per Google Maps

Fig.2:  Echuca and Kyabram

Echuca Airport 80015 is right beside a large gravel parking area and less than 40 metres from the tarmac aircraft parking area.

Fig. 3:  Echuca Airport (Google satellite image 2019)

EchucaAir aerial

Kyabram 80091 is at a former research station in an open paddock as the 2008 plan shows:

Fig. 4:  Kyabram site plan 2008

Fig. 5:  Kyabram (Google satellite image 2020)

Kyabram is 9 metres higher than Echuca.  Again, an important difference is that Echuca is a manual station with liquid-in-glass thermometers, while Kyabram is an Automatic Weather Station (installed 1998) with an electronic temperature probe transmitting data every minute. The satellite image shows the enclosure is not well maintained with what appears to be long grass. The area around the enclosure is probably irrigated so this station should probably be classified as non-compliant as well.

If we plot all daily maxima from 2010 to 2019 for Kyabram against Echuca, we see that temperatures match quite closely:

Fig. 6:  Tmax at Kyabram as a function of Tmax at Echuca

The trend equation shows Kyabram is on average cooler than Echuca. A time series of the 31 day centred mean of the daily difference between them shows more detail:

Fig. 7:  31 day mean daily difference Echuca minus Kyabram Tmax

Values above zero mean Echuca is warmer than Kyabram; below zero, Echuca is cooler.  Note that apart from a few brief episodes, Echuca is always warmer than Kyabram.

This is a plot of mean differences by month:

Fig. 8: 31 day mean daily difference Echuca minus Kyabram Tmax by month

Echuca is warmer in every month- apart from those brief periods shown in Figure 7.

Minimum temperatures don’t match as closely…

Fig. 9:  Tmin at Kyabram as a function of Tmin at Echuca

Fig. 10:  31 day mean daily difference Echuca minus Kyabram Tmin

Echuca is generally warmer. There are several examples of odd deviations.

Fig. 11: 31 day mean daily difference Echuca minus Kyabram Tmin by month

A note on accuracy:

The centred 31 day running correlation is useful for detecting inconsistencies.

Fig. 12:  Centred  31 day running correlation between Echuca and Kyabram maxima

Fig. 13:  Centred  31 day running correlation between Echuca and Kyabram minima

The weaker correlation in 2011 is coincident with the unusual difference as seen in Figure 10 and is worth a closer look.

Fig. 14:  Daily minima at Echuca and Kyabram Winter 2011

Here we see probable examples of temperatures being recorded on the wrong date.

In recent years, Echuca 80015, a manual station that does not comply with site specifications, has warmer maxima than its neighbour Kyabram 80091 except for brief episodes, and mostly warmer minima.

In this example, siting non-compliance has a large effect on temperature, but may affect both sites.

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4 Responses to “Australia’s Wacky Weather Station Comparison 3: Echuca (Vic)”

  1. Blane Coulcher Says:

    Hi Ken

    Coupla questions. Could the variance between the 2 sites be not necessarily of the non-compliance but to do with (in this case) the RTD measuring lower than an LiG? This would be an interesting data point as we do not know (I believe) the difference between the two methodologies. Anecdotally I believe I read that RTDs are 1-2 deg C warmer in some (most?) instances…which means that the historic record should be increased, not decreased to have a like-for-like comparison (all else being equal).

    On your list of Non Compliant sites on your blog, there is a link through to a site’s details and why they are non-compliant. There is then a list of marginal sites. I presume the delta to the 112 ACORN sites are compliant and includes for example Wagga?

    Great work! Love it!



  2. Phill Says:

    If you have a look at your picture of the Kyabram site you can see the irrigation check-banks running horizontally across the image. These are used to channel the flood irrigation down each irrigation bay. During the irrigation season these bays will be regularly flooded to a depth of several cm. Unfortunately these appear to run straight up to the AWS site. Notice that the whole area is green under AWS but completely dry on the other side of the road. Some of the paddocks to the west of this site are also completely dry. Unfortunately you might need to move Kyabram to the non-compliant column.

    Keep up the good work.



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