Archive for September, 2020

Garbage In, Garbage Out- Horn Island

September 27, 2020

After last year’s major project of checking the compliance of 666 Australian weather stations with the guidelines set out by the Bureau of Meteorology, and finding that nearly half did not meet siting specifications, I decided to take a break from analysing BOM climate data.

It might now be time to re-enter the fray.

The pride of the BOM climate fleet, Version 2 of the Australian Climate Observation Recording Network- Surface Air Temperatures (ACORN-SAT, or Acorn 2) was launched with no fanfare at all in late 2018 and now is the basis for the Bureau’s climate claims and predictions.  I summarised many of its faults in May 2019.

Now I am going to look at some individual examples of Acorn 2 nonsense- firstly, Horn Island’s minimum temperatures.

Horn Island is our most northerly Acorn site.  It is the airport for Thursday Island and is closer to Port Moresby than any other Australian town except Weipa and of course TI.  Figure 1 shows the station’s only neighbours on Cape York Peninsula the BOM used for comparison. 

Figure 1:  Google Maps image of Cape York Peninsula showing Horn Island and its neighbours

Figure 2 shows the annual average minima for all of these weather stations.

Figure 2:  Annual minima, Horn Island and neighbours

Horn Island 27058 has a very limited data record commencing in March 1995.  To construct a longer record back as far as 1951, BOM merged Horn Island’s observations with those of Thursday Island Township 27021 and Thursday Island Meteorological Office 27022.  Figure 3 shows the result of the BOM’s merge.

Figure 3:  Horn Island and Thursday Island minima

The 27022 TI Met Office annual average Tmin has been reduced in Acorn by 0.5 or 0.6 degrees for all years before 1993.  (The Adjustment Summary claims there was an annual impact of -0.53 degrees.)  There were other adjustments at 01/01/1967 and 01/01/1958, but the 1993 adjustment has the largest effect.

Unfortunately, there are only 6 months of overlap between 27021 and 27022 (September 1992 to February 1993), and 11 months between 27021 and 27058 (March 1995 to January 1996), as figure 4 shows.

Figure 4:  Extent of overlaps in monthly minima

In September, October, and November 1992 TI Township 27021 recorded minima 1.1 to 1.4 degrees cooler than the Met Office site in “a relatively exposed location” on top of the hill 900 metres west.  However, Acorn tracks 27021 and approximately splits the difference from 27022.

Figure 5:  Extent of overlaps in monthly minima, including Acorn 2

To do this, the BOM uses two comparative stations, Lockhart River 28008 and Coen Airport 27006.  Coen is 385km from Horn Island. 

Figure 6 shows a plot of monthly anomalies from 1981 to 2010 means for these stations.

Figure 6:  Monthly minima anomalies from 1981-2010 means, all stations

Note that 27022 is close to 27021 from December 1992 to February 1993, but not before, while Coen is nothing like either.  I cannot see the justification for the adjustment.

I constructed a merge of annual data using 27021 for 1993, 1994, and 1995, joined to 27022 and 27058 with no adjustment to construct a “raw” record.  This is entirely artificial, but no more so than Acorn.  Figure 7 shows plots of both with annual trends.

Figure 7:  Horn Island minima, Acorn 2 and “raw”

Note Acorn has enormously increased the warming trend.  Figure 8 plots the differences between Acorn and my “raw” record.

Figure 8:  Horn Island minima adjustments

The earlier adjustments were also large and based on “statistical” breakpoints.

The object of adjusting temperatures using neighbours for comparison is to endeavour to produce a record that more truly reflects climate trends of the area.  The resulting record should be more like the neighbours than the original raw record.  We can test this by plotting the differences between Acorn and the raw record and the average of the neighbours.  If the comparison is good, while individual years’ differences may vary, the trend should be close to zero: the station should not be warming or cooling more than the neighbours.  Figure 9 shows the results for Horn Island minima for the period that the 1993 adjustment applied.

Figure 9:  Differences between Horn Island and two neighbours

You will note that the blue trend line, showing the trend of the difference between annual data merged with no adjustment and the average of Coen and Lockhart River, is almost flat, indicating the “raw” record already compares well with the neighbours.  In contrast the red trend line shows the adjusted data is warming faster than the neighbours, indicating a very poor reflection of the climate of the area.


The Horn Island record should never have been merged because of the lack of suitable overlap.

Once merged, it should never have been adjusted downwards so much.

 Lockhart River and Coen are far too distant to be suitable for comparison.

The result is nonsense.

Garbage in, garbage out.

CO2vid Watch: August

September 10, 2020

I have been wondering whether the largest real-life science experiment in history will show whether atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations will decrease as a result of the Covid19-induced economic slowdown.

Earlier I concluded:  “I expect there may be a small decrease in the rate of CO2 concentration increase, but it won’t be much, and I will be surprised if it turns negative.  A large La Nina later this year will lead to a CO2 increase a few months later, in which case there will be a larger downturn in annual CO2 change in 2021.

However, if the major cause of CO2 increase is fossil fuel consumption, there will be an extra large decrease in CO2 change in 2020 and 2021- and a noticeable jump if the global economy rebounds.”

The CO2 concentration number for August is now published: 412.55 p.p.m. (parts per million).  The seasonal drawdown of CO2 has begun, but CO2 concentration is still 2.61 ppm above the figure for August last year.  Figure 1 shows the 12 month change in CO2 at Mauna Loa since 2015-that is, January to January, February to February, March to March.

Fig. 1:  12 month change in CO2 concentration since 2015 to August 2020- Mauna Loa

Figure 2 is a monthly update for 2020 I will show as each month’s CO2 figures become available (and 2021 if necessary):

Fig. 2:  Updated 12 month changes in CO2 concentration for 2020- Mauna Loa

Figure 3 shows the 12 month change in CO2 concentration since the record began.

Fig. 3:  12 month change in CO2 concentration since 1958 to August 2020- Mauna Loa

Annual growth has been above zero since the mid 1970s, and has not been below 1 ppm since 2011. The annual rate of change is increasing, in other words CO2 concentration growth is accelerating.

Note that so far this year, 12 month changes continue to remain firmly in the normal or even upper range, and there is no sign of any slow down. And there won’t be!

This paper by J. Reid explains why.

CO2 growth appears to be an entirely natural process.

Unless something dramatic happens, I don’t think I will continue this series any longer. There’s nothing to see.

An Impossibility of Windmills

September 9, 2020

There are many strange collective nouns for groups of animals, people, and things. For example, a parliament of owls, a murder of crows, a convocation of eagles, an intrusion of cockroaches, an audience of squid are for groups from the animal kingdom.

A company of archers, an eloquence of lawyers, and a poverty of pipers describe some groups of people.

What about things? A distraction of smartphones, a smug of Priuses, a Hilary of pantsuits I have heard of.

But Jan Smelik from the Netherlands has sent me a link to his Youtube video and we now have collective noun for a group of windmills.

No, not the old windmills for pumping water and grinding grain we know from paintings and tourist brochures- the modern variety which will save the world from global warming.

Very appropriately, an impossibility of windmills.

Here’s his video:

Even more so for Australia!