Who’s Laughing Now?

In The Guardian last Sunday, Graeme Readfearn wrote a defense of the BOM headlined

Climate scientists first laughed at a ‘bizarre’ campaign against the BoM – then came the harassment

“This has frankly been a concerted campaign,” says climate scientist Dr Ailie Gallant, of Monash University. “But this is not about genuine scepticism. It is harassment and blatant misinformation that has been perpetuated.”


“It’s just someone’s opinion until it’s published. That’s why I would argue this is harassment. They need to put up or shut up.”

Dr Greg Ayers, a former director of the bureau and leading CSIRO atmospheric scientist is quoted:

“There’s a lot of assertion [from sceptics] but I haven’t seen much science,” said Ayers. “If you are going to make claims then we need to do peer-reviewed science, not just assertion.”

Well let’s take a look at this supposedly peer reviewed science form esteemed climate scientist Ayers.

Ayers examined “if the bureau’s recording method could generate a bias towards higher temperatures…..

Ayers took all the data recorded at two locations to see if taking extra readings across a minute made any difference to the temperatures recorded. While tiny differences were found, the study concluded the bureau’s method was “not at risk of bias”.

Here’s the paper in question:

Response time of temperature measurements at automatic weather stations in Australia

G. P. Ayers A B and J. O. Warne A

Journal of Southern Hemisphere Earth Systems Science 70(1) 160-165 https://doi.org/10.1071/ES19032
Submitted: 20 July 2019  Accepted: 3 March 2020   Published: 5 October 2020

The authors use selected data for Darwin and Noarlunga in 2018.

So with all the computer power, human resources, and money available to BOM and CSIRO scientists, no doubt their data and results are beyond reproach?

A simple check at Climate Data Online shows how good.

Figure 1 shows the daily Tmax at Darwin for 2018.  Note the two values I have circled.

Figure 1: Darwin Tmax 2018

And Figure 2 shows Tmin for 2018:

Figure 2: Darwin Tmin 2018:

Figure 3 is Table 1 from Ayers and Warne’s paper, I have noted the values shown in Figures 1 and 2.

Figure 3: Data Table from Ayers and Warne (2020)

On three occasions their values are different from those on the BOM website by, 1 degree Celsius, 0.5 C, and 0.3 C.

Here is Ayers’ previous paper, quoted by Readfearn:

A comment on temperature measurement at automatic weather stations in Australia

G. P. Ayers

Journal of Southern Hemisphere Earth Systems Science 69(1) 172-182 https://doi.org/10.1071/ES19010
Submitted: 17 January 2019  Accepted: 19 July 2019   Published: 11 June 2020

In this paper he analyses data from Mildura in September 2017. (Hardly exhaustive I know, but who cares?) 

Ayers says

“the response time of its automatic probes means the recorded measurement is effectively an average of the temperature over the previous 40 seconds to 80s.”

Figure 4 is Table 1 in his paper, for September 2017.

Figure 4: Data Table from Ayers (2020)

And Figure 5 is the 2017 Tmin data for Mildura from Climate Data Online:

Figure 5: Mildura Tmin 2017:

Note September 2. Another discrepancy, this time 1.5 C.

So much for accuracy!

There are three possibilities: 

Ayers and Warne haven’t bothered to double check before publishing;

they used faulty data;

or the data was correct when they used it but has since been “adjusted” by the Bureau in its ongoing pursuit of (ahem) “excellence”.

Whichever, it’s not a good look.

No doubt the papers’ authors only used limited data samples, so that skeptics wouldn’t find more faults. We couldn’t have that!

So Readfearn, Gallant, Ayers, and Warne: despite your denials, obfuscation, delaying tactics, and misinformation, who’s laughing now?


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6 Responses to “Who’s Laughing Now?”

  1. siliggy Says:

    Who’s laughing now?
    The answer is,..Me.
    Whenever you are given just three possibilities. That is three thimbles to look under for the pea look at the fourth posibility.
    It is explained by a clever fellow here.
    “Firstly, we receive AWS data every minute. There are 3 temperature values:
    1. Most recent one second measurement
    2. Highest one second measurement (for the previous 60 secs)
    3. Lowest one second measurement (for the previous 60 secs)”
    The Ayers papers contain the extremes of value (1) which are the most recent instantaneous value of Voltage returned from the resistance probe. This is why some are different to the max and min. That is diffferent to (2) or (3).https://kenskingdom.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/how-temperature-is-measured-in-australia-part-2/
    Although there is a bit of pea stuck under the June 11 thimble. The wrong one is too high.

  2. Peter Newland Says:

    Dr Ailie Gallant, Climate Scientist, Monash University, had a series of articles in our local (Mitcham VIC) paper a few years ago. She highlighted increasing temperatures and decreasing rain-days from 1948 to 2018 in the Whitehorse area. But during that period Whitehorse land use changed dramatically from large semi-rural areas to medium and high-density suburban with huge increases in population and energy use – hence ‘urban warming’ may explain the changes fare better than global warming. Also, “rain-days” are not rain-fall, and rain is certainly not in short supply now. Although Whitehorse had many apple orchards in the 50s, Ailie seems to prefer cherry-picking data.

  3. C. Paul Barreira Says:

    It seems quite likely that this critique of the published work of one or two academics is but the tiniest tip of an iceberg. At least in this instance the authors employed data—numbers—that the reader can check. In other areas of academic activity, say religious history, no numbers at all may appear in the publications, indeed were never checked. Instead the standard “narrative” was reiterated, ever more briefly as a given.

  4. siliggy Says:

    You have done some great work finding these other errors Ken. I knew about the April 6 one. Looks like the minimum for the 11th of June is also the wrong way around to be explained by Min, Max and last. Good Catch! What the hell have they done?

  5. Pewter Newland Says:

    Different topic that may or may not interest you claiming most C)2 increase is not from fossil fuels: https://journals.lww.com/health-physics/Fulltext/2022/02000/World_Atmospheric_CO2,_Its_14C_Specific_Activity,.2.aspx

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