Archive for the ‘climate’ Category

Replicating Lewis et. al. (2017): Another Junk Paper

October 9, 2017

The recently released scarey predictions about “50 degree temperatures for Sydney and Melbourne” touted by Sophie Lewis are hardly worth wasting time on.  The paper is

Australia’s unprecedented future temperature extremes under Paris limits to warming, Sophie C. Lewis , Andrew D. King  and Daniel M. Mitchel, (no publication details available).

The paper is junk.  It has some very sciencey sounding words but is at heart pure speculation.  Like most “projections” by Global Warming Enthusiasts, the predictions are untestable.  Scarey temperatures are possible IF (and only if) IPCC scenarios are valid and we get either 1.5C or 2C warming by the last decade of the century.  That’s what the paper rests on.

The paper looks at Australian summer means, Coral Sea autumn means, and New South Wales and Victorian daily January maxima.  AWAP data are used for Australia and NSW and Victoria, and HadCruT4 for the Coral Sea region (which includes most of Queensland).

I have just looked at Australian Summer Means, and that was enough for me.  Lewis et.al. say that the decadal mean from 2091-2100 may have Australia wide summer means of 2 to 2.4 degrees above the mean of 2012-13, or 30.1 to 30.5C, with resultant very high daily maxima in southern cities.

I could have saved them the trouble, and at considerably less cost.

All I needed was the AWAP data for summer means (I purchased monthly AWAP data up to 2013 a couple of years ago), and plotted it with a 2nd order polynomial (quadratic) trend line:

lewis predictions summers1

And also showing decadal means (although the first and last decades have several missing summers):

lewis predictions summers2

There: the trend line goes smack through the higher (+2 degrees) projection, so it must be right!

Only trouble is, extrapolating with a quadratic trend is not a good idea. Lots can go wrong in the meantime.

So my plot is about as useful as the Lewis et.al. paper, and that’s not much.

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The Pause Update July 2017

August 11, 2017

The complete UAH v6.0 data for July have been released. I present all the graphs for various regions, and as well summaries for easier comparison. I also include graphs for the North and South Temperate regions (20-60 North and South), estimated from Polar and Extra-Tropical data.

The Pause has ended globally and for all regions including the USA, Australia, and the Southern Hemisphere, except for Southern Extra-Tropics, South Temperate, and South Polar. The 12 month mean to July 2017 for the Globe is +0.35 C.

These graphs show the furthest back one can go to show a zero or negative trend (less than 0.1 +/-0.1C per 100 years) in lower tropospheric temperatures. I calculate 12 month running means to remove the small possibility of seasonal autocorrelation in the monthly anomalies. Note: The satellite record commences in December 1978- now 38 years and eight months long- 464 months. 12 month running means commence in November 1979. The y-axes in the graphs below are at December 1978, so the vertical gridlines denote Decembers. The final plotted points are July 2017.
[CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE]

Globe:

Pause July 17 globe

The Pause has ended. A trend of +0.53C/100 years (+/- 0.1C) since February 1998 is creeping up, but the 12 month means have peaked and are heading down.

And, for the special benefit of those who think that I am deliberately fudging data by using 12 month running means, here is the plot of monthly anomalies:

Pause July 17 globe mthly

Northern Hemisphere:

Pause July 17 NH

The Northern Hemisphere Pause has well and truly ended.

Southern Hemisphere:

Pause July 17 SH

The Pause has ended but temperatures for the last 19 years are rising very slowly.

Tropics:

Pause July 17 Tropics

The Pause in the Tropics (20N to 20S) has ended and the minimal trend is now +0.52C/ 100 years.

Northern Extra Tropics:

Pause July 17 NExt

The Pause has ended and the trend is increasing, but the slowdown since 1998 is obvious.

Northern Temperate Region:

Pause July 17 Nth Temp

Using estimates calculated from North Polar and Northern Extra-Tropics data, the slowdown is obvious.

Southern Extra Tropics:

Pause July 17 SExt

The Pause has weakened but still just persists, and 12 month means have peaked.

Southern Temperate Region:

Pause July 17 Sth Temp

Using estimates calculated from South Polar and Southern Extra-Tropics data, the Pause likewise persists but has shortened.

Northern Polar:

Pause July 17 NP

The trend has increased and will continue to do so even though 12 month means are falling rapidly.  The strong trend in Arctic temperatures is due to a step change from 1995 – 2002, and the strong 2015 – 2016 El Nino.

Southern Polar:

Pause July 17 SP

The South Polar region has been cooling (-0.12C) for the entire record. Although the 12 month means may have peaked, this cooling trend will slow over the next few months, and Global Warming Enthusiasts may start to get excited.

USA 49 States:

Pause July 17 USA 49

The warming trend is increasing.

USA 48 States:

Pause July 17 USA 48

Excluding Alaska the USA has only +0.23C/ 100 years warming.  This trend will increase however.

Australia:

Pause July 17 Oz

The Pause has ended, but the trend since June 1998 has reduced from +0.42C/ 100 years to +0.3C, and since September 2002 is +0.13C.

The next graphs summarise the above plots. First, a graph of the relative length of The Pause in the various regions:

Pause length July 17

Note that the Pause has ended by my criteria in all regions of Northern Hemisphere, and consequently the Globe, and the Tropics, but all southern regions have a Pause for over half the record, including the South Polar region which has been cooling for the whole record. Note that the Tropic influence has been enough to end the Pause for the Southern Hemisphere, and the Pause is likely to disappear from all southern regions except South Polar in the next couple of months.

The variation in the linear trend for the whole record, 1978 to the present:

Trends 1978 july 17

Note the decrease in trends from North Polar to South Polar.

And the variation in the linear trend since June 1998, which is about halfway between the global low point of December 1997 and the peak in December 1998:

Trends 1998 july 17

For 19 years “global” warming has been dominated by the influence of the Tropics and North Polar regions.

The imbalance between the two hemispheres is obvious.

The Pause has disappeared from the USA, Australia, and the Southern Hemisphere, but not the Southern Extra-Tropics, South Temperate, and South Polar regions.  Interestingly, July anomalies have decreased in Northern regions but increased in Southern regions and the Tropics.  The next few months will be interesting.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

August 7, 2017

(By Ken Stewart, assisted by Bill Johnston and Phill Goode; and cross-posted with Jo Nova)

Early ABC Radio news bulletins last Wednesday morning were led by this item, which you can read in full at ABC Online.

More climate scientists needed to avoid expensive mistakes, review urges

Apparently we urgently need 77 climate scientists to predict the future of areas like the Murray-Darling Basin with climate modelling.

Interestingly, Professor McDougall of the Australian Academy of Science points out that one of those “expensive mistakes” was the $2 billion desalination plant built in Queensland as a response to the millennium drought, “which really wasn’t an indication of climate change at all”.   Why didn’t the good professor raise his voice before the money was wasted?

But I digress.

Reliable modelling and projections for the future are surely desirable.

But such modelling must be based on reliable data, and the reliability of temperature data in Australia is demonstrably poor.

Example 1:  As has been widely reported in The Australian, and by Jennifer Marohasy and Jo Nova, cold temperatures at two separate sites (and possibly many others) were altered to appear warmer, then changed back, then deleted.  The BOM gave two conflicting explanations, both of which cast grave doubt on the reliability of “raw” temperature data from an unknown number of stations.

Example 2:  After enquiring why there are frequently two different temperature readings for exactly the same minute at various weather stations, a Bureau spokesperson told me that:

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)

(See here and here.)

In other words, Australian maximum and minimum temperatures are taken from ONE SECOND readings from Automatic Weather Stations.  Spikes due to localised gusts of hot air, or instrument error, become the maximum for the day.  (This rarely has a large effect on minima, as night time temperatures are fairly smooth, whereas during the day temperature bounces rapidly up and down.  This is shown in this plot of temperatures at Thangool Airport in Queensland on Australia Day this year.)

Thangool 26 Jan 17 1 min

And this is for the same day between 3.00pm and 4.00pm.

Thangool 26 Jan 17 3 to 4pm

As you can see the temperature spikes up and down in the heat of the day by up to one degree between one minute and the next.  But these are the temperatures at the final second of each minute: during the intervening 59 seconds the temperature is spiking up and down as well, which we know because occasionally the highest or lowest temperature for the day occurs in the same minute as a final second recording on the BOM database (usually on the hour or half hour).  This can be up or down by two or three degrees in less than 60 seconds.

This is in contrast to the rest of the world.  The WMO recommends 1 minute (60 second) averages of temperature to be recorded to combat this very problem of noisy data, and this is followed in the UK.  In the USA 5 minute (300 second) averages are calculated.

From THE WEATHER OBSERVER’S HANDBOOK by Stephen Burt (Cambridge University Press, 2012):

Observers handbook

Even without software or human interference as in Example 1, this means Australian temperature data, in particular maxima, are not reliable.

Example 3:  Historically, temperatures were observed from Liquid In Glass (LIG) thermometers.  From the 1990s, Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) were installed using Platinum Resistance Thermometers (PRT) and are now the source for daily data.  AWS thermometers are very precise, but as I showed in Example 2, their data is used idiosyncratically to record 1 second spikes, frequently resulting in higher maxima and less often slightly lower minima than a 1 or 5 minute average.

One would think that with such a major change in technology there would be comparative studies reported in the BOM’s meteorological journal or other “peer reviewed” literature.  Apparently not.

Dr Bill Johnston has investigated this and says:

Parallel data were collected all over Australia for over a decade, some until last year when thermometers were removed, at manned sites, mainly major airports (Ceduna, Sydney, Hobart, Perth, Darwin, Alice Springs, Albany, Norfolk Island, Wagga to name a few) and also met-offices such as Cobar and Giles. However, comparisons between screens were done at one site only (Broadmeadows, Melbourne, which is not even an official weather station) using PRT only and reported as a “preliminary report”, which is available (https://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/IMOP/WebPortal-AWS/Tests/ITR649.pdf) however, after AWS became primary instruments, as I’ve reported before, the Bureau had an internal policy that parallel liquid-in-glass thermometer data were not databased. Furthermore, they had another policy that paper-data was destroyed after 2-years. So there is nothing that is easily available…. there is also no multi-site replicated study involving screen types and thermometers vs. PRT probes ….

Deliberate destruction of data is scandalous; the only way now to compare Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) and Liquid in Glass, is to hunt for sites where there is overlap between two stations; where the AWS is given a new number. This is possible BUT the problem is that the change-over is invariably confounded with either a site move or the change to a small screen.

Therefore we suspect that the introduction and reliance on AWS has led to artificially higher maxima (and thus record temperatures) than in the past, but we have no way of knowing for sure or how much.

So we now have (1) temperatures that are altered before they even become ‘raw’ data; (2) use of one second spikes for recording daily maximum and minimum temperatures, very probably resulting in artificially high maxima and slightly lower minima; and (3) no way of telling how the resulting data compare with those from historical liquid-in-glass thermometers.

How can the CSIRO hope to produce reliable climate modelling with any number of climate scientists when the BOM cannot produce reliable temperature data?  Garbage in, garbage out.

The Pause Update: June 2017

July 19, 2017

Better late than never!  I’m sorry for the lateness of this post.  A couple of issues and events got in the way.

The complete UAH v6.0 data for June have been released. I present all the graphs for various regions, and as well summaries for easier comparison. I also include graphs for the North and South Temperate regions (20-60 North and South), estimated from Polar and Extra-Tropical data.

The Pause has ended globally and for all regions including the USA, Australia, and the Southern Hemisphere, except for Southern Extra-Tropics, South Temperate, and South Polar. The 12 month mean to June 2017 for the Globe is +0.36 C.

These graphs show the furthest back one can go to show a zero or negative trend (less than 0.1 +/-0.1C per 100 years) in lower tropospheric temperatures. I calculate 12 month running means to remove the small possibility of seasonal autocorrelation in the monthly anomalies. Note: The satellite record commences in December 1978- now 38 years and seven months long- 463 months. 12 month running means commence in November 1979. The y-axes in the graphs below are at December 1978, so the vertical gridlines denote Decembers. The final plotted points are June 2017.
[CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE]

Globe:

Pause June 17 globe

The Pause has ended. A trend of +0.49 C/100 years (+/- 0.1C) since February 1998 is creeping up, but the 12 month means have peaked and are heading down.

And, for the special benefit of those who think that I am deliberately fudging data by using 12 month running means, here is the plot of monthly anomalies:

Pause June 17 globe monthly

Northern Hemisphere:

Pause June 17 NH

The Northern Hemisphere Pause has well and truly ended.

Southern Hemisphere:

Pause June 17 SH

The Pause has ended but temperatures for the last 19 years are rising very slowly.

Tropics:

Pause June 17 Tropics

The Pause in the Tropics (20N to 20S) has ended and the minimal trend is now +0.49C/ 100 years. 12 month means are dropping fast.

Northern Extra Tropics:

Pause June 17 NExt

Northern Temperate Region:

Pause June 17 N Temp

Using estimates calculated from North Polar and Northern Extra-Tropics data, the slowdown is obvious.

Southern Extra Tropics:

Pause June 17 SExt

The Pause has weakened and shortened but still persists, and 12 month means have peaked.

Southern Temperate Region:

Pause June 17 S Temp

Using estimates calculated from South Polar and Southern Extra-Tropics data, the Pause likewise persists.

Northern Polar:

Pause June 17 NP

The trend has increased and will continue to do so even though 12 month means are falling rapidly.  The strong trend in Arctic temperatures is due to a step change from 1995 – 2002, and the strong 2015 – 2016 El Nino.

Southern Polar:

Pause June 17 SP

The South Polar region has been cooling (-0.14C) for the entire record. Although the 12 month means may have peaked, this cooling trend will slow over the next few months, and Global Warming Enthusiasts may start to get excited.

USA 49 States:

Pause June 17 US49

The Pause has ended. It will not re-appear for some time.

Australia:

Pause June 17 Oz

The Pause has ended suddenly, and will not re-appear for some time.

The next graphs summarise the above plots. First, a graph of the relative length of The Pause in the various regions:

Pause length June 17

The Pause has disappeared from Australia.

Note that the Pause has ended by my criteria in all regions of Northern Hemisphere, and consequently the Globe, and the Tropics, but all southern regions have a Pause for over half the record, including the South Polar region which has been cooling for the whole record. Note that the Tropic influence has been enough to end the Pause for the Southern Hemisphere.

The variation in the linear trend for the whole record, 1978 to the present:

Trends 1978 june17

Note the decrease in trends from North Polar to South Polar.

And the variation in the linear trend since June 1998, which is about halfway between the global low point of December 1997 and the peak in December 1998:

Trends 1998 june17

For 19 years “global” warming has been dominated by the influence of the Tropics and North Polar regions.

The imbalance between the two hemispheres is obvious.

The Pause has disappeared from the USA, Australia, and the Southern Hemisphere, but not the Southern Extra-Tropics, South Temperate, and South Polar regions. El Nino tropical heat is rapidly decreasing, with all means falling. The next few months will be interesting.

The Pause Update: April 2017

May 19, 2017

The complete UAH v6.0 data for April have finally been released. I present all the graphs for various regions, and as well summaries for easier comparison. I also include graphs for the North and South Temperate regions (20-60 North and South), estimated from Polar and Extra-Tropical data.

The Pause has ended globally and for all regions including the USA and the Southern Hemisphere, except for Southern Extra-Tropics, South Temperate, South Polar, and Australia. The 12 month mean to April 2017 for the Globe is +0.36 C and continuing steadily downwards.

These graphs show the furthest back one can go to show a zero or negative trend (less than 0.1 +/-0.1C per 100 years) in lower tropospheric temperatures. I calculate 12 month running means to remove the small possibility of seasonal autocorrelation in the monthly anomalies. Note: The satellite record commences in December 1978- now 38 years and five months long- 461 months. 12 month running means commence in November 1979. The y-axes in the graphs below are at December 1978, so the vertical gridlines denote Decembers. The final plotted points are March 2017.
[CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE]

Globe:

Pause Apr 17 globe

The Pause has ended. A trend of +0.44 C/100 years (+/- 0.1C) since March 1998 is creeping up, but the 12 month means have peaked and are heading down.

And, for the special benefit of those who think that I am deliberately fudging data by using 12 month running means, here is the plot of monthly anomalies:

Pause Apr 17 globe monthly

Northern Hemisphere:

Pause Apr 17 NH

The Northern Hemisphere Pause has well and truly ended.

Southern Hemisphere:

Pause Apr 17 SH

The Pause has ended but temperatures for the last 19 years are rising very slowly.

Tropics:

Pause Apr 17 Tropics

The Pause in the Tropics (20N to 20S) has ended and the minimal trend is now +0.45C/ 100 years. 12 month means are dropping fast.

Northern Extra Tropics:

Pause Apr 17 NExT

Northern Temperate Region:

Pause Apr 17 NTemp

Using estimates calculated from North Polar and Northern Extra-Tropics data, the slowdown is obvious.

Southern Extra Tropics:

Pause Apr 17 SExT

The Pause has weakened and shortened but still persists, and 12 month means have peaked.

Southern Temperate Region:

Pause Apr 17 STemp

Using estimates calculated from South Polar and Southern Extra-Tropics data, the Pause likewise persists.

Northern Polar:

Pause Apr 17 NP

The trend has increased rapidly and will continue to do so even though 12 month means have started to fall.  There is an argument for saying that no recent pause is visible, but there was one for the first 16 years.

Southern Polar:

Pause Apr 17 SP

The South Polar region has been cooling (-0.16C) for the entire record. Although the 12 month means may have peaked, this cooling trend will slow over the next few months.

USA 49 States:

Pause Apr 17 USA49

The Pause has ended. It will not re-appear for some time.

Australia:

Pause Apr 17 Oz

The Pause is still 21 years 2 months- well over half the record.

The next graphs summarise the above plots. First, a graph of the relative length of The Pause in the various regions:

Pause length Apr 17

Note that the Pause has ended by my criteria in all regions of Northern Hemisphere, and consequently the Globe, and the Tropics, but all southern regions have a Pause for over half the record, including the South Polar region which has been cooling for the whole record. Note that the Tropic influence has been enough to end the Pause for the Southern Hemisphere.

The variation in the linear trend for the whole record, 1978 to the present:

Trends 78 now Apr 17

Note the decrease in trends from North Polar to South Polar.

And the variation in the linear trend since June 1998, which is about halfway between the global low point of December 1997 and the peak in December 1998:

Trends June 98 now Apr 17

The imbalance between the two hemispheres is obvious. The lower troposphere over Australia has been strongly cooling for 18 years and 11 months- over half the record.  The Pause has disappeared from the USA and the Southern Hemisphere, but not the Southern Extra-Tropics, South Temperate, and South Polar regions, or Australia. El Nino tropical heat is rapidly decreasing, with all means falling. The next few months will be interesting.

The Pause Update: March 2017

April 15, 2017

The complete UAH v6.0 data for March have been released. I present all the graphs for various regions, and as well summaries for easier comparison. I also include graphs for the North and South Temperate regions (20-60 North and South), estimated from Polar and Extra-Tropical data.

The Pause has ended globally and for all regions including the USA and the Southern Hemisphere, except for Southern Extra-Tropics, South Temperate, South Polar, and Australia. The 12 month mean to March 2017 for the Globe is +0.40 C- down 0.12 C in four months.

These graphs show the furthest back one can go to show a zero or negative trend (less than 0.1 +/-0.1C per 100 years) in lower tropospheric temperatures. I calculate 12 month running means to remove the small possibility of seasonal autocorrelation in the monthly anomalies. Note: The satellite record commences in December 1978- now 38 years and four months long- 460 months. 12 month running means commence in November 1979. The y-axes in the graphs below are at December 1978, so the vertical gridlines denote Decembers. The final plotted points are March 2017.
[CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE]

Globe:

Pause Mar 17 globe

The Pause has ended. A trend of +0.41 C/100 years (+/- 0.1C) since February 1998 is creeping up, but the 12 month means have peaked and are heading down.

And, for the special benefit of those who think that I am deliberately fudging data by using 12 month running means, here is the plot of monthly anomalies:

Pause Mar 17 globe monthly

Northern Hemisphere:

Pause Mar 17 NH

The Northern Hemisphere Pause has well and truly ended.

Southern Hemisphere:

Pause Mar 17 SH

The Pause has ended but temperatures for the last 19 years are rising very slowly.

Tropics:

Pause Mar 17 Tropics

The Pause in the Tropics (20N to 20S) has ended and the minimal trend is now +0.43C/ 100 years. 12 month means are dropping fast.

Northern Extra Tropics:

Pause Mar 17 NExT

Northern Temperate Region:

Pause Mar 17 NTemp

Using estimates calculated from North Polar and Northern Extra-Tropics data, the slowdown is obvious.

Southern Extra Tropics:

Pause Mar 17 SExT

The Pause has weakened and shortened but still persists.

Southern Temperate Region:

Pause Mar 17 STemp

Using estimates calculated from South Polar and Southern Extra-Tropics data, the Pause likewise persists.

Northern Polar:

Pause Mar 17 N polar

The trend has increased rapidly and will continue to do so even though 12 month means have started to fall.

Southern Polar:

Pause Mar 17 S polar

The South Polar region has been cooling (-0.17C) for the entire record. With 12 month means still rising, this cooling trend will slow over the next few months.

USA 49 States:

Pause Mar 17 USA49

The Pause has ended. It will not re-appear for some time.

Australia:

Pause Mar 17 Oz

The Pause is still 21 years 5 months- well over half the record.

The next graphs summarise the above plots. First, a graph of the relative length of The Pause in the various regions:

Pause Mar 17 Length

Note that the Pause has ended by my criteria in all regions of Northern Hemisphere, and consequently the Globe, and the Tropics, but all southern regions have a Pause for over half the record, including the South Polar region which has been cooling for the whole record. Note that the Tropic influence has been enough to end the Pause for the Southern Hemisphere.

The variation in the linear trend for the whole record, 1978 to the present:

Pause Mar 17 Trends 78

Note the decrease in trends from North Polar to South Polar.

And the variation in the linear trend since June 1998, which is about halfway between the global low point of December 1997 and the peak in December 1998:

Pause Mar 17 Trends 98

The imbalance between the two hemispheres is obvious. The lower troposphere over Australia has been strongly cooling for 18 years and 10 months- over half the record.  The Pause has disappeared from the USA and the Southern Hemisphere, but not the Southern Extra-Tropics, South Temperate, and South Polar regions, or Australia. El Nino tropical heat is rapidly decreasing, with all means except the South Polar region falling. The next few months will be interesting.

 

How Temperature is “Measured” in Australia: Part 2

March 21, 2017

By Ken Stewart, ably assisted by Chris Gillham, Phillip Goode, Ian Hill, Lance Pidgeon, Bill Johnston, Geoff Sherrington, Bob Fernley-Jones, and Anthony Cox.

In the previous post of this series I explained how the Bureau of Meteorology presents summaries of weather observations at 526 weather stations around Australia, and questioned whether instrument error or sudden puffs of wind could cause very large temperature fluctuations in less than 60 seconds observed at a number of sites.

The maximum or minimum temperature you hear on the weather report or see at Climate Data Online is not the hottest or coldest hour, or even minute, but the highest or lowest ONE SECOND VALUE for the whole day.  There is no error checking or averaging.

A Bureau officer explains:

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)

Relating this to the 30 minute observations page: For an observation taken at 0600, the values are for the one minute 0559-0600.

Automatic Weather Station instruments were introduced from the late 1980s, with the AWS becoming the primary temperature instrument at a large number of sites from November 1 1996.  They are now universal.

An AWS temperature probe collects temperature data every second; there are 60 datapoints per minute.  The values given each half hour (and occasionally at times in between) at each station’s Latest Weather Observations page are samples: spot temperatures for the last second of the last minute of that half hour, and the Low Temp or High Temp values on the District Summary page are the lowest and highest one second readings within that minute of reporting.  The remaining seconds of data are filtered out.  There is no averaging to find the mean over say one minute or ten minutes.  There is NO error checking to flag rogue values.  The maximum temperatures are dutifully reported in the media, especially if some record has been broken.  Quality Control does not occur for two or three months at least, which then just quietly deletes spurious values, long after record temperatures have been spruiked in the media.

In How Temperature is “Measured” in Australia: Part 1 I demonstrated how this method has resulted in large differences recorded in the exact same minutes at a number of stations.

What explanation is there for these differences? 

The Bureau will insist they are due to natural weather conditions.  Some rapid temperature changes are indeed due to weather phenomena.  Here are some examples.

In semi-desert areas of far western Queensland, such as in this example from Urandangi, temperatures rise very rapidly in the early morning.

Fig. 1:  Natural rapid temperature increase

urandangi

For 24 minutes the temperature was increasing at an average of more than 0.2C per minute.  That is the fastest I’ve seen, and entirely natural- yet at Hervey Bay on 22 February the temperature rose more than two degrees in less than a minute, before 6 a.m., many times faster than it did later in the morning.

Similarly, on Wednesday 8 March, a cold change with strong wind and rain came through Rockhampton.  Luckily the Bureau recorded temperatures at 4:48 and 4:49 p.m., and in that minute there was a drop of 1.2C.

Fig. 2:  Natural rapid temperature decrease

Rocky 8 March

That was also entirely natural, and associated with a weather event.

For the next plots, which show questionable readings, I have supplemented BOM data with data from an educational site run by the UK Met Office, WOW (Weather Observations Worldwide).  The Met gets data from the BOM at about 10 minutes before the hour, so we have an additional source which increases the sample frequency.  The examples selected are all well-known locations in Queensland, frequently mentioned on ABC TV weather.  They have been selected purely because they are examples of large one minute changes.

This plot is from Thangool Airport near Biloela, southwest of Rockhampton, on Friday 10 March.  The weather was fine, sunny, and hot, with no storms or unusual weather events.

Fig. 3:  Temperature spike and rapid fall at Thangool

Thangool 10 march

This one is for Coolangatta International Airport on the Gold Coast on 20th February.

Fig. 4:  Temperature spike and rapid fall at Coolangatta

Coolangatta 20 Feb bom met

And Maryborough Airport on 15th February:

Fig. 5:  Temperature spike and rapid fall at Maryborough (Qld)

Mboro 15 Feb

Figure 5(b):  The weirdest spike and fall:  Coen Airport 21 March 

Coen 21 March

Thanks to commenter MikeR for finding that one.

All of these were in fine sunny conditions in the hottest part of the day.  It is difficult to imagine a natural meteorological event that would cause such rapid fluctuations- in particular rapid falls- as in the above examples.  It is possible they were caused by some other event such as jet blast or prop wash blowing hotter air over the probe during aircraft movement, quickly replaced by air at the ambient surrounding temperature.  It is either that or random instrument error.  Either way, the result is the same: rogue outliers are being captured as maxima and minima.

How often does this happen?

Over one week I collected 200 instances where the High Temps and Low Temps could be directly checked as they occurred in the same minute as the 30 minute observation.

The results are astounding.  The differences occurring in readings in the same minute are scattered across the range of temperatures.  Most High Temp discrepancies are of 0.1 or 0.2 degrees, but there is a significant number (39% of the sample) with 0.3C to 0.5C decreases in less than one minute, and five much larger.

Fig. 6:  Temperature change within one minute from maximum

Count diffs hi T graph

Notice that 95% of the differences were from 0.1C to 0.5C, which suggests that one minute ranges of up to 0.5C are common and expected, while values above this are true outliers.  The Bureau claims (see below) that in 90% of cases AWS probes have a tolerance of +/-0.2C, whereas the 2011 Review Panel mentioned the “the present +/- 0.5 °C”.  Is the tolerance really +/-0.5C?

Fig. 7:  Temperature change within one minute from minimum

Count diffs lo T graph

There was one instance where there was no difference.  The vast majority have a -0.1C difference, which is within the instruments’ tolerance.

This next plot shows the differences (temperature falls in one minute from the second with the highest reading to that of the final second) ordered from greatest to least.

Fig. 8:  Ordered count of temperature falls

Count diffs hi T

The few outliers are obvious.  More than half the differences are of 0.1C or 0.2C.

One minute temperature rises:

Fig. 9:  Ordered count of temperature rises

Count diffs lo T

Note the outlier at -2.1C: that was Hervey Bay Airport.  Also note only one example with no difference, and the majority at -0.1C.

Is there any pattern to them? 

The minimum temperature usually occurs around sunrise, although in summer this varies, but very rarely when the sun is high in the sky.  Therefore rapid temperature rise at this time will be relatively small, as the analysis shows: 80% of the differences between the Low Temps and corresponding final second observations were zero or one tenth of a degree, and 91% two tenths of a degree or less.  As the instrument tolerance of AWS sensors is supposed to be +/- 0.2C, the vast majority of Low Temps are within this range.  Therefore, the Low Temps are not significantly different from the Latest Observation figures.  Yet as it is the Lowest Temperature that is being recorded, all but one example have the Low Temp, and therefore daily minimum, cooler than the final second observation.  9% are outside the +/-0.2C range and show real discrepancy, i.e. very rapid temperature rise within one minute, that is worth investigating.  Remember, the fastest morning rise I’ve found averaged about 0.2C per minute.

The High Temps have 56% of discrepancies within the +/-0.2C tolerance range.  Day time temperatures are much more subject to rapid rise and fall of temperatures.  The 44% of discrepancies of 0.3C or more are worth investigation.  Many are likely due to small localized air temperature changes, the AWS probes being very sensitive to this, but the rapid decreases shown in the examples above, as well as the rapid rises in the Low Temp examples, mean that random noise is likely to be a factor as well.

Have they affected climate analysis? 

Comparison of values at identical times has shown that out of 200 cases, all but one had higher or lower temperatures at some previous second than at the last second of that minute, with a significant number of High Temp observations (39% of the sample) with 0.3C to 0.5C decreases in less than one minute, and five much larger.  There is a very high probability that similar differences occur at every station in every state, every day.

In more than half of the sample of High Temps, and over 90% of the Low Temps, the discrepancy was within the stated instrumental tolerance range, and therefore the values are not significantly different, but the higher or lower reading becomes the maximum or minimum, with no tolerance range publicised.

This would of course be an advantage if greater extremes were being looked for.

Nearly 10 percent of minimum temperatures were followed by a rise of more than 0.2C, and 44 percent of maxima were followed by a fall of more than 0.2C.  While many of these may have entirely natural causes, none of the very large discrepancies examined had an identifiable meteorological cause.   It is questionable whether mercury-in-glass or alcohol-in-glass thermometers used in the past would have responded as rapidly as this.  This must make claims for record temperatures questionable at best.

If you think that the +/- 0.2C tolerance makes no difference in the big picture, as positives will balance negatives and errors will resolve to a net of zero, think again.  Maximum temperature is the High Temp value for the day, and 44% of the discrepancies were more than +0.2C.  If random instrument error is the problem causing the apparent temperature spikes, (and downwards spikes in the hot part of the day are not reported unless they show up in the final second of the 30 minute reporting period), only the highest upwards spike, with or without positive error, is reported.  Negative error can never balance any positive error.

Further, these very precise but questionable values then become part of the climate monitoring system, either directly if they are for ACORN stations, or indirectly if they are used to homogenise “neighbouring” ACORN stations. They also contribute to temperature maps, showing for example how hot New South Wales was in summer.

Again, temperature datasets in the ACORN network are developed from historic, not very precise, but (we hope) fairly accurate data from slow response mercury-in-glass or alcohol-in-glass thermometers observed by humans, merged with very precise but possibly unreliable, rapid response, one second data from Automatic Weather Systems.  The extra precision means that temperatures measured by AWS probes are likely to be some tenths of a degree higher or lower than LIG thermometers in similar conditions, and the higher proportion of High Temp differences shown above, relative to Low Temp differences, will lead to higher maxima and means in the AWS era.  Let’s consider maxima trends:

Fig. 10:  Australian maxima 1910-2016

graph max trend

There are no error bars in any BOM graph.  Maxima across Australia as a whole have increased by about 0.9 C per 100 years according to the Bureau, based on analysis of ACORN data.  Even if across the whole network of 526 automatic stations the instrument error is limited to +/- 0.2C, that is 22.2% of the claimed temperature trend.  In the past, indeed as recently as 2011 (see below), instrument error was as high as +/-0.5C, or about half of the 107 year temperature increase.  No wonder the Bureau refuses to show error bands in its climate analyses.

There have been NO comparison studies published of AWS probes and LIG thermometers side by side.  Can temperatures recorded in the past from liquid-in-glass thermometers really be compared with AWS one second data?  The following quotes are from 2011, when an Independent Review Panel gave its assessment of ACORN before its introduction.

Report of the Independent Peer Review Panel p8 (2011)

Recommendations: The Review Panel recommends that the Bureau of Meteorology should implement the following actions:

A1 Reduce the formal inspection tolerance on ACORN-SAT temperature sensors significantly below the present ±0.5 °C. This future tolerance range should be an achievable value determined by the Bureau’s Observation Program, and should be no greater than the ±0.2 °C encouraged by the World Meteorological Organization.

A2 Analyse and document the likely influence if any of the historical ±0.5 °C inspection tolerance in temperature sensors, on the uncertainty range in both individual station and national multidecadal temperature trends calculated from the ACORN-SAT temperature series.

And the BoM Response: (2012)

… … …   An analysis of the results of existing instrument tolerance checks was also carried out. This found that tolerance checks, which are carried out six-monthly at most ACORN-SAT stations, were within 0.2 °C in 90% of cases for automatic temperature probes, 99% of cases for mercury maximum thermometers and 96% of cases for alcohol minimum thermometers.

These results give us a high level of confidence that measurement errors of sufficient size to have a material effect on data over a period of months or longer are rare.

This confirms LIG thermometers have more reliable accuracy than automatic probes, and that 10% of AWS probes are not sufficiently accurate, with higher error rates.  That is, at more than 50 sites.  If they are in remote areas, their inaccuracy will have an additional large effect on the climate signal.   It is to be hoped that Alice Springs, which contributes 7-10% of the national climate signal, is not one of them.

Conclusion

It is very likely that the 199 one minute differences found in a sample of 200 high and low temperature reports are also occurring every day at every weather station across Australia.  It is very likely that nearly half of the High Temp cases will differ by more than 0.2 degree Celsius.

Maxima and minima reported by modern temperature probes are likely to be some tenths of a degree higher or lower than those reported historically using Liquid-In-Glass thermometers.

Daily maximum and minimum temperatures reported at Climate Data Online are just noise, and cannot be used to determine record high or low temperatures.

These problems are affecting climate analyses directly if they are at ACORN sites, or indirectly, if they are used to homogenise ACORN sites, and may distort regional temperature maps.

Instrument error may account for between 22% and 55% of the national trend for maxima.

A Wish List of Recommendations (never likely to be adopted):

That the more than 50 sites at which AWS probes are not accurate to +/- 0.2 degree Celsius be identified and replaced with accurate probes as a matter of urgency.

That the Bureau show error bars on all of its products, in particular temperature maps and time series, as well as calculations of temperature trends.

That the Bureau of Meteorology recode its existing three criteria filter, to zero-out spurious spikes and preferably send them as fault flags into a separate file in order to improve Quality Control.

That the Bureau replace its one second spot maxima and minima  reports with a method similar to wind speed reports: the average over 10 minutes.  That would be a much more realistic measure of temperature.

The Pause Update: January 2017

February 12, 2017

The complete UAH v6.0 data for January have been released. I present all the graphs for various regions, and as well summaries for easier comparison. I also include graphs for the North and South Temperate regions (20-60 North and South), estimated from Polar and Extra-Tropical data.

The Pause has ended globally and for all regions including the USA and the Southern Hemisphere, except for Southern Extra-Tropics, South Temperate, South Polar, and Australia. The 12 month mean to January 2017 for the Globe is +0.48 C.

These graphs show the furthest back one can go to show a zero or negative trend (less than 0.1 +/-0.1C per 100 years) in lower tropospheric temperatures. I calculate 12 month running means to remove the small possibility of seasonal autocorrelation in the monthly anomalies. Note: The satellite record commences in December 1978- now 38 years and two months long- 458 months. 12 month running means commence in November 1979. The y-axes in the graphs below are at December 1978, so the vertical gridlines denote Decembers. The final plotted points are January 2017.
[CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE]

Globe:

pause-globe-jan17

The Pause has ended. A trend of +0.36 C/100 years (+/- 0.1C) since March 1998 is creeping up, but the 12 month means have peaked and are heading down.

And, for the special benefit of those who think that I am deliberately fudging data by using 12 month running means, here is the plot of monthly anomalies:

pause-globe-jan17-monthly

That’s since December 1997.

Northern Hemisphere:

pause-nh-jan17

The Northern Hemisphere Pause has well and truly ended.

Southern Hemisphere:

pause-sh-jan17

The Pause has ended- just.

Tropics:

pause-jan17-tropics

The Pause in the Tropics (20N to 20S) has ended and the minimal trend is now +.39C/ 100 years. 12 month means are dropping fast.

As Tropical Oceans closely mimic the Tropics overall, I won’t show their plot.

Northern Extra Tropics:

pause-jan17-next

The minimal trend is up to +0.64C/ 100 years= that’s one degree less than the whole trend.

Northern Temperate Region:

pause-jan17-ntemp

Using estimates calculated from North Polar and Northern Extra-Tropics data, while the trend since June 1998 of +0.28 +/- 0.1C per 100 years is more than my criterion for a Pause, it is 1.2C less than the trend for the whole period. The slowdown is obvious, and for Land areas the trend is zero.

Southern Extra Tropics:

pause-jan17-sext

The Pause persists strongly, however 12 month means are still rising, and the Pause may shorten or even disappear.

Southern Temperate Region:

pause-jan17-stemp

Using estimates calculated from South Polar and Southern Extra-Tropics data, the Pause is shorter than for Southern Extra-Tropics.

Northern Polar:

pause-jan17-np

The trend has increased rapidly and will continue to do so even though 12 month means have started to fall.

Southern Polar:

pause-jan17-sp

The South Polar region has been cooling for the entire record. With 12 month means still rising, this cooling trend will slow over the next few months.

USA 49 States:

pause-jan17-usa49

The Pause has ended- just. It will not re-appear for some time.

Australia:

pause-jan17-oz

The Pause is still 21 years 5 months. Heat in recent weeks may push the 12 month mean higher and shorten the Pause. (September, oops!)

The next graphs summarise the above plots. First, a graph of the relative length of The Pause in the various regions:

pause-length-jan17

Note that the Pause has ended by my criteria in all regions of Northern Hemisphere, and consequently the Globe, and the Tropics, but all southern regions have a Pause for over half the record, including the South Polar region which has been cooling for the whole record. Note that the Tropic influence has been enough to end the Pause for the Southern Hemisphere.

The variation in the linear trend for the whole record, 1978 to the present:

trend-78-jan-17

Note the decrease in trends from North Polar to South Polar.

And the variation in the linear trend since June 1998, which is about halfway between the global low point of December 1997 and the peak in December 1998:

trend-98-jan-17

The imbalance between the two hemispheres is obvious. The lower troposphere over Australia has been strongly cooling for more than 18 years- just shy of half the record.
The Pause has disappeared from the USA and Southern Hemisphere, but not the Southern Extra-Tropics, South Temperate, and South Polar regions, or Australia. El Nino tropical heat is rapidly decreasing, with all northern means falling, but will continue to affect the Southern Hemisphere in coming months.  Global TLT anomalies are now dropping rapidly. The next few months will be interesting.

Dig and Delve Part III: Temperate Regions

February 1, 2017

In this post I draw together ideas developed in previous posts- Poles Apart, Pause Updates, Dig and Delve Parts I and II– in which I lamented the lack of tropospheric data for the regions of the northern and southern hemispheres from 20 to 60 degrees North and South.  These regions between the Tropics and Polar regions I shall call Temperate regions, as that’s what I was taught in school.

A commenter of long standing, MikeR, who has always endeavoured to keep me on the straight and narrow, suggested a method of estimating temperature data for these regions using existing Polar and Extra-Tropical data.  I’ve finally got around to checking, and can now present the results.

The correct formula is:

T (20 to 60 degrees) = 1.256 x TexT ( 20 to 90 degrees) – 0.256 X T pole(60 to 90 degrees).

This gives an approximation for these regions in lieu of UAH data specifically for them.

And the results are very, very interesting.  Hello again, Pause.

All data are from the University of Alabama (Huntsville) (UAH) lower troposphere, V.6.0.

First of all, here are plots showing the Extra-Tropics (20-90), compared with  the corresponding Temperate regions (20-60).

Fig. 1:  Monthly UAH data for Northern Extra-Tropics (20-90N) and Estimate for Northern Temperate Region (20-60N)

 nth-temp-v-next

Fig. 2:  Monthly UAH data for Southern Extra-Tropics (20-90S) and Estimate for Southern Temperate Region (20-60S)

sth-temp-v-sext

As expected, the result of very slight differences is a slight cooling of the Northern Extra Tropics trend, and a slight warming for the Southern.   No surprise there.

The real surprise is in the Land and Ocean data.  In the Northern Temperate region, CuSum analysis reveals a large regime change which occurred at the beginning of 1998.  The following plots show trends in the data up to January 1998 and from February 1998 to December 2016.

Fig. 3: Estimated Northern Temperate data trends to January 1998 and from February 1998 to December 2016.

nth-temp-2-trends

Fig. 4: Estimated Northern Temperate data trends to January 1998 and from February 1998 to December 2016: Ocean areas.

nth-temp-2-trends-ocean

Fig. 5: Estimated Northern Temperate data trends to January 1998 and from February 1998 to December 2016: Land areas.

nth-temp-2-trends-land

Say hello to the Pause again.  Northern Temperate land areas- most of North America, Asia, Europe, and North Africa, containing the bulk of the world’s population, agriculture, industry, and CO2 emissions- has had zero trend for 18 years and 11 months.  While the trend for the whole record is +1.8C per 100 years, the record is clearly made of two halves, the first with a much milder +0.7C trend, then after an abrupt step change, the second half is flat- in spite of the “super El Nino” and the “hottest year ever”.

Compare this with the Extra-Tropics data, 20-90N.

Fig. 6: Northern Extra-Tropics data (20-90N) trends to January 1998 and from February 1998 to December 2016: Land areas.

next-land-2-trends

The step change is still there, but the trends are virtually unchanged- only 0.1C different +/- 0.1C.

Why the difference?  Northern Extra Tropics data (20-90N) includes the North Polar data (60-90N).  The major change in the North Polar region occurred in early 1995, as the next two figures show:

Fig. 7: Northern Polar data (60-90N) trends to February 1995 and from March 1995 to December 2016: Land areas.

np-land-2-trends

Fig. 8: Northern Polar data (60-90N) trends to February 1995 and from March 1995 to December 2016: Ocean areas.

np-ocean-2-trends

Massive changes in trend.  Note the change apparently occurred in land data before ocean, which is peculiar, and both in the dead of winter.  Polar regions, though much smaller, have a large impact on trends for the Extra-Tropics.

In the Southern part of the globe, once again say hello to the Pause.

Fig. 9: Estimated Southern Temperate data trends to January 1998 and from February 1998 to December 2016.

sth-temp-2-trends

While the step change is much smaller, using the same dates the Pause is still undeniable.

Fig. 10: Estimated Southern Temperate data trends to January 1998 and from February 1998 to December 2016- Land areas.

sth-temp-2-trends-land

Fig. 11: Estimated Southern Temperate data trends to January 1998 and from February 1998 to December 2016- Ocean areas.

sth-temp-2-trends-ocean

Most of the Southern Hemisphere is ocean, so it follows that a Pause in the ocean leads to a Pause overall.

It is important to stress that the figures I show for Northern and Southern Temperate regions are estimates, not actual data from UAH.  However, they are pretty good estimates, and until we have data from UAH, the best available.

Of the world’s regions, South Polar and Southern Temperate regions are paused, as is the Northern Temperate Land region, which is arguably the most important.  The Tropics fluctuate with ENSO.  Only the Arctic is strongly warming.

The Temperate regions are arguably the most important of the globe.  Together they cover more than half the surface area, and contain the bulk of the world’s population, agriculture, industry, and emissions.  I hope that Dr Spencer will be able to provide datasets for these regions as soon as possible.

Unprecedented South Australian Weather!

January 22, 2017

(and it has been like that for 178 years!)

There were more blackouts in South Australia a couple of days ago following a wild storm.  In a report in the Adelaide Advertiser, SA Power Networks spokesperson Paul Roberts is quoted:

“This is just another example of the unprecedented weather in the last six months,” Mr Roberts said, referring to bouts of wild weather that have hit power supplies hard this summer and the preceding spring.

21mm of rain was measured at the Kent Town gauge.

Just how “unprecedented” is Adelaide’s weather over the past few months?  I couldn’t find any records for the number of severe storms, so for a proxy I have made do with rainfall data from West Terrace and Kent Town in Adelaide.  The overlap period has very similar rainfall recordings so I joined the two series to give a record starting on 1 January 1839.  That’s 178 years of data.

When thinking about “unprecedented”, we need to check amount, intensity, and frequency.

Firstly, a few plots to give some context.  How unprecedented was Thursday’s storm?

Fig. 1: Rainfall for the first 21 days of January compared with Days 1 – 21 of every year

adelaide-rain-21-jan

Note Thursday’s rainfall had less rain than four previous occasions on this day alone, and 20 or so in previous Januarys.

Fig. 2: Rainfall for each day of 2016 compared with each day of every year:

adelaide-rain-2016

Note the December storm had extreme rain (for Adelaide) but not a record.

Amount and intensity has been higher in many previous years.  141.5mm was recorded on 7 February 1925.

Fig. 3: 7 day average rainfall over the years:

adelaide-rain-2016-7d-avg

The topmost dot shows the maximum 7 day average for each year.  2016 got to 13.4mm on 4 October- multiply by 7 to get the weekly total rain.  Note there were many wet and dry periods all through the record.

21mm of rain fell in a severe storm on Thursday, so I arbitrarily chose 20mm as my criterion for heavy rainfall in one day as a probable indicator of stormy weather.  I am the first to admit that 20mm might fall steadily all day and not be at all associated with wild winds, and wild winds can occur without any rain, but bear with me.

Fig. 4: Rain over 20mm throughout the year:

adelaide-rain-2016-above-20

There seems to be no increase in amount or intensity of rain at any time of the year.

Fig. 5: Frequency:

adelaide-rain-2016-cnt-above-20

Note 2016 had 7 days with above 20mm in 24 hours.  That’s the most since… 2000, when there were 8 days- and many previous years had 7 or 8 days, and 1889 had 9.  So no increase in frequency.

However, Mr Roberts was referring to the last six months, spring and summer.  So let’s look at rain events over 20mm from July to December, firstly amounts recorded:

Fig. 6: July to December Rain over 20mm:

adelaide-rain-above-20-last-6m

Nothing unusual about 2016.

Fig. 7:  Frequency of heavy rain July – December:

adelaide-rain-2016-cnt-above-20-last-6m

1973, 1978, and 1992 had the same or more days with over 20mm.

I now restrict the count to spring and summer only:

Fig. 8:  Spring and Summer frequency:

adelaide-rain-2016-cnt-above-20-last-4m

Not unprecedented: 1992 had one more.  Add in last Thursday’s event to make them equal.

Conclusion

Adelaide has a long climate record, showing daily rainfall has varied greatly over the years.  There is no recent increase in amount, intensity, or frequency for the whole year, or for the last six months or four months.  Spring and summer rainfall in 2016 was not unprecedented, and to the extent that spring and summer falls over 20mm are a proxy for storms, there is no evidence for an increase in wild weather.  This is normal.  Get used to it, Mr Roberts, and make sure the electricity network can cope.