Thursday, September 04, 2014

BOM gives specious reason for revising temperature data

Supposition trumps the facts!

THE removal of a longstanding temperature record at Bourke of 125 degrees Fahrenheit (51.7C) set in 1909 was the result of a critical 1997 paper that revised a string of records and brought Australia’s hottest recorded temperature into the second half of the 20th century.

Until the paper by Blair Trewin, who is now a leading climate scientist at the Bureau of Meteorology, Australia’s hottest recorded temperature was 53.1C at Cloncurry on January 16, 1889.

But after revision, the record has been accepted as the 50.7C recorded at Oodnadatta, South Australia, on January 2, 1960.

The Cloncurry record was erased because the temperature was taken with old technology and “the thermometers were probably overexposed to direct sunlight or radiant energy”.

At Bourke, however, the temperature record was taken with a near-new Stevenson screen and clearly documented in the official record and monthly audit.

Nonetheless the Bourke temperature was discarded from the record as an “observational error” because it was logged on a Sunday, a day that temperature records were generally not taken.

The deletion of the Bourke record has helped to fan a vigorous debate about the quality of the bureau’s historical temperature data.

Discussing the adjustment in the 1997 paper, Mr Trewin said a Stevenson screen was installed at Bourke in August 1908. “The original manuscript record for Bourke shows temperatures of 125F (51.7C) observed on both 2 and 3 January.

“The observation on January 2 has been corrected on the manuscript to 112F (44.4C), which is consistent with the temperatures over the region,” the Trewin paper said.

“However, 3 January was a Sunday, and no other observations were made on this day.

“It is therefore likely that the observation is actually the maximum temperature for the 48 hours to 0900, 4 January, and therefore it would be affected by the same error which was corrected in the case of the 2 January observation.”

He said “no other station in NSW or southern Queensland is known to have exceeded 47.2C on this day”.

However, Jennifer Marohasy, who has questioned the ­bureau about changes to the historic temperature record, said the nearest station, Brewarrina, had recorded 123F (50.6C) on the same day (January 3, 1909).

Dr Marohasy has a doctorate in biology and is openly sceptical of the consensus position on anthropogenic climate change.

The Brewarrina temperature record is widely reported in historic newspaper articles but the bureau’s online temperature record for Brewarrina does not start until January 1, 1911.

“In fact 125 is clearly written into the Bourke ledger for Sunday 3rd January in the pen that was being used at that time,’’ she said. “The entry is also underlined.”

“At the time all records were audited and a summary written at the end of the month.

“This summary clearly states that the maximum temperature on 3 January 1909 was 125F.”


Bureau of Meteorology defended over temperature adjustments by fellow Warmists

They defend the principle of data adjustment but that is not the issue.  How the principle was in fact appied is the issue.  Was it corruptly applied?  They have no answer to evidence that it was

THE Bureau of Meteorology’s rewriting of historic temperature records has been defended by leading climate scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Systems Science at the University of NSW.

In an online article, centre director Andy Pitman and chief investigator Lisa Alexander said homogenisation of raw temperature data was an “essential process in improving weather data by spotting where temperature records need to be corrected, in ­either direction”.

They said data homogenisation was used to varying degrees by many weather agencies and climate researchers worldwide.

“Although the World Meteorological Organisation has guidelines for data homogenisation, the methods used vary from country to country, and in some cases no data homogenisation is applied,’’ Dr Pitman and Dr Alexander said.

They said Australian Research Council Centre data on extreme temperature trends showed the warming trend across Australia looked bigger without homogenisation. Adjusted data showed a cooling trend over parts of northwest Australia, which wasn’t seen in the raw data.

“Far from being a fudge to make warming look more severe than it is, most of the bureau’s data manipulation has in fact had the effect of reducing the apparent extreme temperature trends across Australia,” the two said.

BOM’s homogenisation process has been queried following examples of long-term cooling or neutral trends being turned into a strong warming trend.

Analysis of the 100-year record at Rutherglen in Victoria showed that a cooling trend of 0.35C in the raw data had become a 1.73C warming after homogenisation.

BOM said the discrepancy was consistent with the thermometer site moving from a farm building on a small hill outside the town to low-lying flat ground.

However, the official catalogue says “there have been no site moves during the site’s history”. Former Rutherglen workers said the site had not been moved.

Asked further about Rutherglen, BOM said “statistical analysis of minimum temperatures at Rutherglen indicated jumps in the data in 1966 and 1974”.

“These changes were determined through comparison with 17 nearby sites,” it said. “The biases detected in the temperature data for Rutherglen were deemed large enough to require adjustment, based on the statistical tests alone.

“The site records indicate that at least one site move took place between 1958 and 1975. It is likely but not confirmed that this move took place in 1966. The site records also indicate that the weather station was substantially upgraded around the time of the 1974 break in the temperature record.”

The bureau did not provide a copy of the Rutherglen site record.

BOM has yet to provide a full list of peer-reviewed publications regarding its homogenisation process, but in an article in the International Journal of Climatology, BOM climate researcher Blair Trewin said the bureau’s homogenised data set included 112 sites across Australia and extended from 1910 to the present, with 60 sites having data for the full period.

The data set was developed using a technique, the percentile-matching algorithm, that applies differing adjustments to daily data depending on their position in the frequency distribution.

“This method is intended to produce data sets that are homogeneous for higher-order statistical properties, such as variance and the frequency of extremes, as well as for mean values,” the paper said.

“The PM algorithm is evaluated and found to have clear advantages over adjustments based on monthly means, particularly in the homogenisation of temperature extremes.’’


Superannuation delay is price of crossbench deal to repeal mining tax

The Coalition has delivered on its election promise to axe the mining tax but its deal will cost workers thousands of dollars in superannuation.

Labor accused the Coalition of breaking a promise on super but Tony Abbott said delays to the increase in the superannuation guarantee levy would “keep more money in workers’ pockets”.

The mining tax was scrapped today after the government secured a deal with Senate crossbenchers, including the Palmer United Party.  Voting 36 to 33 to repeal the tax, the Senate ended a highly controversial reform that began in 2010 but never delivered the revenue promised for it.  “We promised to get rid of it and we’ve delivered,” Treasurer Joe Hockey said of the deal, which will cost the budget $6.5 billion over the next four years.

Under the deal with PUP, the government has agreed to extend the low-income super contribution until June 30, 2017 and the income-support bonus until December 31, 2016.

The schoolkids bonus will also stay in place until December 31, 2016, but will be means tested so that only families earning up to $100,000 will qualify.

But the Coalition came under attack because under the deal, increases to the amount employers are required to contribute to the superannuation accounts of their employees will be delayed for several years.

The mining tax was supposed to fund the cost to government of increasing the superannuation rate to 12 per cent by 2019/20 through annual increases of 0.25 per cent.

The government’s changes will halt the increase and not restart it until 2021, so that the target of 12 per cent is not reached until July 2025, with annual increases of 0.5 per cent.

Labor claims that a 25-year-old Australian earning $55,000 a year will be more than $9000 worse off by 2025.

But Industry Super Australia said it could cost a 25-year-old average income earner around $100,000 over their working life, taking into account compound interest.

Industry Super Australia chief David Whiteley criticised the decision, saying it was about a short-term budget fix that would be felt later with increased age pension payments.

The Financial Services Council calculates working Australians will have $128 billion less in their superannuation savings by 2025.

Bill Shorten, moving a motion of condemnation in parliament, said Mr Abbott had violated the trust of the Australian people and raided the hard-earned incomes of workers.

He said Mr Abbott had promised 14 times not to make any adverse changes to superannuation.  “We have seen today ... the disgraceful, destructive and dishonest attack to freeze superannuation,” Mr Shorten said.

Mr Abbott had set a “new land speed record for a duplicitous government” and put the interests of 10 mining companies ahead of nine million Australians, Mr Shorten said.

Mr Abbott insisted workers would not be short-changed and accused Mr Shorten of “confected indignation”.  “There are no adverse changes as a result of this,” Mr Abbott said.  “By delaying the increase in the superannuation guarantee levy we are keeping more money in workers’ pockets.”

Mr Hockey admitted the move was “not our preferred option”, but blamed Labor for forcing the government’s hand.  “If people think this is going to have a long term effect on superannuation, blame Labor.”

Initially the government proposed a two-year delay to Labor’s plan for a 12 per cent contribution rate by 2019/20.  But that was opposed by Labor, the Greens and PUP in the Senate, forcing the government to change its repeal legislation.  “They dealt themselves out of the game,” Mr Hockey said of Labor’s position.

Senator Cormann said earlier: “This is not an adverse unexpected change as it will leave Australian workers with more money pre-retirement, which they can spend on paying down their mortgage, spending on other matters or saving for their retirement though superannuation as they see fit.  “It will also reduce the cost of doing business, helping business employ more Australians.”

Senator Cormann said changes agreed today would add $10 billion to the budget bottom line over the next four years by repealing the tax and scaling back some of the spending measures linked to it.

Mr Palmer defended his decision to back the freeze, arguing it was more important for Australian families to have access to money now, not in 50 years.

He claimed as a statistical fact that up to 50 per cent of Australians would die before they could access their superannuation.

The government’s ideal mining tax repeal plan, reintroduced to parliament on Monday, would have added $16.5bn to the budget bottom line, indicating that the government has given up $6.5bn in savings in order to get the mining tax package through the upper house.

The mining tax was officially repealed in the Senate shortly after 2pm, when the government forced the upper house to vote on the deal just hours after it was agreed with Clive Palmer and other key players.

Senator Cormann thanked the Palmer United Party, Ricky Muir from the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, David Leyonjhjelm from the Liberal Democratic Party and Bob Day from Family First as he outlined the new deal to the Senate.

Mr Palmer said the economy would be boosted by the mining tax’s abolition.  “(The MRRT has) done a lot of damage to Australia and hasn’t raised any money,” Mr Palmer said.

Labor’s Senate leader Penny Wong said the government had rammed the legislation through parliament with another “dirty deal”.

“They want the bloke, the treasurer of this country, the bloke who thinks poor people don’t drive cars to have the discretion as to whether Australians should get superannuation,” she said.

Senator Wong lashed out at the crossbenchers involved in the deal, saying they were part of a scheme to rush through the bill and truncate debate.

PUP Senate leader Glenn Lazarus said the minor party had always supported scrapping the mining tax because it was an “unfair” impost that diminished Australia’s competitiveness.

But they wouldn’t allow the repeal unless key initiatives to assist families were left untouched.

“Palmer United are grateful that the government has agreed to our insistence that the mining tax be removed while still retaining these important measures,” he told the chamber.

“This is a win for hardworking Australians across the country.”

Greens leader Christine Milne said the government and Palmer United Party were treating the Senate with contempt.

“Within one hour they want to come in here, circulate amendments, just bang them on the desk and say it doesn’t matter what you think about it, we’ve done the deal, we’ve got the numbers, we can ram it through,” Senator Milne said.

The government were simply giving billionaire miner Clive Palmer what he wanted, she said.  “And that is get rid of the mining tax for big miners.”


Senate pressure to drop renewables targets

KEY crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm is determined to scrap the renewable energy target.

THE federal government is considering its response to a report by business leader Dick Warburton into the cost and benefits of the scheme, which mandates that 20 per cent of all electricity comes from renewables by 2020.

The Warburton review recommended either closing the RET to new investment in wind or solar farms or increasing targets in line with electricity demand.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said last week he supported renewable energy but did not want it to lift the price of power for business and families.

Labor has warned the small-scale renewables sector - particularly solar rooftop companies - would be decimated along with the bigger projects in wind and hydroelectricity if the changes went ahead.
Any changes by the government would need the support of six crossbench senators.

Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm said he was actively lobbying both the government and the three Palmer United Party senators to scrap the RET to try to ease power prices.

"PUP says they support it, but we think it is bad for the battlers," Senator Leyonhjelm told Sky News on Wednesday.  "I'm trying to put some pressure on the government to do something about the RET and the Palmer people to see some sense on it."


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