The Guardian, Temperatures, Misinformation (Half 1) – Watts Up With That?

From Jennifer Marohasy’s Weblog

Jennifer Marohasy

I’ve simply despatched the next to Setting reporter,
The Guardian | Australia

Hello Graham (Readfearn)

I acquired an electronic mail from you late yesterday indicating you’re writing a narrative, which I assume you’re publishing in The Guardian this weekend. I’m of the impression that it’s going to counsel my analysis into the Bureau of Meteorology’s temperature knowledge over the past decade quantities to ‘harassment’ and ‘misinformation’. I additionally perceive that you’ll primarily cite the work of former Bureau chief Greg Ayers in defence of the Bureau’s present strategies and its non-compliance with World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) suggestions, that are for the measurement of air temperatures as a numerical common reasonably than an instantaneous spot studying from digital tools.

You’ve gotten requested for a response by 1 pm right this moment. There’s a lot to cowl, and I solely have a restricted period of time, furthermore, I’m becoming this response in amongst different commitments; subsequently, I’m labelling this Half 1. I’ll publish Half 1 on my weblog, with the intention of offering further particulars in Half 2 when I’ve extra time, and after the publication of your article.


I assume your fast curiosity follows the supply of a restricted quantity of parallel knowledge for Brisbane Airport following the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Listening to on 3 February that I attended with John Abbot. I word, nevertheless, that within the topic line of your electronic mail you write: ‘Acorn-Sat and temperature information – response.’

The parallel knowledge are the measurements as they’re recorded on the identical time and place by a mercury thermometer, which will be in comparison with temperatures as recorded by a platinum resistance probe linked to a datalogger. There are roughly 38 of those parallel knowledge units that run for 10 to twenty years every. These are held by the Bureau principally as transcribed handwritten reviews. It’s the Bureau’s coverage to not make these handwritten reviews public.

The ACORN-SAT (Australian Local weather Observations Reference Community – Floor Air Temperature) information are one thing else totally. These are the homogenised/remodelled temperature collection which can be promoted by the Bureau as displaying international warming. ACORN-SAT knowledge is publicly accessible and tends to point out very completely different developments to the uncooked temperature knowledge collection for a similar areas as archived within the Australian Information Archive for Meteorology (ADAM). ACORN-SAT is derived from ADAM following industrial scale remodelling.

• Yow will discover the ACORN-SAT collection on the Bureau’s web site right here: weather/change/#tabs=Tracker&tracker=site-networks

• Yow will discover the ADAM collection on the Bureau’s web site right here: weather/knowledge/

The parallel knowledge is secret. As I discussed above and emphasise once more, it’s the Bureau’s coverage to not make these handwritten reviews public.

I make this level upfront, as a result of there was a lot confusion relating to the supply of the parallel temperature knowledge since Graham Lloyd’s article ‘Mercury Rising in BOM probe row’ was printed on the entrance web page of The Weekend Australian final month.

To reiterate, the parallel knowledge are the temperatures which can be handwritten into the Subject Books of Meteorological Observations, together with each the temperatures as recorded by a mercury thermometer, and people from the platinum resistance probes, on the identical place and on the identical day. ADAM gives the observations from both probe or mercury, ACORN-SAT are the ADAM temperatures collection remodelled/homogenised, whereas the parallel knowledge are two units of readings – from each probe and mercury on the identical day on the identical location.

I spent the primary of a number of minutes of a pre-recorded interview with Michael Condon from ABC NSW Nation Hour final month arguing with him about this. He was repeating incorrect data from the Bureau’s Chief Buyer Officer, Peter Stone.

Particularly, Condon incorrectly claimed that the Bureau makes all its temperature knowledge publicly accessible on its web site, together with the parallel knowledge. This declare, that’s apparently being repeated throughout college campuses, flatly contradicts the opening paragraphs of Lloyd’s article. Lloyd appropriately defined that it was solely after a Freedom of Info request, three years of arguing with the Bureau (together with over the very existence of those Subject Books/A8 reviews and whether or not their launch was within the public curiosity), after which the case finally going to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on 3 February 2023, that among the parallel knowledge for Brisbane Airport was launched.


This present dispute is separate from my subject with the homogenisation course of which produces the ACORN-SAT knowledge.

The problems as reported over the past month in The Australian newspaper, on ABC radio’s Nation Hour, and Sky Tv, following the listening to on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is worried basically with the uncooked temperature knowledge, ADAM, which I argue has been corrupted for the reason that introduction of platinum resistance probes.

Briefly, we’re arguably not evaluating apples with apples.

It is very important evaluate knowledge from mercury thermometers with knowledge collected by probes since 1996, via in-depth evaluation of the parallel temperature knowledge, which the Bureau each refuses to make publicly accessible or evaluation in correct element.

Claims that there should be peer-reviewed of our preliminary findings is a crimson herring. Correct research require that extra parallel knowledge be made accessible.

Peer evaluate is a course of developed to encourage rigour in scientific debates, however is more and more getting used as a bludgeon and protect in opposition to critic.

The issues raised by John Abbot and me are technical not scientific issues. The Bureau’s refusal to accredit its course of as conforming to WMO pointers is a matter of high quality management. Sunshine is one of the best disinfectant however the Bureau’s refusal to launch the parallel knowledge – which might enable the apples with apple comparability – is a scandal of public administration.

Freedom of Info regulation exists to facilitate the discharge of such knowledge held by establishments such because the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. It’s true that I’ve pursued this subject with the Bureau and a few members of its employees for near a decade. But when that they had acknowledged the real subject and the general public curiosity in sharing the information, in say, 2015, we might have moved on. If I’ve, at instances, speculated as to the motives behind non-compliance, that’s an anterior not a posterior results of the Bureau’s method.

I principally make point out of the utmost temperature knowledge as recorded by a mercury thermometer. The three varieties of temperature collection held by the Bureau: ADAM, parallel knowledge, and ACORN-SAT additionally embrace minimal temperature collection recorded by alcohol thermometers, which like mercury thermometers are liquid-in-glass versus the digital devises comprised of platinum resistance probes hooked-up to knowledge loggers often known as computerized climate stations.


Again in 2017, after John Abbot and I printed a most essential evaluation of the appliance of machine studying for evaluating anthropogenic versus pure local weather change (GeoResJ, Quantity 14, Pages 36–46), you printed a chunk in The Guardian filled with ‘misinformation’ that generated a superb quantity of ‘harassment’ and vilification.

Whereas your 2017 article helped delay a storm of non-public abuse on Twitter – led by Gavin Schmidt, the director of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Area Research – within the six years since then there has by no means been any criticism or rebuttal printed within the peer-reviewed literature of that work during which we describe mathematically the pure cycles which have contributed to warming and cooling over the past two millennia.

It’s now six years because you helped spearhead that assault, which tried to have our paper retracted, but it stays an essential and printed contribution to local weather science – and it’s starting to be cited.

Your assault did immediate me to jot down a plain English rebuttal that many non-scientists have discovered helpful in understanding the novel method that John Abbot and I’ve developed over the past 10 years for forecasting not solely temperature, but in addition rainfall.

It stays of concern, to each John Abbot and I, that with the mainstream local weather science group refusing to think about the advantages of advances in synthetic intelligence for mining historic local weather knowledge for extra dependable forecasting of droughts, floods and cyclones, strange individuals proceed to endure. Our collection of peer-reviewed publications displaying a greater manner are ignored as a result of the Bureau stays wedded to the speculation of catastrophic human-caused international warming and normal circulation fashions for forecasting, regardless of their incapacity to copy previous cycles of local weather change or demonstrated sensible talent at forecasting even just a few months forward.

My plain-English rebuttal of your earlier misreporting of our work, and a few of our extra technical local weather science publications, will be discovered at

Climatelab Pty Ltd is an organization that I based, and that has carried out consulting work in local weather science, together with with the Indonesian Bureau of Meteorology via a collaboration with the Queensland College of Know-how.

Given your tendency through the years to mischaracterise John Abbot and myself primarily as ‘IPA Staffers’ and, variously, John as a pc scientist and myself as a biologist, earlier than I reply the 2 questions that you just despatched late yesterday, after which make some touch upon the constraints of Greg Ayers’s printed notes, please take the time to know someday of our {qualifications} and pursuits, detailed beneath.

On this, Half 1, I’ll elaborate on how the parallel knowledge and the ACORN-SAT collection, which you have got made the topic line of your electronic mail, are completely different however associated.

In Half 2, after the publication of your article, I’ll re-explain the general public curiosity within the parallel temperature knowledge that was the reason for John Abbot’s most up-to-date FOI software and which introduced concerning the listening to on the Administrative Attraction Tribunal on 3 February this yr.

Additionally in Half 2, I’ll probably clarify how we intend to publish our findings as they pertain to the Brisbane parallel knowledge, and in addition the parallel knowledge that I maintain for Mildura.

It’s price noting that there’s a requirement for the Bureau to make the specs for the 4 several types of custom-designed probes – which are actually used throughout Australia for recording temperatures in automated climate stations together with at airports – publicly accessible. There are additionally so many different points to deal with. However let me start by explaining the hyperlink between ACORN-SAT and the parallel knowledge, given the extent of the confusion, together with in – as steered by – the topic line of your electronic mail.


Again in 2014 I gave a chat on the Sydney Institute concerning the remodelling of temperature knowledge within the creation of the ACORN-SAT collection. The notes from this tackle are nonetheless related and will be accessed right here:

These 2014 speech notes quote Gavin Schmidt from a Twitter dialog again in 2014 during which I clarify why it’s nonsense to make use of temperature knowledge from radically completely different climatic zones to transform and alter temperatures as they had been recorded by army personnel on the airbase at Amberley, close to Brisbane. Gavin Schmidt replied, ‘@jennmarohasy Your query is ill-posed. No-one modified the development straight. As a substitute procedures appropriate for a detected soar round ~1980.’

If we have a look at the utmost temperatures recorded at Amberley, and in addition the close by areas of Brisbane Airport and the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, for the interval ‘round 1980’, we see that the annual common most temperature rose in the course of the interval of that drought, after which dropped considerably dramatically in the course of the wetter years that adopted (Chart 1). That is typically the sample we see in uncooked temperature knowledge throughout Australia earlier than it’s remodelled/homogenised.

Certainly, the longest accessible most temperature collection for the Metropolis of Brisbane doesn’t present a patten of warming per international warming idea (Chart 1, inexperienced collection).

This temperature collection, which extends from 1896 to 1986, is maybe one of many longest steady collection for anyplace within the Southern Hemisphere, with measurements taken by authorities meteorologists utilizing commonplace tools (a mercury thermometer in a Stevenson display screen). The sample on this temperature collection is per many others from northern and japanese Australia, displaying cooling to about 1960 after which warming (Chart 1). Inside the 60-year development of cooling, adopted by warming, there are shorter temperature cycles that are inclined to correspond with durations of droughts and floods.

Chart 1. Annual imply most temperatures recorded within the Brisbane area based mostly on publicly accessible ADAM temperature collection.

It’s the case that minimal temperatures at Amberley, for instance, cooled after 1980; key establishments all over the world have remodelled this actuality, altering the cooling to warming, as proven in Chart 2 (Determine 3 in my notes from my speak to the Sydney Institute).

Chart 2. The annual imply minimal Amberley (close to Brisbane) temperature collection, inexperienced relies on day by day values downloaded from the ADAM database, crimson relies on day by day values downloaded from the ACORN-SAT collection on the time I gave the Sydney Institute tackle again in 2014. The ACORN-SAT temperatures are regularly revised.

If Twitter was round on the time George Orwell was writing the dystopian fiction Nineteen Eighty-4, I wonder if he might need borrowed some textual content from Schmidt’s tweets, significantly when phrases like ‘procedures appropriate’ consult with mathematical algorithms reaching out to ‘close by’ areas, that are in actual fact throughout the Coral Sea and past the Nice Dividing Vary, to alter what was a light cooling development at Amberley from 1941 via to 2013, right into a dramatic warming one, for an in any other case completely politically incorrect temperature collection.

The temperatures at Amberly had been appropriately measured within the first place, and but the Bureau has modified them with the creation of its official database ACORN-SAT. These are temperatures that had been recorded earlier than the introduction of resistance probes with knowledge loggers within the late Nineteen Nineties.

It’s my competition that since November 1996 the system the Bureau has used for temperature assortment is probably not match for function, and certainly might should be remodelled.

Whereas the Bureau – quoting former director Greg Ayers – claims its new methodology, which is taking the final one-second studying every minute utilizing resistance probes linked to a knowledge loggers, gives a most temperature studying equal to a conventional mercury thermometer, on the identical time the Bureau admits to needing to transform/homogenise temperatures from areas as distant as Darwin and Cape Otway, due to the tools modifications. That is logically inconsistent. Certainly, as Graham Lloyd, reported again in 2019: ‘The bureau has defended its homogenisation processes, which it stated had been wanted to account for non-climate influences and modifications in tools.’

Yow will discover that story right here: weather/darwin-warming-claim-triggers-challenge-to-bom/news-story/bba138e1feb1c270b08b7e22c92f8659

The query for me continues to be whether or not the probes which have changed mercury thermometers at a lot of the Bureau’s 700 official climate stations are recording the identical temperatures that might have been recorded utilizing a mercury thermometer. The Bureau shouldn’t be constant on this level.


John Abbot has {qualifications} in science together with a BSc from Imperial School London, an MSc from the College of British Columbia, a Grasp of Biotech from The College of Queensland and a PhD from McGill College. He has printed greater than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He has held analysis and college positions in universities in Canada and Australia in chemistry and chemical engineering departments, in addition to in business, over a mixed interval of greater than 20 years. His analysis consists of research of advanced kinetic phenomena referring to industrial processes.

In the course of the previous decade, he has undertaken analysis referring to local weather phenomena with a specific curiosity in software of neural networks, a sort of AI, leading to greater than a dozen analysis publications collaborating with myself. Research embrace forecasting rainfall in Australia, with a number of printed papers every receiving greater than 100 citations within the scientific literature.

Dr Abbot additionally has {qualifications} in regulation with Juris Physician and LLM levels from the College of Queensland and has been admitted as a solicitor. He has printed papers in authorized journals together with subjects referring to acquiring climatic data via Freedom of Info.

I’m a scientist with expertise in processing knowledge, together with temperature knowledge for long-range climate forecasting. I’ve labored with the Indonesia Bureau of Meteorology (BMKG) underneath contract with the Queensland College of Know-how educating statistical modelling methods for long-range climate forecasting.

The accuracy of my rainfall forecasting methodology, developed with John Abbot and utilizing a classy statistical mannequin based mostly on advances in machine studying, depends on the integrity of the historic temperature document. Our methodology for rainfall forecasting is detailed in peer-reviewed publications in worldwide local weather science journals.

I even have a long-standing curiosity in evidence-based public coverage. I’m a public mental with a weblog, a whole bunch of articles printed by Fairfax Media, Information Ltd together with in The Australian, and I’ve appeared on numerous Australian Broadcasting Company packages together with the Q&A panel and The Science Present.


You write:

A former BoM director and CSIRO scientist, Greg Ayers, has printed peer-reviewed papers testing a number of of your claims. Particularly, on the potential impact of utilizing computerized readings from the ultimate second of every minute on temperature information and developments, and whether or not the bureau’s computerized probes successfully are a mean over the earlier minute (satisfying WMO pointers). Ayers says critics ought to publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals, however he says he has “seen quite a lot of assertion however not a lot science” and he, along with a local weather scientist, query why critics of the bureau don’t publish their particular claims in respected peer-reviewed journals. How would you reply to that?

It’s our intention to publish our findings, ideally this will likely be after the Bureau releases the 12 years of parallel knowledge that it continues to carry for Brisbane Airport, and key A8 reviews that it has withheld from me for Mildura, significantly the parallel knowledge for Mildura pertaining to September 2012.

Contemplating the evaluation by Greg Ayers, which will likely be mentioned in additional element in our printed papers and reviews, the next consists of some preliminary ideas, shared in goodwill.

What Ayers seems to have completed is validate the temperature probes underneath supreme or close to supreme situations. Word that I can’t converse to the precise situations on the websites he used, however I assume that he would typically select websites that met good observe, Mildura excepted, which he apparently picked out as a result of I had highlighted it.

The scatter within the samples in his papers is low: for instance, Fig 16, web page 179 of Ayers, exhibits the variations in Tmax and Tmin (1 second) for the Mildura web site and the equal 4 pattern averages. They’re minimal, suggesting that noise is low and the system is mostly well-behaved. There are only a few samples past +/− 0.075C. That is what he would have hoped to see, and why he printed the paper. It does make his level fairly nicely.

Nonetheless, my preliminary evaluation of the Brisbane knowledge tells a special story. The related chart is the scatter plot of the distinction (Chart 3).

Chart 3. The distinction between day by day values after transcribing the numbers from the A8 Varieties over the Easter break. This data was supplied to each Information Ltd and the Bureau, a couple of week earlier than I printed the identical at my weblog.

Within the Brisbane knowledge a lot of the day by day probe samples are at the least 0.1 C away from the mercury and there are lots which can be greater than 0.2 C away. The query is why?

What’s the anticipated measurement error of the mercury thermometer?

What occurred in early December 2019, each with the very low readings adopted by the step change in common studying, as proven in Chart 3? Was there a fault adopted by a restore and recalibration? If that is so, why is the ADAM temperature collection is full for this era, and exhibits no high quality points?

General, the Brisbane knowledge present there may be much more scatter than Ayer’s papers would counsel, and a few of it’s nicely over +/− 0.5 C. Why?

If the Bureau needed headlines supporting international warming, extra scatter is healthier: you get extra scorching day information that manner.

The recommendation to me from an analogue engineer who has experience in such a measurement is:

As you realize, I might begin by investigating RF (radio frequency) interference as a supply of the scatter. This generally is a supply of each random and systematic errors.

On a special word, I’ve not been capable of finding any details about the temperature probes referred to within the papers by Greg Ayers. Do you have got any pictures of 1?

The temperature probes I’ve seen on the Rosemount web site are industrial probes appropriate for each liquid and air temperature measurement. In liquids they reply rapidly, with a time fixed of some seconds. In air, the response time is for much longer, relying on the air stream, humidity, and so on. Intuitively a settling time fixed of 40 – 80 seconds in air appears affordable, though I’ve by no means examined one in air myself. [Ends]

I don’t perceive why the Bureau doesn’t make this data public, together with time constants and footage of the probes used at Brisbane and Mildura through the years.

The Bureau has transitioned from probes of a lesser mass stability and certain longer time fixed to a 4mm model that’s more likely to produce a larger scatter for a similar climate. It makes use of probes from at the least 4 completely different suppliers, and claims every are customized. The specs have by no means been printed. They’re a secret.

I’ve been asking for this data, together with via requests each to Rosemount and the Bureau, since at the least 2015. It’s crucial to understanding the Bureau’s measurement method significantly given there is no such thing as a numerical averaging as beneficial by WMO.


You write:

One local weather scientist is quoted as saying the criticisms of the bureau’s temperature document quantity to “harassment” and characterises them as “misinformation”. Whereas this remark shouldn’t be directed at you, you’re named within the story and have been on the coronary heart of lots of the criticisms up to now. How would you reply to the assertion that the bureau has been subjected to harassment and misinformation over the course of the final decade? [Ends]

I’ve all the time acted in good religion. Within the case of the Brisbane knowledge, when it was lastly supplied to me, I spent my Easter break copying numbers from greater than 1,000 handwritten reviews and endeavor a preliminary evaluation. These values, by means of an Excel spreadsheet, and my evaluation had been supplied to the Bureau by way of Graham Lloyd at The Australian. A full week earlier than I made any media remark the Bureau had a chance to point out the errors in my evaluation. Nothing of substance has been forthcoming. Fairly, as an alternative, there was a misinformation marketing campaign suggesting that the parallel knowledge is already public – by complicated it with the ACORN-SAT collection.

There was no harassment on our half. All of the Bureau must do is produce the information that John Abbot and I’ve moderately requested through the years and with out undue delay.

The harassment, obstruction and misinformation has been by the Bureau. As reported by John Abbot in The Australian earlier within the week:

It is very important know the temperature measurements from the several types of tools, if dependable steady temperature information are to be constructed for every web site in order that temperature modifications in latest a long time will be precisely in contrast with earlier information extending again to the beginning of the economic period.

Small variations in temperature measurement between the 2 varieties of tools, maybe 0.2 C to 0.5 C are usually not negligible within the context of worldwide warming the place the general public is consistently being advised {that a} rise of 1.5 C above pre-industrial period may have dire penalties.

The unique FOI request for parallel temperature knowledge for Brisbane Airport was made in December 2019, in addition to different websites at later phases.

One of many techniques used is to allege that the paperwork requested don’t exist. The paperwork requested did exist as they had been referred to in BOM reviews that checklist the websites at which parallel temperatures have been collected and the time durations. The proof is that now we have lastly acquired parallel temperature for Brisbane after greater than 3 years, displaying claims on the contrary had been nonsense.

One other of the techniques used to forestall, or severely restrict, public entry to authorities held paperwork is to erect value boundaries. This was certainly the case with the BOM. The company concerned is entitled to calculate an approximate processing value in offering the paperwork requested underneath FOI.

Nonetheless, FOI laws permits an applicant to request a payment waiver, for instance on grounds of hardship or public curiosity relating to the data sought. The BOM rejected my payment waiver request on public curiosity grounds. The BOM said that the parallel temperature knowledge sought was solely of non-public curiosity to me, and that I stood to realize financially as a result of I might use this data in the middle of my employment. It’s astonishing that the BOM might take the place that correct quantification of atmospheric temperature modifications over the previous century has little or no or no normal public curiosity when the general public is consistently being advised that there will likely be drastic penalties for the planet if the brink of 1.5 C atmospheric temperature improve is exceeded.

An applicant is permitted to request a evaluate by the Australia Info Commissioner if unhappy with selections made by a authorities company relating to accessing paperwork underneath FOI. In July 2020, I requested a evaluate by the Info Commissioner on two counts – existence of the paperwork requested and secondly the problem of payment waiver on public curiosity grounds. The OAIC agreed with the BOM on the non-existence of the paperwork and has to date made no discovering on the second rely after practically two years. [Ends]

Thanks for the chance to reply.

Yours sincerely,
Jennifer Marohasy BSc PhD.

A PDF of this letter is accessible for obtain Readfern-BOMTemp-Response-F.

Gideon Rozner, John Abbot and Jennifer Marohasy on the Administrative Attraction Tribunal on third February 2023.

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