A follow up on the ‘it was warmer in 1790 in Sydney’ story

Readers may recall the story  Global Warming?……. It was warmer in Sydney in 1790 by Craig Kelly, MP in NSW Australia in response to some of the recent alarmist caterwauling in the press about the hot summer in Australia being a sign of ‘global warming’. He writes in with an update regarding criticisms by Steven Mosher regarding instrument calibration.

Meteorological records for Port Jackson, New South Wales, compiled by Lieutenant William Dawes, 1788–91.
Meteorological records for Port Jackson, New South Wales, compiled by Lieutenant William Dawes, 1788–91. The Royal Society.

Kelly writes:

=============================================================

Hi Anthony,

I’ve done a bit more research on the temperature measurements recorded by Tench in 1790 that  I thought you might be interested in.

Firstly, it appears the measurements were taken in a purpose built observatory which stood at location of the current pylons of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. The Observatory was built and run by William Dawes. 

There is a detail description of the Observatory in letter sent back to England. The Observatory had two thermometers not one. These were loaned to the First Fleet by the Board of Longitude.

One was made by Nairne & Blunt and the other one by Ramsden.
When the First Fleet stopped at Cape Town on the way to Sydney, Dawes refers to calibrating the instruments. William Dawes’ journal actually  mentions making a comparison between the two thermometers, noting;

‘‘I observe when the thermometers have been long at nearly the same height that they agree.’’

When both Dawes and Tench returned to England at the end of 1791 (after having their requests to stay denied) they took the thermometers with them and returned them to the Board of Longitude.

Both Tench and Dawes were remarkable men, they would have done everything in their power to ensure the measurements were as accurate a possible. Gergis et al. (2009) has stated that William Dawes’ data is commensurate with present-day meteorological measurements.

Add this to the numerous ancedotes of bird and bat deaths, and I think even the most skeptical would have to agree that records are quite accurate.

Regards,
Craig Kelly
Federal Member for Hughes

==============================================================

Some additions by Anthony:

The abstract of Gergis et al 2009:

This study presents the first analysis of the weather conditions experienced at
Sydney Cove, New South Wales, during the earliest period of the European settlement
of Australia. A climate analysis is presented for January 1788 to December
1791 using daily temperature and barometric pressure observations recorded by
William Dawes in Sydney Cove and a temperature record kept by William Bradley
on board the HMS Sirius anchored in Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) in the early
months of the First Fleet’s arrival in Australia. Remarkably, the records appear
comparable with modern day measurements taken from Sydney Observatory
Hill, displaying similar daily variability, a distinct seasonal cycle and considerable
inter-annual variability.  To assess the reliability of these early weather data, they were cross-verified with other data sources, including anecdotal observations recorded in First Fleet documentary records and independent palaeoclimate reconstructions. Some biases in the temperature record, likely associated with the location of the thermometer, have been identified. Although the 1788–1791 period experienced a marked La Niña to El Niño fluctuation according to palaeoclimatic data, the cool and warm intervals in Sydney over this period cannot be conclusively linked to El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions. This study demonstrates that there are excellent opportunities to expand our description of pre-20th century climate variability in Australia while contributing culturally significant material to the emerging field of Australian environmental history.

An account from Dawes journal extracted from Gergis et al 2009:

By September 1790, the settlers were fast realising just
how unpredictable Australia’s weather could be. Watkin
Tench remarks ‘it is changeable beyond any other I ever
heard of… clouds, storms and sunshine pass in rapid succession’.
But by the middle of 1790, Tench (1793) describes
the impact of dry conditions on the colony’s food supplies:
‘vegetables are scarce…owing to want of rain. I do not think
that all the showers of the last four months put together,
would make twenty-four hours rain. Our farms, what with
this and a poor soil, are in wretched condition. My winter
crop of potatoes, which I planted in days of despair (March
and April last), turned out very badly when I dug them about
two months back. Wheat returned so poorly last harvest’
(Tench 1793).
It appears that the summer of 1790–91 was a hot and dry
summer. Tench comments that, at times, it ‘felt like the blast
of a heated oven’. He goes on to describe the heat endured
during summer: ‘even [the] heat [of December 1790] was
judged to be far exceeded in the latter end of the following
February [1791], when the north-west wind again set in, and
blew with great violence for three days. At Sydney, it fell
short by one degree of [December 1790] but at Rose Hill [Parramatta],
it was allowed, by every person, to surpass all that
they had before felt, either there or in any other part of the
world…it must, however, have been intense, from the effects
it produced. An immense flight of bats driven before the
wind, covered all the trees around the settlement, whence
they every moment dropped dead or in a dying state, unable
longer to endure the burning state of the atmosphere. Nor
did the ‘perroquettes’, though tropical birds, bear it better.
The ground was strewn with them in the same condition as
the bats’ (Tench 1793).

Gosh, “climate disruption” in 1790? It’s worse than we thought!

List of Instruments proper for making astronomical Observations at Botany Bay

Other related items include two lists that detail the instruments Dawes needed for his colonial observatory. ‘List of Instruments proper for making astronomical Observations at Botany Bay’ contains a great many items, but as the Board of Longitude — of which Banks was an ex-officio member by virtue of his position as President of the Royal Society — did not have sufficient instruments on hand, most of these were eventually crossed out.

Lieutenant William Dawes' 'List of Instruments proper for making astronomical Observations at Botany Bay' 1786.

Note the “two thermometers” in the list above.

List of instruments to be lent by the Board of Longitude for making astronomical Observations at Botany Bay

The ‘List of instruments to be lent by the Board of Longitude for making astronomical Observations at Botany Bay’ is a much shorter list; it served as a clean copy of what was actually available from the Board of Longitude.

'List of Instruments to be lent by the Board of Longitude for making Astronomical Observations at Botany Bay', November 1786.
‘List of Instruments to be lent by the Board of Longitude for making Astronomical Observations at Botany Bay’, November 1786. The Royal Society.

Here is a photo from the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

Thermometer with case, glass / mercury / metal / wood / shagreen, Nairne and Blunt, England, 1770-1800

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124 thoughts on “A follow up on the ‘it was warmer in 1790 in Sydney’ story

  1. Good backup to the original posting. Mosher’s doubts seemed to ignore the dead animals as well as cast doubt on the instrumental obs. Hopefully he’ll give a followup on his position.

  2. Again i say the Old Ones knew what they were doing.We think too highly of ourselves..
    “Evolved.” “Intelligent.” “Schmart”. (tip o the bearskin to the Geico “Caveman” ads..)
    When i see any of those words in an ad I turn off…
    Careful, scientific, measurement by people who knew what they were doing….

  3. tallbloke says:
    January 18, 2013 at 5:53 am

    I’m sorry tallbloke, but I have very serious doubts that those dead animals were properly calibrated! After all, what did they know about dead animals back then? Today, we have sophisticated observing equipment and computer models which can tell us if those animals are REALLY dead with MUCH higher precision than was possible back in the late 1700s!!

    /sarc

  4. Although not identifying Sydney itself, Jo Nova’s map shows an awful lot of maxima over 50C -and mostly in the early part of the 20th century or the back end of the 19th century…

  5. The BBC are saying that a new record of 45.8 deg C has just happened. Well above the 42.8 deg C in 1790.

    Of course, Sydney has several orders of magnitude more asphalt and has had many human-caused changes to the local environment since then.

    Urban heat island?

  6. Sorry, gergis?
    But Anthony, I was just repeating your doubts about all records prior to the introduction of the CRS?
    remember? or did you forget that you expresssed that doubt about all records prior to the introduction of the CRS?

    REPLY: This Gergis et al is not the same paper that was destroyed by McIntyre. Big difference. Taken in toto, yes there are reasons to be concerned about exposures prior to the introduction of the Stevenon Screen. In this case, we have metadata, eyewitness accounts from a credible observer, and a peer reviewed paper which investigates the temperature claim and suggests is is reasonably accurate. There’s a distinct difference between all pre CRS exposures and one this well documented and studied. – Anthony

  7. “When both Dawes and Tench returned to England at the end of 1791 (after having their requests to stay denied) they took the thermometers with them and returned them to the Board of Longitude.”

    I believe the Board of longitude was based at the Royal Naval College where the National Maritime Museum is now based. There are two Ramsden thermometers in their archives, dated to circa 1785. I’m not saying that one of these is the very one that was given back in 1791 but these two examples could be tested against a modern thermometer and seeing as there are two, they could be tested and then calibrated against each other. This would prove a) their absolute accuracy and b) the consistency of reliability of manufacture. Here is the ‘collections search page’ with the two Ramsden thermometers:

    http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/43029.html

    If it defaults to just the search page then you need to type in ‘thermometer Ramsden’ and it should give two examples numbered NAV0817 and NAV0818.

    I tried ‘Nairne and Blunt’ and got nothing. Also, there is a request for additional information about these thermometers at the bottom of the page presumably as to provenance. There must have been hundreds of these made but they might have been slightly more inclined to keep one that had been physically handed back to them from such an important voyage (the first settlement expedition) and its manufacture is dated to circa 1785, two years or less before they set sail and one year or less before they began preparations. In other words, the expedition would have almost certainly acquired a brand new Ramsden thermometer and therefore one of this exact date. I’d like to research this further but I’m supposed to be working!

    Scute

  8. Important to stress it was no common heatwave, and it was not just a matter of temps. It was the nor’wester, a late winter/early spring pattern, occurring in high summer. When the heat and inland wind are both strong enough there is no respite, not even on the ocean’s edge, and it can keep up for days. I’ve experienced it full blown twice, in the early eighties and after 2000: it’s a killer. I’ve also experienced the higher heat of 1960 and 2004 (and last Saturday here on the midcoast), but the other is much more deadly. What Tench describes sounds even more lethal and dehydrating than the extreme nor’wester events of my lifetime. (The heatwave of 1938-39 remains our worst natural disaster in terms of lives lost, but I don’t know what kinds of winds or conditions exacerbated the heat.)

    The two friends, Tench and Dawes, were extraordinarily conscientious men, in their different ways: Dawes was an idealist, Tench was a compassionate pragmatist. They really were great guys, who took plenty of flak for their good natures. They were also intrepid. Do I trust the journal? Every line and word!

    Thanks to Craig and Anthony for highlighting this important document.

  9. Richard Sharpe says: January 18, 2013 at 6:38 am

    Of course, Sydney has several orders of magnitude more asphalt and has had many human-caused changes to the local environment since then.

    Urban heat island?
    =================================
    Yes, there is the uban heat effect, which adds 2-3 C. But there is also the global-warmer finger-fiddle effect, as in James Hansen’s GISS, documented in an post below. Every Australian global-warmer is a would-be James Hansen, and that desperate crowd has control of the knobs and buttons.

    Come election time, it will be “good riddance” to the global-warmers.

  10. Just a note on accuracy of instruments and measurements. From my reading about the astronomers and surveyors of that time, there was a culture of extreme perfectionism borne of an acute eye for detail and desire for certainty, coupled with the fact that every waking hour was devoted to furthering ones service to God and Country. This was instilled in the mindset of scientists and above all, astronomers, of the late 18th C by a legacy of great work coming from luminaries of the Royal Society ever since 1660. People such as Hooke, Flamsteed, Wren, Newton and Boyle were well known at the time for their exquisite sensitivity to detail and, moreover, attention to detail when taking measurements.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean that Dawes never made a mistake but I doubt if he could have got to where he was without inheriting that mantle of scientific responsibility to a large extent. He was after all revered for his surveying and map-making skills. Surveying in those days was one heck of a lot more fiddly than working out the most accurate way of siting and reading a thermometer. You just had to have that mindset to get on in these particular walks in life.

  11. Wonderful stuff!
    Weather,history,science,geography and a man with the handle `Watkins Tench`
    My cup runneth over.Don`t ever stop.

  12. mpainter says: January 18, 2013 at 7:12 am

    “Come election time, it will be “good riddance” to the global-warmers.”

    I really, really hope you are right. But I recall similar comments from many US commenters early in 2012.
    Didn’t work out too well, unfortunately.

  13. The English were serious about exploration and conquest of new lands. They wanted to know how suitable for settlement these lands were. That’s why they frequently had scientists aboard on voyages to new lands and why careful records were kept. It doesn’t surprise me to learn that these thermometers were relatively precise instruments.

    I’m presently reading a book on the Polk presidency and the Mexican War. The US almost went to war with England over the Oregon territory in 1845. It would have been the third war with England in 80 years. Conquest of land was big business at the time. Something over which the nation would shed the blood of its young men. If they were fighting for land, they needed to know everything about those lands.

  14. Mosher acted the same way with the Danish maps showing the receding Arctic sea ice in the 1930s: “no satellite” was in substance the argument, forgetting that most marine maps were charted quite precisely even at that period, affording at least a good general feel for the situation. It is reasonnable to not worry about a few 1000km2 in the Arctic the same way even 1C does not really matter in this whole temperature row. Mind you if that degre C really matters, then it would show how CAGW extraordinary claims are in the end about variations well within the noise. Pierre Morel, founder of the LMD in Paris said just that in a conference a few years ago…

  15. Interesting to note that in the thread on ENSO it is supposed that a permanent El Nino condition probably persisted during ice ages. What about Little Ones? I can interpret this to mean that when things are cold at the poles the heat is shifted towards the equator and the equatorial belt runs hotter without breaking into La Nina conditions.

    My point is that during the Little Ice Age, was it perhaps hotter than usual in Middle Earth? And is modern polar heating (such as it is) primarily the result of equatorial heat redistribution – note that Darwin has been cooling since about 1940. The key variable may be ocean-based heat pumps rather than solar or cloud-based variation, though I accept both as co-contributors.

  16. Steven Mosher says:

    January 18, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Sorry, gergis?
    But Anthony, I was just repeating your doubts about all records prior to the introduction of the CRS?
    remember? or did you forget that you expresssed that doubt about all records prior to the introduction of the CRS?

    Don’t be obtuse, at least I hope that’s your problem.

  17. @stevemosher

    Good to see scepticism in action. It is good to question until evidence allows a conclusion to be drawn and this new evidence would suggest the data are valid?

  18. martinbrumby says:
    January 18, 2013 at 7:48 am

    mpainter says: January 18, 2013 at 7:12 am

    “Come election time, it will be “good riddance” to the global-warmers.”

    I really, really hope you are right. But I recall similar comments from many US commenters early in 2012.
    Didn’t work out too well, unfortunately.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    There are a lot of rumblings of voter fraud on the internet. Areas were there was 108% turn out or the like, or areas where 100% of the votes cast turned into votes for Obama in swing states, Romney winning in every single Photo ID state and a lot of other scuttlebutt. You can just do a search to see what I mean.

    We will just have to see how it plays out, since it means nothing until it reaches the courts.

    However it should be taken as a warning by Australians to make sure the elections are honest.

    Cuccinelli is the State Attorney General who went after Mike Mann.

    Cuccinelli seems to agree voter fraud helped Obama
    ….During the interview, Cuccinelli bemoaned the fact that state law does not give him authority to initiate voter fraud investigations. He can only take up such cases once they are referred to his office by other officials.

    “There needs to be a way for people to be able to report this stuff and have it looked into,” Jacobus said. “Just across the country, we’re hearing so many stories, and people can talk about it, but nothing seems to be done. And in fact, in the states where voter ID is required — photo ID — Obama lost every one of those states. He can’t win in a state where photo ID is required. So clearly there’s something going on out there. And until there’s a way to have something done about it, … the other side just says, ‘Oh well, you’re just poor losers.’”….

    …The full context of the interview shows it’s clear he was referring to the bevy of irregularities the hosts cited,…

  19. sunshinehours1 says:

    January 18, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Does anyone take Mosher seriously?

    – – –
    When I don’t follow my own advice and I read a Mosher comment, I usually regret it.

  20. “‘I observe when the thermometers have been long at nearly the same height that they agree.’’

    TWO thermometers – listen these guys have taken better measurements than we have and would never think to fiddle – sadly, they simply don’t make scientists like that anymore. We could do worse than to use their and contemporaries’ readings as a basis from which to anchor our records.

    mosomoso says:
    January 18, 2013 at 7:03 am

    “The heatwave of 1938-39 remains our worst natural disaster in terms of lives lost..” (Australia).

    We better use this as an anchor, too before the “Dirty thirties” gets further cooled and greened by Hansen et al.

  21. I greatly enjoy these historical reports and do not question the desire to show the correctness of the measurements. I’m sure it was extremely hot then and that it is extremely hot now. But, if it is a degree or two warmer there now, so what? It shows only that, nothing more. As someone has already mention the area was not then but is now a large metropolitan area. So assume the urbanization has shifted the mean temperature up by a fraction. What then should we expect? We should expect high temperature records to be set. Luboš Motl, wrote on the issue of record temperatures in a post last March. It is a fun read.

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2012/03/record-temperatures-and-female-fields.html

    ~~~~~
    In contrast to hot: Locally we are in the midst of what is called a silver frost (aka radiation frost). [88% R.H., calm, -5°C / 23°F.]

  22. It’s Australia. It gets hot. Who cares as long as there is some AC around to cool you off. For the Aussies it’s just another excuse to drink beeeer.

  23. You could have picked a better day to post this. It hit 45.8 degrees Celsius in Sydney (Observatory Hill) today. Hottest day in the record. UHI of course and one hot summer in Australia doesn’t mean anything. It’s hot every summer here. Nothing new in that.

    It’s only getting hotter because of the hot air over the centre that can’t escape plus UHI in Sydney and Alice Springs. Nothing that proves global warming. I read somewhere that China is having it’s coldest winter in nearly 30 years which is the sort of signal we’re expecting to mark the beginning of the ice age that’s due this decade with the solar minimum.

  24. Mosher’s skepticism regarding the teperature record is met with facts and data, logs and methodological descriptions, rather than with ad hominem attacks, feeble attempts at ridicule, invective, or slander.
    That’s showin’ ‘em!

  25. Steve Mosher is one of the good guys. Skepticism is a good thing on both sides. I may not always agree with his view of the evidence, but he doesn’t play games with the facts or smear people that disagree with him.

  26. Kudos to Steve Mosher for reviewing a claim and bringing up a valid concern, and kudos to Craig Kelly for doing the research to help address that concern. And while I’m at it, kudos to Tench and Dawes for the quality of the records they kept.

  27. When Jefferson completed the Lousiana Purchase, he need REAL data on the topography, biology, weather and native tribes of this vast new territory. In May 1804 the Meriwether Lewis and William Clark expedition left St Charles Missouri, and with winter approaching, established Fort Mandan on Oct 24, where they were snow and ice bound until until April 1805. This was the end of the Little Ice Age, and the expedition recorded little “merry weather” during these brutal winters. An excellent history of this is “The Way to the Western Sea” by David Lander, but this did not concentrate on the daily weather records of double leg transcontinential journey. This is the only recorded information on weather in many of these locations for the next fifty years. It is VERY easy to calibrate a mercury thermometer in a glass with both water and ice. Lewis & Clark had no Carbon traders (traitors?) to please, but a president that needed accurate information for future settlement. Researching this great achievement and comparing to post LIA conditions would make an excellent thesis for an object climate science student.

  28. sunshinehours1 says:
    “Does anyone take Mosher seriously?”
    I do but I think that he is probably wrong in this case. However we should all respect a man who has obviously done a hell of a lot of good work in this area.
    I would be interested to learn whether Steve Mosher accepts any temperature records pre CRS and if so which and why? I seem to recollect him taking me to task for suggesting that we should no longer use (Tmax +Tmin)/2 as a proxy for Tmean and being told that one of the reasons for so doing was to ensure continuity with earlier records. How much earlier and were all those based on post CRS records?

  29. 45.8C yesterday 18/1/2013 in Sydney and 42.8C in 1790 – Yes but you cannot make simple comparisons. The population in Sydney is now over 3.6 million but only 2,953 in 1796 so the change in UHI needs to be taken into account. This could easily be 4C or more now than in the late 18th Century.

    In any event 30km north of Sydney CBD yesterday temperature was measured at a peak of 43C at 2.30 PM. At 9.30pm it had dropped 20C over an hour following the ‘southerly buster’. This morning it is a pleasant 21C.

  30. Excellent work by Mr Kelly in raising this topic.

    A Sydney record of 45.8 degrees was measured in the city yesterday.

    However nearby on the harbour off Bradley’s Head the temperature was 29 degrees- see page 6 of The Australian Saturday 19 January.

    Even the warmist Sydney Morning Herald (page 5 Saturday 19 January) quoted a meteorologist who said “ Without a sea breeze it meant we had westerly winds billowing across the city, gathering heat off the roads and concrete buildings”.

  31. Steven Mosher says:
    January 18, 2013 at 6:47 am

    How accurate do you feel these particular measurements need to be to be useful for this purpose of characterizing the 18th Century Australian climate?

  32. I think that invoking the UHI effect for up to 4 degrees is a bit rich. I was in Western Sydney yesterday, and with the wind and relentless power of the heat (the oven effect Tench refers too), the UHI would have been remarkably small (see Sydney airport to get an possible idea of a UHI effect). Their were wide ranging temps in the 45-46 range recorded. Even in paddocks at the rural edge with nothing but farms to the northwest. Mount Boyce for instance when adjusted for altitude by using a dry lapse rate (1013m ASL) comes up with 45-46, as does a range of other locations well out of metropolitan area both in distance and geography.

  33. Mark.R says:
    January 18, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Going by this the last record high was 45.3c set on the 14th Janaury 1939.

    http://www.australiasevereweather.com/links/temprec/syd-d01.htm

    ———————————————————————————————————–
    Indeed and when the population in Sydney was only 1.5 million we can therefore add at least a UHI of 1C to that temp for comparison with 45.8C yesterday. But hey we’re talking about weather here not climate.

  34. Sydney (Observatory Hill) is not used in BoM’s ACPRN-SAT network.

    “Out of the 112 locations in the ACORN-SAT network (Trewin 2012a ; Trewin 2012b), we omit from the analyses eight locations classified as urban, either because they are in the centres of major urban areas, or are in more peripheral locations but show evidence of anomalous temperature trends, in comparison to their surrounds. Those omitted stations are; 023090 Adelaide (Kent Town), 032040 Townsville Aero, 039083 Rockhampton Aero, 066062 Sydney (Observatory Hill), 067105 Richmond RAAF, 086071 Melbourne Regional Office, 087031 Laverton RAAF, and 094029 Hobart (Ellerslie Road)”

    On the sensitivity of Australian temperature trends and variability to analysis methods and observation networks – CAWCR Technical Report No. 050 – March 2012

    http://www.cawcr.gov.au/publications/technicalreports/CTR_050.pdf

  35. to Son of Mulder, mate there is a city of 4.5 million people there now that wasn’t in 1790 odd. Take off say 5 degrees for UHI and its just another hot January day in NSW.

  36. Gail Combs says:

    Romney winning in every single Photo ID state and a lot of other scuttlebutt. You can just do a search to see what I mean.

    And a search will find equal evidence of Republican interference. Some people are bad losers.

    The photo ID thing is silly. To get those laws enforced requires a Republican majority in the first place, and then ensures it.

  37. The good news is that fire conditions have eased and the firies will have a day in which they will probably be able to establish containment lines, do backburns and put out burning logs and roots. The bad news is that lightning strikes overnight lit lots more fires and more lighntning is predicted for today.

    I see that the BAU boosting data fiddlers are out in force again. Tench was good and right. All modern data is bad and wrong when it supports AGW, but good when it casts doubt on AGW. So, we have a lot of paniced clutching at the UHI straw. All this in a background of record national and local temperatures. Not by your measley .1 or .2 of a degree either.

    You have to feel sorry for Kelly and Akerman. Mugged by AGW reality. There should be an old bush saying in Australia that if you pick your cherries at the wrong time the cherry branch might fall on your head.

    Of course there wasn’t a rail system in Sydney when Tench was around so we have to stick with dead birds and bats as confirmation of his thermometers that it was very hot then.

    I do hope that those who claim that AGW prevention is more expensive than AGW adaptation are redoing their figures following the record heat-induced transport chaos that hit Sydney yesterday. Phew, it would have been hot waiting on the platforms…

    The adaptation-is-cheaper crowd would, of course, naturally add in the costs to emergency services and the health system of the hundreds of hospitalizations that were required to treat people who were found unconscious and so on and so forth. They would also, being reasonable people, add in some sort of calculation for loss of labour productivity (not least the cost of thousands of volunteers who aren’t producing outputs in their day jobs) and the cost of increased power usage as people huddle in the aircon. Finally, they would be adding all the hundreds of millions that the bushfires have cost. And going through all of this will be increased insurance premiums and increased cost of risk capital. No doubt that AGW Adaptionistas will be adding lines for these elements into their ledgers.

  38. I am skeptical, but I am not sure what to be skeptical about on this matter. Upstring we have claimed UHI impacts of 1 degree, 4 degrees and 5 degrees. So, which is it?

  39. 46.5 at Penrith, near Sidney. Could these all time record highs be related to warming? It has sure been hot for a long time now in Oz. See here for discussion and links to scientific opinion. Or we could continue to listen to politicians here. Who do you trust?

  40. Mooloo says:
    January 18, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Gail Combs says:

    Romney winning in every single Photo ID state and a lot of other scuttlebutt. You can just do a search to see what I mean.

    And a search will find equal evidence of Republican interference. Some people are bad losers.

    The photo ID thing is silly. To get those laws enforced requires a Republican majority in the first place, and then ensures it.

    So, what exactly is the relationship between Sydney’s record temperatures yesterday and Romney?

  41. Places outside of Sydney experienced their hottest temperatures ;records were broken at Kiama and Nowra which would not attract a huge UHI effect.That being said records are made to broken.Cloud from the monsoon is accumulating up north so we should return to normal conditions very soon.As usual the press ABC etc will milk it ad nauseum .A good blog Anthony !

  42. James Cam says:
    January 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I think that invoking the UHI effect for up to 4 degrees is a bit rich. I was in Western Sydney yesterday, and with the wind and relentless power of the heat (the oven effect Tench refers too), the UHI would have been remarkably small (see Sydney airport to get an possible idea of a UHI effect). Their were wide ranging temps in the 45-46 range recorded. Even in paddocks at the rural edge with nothing but farms to the northwest. Mount Boyce for instance when adjusted for altitude by using a dry lapse rate (1013m ASL) comes up with 45-46, as does a range of other locations well out of metropolitan area both in distance and geography.

    —————————————————————————————————————-
    Not where we were James – 43C for about 15 minutes at 2.30 pm and apparently only 29C off Bradleys Head (see a previous post). I think you are underestimating the effect of UHI in my experience. Little Oil notes above ‘Sydney Morning Herald (page 5 Saturday 19 January) quoted a meteorologist who said “ Without a sea breeze it meant we had westerly winds billowing across the city, gathering heat off the roads and concrete buildings”.’

    But even ignoring UHI in 1790 or 1939 at 43.8C and Sydney yesterday at 45.8C if someone’s arguing “more extreme” conditions it’s obviously nonsense. Localized weather is not global climate.

  43. BTW, model skeptics, amongst whom I count myself, might be interested to know that the East Gippsland fire models failed the night before last. For those who may not know, fire models are used by fire incident controllers to predict the probable behaviour of any particular fire. Lots of parameters go in to the model – eg wind speed and direction. The incident controllers use this to decide on where to put containment lines, where to backburn and where to deploy their human and physical resources. They also use them to alert homeowners and farmers about the degree of danger. So the models are very important.

    The details are very sketchy but it appears as if at least one of the East Gippsland fires spotted up to 8 kilometres in the absence of significant ambient wind. The suggestion was that the fire was so hot that it created its own weather.

    Normally spot fires are started several kilometres in front of a moving fire front by the wind carrying embers). It is spot fires that can be particularly dangerous to firies because the spot fires can block exit roads and because the firies, instead of being outside the fire front can find themselves inside a ring of fire. Sudden wind changes can have much the same sort of impact on firies. The other thing about spot fires is that that is how fires jump containment lines.

  44. Glen

    It looks pretty much as if the monsoon has reached the Top End with rain predicted for much of the northern half of the Territory.

  45. michael sweet says:
    January 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    46.5 at Penrith, near Sidney. Could these all time record highs be related to warming? It has sure been hot for a long time now in Oz. See here for discussion and links to scientific opinion. Or we could continue to listen to politicians here. Who do you trust?

    They said it was going to get hotter. Gobally, hot temperature records are being set at multiples of cold temperature records. The oceans are getting hotte. Arctic ice is disappearing over summer. A high proportion of the worlds 45,000 odd glaciers are retreating. Globally thousands of species of plants and animals are behaving as if it is hotter.

    Passes the pub test, doesn’t it?

  46. “Richard Sharpe says:
    January 18, 2013 at 6:38 am
    The BBC are saying that a new record of 45.8 deg C has just happened. Well above the 42.8 deg C in 1790.

    Of course, Sydney has several orders of magnitude more asphalt and has had many human-caused changes to the local environment since then.

    Urban heat island?”

    Agree UHI would be part of the increased temp equation.

    I had a interesting observation of the UHI effect in Auckland NZ. Last week. The official Temp for Auckland was 25C for the day. I was driving all over Auckland from South to North and on parts of the Asphalt covered roads the car’s outside temp reading was peaking up to 31C.

  47. Marian

    I was driving all over Auckland from South to North and on parts of the Asphalt covered roads the car’s outside temp reading was peaking up to 31C.

    Very scientific. Instead of leaving it to suspect organisations like BOM and CSIRO with their fraud-filled halls of suspect scientists who do nothing but fiddle data to gain research dollars and, maybe we should just crowd-source citizen temperature readings by getting people to drive around? We could get Craig Kelly and Piers Akerman to run the databases. They know all about that sort of stuff. Just ask them.

    That would show those AGW hoaxing panic merchants!

  48. Marian

    I was driving all over Auckland from South to North and on parts of the Asphalt covered roads the car’s outside temp reading was peaking up to 31C.

    Excellent thinking. Instead of leaving it to suspect organisations like BOM and CSIRO with their fraud-filled halls of suspect scientists who do nothing but fiddle data to gain research dollars, maybe we should just crowd-source citizen temperature readings by getting people to drive around?

    Of course we would have to calibrate the results a bit – to take into account the 1 degree, 4 degree or 5 degree UHI. Whichever we happen to pick.

    We could get Craig Kelly and Piers Akerman to run the databases and do the reporting. They could include a dead Budgie index and a dead bat index to provide external validation of the drive-by temps. They know all about that sort of stuff. Just ask them.

    I bet you that the results would show that Sydney is already cooling! That would show those AGW hoaxing panic merchants!

  49. The Big Heat has certainly been here in Oz. I suspected a bit of a nasty spring coming, but none of this. Wind patterns up the coast haven’t been of the deadly sort that makes you careful of making sparks, as in 1994. Interesting that they got a southerly and temp drop in Sydney. That sounds very 1950s, and not at all 1790s…but how much do we actually know? Our Green Betters do a lot of knowingness, but not much knowing.

    It’s been a real hoot listening to them explaining recent cold waves. Did you hear the one about the melting Arctic ice sending cold south, even at a time it wasn’t melting. Anyone catch their spin on all that Antarctic ice?

    Cold which gripped Eastern Europe in early 2012 has instead gripped the Middle East, Asia and Russia this winter. Extraordinary stuff, terrible for India where people just aren’t equipped for cold. There have been these widespread and severe cold events in the NH in recent years, with the 2012 event in Europe being one the worst in history. Is that just weather? And, by contrast, is this current heat in Oz climate? Truly, I don’t get it. How did so many people miss or forget such an event as this:

    http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/three-weeks-on-iceeurope-cold-1/61629

    Or are certain people just looking the other way? Are certain people paid and required to look the other way?

    Hunter, Tench, Dawes, Phillip etc knew buckets about weather and climate. Check out where they went and what they had to do in the course of their lives. Nine months after the First Fleet arrived, when supplies were low and the nearest shop was on the Cape of Good Hope, John Hunter circumnavigated the globe via Cape Horn, in a leaky boat. He did that. Really. You think those guys didn’t know about weather, climate, currents and instrumentation?

  50. Not sure about Climate Ace, but 0.5 of a degree between 1939 and now seems fair. Two reasons – One – Sydney stretches a huge distance in any direction now, and given Anthony’s personal account of Sydney’s Observatory weather station, it is likely to read high. For the same reason Melbourne’s station (in a small park less than 3m from the footpath and road) are hardly reliable. However we have had a heatwave, and the heat had to get out of the inland somehow. Glad it didn’t come directly through Melbourne. Don’t know about Sydney, but the temps in this heatwave in Melbourne are nowhere near the years from 2003-2009. Then we’d have a few hot days together, this year they’ve been sporadic.

    Two – If temps are rising out of the LIA you’d expect higher temps as time goes on. Why we are rising out of the LIA is the question. Are temps plateauing? Will they go down in one of the many cycles that seem to be available? But yes hot in Sydney yesterday.

    @Gail,Combs: Australia has compulsory voting, with the Australian Electoral Commission paying professional people to run the stations. Many advantages IMHO. Elections are on a Saturday, so easier for people to get there, never run out of ballot papers, cos we know how many people will vote. Voter turnout is not an issue, as you get fined if you don’t, more consistent rules across the country and everyone pays more attention to politics. There are still some who vote for Micky Mouse or whatever, and that’s legal, but its usually less than 10%.

  51. @Marion,

    We have this argument all the time, my husband drives home – says the car thermometer says 29, and the official BOM site shows 25. I drove a fair way through Melbourne Thursday 5-6pm when the temps at our nearest BOM station said 39-40, but the car showed 42-43. On the way home, about half an hour later, the car shows 40-41, same roads, more shadows. BOM still said 39-40. The roads get hot, and the cars are reading the temps drawn through the car from the air just above the road. I tell my husband – its the micro-climate. That’s why the siting of official stations are so important. That’s why Sydney Observatory Hill and Melbourne’s regional office sites are not used in the High Quality networks.

    @Climate Ace – doesn’t matter who looks after the data as long as they document their changes, and share all the information for replication and validation.

  52. For the fun of it, go to Youtube and see the movie, Kangaroo (1952), starring Maureen O’Hara, Peter lawford, and Richard Boone. Notice the scenes where they are saving a herd of cattle from the drought as the trees fall apart, the kangaroo die, and other wildlife perish in the Australian heat.

  53. re Frank k jan 18 12.12pm D Patterson 1.07 pm Tallbloke 2.13 pm
    ‘Nor did the ‘perroquettes’, though tropical birds,bear it better. The ground was strewn with them in the same condition as the bats’
    To obtain a good idea of relative heat stress in mammals and birds death rates are a good proxy for temperature.
    Yesterday in my practice in the north west of Sydney I had one Eastern Rosella presented in extremis.It was seen to have ‘fallen from the sky’ ten minutes before. I had no other reports.
    Whatever the air temperature, which was very hot the bird would have been exposed to radiant heat from direct sunlight.
    This death occurred in a fully suburbanised area with relatively new McMansions. Plenty of UHI here especially with the almost complete destruction of the Cumberland Woodland.
    I await to hear reports of the bat colony dying in the Royal Botanical Gardens, and parrots falling from the sky in Port Jackson.
    If these do not arrive then from this new line of evidence it could be deduced the temperature conditions in 1790-91 were far hotter than yesterday in the area measured.

  54. On our 40 plus day last Saturday, temps were registering up to five degrees above official out on the busy Pacific Highway. Not that it means much, of course. If the record that got broken in Sydney was a 1939 record, it only shows not much has changed – especially since Sydney’s monthly heat and annual drought records still stand from the 1800s.

    The real hazard, apart from fire, is high summer heat with inland influence sustained over weeks. It’s happened before and it will happen again. Far more people perished through heat than fire in the summer of 1938-39, and the 1895-1896 toll was nearly as bad.

    Let’s hope that we have a completely renovated coal power generation industry and low coal and energy costs so that Australian humanity can stay as cool as it likes as long as it likes. And when it chills, same deal. And when people need to run whitegoods and cook…same deal. And the same deal for industry and all commerce, for the people who give job-type jobs.

    Cheap, accessible and reliable electricity for all. Nothing else is acceptable. I suspect Craig Kelly may be of like mind, though I don’t want to speak for him. He’s made a great start, that’s for sure.

  55. Readers may get some measure of the UHI potential of the meterology station at Observatory Hill.

    Go to Google Maps and type in “Sydney Observatory” and select “Sydney Observatory Watson Rd,” then magnify the selection.

    The observatory is bounded by the hexagonal road with the meterology station in the grounds to the north and east of the observatory building. Note the close proximity of the 8 lane highway going over Sydney Harbour Bridge to the east, widening considerably at the toll plaza and also the 2 lane sunken Cahill Expressway loop road immediately to the south. Note also the acres of concrete and metal roofs immediately to the west and below the observatory. The high rise centre of Sydney lies immediately to the south.

    Now drag the little man to the mini roundabout at the southern tip of the hexagonal boundary road. Spin the control to look around and observe the very close proximity of the highway, loop road and city. Drive the short distance to the highway and look at the size of the road and the size of the inner city buildings.

    I suspect that the scene looked a little different back in 1790. If you were looking to distort the temperature record, you could not do better than retain this location.

  56. I wonder what sort of thermometer they were using back in 1806 in the first southern settlement in Tasmania?
    By early 1806, bay whaling had begun in the mouth of the Derwent River but by October 1806, the signs for the coming summer were bad. Chaplain to Lieutenant-Governor Collins, Reverend Robert Knopwood wrote in his diary late in October:
    “ The distress of the colony is beyond conception. ”
    In November:
    “ The weather is very dry. Nothing grows for want of rain…the grubs destroy all our vegetables. ”
    By Christmas Day, the temperature was so high he wrote of the heat:
    “ that it bent the glass of the thermometer and broke it. ”

  57. The Sydney Observatory records were ‘revised’ in 1996 as part of a PhD thesis funded by the National Greenhouse Advisory Committee. No prizes for guessing how they were adjusted.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2013/01/unthreaded-friday/#comment-1225236

    http://joannenova.com.au/2013/01/unthreaded-friday/#comment-1225212

    The graphs are here:

    Leaving aside the whole climate change debate, this surreptitious revision of actual scientific records is deeply disturbing. As Anthony has documented, it is going on all over the place. People source this data on the basis that it represents what was actually recorded, and are not told that it has been fiddled with.

    It is about as anti-scientific as you can get, and if it was done in medical research, would be regarded as life-threatening fraud. How do climate ‘scientists’ get away with it?

    Climate Ace, kudos for leaving the personal distress of bushfire victims out of your more recent posts. They gain credibility as a result.

  58. Dr Burns, I have commented elsewhere on very strange readings from BOM sites – like the recorded temperature dropping from 24C to 15C in ten minutes, as has happened here in Canberra at least twice recently. As a resident, I can assure readers that no such unlikely event occurred.

    They need to sack the climate fantasists and get on the job of properly measuring and recording weather. Meanwhile, between their crappy records, dubious measurement and fiddling with data decades after the event, I only believe what I see on the satellite pictures.

  59. @Dr Burns, Agreed – strange that it seems to peak at 45.1 at 14.29, a wind change to E from ESE at 14.30, and it drops to 44.9 then 44.7, then continues downwards. Must have been a blip up for a minute that got it!

    Date/time Wind dir wind speed temp
    Fri 15:09 EDT E 19 43.7
    Fri 15:00 EDT E 15 44.7
    Fri 14:59 EDT E 15 44.7
    Fri 14:49 EDT E 15 44.9
    Fri 14:39 EDT E 19 44.3
    Fri 14:30 EDT E 19 45.1
    Fri 14:29 EDT ESE 9 45.1
    Fri 14:19 EDT ESE 9 44.8

    It shows as the official max for the day, but clearly had to blip up 0.8 in 6 mins then drop down a full degree in the next 4 mins. Amazing!

  60. January 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm | HB says:

    @Gail,Combs: Australia has compulsory voting, with the Australian Electoral Commission paying professional people to run the stations. Many advantages IMHO. Elections are on a Saturday, so easier for people to get there, never run out of ballot papers, cos we know how many people will vote. Voter turnout is not an issue, as you get fined if you don’t, more consistent rules across the country and everyone pays more attention to politics. There are still some who vote for Micky Mouse or whatever, and that’s legal, but its usually less than 10%.
    ————————————-

    We do, however, have a problem with fraudulent voting … the Labor Party has previously directed its supporters to “vote early and vote often” and this is taken to heart. The security to prevent this is weak as there is nothing to stop an individual voting at multiple stations and there is no requirement for identification of voters on the role.

  61. January 18, 2013 at 6:47 am |Steven Mosher says:
    ——————————-

    Can you say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong” ?

  62. Lewis P Buckingham says:

    A rosehiller fell dying from the sky? How could that be?

    We now have several posts (see above) which prove that the temperature data was wrong, fiddled with, and/or deliberately distorted, so it must have been cooler than the deliberately dissembling authorities reckon, that it might have been hot but it was hotter in their cars, and that it was hot but hotter as it should have been, because you can safely deduct 1, 4 or 5 degrees for the UHI effect. Take your pick.

    Anyone would think that a single data point cherry-picked by an Aussie polly matters a jot or a tittle to a general discussion about AGW. (It demonstrates that the man is a fool but he has a bit of history in that direction, so no real harm done). So the Sydney Basin broke a swag of temperature records? So what? You Sydney-siders should get a bit of a grip. Australia beyond the Blue Mountains is a big place and we have had a national heat record broken.

    Perhaps had the dead parrot read WUWT it would still be alive? Maybe, it was just panicked into dying by rabid trendy greenies who fooled it by ignoring the UHI?

    BTW, what species were Tench’s dead bats? If you want a direct comparison with the Bot’s Fruit Bats, for example, it matters. Scientifically. Fruit bat species distributions vary considerably and you might want to consider whether some are better able than others to withstand heat. Indeed perhaps the ones that could not stand heat might have become locally extinct well before the nineteeth century? You might also want to enquire whether the Bot’s micro-climate (with its magnificent non-local shade trees and its constant watering) replicates anything at all that was available to any species of bats at all during the colony’s infant years. If not, you might want to withdraw your dead bat comparative climate studies altogether. Or at least qualify them sensibly.

    • Climate Ace Jan 18 2013 8:54pm
      ‘Single data point cherry picked by an aussie polly’
      The eastern Rosella not sic ‘roshiller’ ‘travels high and level over long distances’ and is common in the Sydney basin.Come to Sydney, they are everywhere. Many of them are fed by residents in high rise in the city and are part of our colour.It is a great pity that we Aussies are by our blogs not pointing to the true beauty of our country and city, for the six thousand or so scientific readers of this site.
      Just as background,and I assume by your writing you are a journalist and political adviser, you may want to skip the next bit.
      The Sydney Observatory is a great place to visit when there is no cloud cover.If there is you will be shown the Planetarium and the old clock.Because of heavy light pollution it is not much more than a tourist destination, and of course the temperature instrument record is no longer reliable.
      But that means its a very interesting place to visit.
      Now coming to the science bit.
      The reason that this unfortunate rosella is of interest is that by its distribution as a species it may be used as a temperature proxy over time.
      Last time I checked, and when in conversation with pollys I have come to know and love, few if any read this site as they seem to lack an inquiring mind.
      But I digress.
      Your point is that Australia has had a record heatwave.
      I don’t yet know if you are right.As a political adviser you would appreciate that even budget figures are subject to revision. This revision needs to be done on the Australian temperature record, just as it has been on the US temperature record.If you are in a real position of influence,you may be in a political position to confirm to an increasingly skeptical public that such meta information is available and may be re looked at by a wide scientific community.
      But in the meanwhile, the subject here is not that but ‘Was it warmer in 1790?’
      So I added my little bit. A tiny bit of information,another line of inquiry, that supports the hypothesis that it was hotter in Port Jackson way back then in 1790, when the headlands were clothed in vegetation and the Parramatta river was pollution free and the pollys fell from the sky in large numbers according to eyewitness reports.
      That’s all.
      As for your bat question, I quite like bats,although as of late it is not clear that encouraging them in public places is a good idea.
      My first experience with bats was going down caving systems at places like Wee Jasper. These cave bats seem to be able to handle climate and weather really well.They love hanging around in really cool caves,and if you enter their domain, make sure you have plenty of warm clothing.
      You are right about our friend the Fruit Bat.They come in at night and raid my colourless mulberries, but that’s OK. There is a big colony just up the road from me.
      I don’t know what forensic work was done on the said bats, but hey, they were dead.
      Now in science that is called a discreet variable.Deadness does not admit to degrees[no pun intended}.
      So here we have a new line of enquiry, that’s what science is all about.
      Maybe there is someone reading this who is an expert on bats and has studied bat guano and the distribution of bats around Port Jackson and will help us here.May be the odd old fossil.
      That’s the beauty of this site, its a community.
      It may be possible to examine your hypothesis that it was even hotter on occasion before 1790
      at Port Jackson and temperature sensitive fruit bats had already died out,or perhaps moved on.
      This may help us obtain another line of scientific evidence so that we may be able to recreate a faithful accurate and verifiable historical temperature record.
      Without that all we are left with is wild theories and spin.

  63. Before folk get too wound up about birds falling down from the sky because of the heat, they should be aware that in Australia (and I believe elsewhere) there is a well-documented cool phenomenum at the other end of the temperature spectrum. On very, very cold desert nights some species of birds go into a sort of torpor – a temporary state of hibernation. Before the sun warms them you can pick them up off the ground, motionless.

  64. Is someone really trying to argue that fraudulent voting caused Sydney to break its maximum hot temperature record? If not, why are people talking about fraudulent voting?

    Beats me.

  65. For the New Man at Year Zero, there is no Past, no History. Our Green Betters may admit some to the sanctuary where a Book of Spin will let them see a few glimpses of the Pre-Present. But only if they’re good!

  66. mosomoso

    What are these ‘Green Betters’ that you go on about all the time?

    Sounds like a good name for a tasty cockatail.

  67. Hey Ace, I’m presently studying the effects of GW on this bird called a snipe. Their bills appear to me to be growing longer because their food source (worms) have gone deeper on average. Need some help catching the little buggers along the banks, bogs and islands of the Arkansas River.

    You are so knowledgeable on birds, the pay is good.

    Ed Mertin

  68. johanna says:
    January 18, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    The Sydney Observatory records were ‘revised’ in 1996 as part of a PhD thesis funded by the National Greenhouse Advisory Committee.

    —————————————————————————————–
    This is so important. How are we to know that the criterion used to revise the historical temperature readings in 1996 do not themselves need to be “revised” 17 years later?

    We are told that climatology is in its infancy. Have their been no improvements in methodology that might call those 1996 revisions into question? Has anyone even reviewed the revisions since?

  69. “On very, very cold desert nights some species of birds go into a sort of torpor – a temporary state of hibernation.”

    Well, I’ll bet none of us saw that coming. Aced ‘em, Ace!

  70. Goode ’nuff

    Are they rhynchokinetic? Some Gallinago spp are, to a quite marked extent. If so, you may need to control for variations in rhynchokinesis, depending on your thesis.

    BTW, make sure your worms do not read WUWT or it might wreck your data.

  71. The record heatwave in Sydney was mostly caused by a very unusual late monsoon at the top end. Usually the monsoon starts in December, but this year it has only just started now and this allowed the (cloud and rain free) red centre to heat up to near record highs. This combined with colder than normal water in the coral sea caused the high pressure system in the Tasman Sea to ridge north and combined with a very active cold front to the south, the super heated air from the desert regions was dragged across Sydney at the very height of mid summer.

    For those that think this is global warming at work then please observe the current state of the global temperature which is statistically unchanged over 16 years and showing no signs of rising, meaning this is a rare local event only.

    Nothing to see here other than weather and more mind numbing activism !

  72. “BruceC says:

    January 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm”

    I believe the airport is used in temperature recording now since Observatory Hill is excluded by the BOM.

  73. Lewis P Buckingham says:
    January 18, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Climate Ace Jan 18 2013 8:54pm

    ‘Single data point cherry picked by an aussie polly’

    I am glad you picked up the polly/parrot pun. The single data point cherry pick by Kelly, though, is no laughing matter. The fact that he does not know better is a bit of a wory. We need intelligent people in parliament, not cherrypickers.

    The eastern Rosella not sic ‘roshiller’ I was having a bit of a jape. One theory for the origin of the term ‘rosella’ is ‘Rose Hiller’ which may well have have been the common name used in Tench’s time.

    ‘travels high and level over long distances’ and is common in the Sydney basin.Come to Sydney, they are everywhere. Many of them are fed by residents in high rise in the city and are part of our colour.It is a great pity that we Aussies are by our blogs not pointing to the true beauty of our country and city, for the six thousand or so scientific readers of this site.

    Ah, yes, Australia is certainly the land of parrots and I join in welcoming our US friends to the land of Oz. We need all the tourist dollars we can get hold of.

    Just as background,and I assume by your writing you are a journalist and political adviser, you may want to skip the next bit. FAIL. FAIL. Still, your views may be construed as an improvement on some WUWT poster suggestions that my occupation is ‘Marxist’ and ‘Nazi’.

    The Sydney Observatory is a great place to visit when there is no cloud cover.If there is you will be shown the Planetarium and the old clock.Because of heavy light pollution it is not much more than a tourist destination, and of course the temperature instrument record is no longer reliable.
    But that means its a very interesting place to visit.

    OK.

    Now coming to the science bit.

    The reason that this unfortunate rosella is of interest is that by its distribution as a species it may be used as a temperature proxy over time.

    A cursory examination of the biogeography of the Platycercidae complex of species and subspecies indicates that they have almost certainly been significantly affected by climate change over time. Genetric drift between some of the subspecies indicates that this is ongoing. A single dying bird falling from a maximum heat record in Sydney is highly unlikely to affect the bigger picture. OTOH, AGW, with its systemic pressures, will almost certainly affect the distribution of the Platycercidae and may well be doing so already.

    Last time I checked, and when in conversation with pollys I have come to know and love, few if any read this site as they seem to lack an inquiring mind.

    They may actually have something better to do with their time.

    But I digress.
    Your point is that Australia has had a record heatwave.
    I don’t yet know if you are right.As a political adviser you would appreciate that even budget figures are subject to revision.

    I leave stats to those who actually know what they are talking about. In the case of climate stats in Australia that would be BOM and CSIRO. If they say we have had a record heat wave, that will do me. The idea that people driving around in their cars looking at their temperature gauges actually know better is ignorant arrogance of the worst sort.

    This revision needs to be done on the Australian temperature record, just as it has been on the US temperature record.

    What revision?

    If you are in a real position of influence,you may be in a political position to confirm to an increasingly skeptical public that such meta information is available and may be re looked at by a wide scientific community. I have zilch influence on anyone. I appreciate your concern about metadata and share it to some extent.

    But in the meanwhile, the subject here is not that but ‘Was it warmer in 1790?’
    So I added my little bit.
    One dead parrot doth not AGW make.

    A tiny bit of information,another line of inquiry, that supports the hypothesis that it was hotter in Port Jackson way back then in 1790, when the headlands were clothed in vegetation and the Parramatta river was pollution free and the pollys fell from the sky in large numbers according to eyewitness reports.

    About the only thing we can say about Sydney’s 18th century avifauna is that it was very different to today’s avifauna. Proper scientific comparisons of what fell out of the sky then and now are, at the very least, problematic.

    As for Tench’s dead bats, the bases for comparison are so tenuous as to render ridiculous the notion that bats died then and not now, so it was hotter then. Not that that stops non-scientific people from having a go at it.

  74. Thanks HB and Johanna,
    It is interesting to note that with an Easterly blowing at Observatory hill, about 5 Km almost due East, away at “Sydney Harbour” Lat -33.87 Lon 151.26 temps were MUCH lower:

    18/03:30pm 28.8 – – – – NNE 15 20 8 11 – – –
    18/03:00pm 29.7 – – – – ENE 13 20 7 11 – – –
    18/02:30pm 30.5 – – – – ENE 17 24 9 13 – – –
    18/02:00pm 29.9 – – – – NE 13 17 7 9 – – –

    Unfortunately Fort Denison wasn’t recording.

    Patrick,
    What is the source for your comment ?
    “I believe the airport is used in temperature recording now since Observatory Hill is excluded by the BOM.”

  75. read the Gergis paper
    It states that the bats and parrots were dying out at rose hill (parramatta) two months later in Feb, not Dec at sydney cove??

  76. He wrote it, I believe it:

    “An immense flight of bats driven before the
    wind, covered all the trees around the settlement, whence
    they every moment dropped dead or in a dying state, unable
    longer to endure the burning state of the atmosphere. Nor
    did the ‘perroquettes’, though tropical birds, bear it better.
    The ground was strewn with them in the same condition as
    the bats’ (Tench 1793).”

    I first read this many years back, when I was perusing the early journals. There was no reason to disbelieve then, no reason now. What’s changed?

    No need to answer that.

  77. “Climate Ace says:

    January 18, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    I leave stats to those who actually know what they are talking about. In the case of climate stats in Australia that would be BOM and CSIRO. If they say we have had a record heat wave, that will do me.”

    To me, reading your posts, and talking about “those that know what they are talking about”, if you lived in 1935 you would have held the same view and allowed the introduction of cane toads, because what the then CSRO and a Brisbane sugar company told you was OK, do I understand you right?

  78. “Dr Burns says:

    January 19, 2013 at 2:17 am”

    Up thread there is reference to OH being excluded by the BOM. Along with the almost daily announcements in newscasts refering to “temperature at the airport”. It’s the same in Bankstown, anther airport!

  79. Friends:

    I strongly commend that readers save time by not bothering to read posts from Climate Ace.

    He./she/it is snowing several WUWT threads with posts, but – to date – none of his/her/its posts contains anything worth the bother of reading; nothing, zilch, nada.

    So, I commend that when the first reader who sees yet another post from Climate Ace, then that reader posts, “Climate Ace, re your posts at ***. Noted”. After that, everybody continues with discussion of the thread’s subject. This would be polite by not ignoring the troll, but it would save everybody from wasting time on the troll’s thread deflections.

    Climate Ace, re your post at January 18, 2013 at 11:55 pm. Noted.

    Richard

  80. “Climate Ace says:
    January 18, 2013 at 11:55 pm”

    Further, do you take every word from, say, your GP as gospel, is that a correct view of you I can assume? Well, so did I, once. But then, just out of curiosity as a result of a statement someone made to me, someone who has known me for a long time, I decided to research data on drugs for blood pressure I was taking and found my GP, through no fault of thier own (I assume), did not inform me of. I found that, and this was an official Australian Govn’t product datasheet for the product in question, that I was actually suffering ALL the common side effects and some of the less common effects too. I do understad ALL drugs have side effects, but I found an alternative that does not have any side effects ANYTHING like I was exposed to. Believe everything you are told by “experts”?

  81. Crickey

    Chief Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery — who edited and introduced a reissue of Tench’s writings (1788) —  told Crikey the report did not cite Sydney’s temperature at all.
    “The record heat was recorded elsewhere. The national average temperature was also record breaking,” Flannery said. “Sadly the planet continues to warm. Myself and all the climate scientists I know wish it were otherwise

    yep checked it out Tim has done that,

  82. @ Climate Ace

    Have any of these heatwaves been beaten since the start of [cough] AGW, ACC, Climate Disruption, Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating (HIRGO) or whatever the hell it’s called this week?

    During a period of 160 such days from 31 October 1923 to 7 April 1924, the Western Australian town of Marble Bar set a world record for the most consecutive days above 100 °F (38 °C) [Note: Aust 'summer season' is Dec-Feb]

    The longest continuous U.S. string of 100 °F (38 °C) or higher temperatures was reached for 101 days in Yuma, Arizona during 1937.

  83. CLIMATE OF NEW SOUTH WALES:
    H.C. RUSSELL, B.A., F.R.A.S., F.M.S., &c.,
    GOVERNMENT ASTRONOMER VOU NEW SOUTH WALES.
    SYDNEY : CHARLES POTTER, ACTING GOVERNMENT PRINTER.
    1877.

    Within the Colony of New South Wales may be found all climates, from
    the cold of Kiandra, where the thermometer sometimes falls eight degrees
    below zero, and frost and snow hold everything, in wintry bonds for
    months at a stretch, and where upwards of 8 feet of snow sometimes falls
    in a single month, to the more tlum tropical heat and extreme dryness of
    our inland plains, where frost is never seen, and the thermometer in summer
    often for days together reads from 100° to 116°, and sometimes in hot winds
    reaches 130 , and where the average annual rainfall is only 12 to 13 incbes,
    and sometimes nil for a whole year.

    http://archive.org/details/climatenewsouth00russgoog

  84. >>Patrick says:
    >>January 19, 2013 at 2:46 am
    >>Up thread there is reference to OH being excluded by the BOM.

    Sorry Patrick. I still can’t find anything about the airport replacing OH, except OH being excluded from climate studies, if that’s what you mean.

  85. Sydney airport:
    18/03:30pm 44.3 40.9 9.0 12 20.9 NW
    18/03:00pm 44.9 41.6 9.7 12 21.2 W
    18/02:30pm 45.5 40.3 8.8 11 21.8 NW
    18/02:18pm 44.7 39.0 9.9 13 20.9 NW
    18/02:00pm 45.5 41.5 9.1 11 21.7 WNW
    18/01:30pm 44.5 40.7 11.0 14 20.4 W
    18/01:00pm 43.5 38.7 11.6 15 19.5 WNW

    Sydney Harbour (station 5 Km E of OH)
    18/03:30pm 28.8 – – – – NNE
    18/03:00pm 29.7 – – – – ENE
    18/02:30pm 30.5 – – – – ENE
    18/02:00pm 29.9 – – – – NE
    18/01:30pm 29.8 – – – – NE

    Olymic Park (station 12 Km W of OH)
    18/03:30pm 44.2 42.3 11.7 15 20.0 W
    18/03:00pm 43.1 41.7 14.5 19 18.2 NW
    18/02:30pm 44.5 43.2 14.8 18 19.0 NW
    18/02:00pm 44.0 41.2 12.6 16 19.5 WNW
    18/01:30pm 44.7 43.4 15.8 19 18.7 WNW

    (1st col date ; 2nd col temp)

  86. Record high temperatures in Australia are invariably during El Niño years. The period around 1790 was characterised by two particularly severe El Niños. This year’s record temperatures are during a neutral phase. This is the worrying aspect of the current heat spell.

  87. Hi Climate Ace Jan 18,2013 at 10:08 pm
    Thanks for your conversational reply.
    As I write I am listening to ‘my’ flock of Eastern Rosellas as they squabble and argue feeding on my lemon scented gums. They woke me up this morning ,a great way to rise.
    I am sorry you have been called the names of some of the more significant mass murderers of the twentieth century.I do not in the slightest think that way of you and on this site hope that moderators will put in the word SNIP, and we all get on with our lives.
    As for my FAIL, remember that my terms are purely descriptive, as a good scientist should,and observational.I have no idea what your day job is,unless you happen to say.
    You are a journalist because you are a writer,and a political adviser because you keep on making political comments such as “we need intelligent people in parliament’.
    But this debate is not about intelligence, but about observation and facts.So it is important to look at as many facts as possible, not the preferred ones that fit the theory or hypothesis.
    One of the most noticeable things about the Platycercus eximius is its enormous range.
    On of the first things I noticed about parrots when exploring the Lane Cove River as a child, later as a Jackaroo at Hillston, on those desertified grasslands and in central Australia is their ability to find cool places when they are hot.
    When treating them, especially eximius, we return these little birds to their flock, the same applies.
    This is unsurprising.
    They have core genetics for survival deep in their physiology that leads them to cool water and shade.They survived the dinosaurs.
    No doubt these birds survived the medieval warming and the little ice age, so sure they have a propensity to adapt well.But what about the other part of adaptation, the environment.
    As far as we know the area that these parrots flew into was a forest with permanent water that still flows from the rocks at Milson’s Point and cool gullies. Behind it sat the enormous Macquarie Marshes, nowadays called wetlands,where Centennial Park and Redfern now stand.
    Nowhere to be seen was a modern city.
    Now this discussion is not actually about the past theory of AGW, but asks the question
    Was the extreme temperature then,three years after the colony was founded, any different to that of todays extremes?
    Those birds had the benefit of millions of years of evolutionary adaption, flew into an area where shelter was available, and still died.Those present said it was from the heat.
    Perhaps they were right.

    .

  88. Simon:

    Your entire post at January 19, 2013 at 12:33 pm says

    Record high temperatures in Australia are invariably during El Niño years. The period around 1790 was characterised by two particularly severe El Niños. This year’s record temperatures are during a neutral phase. This is the worrying aspect of the current heat spell.

    Australian heat waves are “invariably during El Niño years”?
    Really? You know that? How?

    “This year’s record temperatures are during a neutral phase.”
    Oh! So they are NOT “invariably during El Niño years” then?

    The worrying thing seems to be the dichotomy between your assertions.

    Richard

  89. Lets see was the thermometer actually calibrated?
    How accurate was it?

    “Dawes thermometer is described as being: ‘by Nairne &
    Blunt, small & divided only to every two degrees [°F], the
    whole scale from 0 to 212 being in length 6.23 inches”.

    My argument was rather simple and has not been answered.
    For the past 5 years people have complained about the calibration and exposure of instruments.
    Good honest skepticism. However, now when you have a record that you like ” It was warmer in 1790″ all that skepticism goes out the window.

    There is no record of how close the dawes thermometer was to those it was tested against.
    It was divided every 2 degrees of F.
    The temperature was taken inside of a building. There is actually no record of where it was located

    “Although the specific locations where Dawes positioned
    the thermometers are unknown, McAfee (1981) suggests
    that they were most likely in a well ventilated position inside
    the observatory. There was no fireplace in the observatory,
    and the rooms were fairly well ventilated with a canvas roof
    on the circular observation room and a canvas shutter on
    the roof of the main building (McAfee 1981). From the daily
    range of temperatures, he suggests that there seems little
    reason to suspect a very airtight or heated room exposed to
    direct sunlight.”

    Also, on many occassions people have complained about early records not haveing stevenson sheilds. You will all note that this objection I raised was not answered.

    Here is what we know

    “Figure 1 compares the mean seasonal cycle present in Dawes’s
    18th century temperature observations (Tmax, Tmin, DTR)
    with the modern day climatology of Sydney’s Observatory
    Hill. Remarkably, there is very good agreement between
    the two temperature records, with the exception of slightly
    higher readings in the summer months and marginally cooler
    winter temperatures in Dawes’s observations. This may be
    due to the way the thermometers were exposed: that is, the
    absence of Stevenson screens that shield meteorological
    instruments from the influences of direct heat radiation and
    provide adequate ventilation, moderating the registration of
    extremes, which generally explains the differences between
    20th century and earlier instrumentation (Nicholls et al. 1996;”

    And then there is this

    “Nevertheless,
    Dawes’s 18th century temperature and MSLP data are
    clearly successful in reproducing Sydney’s modern seasonal
    cycle, albeit imperfectly. The ranges of daily extremes in
    temperature and MSLP from the Dawes data compare well
    with those from the modern observations for all seasons,
    except for Tmax in summer, when Dawes’s data are likely
    to slightly overestimate the highest maximum temperatures
    due to inadequate thermometer exposure. These results suggest
    that the record is useful for examining relative (rather
    than absolute) climate variations experienced during the
    first years of European settlement in Australia. ”

    Opps. so, the document relied on here, actually undercuts the case. Now I suppose one can attack Gergis.

    Bottomline. The records are the best evidence we have. If you want to be consistently skeptical about early records because of stevenson screen issues or calibration issues, if you want to be consistently skeptical about measurement precision, then I don’t thnk one can put too much faith in the claim that it was warmer in 1790 than now. Of course its possible, maybe even likely, but its hardly certain. On the other hand you can cherry pick when and where to be skeptical. When you do, I’ll be there.

  90. Steven Mosher:

    At January 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm you say

    On the other hand you can cherry pick when and where to be skeptical. When you do, I’ll be there.

    There is a difference between being skeptical and being stupid.

    The parrots and bats are independently recorded as being killed by the heat. That is strong corroborating evidence that the 1790 heat wave was hotter than the present one. Unless, of course, you know different?

    Richard

  91. Steven Mosher says:
    January 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm
    =============
    Dang, you must feel strongly about this.
    Normally on this site, we only get your short poorly worded versions.
    Thanks for the effort.

  92. BruceC says:
    January 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    I submitted a comment on JoNova’s site, “Australia – was hot and is hot. So what?…” page, #95.

    Below is a shorter version. You may be interested.

    BOM Special Climate Statement 43 – Interim 14 January 2013 (scs43c) describes the recent heat wave.
    It was written by three (no less) Ph.D climatologists.

    Table 1 shows the new daily maximum temperature records.
    There are 52 records. Only 5 are from ACORN-SAT sites.

    Table 2 shows the new daily minimum temperature records.
    There are 19 records. Only 6 are from ACORN-SAT sites.

    Table 4 shows state high maximum temperatures recorded each day of the event.
    WA: 19 records, only 1 is from an ACORN-SAT site.
    SA: 15 records, only 8 are from ACORN-SAT sites.
    VIC: 15 records, only 7 are from ACORN-SAT sites.
    NSW: 14 records, only 3 are from ACORN-SAT sites.
    TAS: 11 records, only 1 is from an ACORN-SAT site.
    QLD: 12 records, 9 are from ACORN-SAT sites.
    NT: 13 records, 0 are from ACORN-SAT sites.

    Table 5 shows state high minimum temperatures recorded each day of the event.
    WA: 17 records, only 1 is from an ACORN-SAT site.
    SA: 12 records, only 1 is from an ACORN-SAT site.
    VIC: 11 records, only 6 are from ACORN-SAT sites.
    NSW: 12 records, only 2 are from ACORN-SAT sites.
    TAS: 11 records, only 2 are from ACORN-SAT sites.
    QLD: 12 records, only 6 are from ACORN-SAT sites.
    NT: 15 records, 1 is from an ACORN-SAT site.

  93. “I don’t thnk one can put too much faith in the claim that it was warmer in 1790 than now…”
    Perhaps someone made that claim, Steven, but I’m not aware of it. What I have always concluded from Tench’s journal is that horror heat involving nor’westers at summer peak is no new thing. I also concluded that the episode described by Tench was likely worse than any in my lifetime, though I wasn’t around in the lethal Australian summers of 1938-1939, 1895-1896.

    “Warmer in 1790″ is not the concern. Bloody hot in 1791, 1895, 1939, 1960 and 2013 is one message to take away. But the concern over the First Fleet heat wave is the persistence of northern and inland winds over long periods when, in addition, the temps are very high. Nor are we talking about years or eras. We are talking here about episodes. Parts of Sydney may have had record temps last Friday. I was living in Sydney in 1960 when we had our famous string of century temps. But the phenomenon raised by Tench, and which I experienced in the early 80s and around 2000, is something else again. That last time it happened I was living in the bush, in bird and bat country. I did not see any mass deaths as described by Tench, but i can sure understand that, if conditions got just a bit more severe, that would happen. The fudge theory that animals in modern times would find local dams and swimming pools is pretty weak. I have a dam and know the viable water holes in my area. The half-implied theory that Tench may have just lucked in on an extinction event can be safely put aside, I think. (Political necessity may have prompted that one.)

    In short, Tench has left an invaluable description of an extreme weather event which is possibly worse than any such event in my lifetime, but not necessarily worse than events that occurred in the 1890s or late 1930s. Sydney was so dry by 1888, I imagine awful things must have been going on climatically. But I wasn’t there.

    Tench and Dawes were fanatical about instrumentation. If anyone had told Dawes, especially, to invent or distort his observations he would have disobeyed. He was that kind of guy. Steven, I take your point that we can never know for sure about their temp readings. But that’s a problem that has persisted right into the present, is it not?

  94. Steven Mosher says:
    January 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    I don’t disagree with your sentiment at all. However, you are assuming that everyone takes the Tench data ‘as read’ – which is clearly not the case. Indeed, the majority are slightly skeptical about the data, but the corroborating evidence would suggest that it is reasonably valid (i.e. that it was bloody hot!).
    Now, IIRC, the purpose of the original post was to merely remind people that hot Sydney days had been recorded before – and that the so called recent ‘record’ in the current temporal record was indeed not actually a record at all (if Tenchs data is considered valid).
    Now, personally, I don’t go much for all these so called climate/weather ‘records’ – as a geologist I know full well that all ‘records’ based on current datasets have almost certainly been exceeded in the past, whether 200 or 20000 or 20million years ago! So, although the author was perhaps trying to dumb down the current record claims – anything that brings a sense of reality to the situation is always welcome.
    We could argue about the scientific integrity of the temp data all day long – the endless possibilities that such and such a station had a duff sensor for a few days/weeks/months, or wasn’t properly calibrated against an approved source, etc, etc – this could equally apply to the data from last week, let alone from 200+ years ago! And don’t try claiming how the current data is all so good – as we all know that it isn’t ! As far as I know,there is still no complete (publicly available) record of the changes/adjustments to many datasets from raw records to current version (e.g Hadcrut, and IIRC even the CET has been tampered with but no-one recalls how?- let alone GISS!)
    I am the first to be skeptical about anything written, recorded, spoken or witnessed – but in the absence of other validated information it should still be considered! I think that was the nuts and bolts of the original posts purpose – and, in the real world, this is excatly what needs to be done more often. The smell test, reality test, whatever different folks call it, is still important – different sources need to be corroborated and cross referenced and I reckon that this was the objective of the original post. In the case of old explorers, these guys were writing stuff down to keep their patrons happy in some cases, and for posterity or curiosity in others – comparing the two (or more) is always interesting!

  95. richardscourtney says:
    Australian heat waves are “invariably during El Niño years”?
    Really? You know that? How?

    At the risk of over-simplification, El Niño releases heat from the oceans to the atmosphere. More predominant westerly winds also push heat from the Australian interior onto the cities of the eastern seaboard where the majority of people live. Compare ENSO with Australia’s weather records if you don’t believe me.
    The worrying thing seems to be the dichotomy between your assertions.
    Which is exactly my point. :-)

  96. richardscourtney says:
    The parrots and bats are independently recorded as being killed by the heat. That is strong corroborating evidence that the 1790 heat wave was hotter than the present one. Unless, of course, you know different?
    The distribution of parrots and bats was far higher and more wide-spread in 1790 than today so I’m not sure that is a valid proof.

  97. If Kelly is impressed with extreme high temperature of one little speck on a map of Australia (with two thermometers) over two Centuries ago, then he’d be really impressed about the ENTIRE CONTINENT OF AUSTRALIA reaching it’s highest ever recorded average temperature … only the week before last.

  98. Bill from Oz says:
    January 18, 2013 at 9:46 am
    You could have picked a better day to post this. It hit 45.8 degrees Celsius in Sydney (Observatory Hill) today. Hottest day in the record – except of course the hottest ever recorded temperature in Sydney was January 22 1923 when it reached 47.2c. But what’s a couplde of degrees between friends.

  99. Simon, many these days see half-understood climate patterns as buttons or levers (with tech-sounding acronym names) which can control climate “mechanisms”. God or Gaia pulls the PDO lever or pushes the ENSO button and such-and-such happens. Sometimes its the human “forcings” versus the natural “mechanisms”. I even know people of high intelligence who believe that by entrusting money to GIM or Goldman Sachs or the UN they can eventually get control of this climate console and make the sea levels and temps “stable” – and even bring down their fire levies!

    Of course, it’s not like that. One does not need the intelligence of, say, an Adam Smith to understand that it doesn’t work in that neat and mechanistic way. The whopper El Nino of 1997-8 did not have much impact on Oz. Its impact has been classed as weak. The whopper of 82-83 had a whopper impact on us. To add to the contradictions, the weak El Nino of 2002-2003 had a very strong impact on Oz. This year we only started in El Nino territory, but still copped a drought and heatwave. ENSO is just a handy set of observations, and with more science and less dogma it may be even better understood in the future. Here’s hoping.

    It’s like the bats and parrots. When no science is available, you have to fall back on the observations of observant people who were there. Like Goyder and Kidman, Watkin Tench was an extraordinary person who had his eyes and ears wide open. We should not now ignore such people because they did not live in the era of Publish-or-Perish. In fact, that may be a reason to trust them more.

  100. Michael, can you give me the average temp readings for the ENTIRE CONTINENT OF AUSTRALIA in summer 1790-1791? Just ballpark will do. No need for info on summer 1938-1939 or summer 1895-1896. I’ve got the mortality rates for those seasons. The deaths tell me enough.

  101. Thanks mosomoso, I took up Simon’s challenge and was comparing my local weather station’s stats (in Melbourne) with the enso cycle. Counter-intuitively, there is no correlation at all! So Simon, please show your reasoning and data. I’ve heard that our weather lags enso by 4-5 months which would make sense since it would take a few months for the hotter water to push west to Aus in an el Nino.

    And @Michael – I’ve been searching for an Australia-wide average temp so I can check this broken record. Please where did you find it recorded? I can’t find it? In fact I’d never heard of that statistic until the record was broken. I can see maps of Australian temps, showing where was hot, where was cold, but nothing about the whole of Australia.

  102. Lewis P Buckingham says:
    January 19, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Hi Climate Ace Jan 18,2013 at 10:08 pm
    Thanks for your conversational reply.
    As I write I am listening to ‘my’ flock of Eastern Rosellas as they squabble and argue feeding on my lemon scented gums. They woke me up this morning ,a great way to rise.
    I am sorry you have been called the names of some of the more significant mass murderers of the twentieth century.I do not in the slightest think that way of you and on this site hope that moderators will put in the word SNIP, and we all get on with our lives.
    As for my FAIL, remember that my terms are purely descriptive, as a good scientist should,and observational.I have no idea what your day job is,unless you happen to say.
    You are a journalist because you are a writer,and a political adviser because you keep on making political comments such as “we need intelligent people in parliament’.
    But this debate is not about intelligence, but about observation and facts.So it is important to look at as many facts as possible, not the preferred ones that fit the theory or hypothesis.
    One of the most noticeable things about the Platycercus eximius is its enormous range.
    On of the first things I noticed about parrots when exploring the Lane Cove River as a child, later as a Jackaroo at Hillston, on those desertified grasslands and in central Australia is their ability to find cool places when they are hot.
    When treating them, especially eximius, we return these little birds to their flock, the same applies.
    This is unsurprising.
    They have core genetics for survival deep in their physiology that leads them to cool water and shade.They survived the dinosaurs.
    No doubt these birds survived the medieval warming and the little ice age, so sure they have a propensity to adapt well.But what about the other part of adaptation, the environment.
    As far as we know the area that these parrots flew into was a forest with permanent water that still flows from the rocks at Milson’s Point and cool gullies. Behind it sat the enormous Macquarie Marshes, nowadays called wetlands,where Centennial Park and Redfern now stand.
    Nowhere to be seen was a modern city.
    Now this discussion is not actually about the past theory of AGW, but asks the question
    Was the extreme temperature then,three years after the colony was founded, any different to that of todays extremes?
    Those birds had the benefit of millions of years of evolutionary adaption, flew into an area where shelter was available, and still died.Those present said it was from the heat.
    Perhaps they were right.

    Thank you for your reply. The problem with your point of view is that it is speculative: interesting, but speculative. There is absolutely no basis for deducing conclusions based on comparative bird and bat deaths now and two hundred years ago in Sydney.

    Just to give you an idea of just how speculative your views are, consider the case of the Galah. There Galahs at all were not recorded in the Sydney Basin 200 years ago. When first encountered by explorers over the next 50 years or so, Galahs were encountered only in hotter, drier parts of the continent. (There was quite a strong correlation between primarily seed-based (as opposed to tuber-based) hunting gathering economies by Indigenous people and first encounters with Galahs). Another way of looking at this was that Galahs were only encountered in the hottest, driest parts of the interior of the country.

    They are now common in the Sydney Basin. Those seeking to use birds to demonstrate that this means that Sydney is now hotter and drier than it was 200 years ago would be wrong, of course. They would be wrong unless they control all the relevant variable. This does not pseudo sceptics reading Tench and making learned comparisons between bird and bat deaths then and now.

    Precisely when the self-proclaimed skeptics need a bit of scientific skepticism, it is missing completely.

    BTW, I have said, and I will say it again. I neither am, nor ever have been, either a journalist or a political adviser.

  103. “Those seeking to use birds to demonstrate that this means that Sydney is now hotter and drier than it was 200 years ago would be wrong, of course.”
    Well, I never met such an odd person, holding such bizarre opinions on no evidence, but if I ever do…

    On another topic all together, those summer nor’westers in 1790-91 must have been shockers to kill so many birds and bats at such a rate. Domestic budgies were perishing in the last such event up the coast here, but of the millions of wild birds and bats in our region, I observed no deaths at all. Do I conclude that none died from the dehydrating on-shore blasts during the more recent event? I am no such speculator. Let’s just hope that, with a new and vastly more efficient coal power industry, humans will have the benefit of air conditioning during the inevitable heatwaves and coldwaves to come – especially those summer nor’westers!

    We must insist on cheap, abundant energy for all. Australian commerce and industry deserve this advantage, and must have it. It is achievable and nothing less is acceptable. We have to wash the green goo from our minds: it has nothing to do with Conservation and everything to do with self-loathing.

    Anyway, full credit to Dawes and Tench for taking such pains to be precise in such adverse circumstances. Many thanks to Anthony and Craig for reviving the memory of these men. Prospect is actually Tench’s Prospect, but his name has fallen into disuse. At least we have Dawes Point.

  104. Climate Ace Jan 20 2013 at 1.57 pm Thanks for your reply.
    Speculative your views are ,consider the case of the Galah’
    The Galah is indeed interesting.My first meeting was at a windmill site at Moolbong on the Trida road.The day had been really hot, it was January and as the sun set a flock of Galahs flew in from the dry grassland around me an sat on the wire fence chattering and fighting with each other.
    Later I was out riding all day and came across an oasis, a flooded claypan teeming with life in the middle of the desertified baking hot plain.
    It was then that I realised that these parrots adapted by finding shade and water in extreme heat.
    Once Europeans cleared the coastal areas, including Sydney, the habitat changed and these adaptive birds moved in.
    Look then at eximius.These parrots, or at least their forebears were already here in Sydney when the First Fleet landed, and they are still here.
    Of course the Galah was not, so sure I would not consider it as a useful proxy for anything in Port Jackson in 1790.
    So unless the eximius has radically changed in its adaptive behaviour and physiology it is a useful proxy for heat stress.
    Now the range of eximius is enormous.It covers large temperature ranges.As you seem knowledgeable about all this you must have looked this up.It covers a big chunk of the south east of the continent of Australia.
    Those temperature ranges are well outside the probable rise in global temperature say in the last two hundred and twenty years.
    We know that Port Jackson was covered in forests, mud flats mangroves, and had adjacent wetlands.
    So as a line of enquiry I have set up a hypothesis.Now as you may be a scientist you know that a hypothesis is at best a guess. Maybe a good guess, but still a guess.
    My hypothesis is that it was so hot on that day back in 1790 that the birds’ core temperature rose so suddenly that they seizured and fell from the sky. If the seizuring did not kill them, then they died of trauma on impact.
    You see, that’s what I observed in one of them on that extreme hot and fateful day last week.
    Now two hundred years of genetic drift does not protect a bird if it going to be cooked in flight and not have enough time to achieve available shelter, falls from the sky and impacts.
    A reasonable conclusion is that the temperature than was extreme.
    Those present thought that it was the heat.So do I.
    BTW I have been sort of following your discussion of bushfires.
    I note you observed the Canberra fires of a decade ago.
    I agree that crown top eucalypt fires are deadly.

  105. Climate Ace says: January 18, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Ace goes to a lot of trouble to find odd reasons why actually recorded historic temperatures may have been in error, and puts up a whole fog of suggestions as to why dying birds and bats may have been some sort of an erroneous artifact of settlement.

    From a statistical viewpoint it changes little … similar temperatures have been recorded previously. Even if current temperatures do prove to be a whole 1 or 2 degrees C higher, (and lets not venture here into UHI or even climate models and their ‘projections’) at this stage this is still meaningless. It is simply a temperature anomaly. Should it occur every day for a month, or every year for the next three to five years or ten years, or even once every decade for the next five decades, we would have something to discuss.

    Right now we have every climate event, be it hurricane, flood, snowstorm, or heatwave being triumphantly held up as definitive proof of [apply here the latest climate catchphrase].

  106. Philip Shehan says:
    January 21, 2013 at 6:21 am

    The article from which the above quotes were taken is by Tim Flannery, who also edited and wrote the forward to my copy of Watkin Tench’s journals. Flannery is no politically correct bleeding heart.

    Phil, You may perhaps be thinking of a different Flannery, I believe:

    From Wikipedia:

    In February 2011 it was announced that Flannery had been appointed to head the Climate Change Commission established by Prime Minister Julia Gillard to explain climate change and the need for a carbon price to the public. This legislation is now passing through Parliament….

    ……Timothy Fridtjof Flannery (born 28 January 1956) is an Australian mammalogist, palaeontologist, environmentalist and global warming activist. He is the Chief Commissioner of the Australian Climate Commission, an independent body providing information on climate change to the Australian public.

    Flannery was named Australian of the Year in 2007[2] and is currently a professor and holds the Chair in Environmental Sustainability at Macquarie University. He is also the chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council, an international climate change awareness group. His sometimes controversial views on shutting down conventional coal fired power stations for electricity generation in the medium term are frequently cited in the media.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Flannery

  107. Dear Michael

    Reports on the ABC are not ‘sources.’ The national average figure is a previously unheard-of metric generated by models using temperature records that are both unreliable per se and adjusted in ways and for reasons that are not disclosed.

    Fixed that for you.

  108. hi there i am the master chief spartan 117 moniting weather your right 212 degrees ferhinite 100 degrees celcius means we need too evacuate planet earth and move too our universe full of halo rings

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