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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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.

son of mulder

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21072347
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.

tgmccoy

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….

Frank K.

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

David

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…

Richard Sharpe

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?

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

Scute

“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

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.

mpainter

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.

Scute

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.

banjo

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

Does anyone take Mosher seriously?

martinbrumby

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.

theduke

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.

theduke

“Does anyone take Mosher seriously?”
I do. Certainly Gleick does.

TomRude

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…

Crispin in Waterloo

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.

Stephen Richards

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.

Eric Huxter

@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?

Gail Combs

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,…

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.

Gary Pearse

“‘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.

John F. Hultquist

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.]

Aanthanur

Nothing against Sydney, but Sydney is not the globe.

Pathway

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.

Bill from Oz

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.

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!

Lancifer

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.

Jimmy

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.

Meanwhile they dropped to within a degree of the coldest ever in Tuscon, Arizona. It got to 17 (F) and the record is 16.
http://azstarnet.com/news/local/tucson-hits-record-low-but-temps-on-way-up/article_a070e978-c88b-5b53-aaa2-6e9d43d1c282.html
Considering weather records are generally a hundred years old (unless you dig, as this post does,) I figure there is a one-in-a-hundred chance of setting a record, on any given day.

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.

Solomon Green

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?

FrankK

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.

Mark.R

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

Little Oil

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”.

D. Patterson

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?

James Cam

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.

FrankK

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.

BruceC

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

M Seward

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.

Mooloo

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.

Ripper

Interesting map of the 1939 heatwave.
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/17557773

Climate Ace

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.

Climate Ace

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?

michael sweet

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?

Climate Ace

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?

Glen Michel

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 !

FrankK

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.

FrankK

Typo: 1939 should read 45.3C