Dr David R.B. Stockwell writes, Progress on the surface temperature front as follows:
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment Bob Baldwin established a Technical Advisory Forum comprised of leading scientists and statisticians to review and provide advice on Australia’s official temperature data set in January following recommendations by an independent peer review.
The Forum’s report has been published at
Here are the links to the press articles from the Australian included below
Questions remain on BoM records, The Australian, June 20, 2015
The results of an independent review of the Bureau of Meteorology’s national temperature records should “ring alarm bells” for those who had believed the bureau’s methods were transparent, says a key critic, Jennifer Marohasy.
Dr Marohasy said the review panel, which recommended that better statistical methods and data handling be adopted, justified many of the concerns raised.
However, the failure to address specific issues, such as the exaggerated warming trend at Rutherglen in northeast Victoria after homogenisation, had left important questions unresolved, she said.
The review panel report said it had stayed strictly within its terms of reference.
Given the limited time available, the panel had focused on big-picture issues, chairman Ron Sandland said.
The panel was confident that “by addressing our recommendations, most of the issues raised on the submissions would be addressed”, Dr Sandland said.
The panel is scheduled to meet again early in the next year.
Dr Sandland said that, overall, the panel had found the Australian Climate Observations Reference Network — Surface Air Temperature was a “complex and well-maintained data set that has some scope for further improvements”.
It had made five recommendations that would boost transparency of the data set.Although the panel reviewed 20 public submissions, Dr Marohasy said it had failed to address specific concerns.
“While the general tone of the report suggests everything is fine, many of the recommendations (are) repeat requests made by myself and others over the last few years,” Dr Marohasy said.
“Indeed, while on the one hand the (bureau’s technical advisory) forum reports claims that the bureau is using world’s best practice, on the other hand its many and specific recommendations evidence the absence of most basic quality controls in the many adjustments made to the raw data in the development of the homogenised temperature series.”
BoM said it welcomed the conclusion that homogenisation played an essential role in eliminating artificial non-climate systematic errors in temperature observations, so that a meaningful and consistent set of records could be maintained over time.
Bureau of Meteorology told to improve data handling, analysis, Graham
Lloyd, The Australian, June 19, 2015
Better data handling and statistical methods and the use of pre-1910 temperature records would improve the Bureau of Meteorology’s national temperature data set ACORN-SAT, an independent review has found.
A technical advisory panel, brought forward following public concerns that the bureau’s homogenisation process was exaggerating a warming trend, said it was “generally satisfied” with BoM’s performance.
But it said there was “scope for improvements that can boost the transparency of the data set”.
Scientists who queried BoM’s management of the national temperature data said they had been vindicated by the report.
The review panel made five recommendations and said it was “not currently possible to determine whether the improvements recommended by the forum will result in an increased or decreased warming trend as reflected in the ACORN-SAT dataset”.
The independent review panel was recommended by a peer review of the Australian Climate Observations Reference Network — Surface Air Temperature, but it not acted upon until public concerns were raised.
BoM’s technical advisory forum said ACORN-SAT was a complex and well-maintained data set. Public submissions about BoM’s work “do not provide evidence or offer a justification for contesting the overall
need for homogenisation and the scientific integrity of the bureau’s climate records.”
Nonetheless, the review report said it considered its recommendations for improving the bureau’s communications, statistical methods and data handling, and further regional analysis based on the pre-1910 data, would address the most important concerns.
David Stockwell, who raised concerns, said he was “very pleased with the recommendations”.
“They largely identify and address all of the concerns that I have had with the past BoM work,” Dr Stockwell said. “When implemented, it should lead to considerable improvements.
“The panel recommended strongly that the BoM communicate the limitations and it agreed that errors in the data need to be corrected and homogenisation is necessary, as I do, although it must be communicated clearly that the ACORN result is a relative index of change and not an observational series.”
The forum received 20 public submissions which questioned;
• The 1910 starting date (although some pre-1910 records are available) and its potential effect on reported climate trends;
• The treatment of claimed cyclical warming and cooling periods in the adjustment process and its effect on reported warming trends;
• The potential effects of site selection and the later inclusion of stations in warmer regions;
• The treatment of statistical uncertainty associated with both raw and homogenised data sets;
• The ability of individuals to replicate or verify the data set; and
• the justification for adjusting historic temperature records.
Bob Baldwin, the parliamentary secretary responsible for BoM, said the bureau would work to adopt the recommendations.
“We believe the forum’s recommendations for improving the bureau’s overall communications, statistical methods and data handling, and further regional analysis based on the pre-1910 data, will help address the main concerns surrounding the dataset,” he said.
Mr Baldwin said the report was an important part of ensuring the bureau continued to provide world-class information on the climate trends affecting Australia.
The review panel said its recommendations predominately addressed two key aspects of ACORN-SAT.
They were: to improve the clarity and accessibility of information provided, in particular explaining the uncertainty inherent to both raw and homogenised datasets; and refining some data-handling and statistical methods through appropriate statistical standardisation procedures, sensitivity analysis and alternative data filling approaches.
Readers might find this essay from Willis Eschenbach enlightening:
Out of the 112 ACORN-SAT stations, no less than 69 of them have at least one day in the record with a minimum temperature greater than the maximum temperature for the same day. In the entire dataset, there are 917 days where the min exceeds the max temperature …