Welcome to Australia where it’s always warmer somewhere!

(and other nonsense from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, the University of Melbourne and The Conversation).

Dr. Bill Johnston[1]

Main points.

  • Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology and climate scientists at the University of Melbourne should know that nowhere on planet-earth could rainfall be less than none!
  • The Bureau’s latest Seasonal Summary (winter 2017) spuriously claims rainfall is ‘very much below average’ or the ‘lowest on record’ at locations such as the Pilbara coast of Western Australia, where median rainfall for June, July and August is zero; or across the northern 2/3 of the continent where zero winter rain occurs in 10% or more years.
  • Australia’s latest record-hot winter is evidenced by a “hottest ever winter day” maximum temperature of 39.6oC reported by an automatic weather station (AWS) at Mandora on 24th August 2017. Mandora in the middle of nowhere is surrounded by salt marsh to the north and desert to the west and daily data are not available from climate data on-line. The same AWS reported record-low maximum temperatures of 0oC on 19 July 2008 and again on 29 November 2010; colder than all but one minimum temperature value (-0.6oC on 21 July 1965)!
  • The AWS is unreliable. Careful analysis shows Mandora’s low quality data are not fit for estimating trends, frequency of extremes or trends in extremes.

Between Broome and Port Hedland on the Pilbara coast of Western Australia is a lonely AWS near an unsealed airstrip (Latitude -19.7419, Longitude 120.8433). North is a 6 km-wide salt marsh bordering the Indian Ocean; east is a homestead and sheds surrounded by watered lawns and beyond, extending over the horizon is red-sandy desert. Like most AWS, Mandora’s is serviced perhaps once/year; and get this: the station-summary says that between 26 July 1999 and 19 November 2016, air temperature failed field performance checks three times and rainfall failed 10 times; so for periods between infrequent visits it is probably wrong. (Maximum (Tmax) and minimum (Tmin) thermometers were removed in 2012.)

Etched forever into the Bureau’s records is that the AWS located in a dusty paddock, in the middle of nowhere, at a place that hardly anyone has heard-of; and whose data isn’t accessible from climate data on-line, reported Australia’s hottest-ever winter-day on the 24th August 2017 (39.6oC). Furthermore, that single number is the only evidence proffered in the recent Seasonal Climate Summary supporting the Bureau’s claim that 2017 is Australia’s warmest winter on record. (To get data and replicate the following analysis search for station number 04019.)

[Interestingly, the same AWS recorded probably the record-coldest maximum temperature for all but Australia’s alpine areas of 0oC on both 19 July 2008 and 29 November 2010.]

So just how bad is Mandora’s data?

It hardly ever rains in August. Since 1914, 76 years received zero August rain; 20 years received less than 10 mm; while only a couple of years received anything like enough to bog a duck (highest August rainfall was 73.9 mm in 1930!) Across the winter months of June to August median monthly rainfall is ZERO. Less than 5 mm/month is recorded in 75% of years. Fair to say winter is dry generally.

Zero winter rainfall is normal across the Pilbara (and not unusual across the northern two-thirds of Australia). Given that nowhere on the planet can possibly receive less rain than none; how can the Bureau claim winter rainfall in 2017 is the lowest-on-record or very-much-below-average (Figure 1) when zero is zero and for much of inland Australia no winter-rainfall is normal?

And how could Dr. Andrew King, research fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of Melbourne (who is interested in climate extremes and their attribution to human induced climate change); with his Master of Meteorology from the University of Reading and PhD in climate science from the University of New South Wales possibly conduct a conversation on The Conversation without checking the veracity of data he used?

(See: http://theconversation.com/australias-record-breaking-winter-warmth-linked-to-climate-change-83304)

 

Figure 1. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology claims zero rainfall at Mandora and other places in Western Australia’s Pilbara region during winter 2017 is the ‘lowest on record’ or very much below average; however, zero winter-rain is the norm across much of central Australia.

Even winter hot-spots like Bourke Post Office in north-western NSW, receive less than 5.4 mm of rain/winter month in 25% of years; and less than 1.3 mm in 10% of years. That climate change causes less than zero rainfall is an interesting but obviously fake hypothesis.

About Mandora’s record winter heat.

From 1962 until June 2001 thermometers housed (probably) in a large (0.23 m3) Stevenson screen were observed inside the homestead-paddock near areas that are watered. The replacement AWS and small (0.06 m3) screen is about 15 m outside the fence, surrounded by bare red soil. Thirteen of 40 years of pre-AWS data had less than 300 observations/yr; 28 had less than 330/yr. Missing data after 2001 indicates the AWS broke-down frequently or that out-of-range data were culled. Nine of the 16 years to 2016 have less than 335 observations/yr (equivalent to a missing month).

For the 55 years of data, average Tmax is uncorrelated with rainfall and the relationship explains only 4.6% of Tmax variation (vs. >50% for a consistent well-maintained site) (Table 1). Lack of significance is caused by missing data, poor site control (possible watering on hot days; poorly maintained equipment etc.) and possible lack of observer-diligence. Outlier data are coarsely identified by elimination: years with less than 330 observations don’t reflect the weather; 1980 and 2011 (N=348 and 336 observations/yr) also identify as statistical outliers (Table 1).

Table 1. Effect of missing-data on relationships between Tmax and rainfall; and Tmax, sites and rainfall. (ns, not significant; *, P<0.05; **, P<0.01; ***, P<0.001 (significant to highly significant); variation accounted for is the R2adj statistic. Data for 1980 (348 obs/yr) and 2011 (336 obs/yr ) are statistical outliers.)

Tmax vs. rainfall alone Significance Variation accounted for (%)
All years of data ns 4.6
N >= 300/yr ** 13.7
N >= 320/yr * 12.1
N >= 330/yr ** 20.6
N >= 340/yr * 24.5
Tmax vs. Site + rainfall
All years of data * 23.8
N >= 300/yr ** 27.8
N >= 320/yr *** 29,9
N >= 330/yr *** 45.2
N >= 340/yr ns 56.2
N >= 330/yr & not 1980 or 2011 *** 77.3

Multiple changes happened in June 2001 (the site moved outside the fence; the large screen was replaced by a small one and a single electronic AWS probe replaced thermometers) and independently of rainfall, average Tmax stepped-up 0.66oC in 2002. Thus there are three data groups: (i) 28 of the 55 years have less than 330 observations/yr; 1980 and 2011 are also outliers; (ii), thermometers in a large Stevenson screen are observed before June 2001; and (iii), after 2001 temperature is reported by an AWS/small screen at the relocated site (Figure 2).

As more than half the years are missing substantial numbers of observations, it is questionable that Mandora data are fit for the purpose of estimating temperature trends, frequency of extremes or trends in extremes.

clip_image005

Figure 2. Three classes of data are shown in the left panel; data before 2001, where N>330 observations/yr (grey circles); sound data after 2001 (green triangles); and outliers (including 1980 and 2011) (open red squares; solid after 2001). Rescaled rainfall residuals in the right panel embed a step-change (solid line) in 2002, which aligns with site changes in June 2001 (dotted line). The main cause of variation is missing data.

Winter (June to August) probability density plots (smoothed frequency histograms) and percentile differences [AWS percentiles (from 1 June 2001 to 31 August 2017) minus pre-AWS percentiles (1 June 1984 to 31 August 2000) about 1400 data-days per tranche] visualise how data changed after 2001 (Figure 3).

Pre- and post-AWS Tmax distributions (Kolmogorov-Smirnov non-parametric test) and medians (Mann-Whitney test of central tendency) (29.4 oC vs. 30.3oC) are different (Psame <0.05). Tmin distributions are the same, but medians may be offset 0.3oC, which is immaterial (Psame = 0.04) (Figure 3). AWS-Tmax less than the 75th pre-2001 percentile (31.5oC) is stepped-up generally by 0.5 – 0.8oC but at higher temperatures the difference for the warmest 3% of daily values declines to within the error bandwidth (+/- 0.2oC). AWS-Tmin less than the 25th and warmer than the 75th pre-AWS percentiles (11.0oC and 16.0oC) is biased low.

Extreme Tmax and Tmin values (28 August 2017 and 7 June 2016) are about 1.5oC over-range (o/r) relative to the general distribution (and trajectory) of respective data percentiles. So both values are rank-outliers (data-spikes). There is no test as such for a single outlier; however, as AWS temperatures >75th percentiles consistently trend down relative to pre-AWS data there is no likelihood that such extremes are representative of respective data populations.

clip_image007

Figure 3. Probability density plots of Tmax and Tmin calculated over identical ranges for about 1400 data-days each side of the site change on 1 June 2001 (a); P refers to the Kolmogorov-Smirnov non-parametric test for equal distributions. Percentile temperatures are daily values ranked by 1%-frequency increments: 1% of observations are less than the 1st percentile; 2% are less than the 2nd percentile and so on. Percentiles calculated for about 1400 data-days each side of the June 2001 changepoint are differenced [AWS minus pre-AWS percentiles (which is the reference)] in (b). (Pre-AWS quartile temperatures are shown.) Possibilities are that differences are random around zero or an offset; random for a segment of the data-range; or systematically biased – the difference increases (reduces) with the temperature being measured, over all or part of the percentile range.

Discussion.

Rainfall can’t be less than none. For climate zones where zero winter rain is normal (or highly unlikely) claims of ‘very much below average’ or ‘record-low rainfall’ in winter2017 are misleading.

Rarely serviced AWS in dusty paddocks are unreliable. It is unlikely that maximum temperature on both 19 July 2008 and 29 November 2010 was truly 0oC. Supported by percentile analyses, it is also unlikely that the “hottest ever winter-day” temperature of 39.6oC lies within the Mandora AWS percentile bandwidth. It’s a shame that Dr. Andrew King, research fellow at University of Melbourne would blindly support such a fragile argument on The Conversation without first checking veracity of the Bureau’s data. (Nice map Dr. King but mostly a work of fiction!)


[1] Former NSW Department of Natural Resources research scientist. Due to his scientific approach to data analysis, Dr Johnston is proud to be banned from commenting on The Conversation’s conversations.

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72 thoughts on “Welcome to Australia where it’s always warmer somewhere!

  1. Over a period of thirty years, the BOM of Australia has transformed itself from a Scientific Climate and Weather Oganisation into a major criminal centre supporting CAGW and Climate Carpet-bagging with fictional records and reporting of data..

    • But but but….this AWS is just an “anomaly”, performing in an anomalous way, and AGW is build on anomalies. :) So it’s functioning perfectly. :)

    • Sadly you might be wrong Tom, such is the level of disrepute that BOM is attracting to itself. At least dodgy data, like that at Mandora is data and nit ‘infil’.

      The real issue here though is the takeover of science by ‘science communication’. That is the perversion of doing science properly, with integriry and for its own sake or to advance knowledge and duly reporting same in published papares to the cogniscenti into ‘sausage-science’ that looks like publishe science but is really intended media content and justification for ongoing funding. In other words its just marketing blather.

      • Only if the alarm is functioning properly and the event is real. And even then that can only be determined by hindsight. :)
        False alarms in an empty area present neither an issue nor a calamity.

    • I heard sirens go off and went outside to check.

      I’m now posting from my coffin. The tornado was a hell of a ride though!

      Being serious: there’s way too much crying of wolves going on today

    • “Australians are in the firing line”

      Yep, the AGW scam has us in its cross-hairs.

      And the current lazy, inept politicians are too dumb to see it.

      • Politicians are not stupid, nor particularly lazy. They are very adept at playing politics. This has very little to do with the welfare of the voters to whom they are nominally responsible. However, their behavior has a lot to do with pleasing major donors and other influential parties.

        Get elected; stay elected; make money. Other criteria are optional.

      • “Sceptical lefty September 21, 2017 at 2:42 pm

        Get elected; stay elected; make money. Other criteria are optional.”

        Not really. A politician has to serve only 3 terms (~9 years) to “qualify” for full taxpayer funded benefits like, full superannuation (Where most have to work for 50 years), unlimited air travel to name two.

      • @ Patrick MJD

        Seems reasonable.

        However, my experience and observation of politicians has taught me that the correctness or validity of one’s position may have an effect, but is seldom enough. Crudely, you need a carrot (Do it my way and there will be a reward.) and a stick (Don’t do it my way and there will be an unpleasant consequence.)

        I’m not saying that this is a good thing, but that’s the way the system works. It is for this reason that ‘little’ people are so often ground to paste.

  2. It is obvious that there are major issues with BOM and its supposed data.

    It is obvious that BOM requires a complete and thorough audit.

    More significantly, the entire approach to the assessment of temperatures and changes thereto needs to be re-evaluated. If one wishes to make any comparison with the past, then we need today replicate as closely as possible the way in which past measurements were taken, using the same type of LIG thermometers calibrated as they were in the past, using the same type of enclosures, and paint, and using the same practices and procedures for observing and recording data.

    We need to obtain good quality RAW data that can be compared directly with past historical RAW data without the need for any adjustments whatsoever.

    We need to identify the best sited stations, ie., those with no station moves, no alterations in nearby land use (UHI etc), the best practices with respect to maintenance and record keeping etc, and then retrofit those best sited stations with the same type of LIG thermometers as used in the past.

    We do not need to use thousands of stations. 100 to 200 good quality best sited stations would suffice to tell us whether there has been any significant warming since the 1930s/1940s when manmade CO2 emissions began to escalate. We do not even need continuous records. We only need good records fro the period 1930 to 1945 since post that period some 95% of manmade CO2 emissions has occurred, such that a comparison with the period 1930 to 1945 will tell us whether manmade CO2 emissions may be having some impact on temperatures.

    • I’m not sure I agree that we can use so few stations (that would decrease the chances of some “expert” going on the net or TV and saying “hottest ever”), but you are very correct that instead of trying to statistically manipulate the past data and pretend it’s anything like what we gather using modern equipment, we should be using the exact methods used in the past. It seems so obvious, doesn’t it?

    • “richard verney September 21, 2017 at 5:46 am

      We do not need to use thousands of stations. 100 to 200 good quality best sited stations would suffice to tell us whether there has been any significant warming since the 1930s/1940s when manmade CO2 emissions began to escalate. We do not even need continuous records. We only need good records fro the period 1930 to 1945 since post that period some 95% of manmade CO2 emissions has occurred, such that a comparison with the period 1930 to 1945 will tell us whether manmade CO2 emissions may be having some impact on temperatures.”

      Unusual comment for you Richard. Perhaps some coffee will help?

      “100 to 200 good quality best sited stations would suffice to tell us whether there has been any significant warming since the 1930s/1940s when manmade CO2 emissions began to escalate.”
      • A good description of “Cherry pick”?
      • A gross assumption regarding how many stations are necessary. Gut choice?

      “whether there has been any significant warming since the 1930s/1940s when manmade CO2 emissions began to escalate.”
      • Why bother? Or is correlation magical proof?

      “We do not even need continuous records”
      • A gross assumption.

      “We only need good records fro the period 1930 to 1945”
      • A gross assumption on several fronts:
      • • Who determines “good stations”?
      • • How will “good stations” be defined, evaluated, tested and verified?

      None of which proves that “averaging” many unique independent stations provides any value, whatsoever.

      That alleged science organizations love using averaging provides zero credibility, either for the rationale of averaging independent temperature stations or any actual value derived from an “average temperature”.

      Temperatures at any location, fluctuate over very large ranges daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, annually; temperatures also fluctuate significantly over shorter periods of measurement.
      Temperatures at these stations are never static and rarely consistent.

      NOAA, MetO, BOM all assume that their “averaging” negates passing and transitory effects of weather and circumstance; e.g. cloudy or sunny, rainy or dry, jet exhaust, inhabited temperature station, buzzard poop.

      NOAA, MetO and BOM assume “averages” negates all insalubrious effects without leaving thse nasty error bars.

      The reality is that within any small locale, temperatures can range widely.
      Change elevations and the temperatures vary even more, as does rainfall, snow, frosts, freezes, etc.
      Add or subtract water changes most “weather” data within meters.

      In Las Vegas, newer strip malls have installed automated “misters” water sprayers. Either by measurement and/or by timed cycle these misters spray water into the air for a brief period.
      Temperatures drop and the locale becomes cooler, and humidity rises, quite significantly for a desert.

      When out in the desert, one can feel and smell nearby water exposes when downwind.

      • I think that you fail to appreciate what I am proposing, largely because I did not set it out in detail.

        The premise of the AGW theory is that CO2 is a well mixed gas, and that increasing levels of CO2 lead to warming. So that is the premise that needs to be tested by observational experiment.

        Now whilst I am a firm supporter of the null hypothesis, and that all changes are of natural origin unless the contrary can be established, in order to assess whether there is any merit, at all, to the AGW theory, it is not necessary to go back further in time than when manmade CO2 emissions began to become significant. That is circa 1940. So we only need to get a proper handle on what the temperatures were around that time, eg. for the period 1934 to 1946.

        I do not suggest that we attempt to make any global or hemispherical construction of temperatures, or that there should be any averaging. Instead, we should look at a single point, and establish, by observation whether temperatures at that very same single point have changed and if so by how much. I am suggesting that we compare RAW data obtained today at a single point, with RAW data obtained in the past at that same single point. It is only in that manner that we can make a like for like comparison, and it is only a like for like comparison that will tell us whether there has or has not been any change.

        There is virtually no historic data in the Southern Hemisphere, such that we should concentrate on the Northern Hemisphere. If manmade emissions of CO2 are leading to warming, the signal to this should be detectable in the Northern Hemisphere, such that it suffices to look solely at the Northern Hemisphere.

        It is always necessary to define the scope of the experiment. It is not cherry picking by using only the best sited stations, but obviously one has to define what is meant by best sited, before ascertaining which stations fall within the ambit of the definition. The purpose of using only the best sited stations is to ensure that RAW data is not polluted, and that there is no need to make any adjustment to RAW data to compensate for inadequacies and/or changes to station siting and/or TOB etc.

        So I would use only CRN1 sited stations (Climate Reference Network Rating Guide – adopted from NCDC Climate Reference Network Handbook, 2002, specifications for siting (section 2.2.1) of NOAA’s new Climate Reference Network).

        Class 1 (CRN1)- Flat and horizontal ground surrounded by a clear surface with a slope below 1/3 (<19deg). Grass/low vegetation ground cover 3 degrees.

        I would not use any stations that are near to large bodies of water (even if representative of the area). One would have to look carefully at the historic record (including photographs) of each and every station, so as to be sure that we can today replicate as near perfectly as possible the situation that existed in the 1930/1940 period at the station in question. One needs to check its equipment, it maintenance, its practices and procedures for observation and record keeping etc. One would retrofit the same LIG thermometer as used at each station in question, calibrated in Centigrade or Fahrenheit, as the case may be, and calibrated using the same historic method as was used for that instrument, and one would take observations today using the same TOB as used by the station in question back in the 1930s/1940s so that there is no need for any TOB corrections.

        200 stations would suffice since we are not making a global or hemispherical data set. I recall many years ago discussing with Steven Mosher and he thought that 50 stations would suffice. No sophisticated statistics, averaging, krigging, infilling would be used. Instead just list the number of stations that show say 0.2 degC cooling, 0.1 degC cooling, no warming, 0.1 degC warming, 0.2 degC warming, ie., just list the temperature change and how many stations show that change.

        Within a few years, we would know whether there had been any significant change since the 1930s/1940s, and the approximate bounds of such change. It would not surprise me that if we were to do this, we would quickly see that the temperature today in the Northern Hemisphere is no warmer than it was back in the historic highs of the 1930s/1940s.

        PS. You are right to note the potential impact of irrigation. It is vitally important that there is no change in nearby land use, not just urbanisation, but also farming, damming of rivers/flooding of valleys etc. That is why I said:

        no alterations in nearby land use (UHI etc)

        i also agree that once one starts playing around with the RAW data and manipulating, eg, by averaging then it does not tell us anything of significance since it actually ceases to be data. It is the product of some process. We need to compare unadjusted RAW data with like for like unadjusted RAW data.

      • Something went wrong with the cut & paste of CRN1

        Class 1 (CRN1)- Flat and horizontal ground surrounded by a clear surface with a slope below 1/3 (<19deg). Grass/low vegetation ground cover 3 degrees.

      • Class 1 (CRN1)- Flat and horizontal ground surrounded by a clear surface with a slope below 1/3 (<19deg).
        Grass/low vegetation ground cover 3 degrees.

      • See! Coffee, or tea did help.

        “Instead, we should look at a single point, and establish, by observation whether temperatures at that very same single point have changed and if so by how much.”

        Richard: You did not explain this requisite focus in the first comment and it makes all the difference between abused adjusted spurious averaging official consensus science and a real experiment.

        Show adjustments separately with all documentation and the truth will out! :)

    • the aus map used here has SW vic as below avg
      fact is?
      we are 100mm OVER avg and have some 15 days to go in time period used still
      and rain n storms are coming

  3. “From 1962 until June 2001 thermometers housed (probably) in a large (0.23 m3) Stevenson screen were observed inside the homestead-paddock near areas that are watered.
    The replacement AWS and small (0.06 m3) screen is about 15 m outside the fence, surrounded by bare red soil.”

    New equipment.
    Different, though still contaminated, location.
    Zero “side by side” data collection comparison.

    This should be represented as a new installation.

    Not that the ‘new’ installation is free of contamination. Watering or any use of water affects the general area.

    Why bother with such a contaminated location?

    Obviously so folks like Dr. Andrew King, the “ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science” and Australia’s BOM can blather falsehoods to the public while mishandling and misrepresenting simple science.

  4. Gee, I do appreciate all the charts and links and stuff, but the answer to your question (how can rainfall be less than zero?) meaning minus.25 inches of rain or minus 0.50 inches of rain – something on that order – is very simple:

    During Australia’s rather dry winters, in that particular area, gravity reverses itself and rain falls UPWARD into the sky, landing on passing clouds. Therefore, the measurements register as minus numbers, or below zero.

    What? You don’t like that fantasy idea? Is it any worse than fabricated tales of man-made global warming?

    I don’t care if you don’t like it. You’re triggering my angst now. I’m going to go down to the garden and eat worms! So there! Yesterday, I ate two smooth ones and one woolly one. :P :P :P

    (This silly story was brought to you by the People of Ceti Alpha VI.)

  5. “Rainfall can’t be less than none.” Come on. Climate scientists have to adjust the data to reflect the fact that none was made even noner by AGW.

  6. Mean Winter temp anomaly.

    Australian population density map
    http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/be4aa82cd8cf7f07ca2570d60018da27/0d1e2b7808f83d01ca257db100161343/Body/2.39CC!OpenElement&FieldElemFormat=jpg

    How the BOM report this

    Temperatures
    The winter mean temperature was very much above average for Australia, placing at fifth-warmest on record with an anomaly of +1.11 °C. Mean temperatures were the second-warmest on record for winter for Queensland, third-warmest for Western Australia, and ninth-warmest for the Northern Territory.

    How the ABC report this
    BOM: Australia’s hottest winter on record, maximum temperatures up nearly 2C on the long-term average

    I guess for all my friends and family that complained about the cold winter just gone that they were all mistaken and that the BOM knows better.

    Even Western Australia saw snow several times this winter.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-05/visitors-race-to-bluff-knoll-in-search-of-snow/8680572

    • Basically Queensland and a few isolated desert thermometers had a warm winter. This is not surprising in a developing La Nina which makes the weather patterns more zonal (west to east) across Australia. This leads to dry high pressure dominated northern Australia (warm) and where everyone lives in the south it was windier, wetter and cooler low pressure dominated (Aussie ski season the biggest since 2000). Record warm winter…….my rear end.

  7. The entire “science” looks like a badly written sci-fi story. What if we measured height by using a yard stick, then switched to a tape measure, then used “hands”, and then compared one’s height to the height of the maple tree out front, adjusted and homogenized the data, calculated the ranges and changes, then pronounced people are getting too tall and anyone over 5′ 7″ will no longer be allowed to reproduce because tall people are destroying the planet. The correlation is .95 and we’re sure they are the cause. How many government subsidies, movies by A. Gore and rallies by B. McKibben would it take to sell this conclusion? The science won’t sell it, that’s for sure. Same with climate.

    One note—years ago, and maybe still, I was told airports and other official temperature recording areas in the very warm states would water or shade their thermometers because tourists don’t like the idea of visiting a place that is 125°F. Cooling the temperature was an economic move. Seems, if true, recording of temperature has rarely been pure science.

  8. Dr. Andrew King, research fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science

    How often one finds that advertising ones abilities in this way is mere hubris

  9. Days of rain in mid winter.

    Total winter rainfall

    Percentage of mean winter rainfall

    Deciles

    Rainfall in the winter over Pilbara is very rare, but when it comes (usually from a NW tropical jet stream moisture event) it can rain a lot. Hence the mean rainfall is elevated by these rare rainfall events. Most winters it stays dry up there.

    • When you eyeball the graphics above…you would have to say rainfall distribution this winter looks predominantly pretty close to normal.

    • What sort of statistic do you report when the “lowest on record” is the average.
      Pedantically you cannot have more than one “lowest” record for the same location, you can have many “tied with the lowest”. As there is no rain for an entire month, every day will be “tied with the lowest” but how can it be below average when there is nothing lower?

    • Thanks pbweather,

      Which makes the distribution of rainfall highly skewed; which is why medians better describe the distribution of rainfall (the median is is a better descriptor of central tendency than the mean in this case).

      Cheers,

      Bill

  10. Not sure how you could get less than zero rainfall unless it could fall u0 from beneath the ground. But the way things are being interpreted nowadays maybe everything is possible. Hell, I’m uncertain if a man is a woman or the reverse or both!

    One thing I am certain about is that my respect for some of the so-callled “climate scientists” is less than zero!

  11. Someone has a job to feed the press “interesting, newsworthy” reports. Since planetary-level disaster is the only type of weather event now deemed worthy or even interesting, that someone cherry picks. Otherwise- no job.

    Note how the MSM finds Cat 6 potential threatening hurricanes out at sea this year? That become tropical storms soon after landfall? But they had a week of “maybe the end of the world” headlines.

    Even last year hurricane threats were what they were close to landfall. Soon they will be the computer models from SST projections …. made last year.

    Watch for it.

    • Yes, it is amazing how the reported windspeeds drop markedly upon encountering any bit of land with an anemometer.

    • I’ve noticed those attempts to report Cat 6, too. They’re one-upping the weather service or something, aren’t they?

      I’m just puzzled about what planet they’re living on, since the strongest hurricane category is Category 5.

      Are they living on Jupiter? There isn’t an official category for Jupiter’s hurricanes and I believe that the Great Red Spot qualifies as one at probably Category 12 or something.

  12. “It will soon teach us more about how our solar system formed 4.6 billion years ago and how Earth was formed by mergers of hot molten rock around 4 billion years ago”
    http://www.msn.com/en-au/news/techandscience/meteorite-found-in-qld-gulf-tells-secrets-from-4-billion-years-ago/ar-AAshUmF
    Do I sense?
    A. There’s some excitement among scientists that they might learn something new about the planet
    B. The science is settled but we had a spare $100k knocking about anyway
    C. This is a whole new doomsday scenario to work with.
    D. Any excuse to keep the grants flowing in a timely fashion
    E. They like pet rocks

  13. “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” Why does the University of NSW’s name pop up with every dodgy Australian climate study? Must be a preferred requirement for a job there.

  14. I’m just quietly grateful to the Australians for voluntarily agreeing to take all the global warming that we were told threatened the rest of us and allowing it to stay permanently located in their country.

  15. I’ve got some annoying global warming going on in my area right now. The temperature should be about 69F and instead, it’s 81F. And there’s SNOW in Nevada, fer Pete’s sake! Now why is Nevada getting all the cool air and I have to keep making ice tea and have ice cream for lunch, just to stay sane?

    It’s just SO unfair. I don’t understand any of this. (Just shakes head.)

  16. Reporting such as this is bald propaganda. They find some exciting reported data without verifying its value and try to conflate it into a silk purse. It’s all in how you spin the story and abuse the facts.
    Back when the race to the moon was on and the US beat the Soviets, there was a joke on how the Soviets “spun” the event.

    Space race to the Moon: The Glorious Union of Socialist Republics comes in second place…United States finishes next to last!

    (Actually we’re still waiting for a second place “finisher”, and the Russians may not be it.)

  17. I think the BOM is just using the “close enough for government work” yardstick, so what is all the gnashing of teeth about? Heck, we can determine the entire global average temperature to the hundredth’s of a degree (makes no difference if it is C or F), so whatever the BOM comes up with, we can always fall back on the HadCRUT1234 and get the real numbers.

  18. It tied the record low and is an infinite percentage lower than average.

    Sure, it’s a 76-way tie and the infinite percentage is very small in real terms, but there you are. You can’t argue with math.

  19. Shows what charlatan climate activists they have in the group BOM. The reason Australia is mostly desert because it is normal to have no rain for months. Trying to claim a desert is much drier than normal speaks volumes of the intelligence involved with some of these alarmists. There is no doubt alarmists are increasingly desperate from the garbage that keeps getting reported.

    There is scientific evidence that the main reason for recent warming is not down to increase in energy, but a decline in water vapour contained in the atmosphere. Many countries show increased sunshine levels and decreased RH levels explaining the warming. It is not known was it causing this, but it is opposite of AGW conjecture.

    Why is this significant?

    For one it explains that AGW has nothing to do with the warming and two, the mystery why optimum warm periods during inter glaciers always cool soon after. It also explains how ice ages occur by declining water vapour in the atmosphere leading to increasing dust levels.

    We could be experiencing a long term decline in global water vapour atmospheric levels that eventually leads us to the next major ice age. The reason being declining water vapour causes temperatures to increase even with the same amount of energy involved. This is the first phase where warming peaks in the optimum interglacial period. Continued declining water vapour and increasing dust levels in the atmosphere reached a threshold that favours cooling rather than warming. This triggers the end of the optimum warm period. Now the planet not only increasing atmospheric dust levels and declining water vapour also cooling too. This continued pattern is difficult to get out off and leads to the next Ice age. The question remains what could trigger this in the first place and keep it in place long enough?

  20. In Figure 2, the r² of 0.78 looks optimistic. The scatter diagram resembles a shotgun blast more than well-correlated data.

    • True (sort of). The R^2 value is ex-the missing and faulty data years (red squares). Including faulty data there is no relationship (which is the point of Table 1).

      Cheers,

      Bill

  21. “So just how bad is Mandora’s data?
    It hardly ever rains in August. Since 1914, 76 years received zero August rain; 20 years received less than 10 mm; while only a couple of years received anything like enough to bog a duck (highest August rainfall was 73.9 mm in 1930!) Across the winter months of June to August median monthly rainfall is ZERO. Less than 5 mm/month is recorded in 75% of years. Fair to say winter is dry generally.

    Zero winter rainfall is normal across the Pilbara (and not unusual across the northern two-thirds of Australia). Given that nowhere on the planet can possibly receive less rain than none; how can the Bureau claim winter rainfall in 2017 is the lowest-on-record or very-much-below-average (Figure 1) when zero is zero and for much of inland Australia no winter-rainfall is normal?”

    What a mind bogglingly stupid thing to say (and publicly). Reread your text.

    • What don’t you understand Bruce?

      Median rainfall in June, July and August (individually) is zero. So (over) half the years experience zero rain. That being the case for average years, how can rainfall in 2017 be very much below average (or record low, when the average expectation (median) is zero)?

      Other weather stations having similar rainfall distributions (medain = zero/month for June to August) include for example, Darwin, Alice Springs (above average this winter), Birdsville and Marble Bar. Respective monthly medians (mm) for Longreach is 1.2, 0 and 0.2; Rockhampton, 8.9, 4.0 and 4.6; Thargomindah, 2.5, 1.5 and 0,7; Tibooburra, 2.5, 0.8, and 1.4; and Barcaldine, 2.3, 0.6 and 0.1.

      Of course I have not not analysed every weather station across northern Australia, but for those listed,rainfall in winter 2017 was either not significantly different from or greater than their median values.

      There is no such a thing as rainfall being very much below average (=zero).

      Cheers,

      Bill

  22. The satellite trend for Australia to July shows the El Nino effect but the overall trend since ~2002 is flat.

    (Ken’s Kingdom).

  23. Don’t know if it’s any use finding BOM stuff ups and exposing them , they will just announce another enquiry and three years later they will release the report to themselves which will say what a wonderful job they do .

  24. Averages and anomalies seem a mite meaningless for sites such as this.

    I downloaded the BOM’s rainfall records for the Mandora site ad note:

    Total days of records: 38250
    Days with 0 rainfall: 32310 (84%)
    Days missing data: 3558 (9%)
    Highest rainfall: 281.4mm (6th March 2000)

    ANY rain at this site could be considered an outlier.

    It seems that this site is generally rain free and the occasional storm comes through.

  25. I am a regular traveler in the Mandora area, which adjoins the Great Sandy Desert, a spectacular area containing desert vegetation of wattles, highly resinous spinifex grasses and Eucalyptus species. Fires devastate the area on a regular basis, so this AWS station is compromised a lot. It is also one of the most common landing points for strong cyclones during the wet season.

    • But there are multiple problems with the site. Moat years are missing significant numbers of observations; the AWS reported zero MAXIMUM degC, twice; the “highest ever record winter temperature in Australia” is clearly an outlier too.

      It is just bad data from a poorly maintained weather station stuck in a dusty paddock in the middle of nowhere that they plucked off the shelf to support their press release..

      Cheers,

      Bill

  26. Due to a modelled wind change, some parts of northern NSW will get to 40c this w/e. Yet more proof of AGW.

  27. “Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology and climate scientists at the University of Melbourne should know that nowhere on planet-earth could rainfall be less than none!”

    This is an outrageously anti-Australian remark. Australia is the driest continent on Earth, and with our ingenuity we can make it even drier. Not only does no rain fall, but we send rain up!

    • Mandora in the middle of nowhere is surrounded by salt marsh to the north and desert to the west

      As Ralph in Groundhog Day said “That about sums it up for me”.

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