BOM Wasteland

I really like this posting / video from Tony Heller.

Tony Heller
Published on Sep 3, 2019
The Australian temperature record is generated largely from short term, fragmented station temperature records – with no data prior to 60 years ago. This video shows the data from all 1,657 NOAA GHCN stations in Australia.

He then proceeds to show all of the stations to the beat of “Teenage Wasteland”. I’m particularly fond of this as I tend to be a “visual thinker”. I just “soak up” things like the short fragment lengths with very few long records, the widely divergent ranges (how can average things when one is a 10 C range and the other 2 C?) and the tendency to concentration is just a few years in or near the “baseline period”. I can just see the data and know it’s crap.

Then, the music makes it fun ;-)

5 minutes and 10 seconds:

This second one is a bit less fun, but still useful:

The US has by far the best temperature data set in the world. Most of the stations in the US Historical Climatology Network have long term coherent data, This is what the raw temperature data looks like- before NOAA starts tampering with it.

10 minutes 43 seconds, Stairway to Climate Reality:

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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16 Responses to BOM Wasteland

  1. Bill in Oz says:

    I’m Australian. I’ve tried to stay abreast of Tony’s posts about the Bureau of Misinformation in the past week. But to be frank it’s been a bit like being the target of a firehose : far too much to fast in too short a time.

    No time for digesting and thinking and verifying. No time to think through possible critiques of what he is presenting. That’s NOT good presentation.

    I just tried to watch the link for this post. And gave up. For me it was just pointless.

    I’ve left the odd comment suggesting he slow down but he has ignored me..But it’s his blog. he can do what he likes.

    In order to get a real life, evidence based perspective I am sticking with Ken’s Kingdom’s careful investigation of all the BOM’s weather station network.

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    @Bill in Oz:

    It isn’t for everyone. As I mentioned, I’m able to suck up large volumes visually fast. For Genetics 100A&B they had the information on slides in a display station. Each week before the exam I’d just go click through the set of slides, fast, twice. Then go take the test. I’d “flip through the slides” visually internally if I got stuck until I found the one with the issue in question… Not quite photographic, but close…

    For these videos, I just stair at it and see the patterns, then somewhere in the brain runs a pattern match / analysis / profile set and “i get it” what’s in the data.

    (The downside of that skill is that it uses brain acreage that then is not available for things like baseball statistics, football team histories, knowing what “style” is current, etc. etc. I.e. non-geekly things… so “Plaid with stripes” – why not!? ..)

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    An example:

    Watching the second video: the bottoms are more ragged than the tops. Lows more volatile. Some spots have uptrend, some down, others flat. Any overall trend is a result of how many of each made it to the average, not some overall actual trend to warming. There is some short cycle of a few years, but also some longer wobbles of many decades. Overall, not much is happening. Individual places vary a lot in the high to low range normals. Data drop outs are an issue. Some data is more variable than others, likely less stable locations. Starts and ends of segments matter as they can bias a run with end effects. I don’t see any systematic warming. I do see a lot of random variation.

    That’s the kind of stuff I see watching the patterns go by…

  4. Bill in Oz says:

    I hear what you say EM. But for me it does not compute. I just see a confusing haze of coloured bar graphs flicking quickly from one to the next, to the next….

    My way is looking, studying, each bar graph in my time at my pace..And thinking about what is going on in that graph…

    Is my way the only way ? No. Clearly Tony Heller’s way works for you. And for him as well. But I suspect that for the vast majority of folks this type of demonstration is just a big blur and then dismissed & forgotten. And some folks remember the the pea under the thimbles trick..And are suspicious..

    So I prefer Ken’s method.. It’s slow & steady. But it is effectively demolishing the BOM’s claim to being the weather ‘experts’ here in Oz. On present evidence about 20% of their weather stations are not complaint with their own guidelines in their siting…

    It’s wonderful that Goggle Earth & Goggle Street View help allow in this process ! Before then each site would have to be visited personally. Now we can use Goggle Earth to see almost all the BOM’s weather station sites and the surrounding area. And then back that up with Goggle Street View to get a look at them close up.

    That makes it more local & personal. An example the first one in this project is for Mt Barker. That site is 150 meters away over the back fence. I went & looked at in a neighbours front yard & took photos. Ken picked up on the photos and started this series..
    But in the meantime I’ve been talking to my fellow local about it and showing the photos.. Their belief in BOM turned to complete amazement that BOM was doing this in OUR town.

    And that’s the point : making it local & personal all over Australia !

  5. Graeme No.3 says:

    I would back up Bill in Oz that it is too fast for anything but an overall impression.
    I downloaded it, but will have to spend time slowing it down to pick up detail.
    Early on I realised that BoM were claiming to have records back to 1847, which is highly doubtful. Sydney is supposed to be the first site in 1858; Melbourne would have followed (interstate rivalry) and had a (one) Stephenson screen before 1869. Adelaide had some sort of readings from about 1858* and sustained records would have started before 1870, BUT the BoM only admits records from 1879, and doesn’t release any before 1910 (the startup of the BoM)**.
    Also the records seem rather patchy. Adelaide Parafield airfield opened 1n 1927 but supposedly operated with temperatures from West Terrace (near the city). Parafield still operates for light planes but is now surrounded by Industrial & Commercial firms and housing suburbs. When I was a boy driving through Parafield even when it was open land*** the rise in temperature was noticeable.

    * When proper equipment was imported.
    ** Australia had droughts from approx. 1890 – 1911 with high temperatures. Doesn’t fit the narrative.
    ***A certain reluctance to build there was the presence of an abattoir with little control of smells.

  6. H.R. says:

    Graeme No.3: “[…] it is too fast for anything but an overall impression.”

    Yah, but… that’s what it was all about. I’ve mentioned before my central vision partial blindness in both eyes and, try as I might, I can’t analyse E.M.’s dot charts. My brain moves the dots around so I can ‘see’ them, but then nothing makes sense and E.M’s ‘difference’ dot charts are quite impossible for me to distinguish the differences.

    I found this type of presentation quite useful to me, although it took me close to a minute to get into the swing of it and make some sense of what I was seeing.

    Graeme, I do agree that it’s a bit too fast. I keep forgetting that you can change the speed in settings so thanks for that reminder. I think 25% or 50% playback speed would be really good.

    BTW, the short groups in the middle of the timeline really jumped out at me. There were quite a few of those that popped into view and they were all low compared to the later years. The first question to come to mind is, why did those stations stop (or were dropped?) after such a short period? Second question; why are there so many of them?

    Then there were the short groups at the end of the timeline that all seemed high by comparison to the middle short groups. That was a big ‘something is hinky’ clue. My expectation was to see short groups early in the timeline as high or higher than the later stations in the timeline. The Oz contingent here has pointed out a bunch of instances where historical accounts tell of periods as hot or hotter than recent years. I didn’t see many of those. Where were those records?

    But that’s where I’m in complete agreement with you. The video is no good at all for answering even the most rudimentary questions. You’d need tables and station graphs and a bit of the written explanations of the reasons behind the start and cutoff of those short-record stations to have any hope of answering the questions that pop into mind when viewing that video.

    Oh, one last thing. None of the records in the video seemed to have any particular slope. They all hit the eye as a fairly regular rectangular block; no parallelograms. Since none of the individual stations seem to be climbing up and away, where is the rise in the spliced-averaged entire BOM record coming from?

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    Just an opinion, but the “high speed visual absorb” seems to be a right side of the brain function. The GPU of the brain. The “one at a time analytical” is a typically left brain sort of function. Linear connected chain.

    I know I’m a bit of an odd duck in that my verbal and non-verbal IQ are the same ( as were my SAT / PSAT / ACT tests – identical to the digit.. A math quirk of a sort as they ought to have a several point error band in them yet they are identical) and I’m an ambidexter.

    I can consciously choose to swap between those modes. I also discovered I can swap “eye dominance” when shooting — something I was told is impossible. When I was tutoring other kids in math, I realized that I would often just “see the answer” and had to invent methods (algorithms) to reach that answer that I could teach to them.

    The “just knowing” from the parallel processor GPU side of the brain is very different from the linear step by step chain of reasoning from the CPU side. If I have any “gift” it is the ability to do both (often at will) AND the willingness to embrace both as reasonable approaches. Each as a cross check on the other. So I’ll “reason a solution” but then ask “does that fit?”, or I’ll see “a fit” and then ask “what’s the mechanism of showing that?”.

    It’s a great little fraud detector as most frauds are not able to present both “the fit” and “the story”.

    One other example, then I’ll shut up about me ;-) There’s some folks do a rapid montage of photos, like the opening of The Big Bang Theory. I love it and I’ll just enter “visual mode” and soak up the images. Sometimes it takes more than once to get them all. I’ve learned that to many other folks it is more of a blur and they don’t see them as complete distinct images, and certainly don’t see any pattern in their presentation (as that depends on seeing the individual images in context of the others). Like that “flicker through the slides” for Genetics 100 A&B. Rapid information load.

    But that’s what makes each of us valuable on a team. Different approaches illuminate different issues and find more answers. My only complaint, really, is that schools are all about training the left side of the brain and typically do nothing for the right side of the brain. (Especially when they drop art, music, and other right side functions).

  8. Bill in Oz says:

    An aside : I am going to give Dissenter the big steel capped boot up the arse. It has so many kedges that it is stuffed. Just wrote a 3 para reply here and it them disappeared completely.Not in history anywhere. And Dissenter does not list past history by time but by page. Dunnnn ?

    Junk !

  9. Bill in Oz says:

    HR : Some history !
    BOM was established in 1908 by merging all the colony/ state based weather bureaus here in Australia. Those colony/state based weather bureaus had weather stations and records going back to the 1850’s in some places. However BOM has decided that data prior to 1908 is suspect. and BOM has based it’s climate change ‘science’ only on date from 1908 onwards.

    Meanwhile it has also made available via it’s Climate Data Online, a lot of the weather records for the earlier period. ( link : ) Tony Heller among others has simply accessed those earlier records for about 20 odd stations and thus been able to extend back in time an analysis of the climate here in Oz well before 1908.
    And there is NO Climate warming here showing up from those weather station records..

    But the BOM currently has about 740 weather stations spread across Australia. Many of which started in more recent times. And BOM says that these show there is global warming….But now we have Ken at Ken’s Kingdom doing a ‘compliance check’ on all BOM’s stations.

    It’s 740 odd piece jig saw puzzle guys. And ken is checking out every piece of that jig saw to se if they belong in the puzzle or are ‘fake’. he’s about half way through. And currently he’s getting a 20% NON COMPLIANT rate.
    Now that is SCIENCE .

    I’m helping out a bit with commentary and a different perspective. But it’s Kens self imposed unpaid task. And he deserves the credit for taking this on and persisting with it. BOM is one of the major weather bureaus in the world pushing global warming. And here is an ordinary retired bloke shooting down the weather stations on which BOM has built it’s alarmist nonsense.

    An I notice that there is hardly anyone bothers taking a look. .

    Now that makes me annoyed.

  10. John Ryan says:

    Tony Heller also has good data from the RSS sat
    This covers every place on the globe
    But he doesn’t choose to use that at all

    “Too hot”

  11. Graeme No.3 says:

    I have been through the video at slow speeds and have realised that the figures are crap. No wonder the computer guy in the Climategate emails was complaining about the australian figures. Among others:
    Adelaide (Parafield aerodrome) opened 1927 but figures start in ~1956 (after it ceased being the major aerodrome)
    Bathurst gaol built in 1888 but figures start ~ 1853 **
    Cobar P.O. built 1885 but figures start ~ 1880
    Gunnedah Pool built in the 1950’s (as War Memorial) figures start ~1877
    Mt. Lofty figures start 1990 yet Clement Wragge had a paper in The Proceedings of the Royal Society quoting figures from Mt. Lofty from 1884 (Stephenson screen differences v Adelaide)
    Mt. Wellington towers over Hobart yet they only thought to set up on top in 1960????
    Nobbys signal station (Newcastle) built 1858 but figures start only in 1956, but there were comments recorded in the newspaper about readings in 1939, and for before that

    ** There was almost certainly some sort of detention centre at least from ~1830 but not on the same site and there is no indication of when they were joined.

  12. H.R. says:

    @Bill in Oz:

    Thanks for the history. I probably have read all that information at one time or another, but not in a nice summary like that, all in one place. That was good.

    @Graeme No.3:
    Now that’s something I can’t do; look at an Oz station name and know where it is geographically, other than the major cities, and if the data makes sense.

    Slowing down that video for me is like someone who doesn’t speak English speaking s-l-o-w-e-r and LOUDER at me in hopes I’ll understand LOL!

  13. Bill in Oz says:

    Hi Graeme I’ve started on your copy of the “Weather watchers : History of the BOM”. Thanks for lending it to me.
    Wragge does not get a good write up what with trying to make himself the Weather Man of all Australia in the 1890’s when his official job was only to make forecasts for Queensland. He got a lot of noses out of joint in the meteorological folk in all the other colonies ( later states ) .

  14. Bill in Oz says:

    @HR, You’re welcome !

    but here is a suggestion for finding a place in Oz : If you don’t know where a BOM weather station is, simply plu the name into Google Earth. It will take you there showing streets & buildings. It will even show up the BOM’s Stevenson screens at it’s sites if you now the coordinates. And the BOM actually provides those coordinates in the PDF’s it has available online for each station via the Climate Data Online.. And you can also press the ‘-” button on Google earth to get a regional or national level perspective.

    I suspect that something similar could be done in Canada, UK, South Africa, New Zealand, India Ireland and the USA as well..In fact the whole Anglophone world. These national weather bureaus all started out collaborating with each other and adopted similar standards.. So a suggestion : locals in those places might be able to do a similar jobs of the network of weather stations in those countries. Checking if the individual weather stations are compliant with the national bureau’s own national site standards.

    This is all about GIGO : Garbage In = Garbage Out.
    Non compliant weather stations means lots of Garbage In.
    And lots of Garbage Out

    The question to ask is the Global warming Scare based on GIGO from non compliant weather stations ?

  15. Jason Calley says:

    Hey E.M., you say, “There’s some folks do a rapid montage of photos, like the opening of The Big Bang Theory. I love it and I’ll just enter “visual mode” and soak up the images.”

    You may remember this:

  16. H.R. says:

    @Jason: I was expecting to see it in time order, either modern to ancient or ancient to modern. I thought Michelangelo was underrepresented and I didn’t see any Hieronymus Bosch. Might have just missed it, though ;o) Also, they sneaked in the Lascaux cave paintings and they are w-a-a-ay more than 3,000 years old.

    That was a lot of fun!

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