Tuesday, January 28, 2014

No nano follow up

SMH report today: Scientists discover nanoparticles in sunscreen are harmlessWe previously pointed out the misinformation being spread about zinc in sunscreens by AM Other ABC stories have been equally sensationalist and misleading. Just wondering how long it will take ABC's AM or its news division to notice this latest development. Bet the views of Friends of the earth will be given prominence.

We asked ABC's Alan Sunderland for comment.

UPDATE: Right on cue ABC cover the story and no surprise they give prominence to activist opinions of a career environmental campaigner over the experts. In comments FOE's Louise Sales further misrepresents the results of the recent work and further exaggerates the risks of nano-particles. 

We asked report author Simon James for more information. Here is his reply:
Here is some clarification about the current work; Zn is an essential nutrient, our bodies must have Zn in order to function (similar to iron or calcium). In 2013 the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) released a review of the literature (attached) which concluded ZnO nanoparticles present in sunscreens pose no risk to consumers when used as intended. Our manuscript dose acknowledges previous work which demonstrated that a very, very small amount of Zn from ZnO nanoparticles present in sunscreen can penetrate the skin when used in the field (attached). I want to be very clear that this work showed that the Zn from ZnO nanoparticles made up less than 0.001% of the total Zn detected. This is not a level of Zn which is associated with any safety concerns (to be honest I am impressed the authors could even make such a precision measurement). However, given the limitations of doing a field studies the authors could not conclude whether the Zn made it into the body as part of intact nanoparticles or in some other form. Our study built on this finding by asking the question, “If the nanoparticles do penetrate the skin can a macrophage break these objects down?” We are not the first to try and answer this question, indeed our work is merely a single study adding to a much larger body of work but we were able to go further than other groups and show direct evidence for cell mediated breakdown of ZnO nanoparticles.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

BOM promulgate misinformation about the recent heatwave

It is sad when once trusted public institutions fail to correct their mistakes and promulgate misinformation. In its recent climate statement "Special Climate Statement 48 – one of southeast Australia’s most significant heatwaves" BOM make the following claim: (p.5):"Canberra also set a record with four consecutive days of 39°C."

This is debunked by data from its own weather station at ACTON (70099) that in January 1939 recorded 8 days in a row over 39 and nine days over 38, including a maximum temperature on the 11/1/1939 that is as yet unsurpassed:
Wednesday 11/1/1939: 108.4 (42.4)* beats the "official" Canberra Airport record by 0.2 degrees

How reliable is the BOM when it's an-aware of it's own data?

Its climate statement includes a figure purportedly showing the number of days per year on which at least one location in Victoria has reached 45°C. (2014 data as of 19 January): Figure 1. It starts in 1957. 
SCS48 Figure 1

There is a convenient footnote here that reads: 1957 is taken as the starting point as daily data prior to 1957 have not yet been digitised at a number of key locations (e.g. Ouyen, Horsham, Echuca), and hence this indicator would miss a number of days with temperatures above 45°C prior to 1957. 
So the graph is not an accurate record! We requested BOM supply information about how many stations were used in constructing the graph.

Based on data provided for the BOM's ACORN network for Victoria the following graph showing the number of days per year on which at least one location in Victoria has reached 45, can be produced for stations with over 100 years of digitised data:
Revised BOM Figure 1 using Victorian ACORN stations

This extends the information back to 1910 (earlier data is available but ACORN only starts in 1910) and places the recent heatwave in its historical context. 1939 remains the stand out year for extreme heat in Victoria.
Max. temp data for the following ACORN stations were used: 
76031: Mildura 1910 to present
82039: Rutherglen 1912 to present
80023: Kerang 1910 to present
86071: Melbourne 1910 to present
78015: Nhill 1910 to present
90015: Cape Otway 1910 to present - no readings above 45
85075: Sale 1945 to present-data not long enough for fair comparison- no readings over 45
87031: Laverton - data not long enough for fair comparison- 3 days over 45 on days matched by others with longer records-does not affect outcome in graph
85096: Wilson's Prom. 1910 to present - no readings above 45
84145: Orbost 1938 to present - data not long enough for fair comparison-  2 days over 45 on days matched by others with longer records-does not affect outcome in graph

The same ACORN data used below to provide an indication of days per decade over 45, you can make your own conclusions. 
Victoria ACORN data: days per decade over 45 degrees

UPDATE-response to our inquiries from Simon Birmingham Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment:

Thank you for your correspondence of 19 January 2014, to the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, concerning data from the closed Bureau of Meteorology station at Acton in Canberra. The Minister has forwarded your letter to me as the matters you raise fall within my portfolio responsibilities.

I can assure you that the Bureau takes matters raised by members of the public very seriously. I am advised that the Bureau is working to digitise as much of the early data records from various sites across the country as possible. Digitisation is a resource intensive task. Over the past decade, the Bureau has significantly increased its digitised holdings of historical climate data.

The Bureau has contacted the National Archives of Australia for the physical location of the specific data you have requested, and will contact you as soon as this information comes to hand. Acton is one of about 40 sites across Australia whose digitisation has been identified as a priority by the Bureau and this work will be carried out as staffing and other resources allow.

I am advised that Canberra has had no known periods when temperatures reached or exceeded 40°C on four consecutive days. This statement is not contradicted by the Acton data from January 1939, as those data do not contain any sequence of four consecutive days of 40°C or above. The maximum temperature at Canberra Airport on 17 January 2014 was 39.7°C, and hence there was also no such sequence during the 2014 heatwave.

In the broader context of your email, the Bureau agrees that extreme and prolonged heat was widely experienced in south-eastern Australia in 1939. The Bureau has characterised the recent January 2014 heatwave as one of the most significant in the nation’s history, sitting alongside the historically significant event of 1939, as well as the heatwave of 2009. Placing events in historical context is of great interest to the Australian community and for improving understanding of climate science.

Thank you for taking the time to write on this matter.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Canberra Temperature Data-more history than you are led to think

Based on its run down on Canberra's weather (HERE) and recent media statements (HERE) our Bureau of Meteorology would have you believe that there were no official temperature measurements made in our nation's capital prior to March 1939.

However as we have discovered thanks to errors made by ABC's weather man, there was indeed an earlier BOM station at ACTON (70099) that operated from 1914 through to December 1939. It recorded, temperature and rainfall such as THESE observations for January 1939.

We asked BOM whether it had the daily temperature records available for this station and got the following initial response from one of BOM's Climate Data Officers (to save embarrassment we won't reveal any names):

Thank you for your enquiry.  Acton 70099 only recorded rainfall from 1913-1939 and rainfall intensity (pluviograph) 1921-1939.  The site never recorded temperatures.   Canberra Forestry recorded temperature 1957-1980, Canberra City 70282 1974-1988, Canberra Airport 70014 1939-2010, Canberra AP (new) 2008-now.

To which we replied:
In regard to 70099 you make the following statement "The site never recorded temperatures", yet mean monthly temperature data is available for this station on the BOM climate data site. See:http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/cdio/weatherData/av?p_nccObsCode=36&p_display_type=dataFile&p_startYear=&p_c=&p_stn_num=70099
Can you please clarify your comments. On the facts at hand you appear to be incorrect. 

This came shortly after:
Thank you for your enquiry.  To correct the earlier sent correspondence, daily temperature data for Acton (70099) is as yet undigitised, we are only able to provide monthly records from our digital database.  The original paper records of temperature observations from 1914 to 1939 for the site are stored in National Archives of Australia (NAA).  We have contacted NAA to assess where these records are physically stored and will inform you of this as soon as possible.  The Bureau is constantly working to digitise as much of the early record as possible.   

We forwarded our exchange to Minister Hunt with the following query:

Dear Minister,
The above correspondence for your information and action.
Given the historical significance of historical temperature readings at the old BOM weather station at Acton can the Minister please inform me of when the records will be made available to the pubic.

Who am I?

"A democratic society depends on diverse sources of reliable information and contending opinions."
ABC Editorial policy

Pop Quiz: Who am I?

Professor and Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at theGeorgia Institute of Technology and President (co-owner) of Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN). I received a Ph.D. in Geophysical Sciences  from the University of Chicago in 1982.  Prior to joining the faculty at Georgia Tech, I held faculty positions at the University of Colorado, Penn State University and Purdue University. I currently serve on the NASA Advisory Council Earth Science Subcommittee and the DOE Biological and Environmental Science Advisory Committee,  and have recently served on the National Academies Climate Research Committee and the Space Studies Board, and the NOAA Climate Working Group. I am a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Geophysical Union.

Intelligent, top of their field, numerous peer reviewed publications, a world leader, articulate, concise, open, an award winning scientist. Seems someone ABC might want to get an opinion from, yet somehow this person is passed over in favour of lesser mortals.

Their latest testimony to the US Senate now available HERE.


  • For the past 16 years, there has been no significant increase in surface temperature. There is a growing discrepancy between observations and climate model projections. Observations since 2011 have fallen below the 90% envelope of climate model projections
  • The IPCC does not have a convincing or confident explanation for this hiatus in warming.
  • There is growing evidence of decreased climate sensitivity to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations
  • Based on expert judgment in light of this evidence, the IPCC 5thassessment report lowered its surface temperature projection relative to the model projections for the period 2016-2036.
The growing evidence that climate models are too sensitive to CO2 has implications for the attribution of late 20th century warming and projections of 21st century climate change. Sensitivity of the climate to carbon dioxide, and the level of uncertainty in its value, is a key input into the economic models that drive cost-benefit analyses, including estimates of the social cost of carbon.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Call that a Canberra Heatwave? No history at the BOM

The following letter sent to Environment Minister Greg Hunt:

Dear Minister,
I draw you attention to the following complaint sent by email to the Bureau of Meterology:

"BOM have provided the following statement to ABC News regarding the recent Canberra Heatwave:

Sean Carson from the Bureau of Meteorology says the ACT's saving grace so far this week has been the lack of wind.

"The wind will pick up a little bit over the coming days, certainly nothing too strong, but it will increase that fire danger rating," he said.

But Mr Carson says the heatwave is far from over.

"By the time we reach Saturday we might have seen four days in a row in the ACT greater than 40 degrees, something we've never seen before in Canberra's history," he said.

I draw BOM's attention to the records of its now closed ACTON station in the ACT (BOM station ID 70099) where the following temperatures were recorded as reported by the Canberra Times newspaper:

Saturday 7/1/1939: 101.7 (38.7)
Sunday 8/1/1939: 102.8 (39.3)
Monday 9/1/1939: 102.6 (39.2)
Tuesday 10/1/2013: 106.4 (41.3)
Wednesday 11/1/1939: 108.4 (42.4)* seems this should be the record beating GC's mention by 0.2
Thursday 12/1/1939: 103.6 (39.8)
Friday 13/1/1939: 107.4 (41.9)
Saturday 14/1/1939: 107.4 (41.9)
Sunday 15/1/1939: 105.4 (40.8)

Clearly BOM's official statements in relation to temperatures over 40 in Canberra are incorrect misrepresent the history of heatwaves in the nation's capital. In 1939 we very nearly had 7 days over 40. I request BOM provide an official correction to the ABC.

CC'd to Minister of Environment"

Can the Minister please ensure that the Bureau corrects the misinformation provided to ABC news above. Can the minister ensure that the BOM is providing accurate information to the public concerning Australian weather?

Update: Day for Day comparison of 2014 and 1939 heatwaves:
Saturday 7/1/1939: 101.7 (38.7)/Sunday 12/1/2014: 37.1
Sunday 8/1/1939: 102.8 (39.3)/Monday 13/1/2014:33.5
Monday 9/1/1939: 102.6 (39.2)/Tuesday 14/1/2014: 37.6
Tuesday 10/1/2013: 106.4 (41.3)/Wednesday 15/1/2014: 40.2
Wednesday 11/1/1939: 108.4 (42.4)/ Thursday 16/1/2014:40.1
Thursday 12/1/1939: 103.6 (39.8)/Friday 17/1/2014:39.7
Friday 13/1/1939: 107.4 (41.9)/Saturday 18/1/2014:40.0
Saturday 14/1/1939: 107.4 (41.9)/Sunday 19/1/2014:32.3
Sunday 15/1/1939: 105.4 (40.8)/Monday 20/1/2014:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fact checking the weather man

Graham Creed ABC's weather man, runs a blog. We fact checked the statistics is his post of the 14/1/2014, seems he is a little selective with his cherry's:

Graham says:
Canberra, In 2009 there were 3 days of consecutive 40 degree temperatures. This is pretty significant given there have only been 11 days above 40 in Canberra’s history. Seven of those has occurred in the last 5 years. The 1979 heat wave was significant because it had five consecutive days in excess of 37 degrees. Hottest day on record is 42.2 and was recorded back in 1968. Data courtesy ABC Canberra and BOM.

Independent analysis indicates that Graham seems to have forgotten the catastrophic heatwave of January 1939, this had a run of 9 days over 38 degrees including 5 days over 40. It also includes Canberra's record temp of 42.4 degrees C. The devastating Black Friday bushfires affected much of SE Australia. The Canberra Times reported the following temperatures in Fahrenheit (celcius) as recorded at the Acton meteorological station:
Wednesday 11/1/1939: 108.4 (42.4)* seems this should be the record beating GC's mention by 0.2

In terms of the number of days over 40, we make it least: 18 comprising:
5 for the 1939 heatwave outside BOM records as recorded at the Acton meteorological station, 
7 from BOM station records for Canberra Station ID 70014*
5 readings from BOM station records for Canberra Station ID 70351**
1 in 1932 104.2 (40.1) recorded 28/1/1932-outside BOM records as recorded at the Acton meteorological station,, 

Number of days 40 and above in the last 5 years: Last 5 years 2014-5=since 2009=5

*7 readings 40 and over at 70014: 41.4 recorded 31/1/1968, 42.2 recorded 1/2/1968-BOM, 40.5 recorded 12/1/2007, 40.2 recorded 3/1/1973, 40.0 recorded 18/1/1998, 40.0 recorded 7/2/2007, 40.0 recorded 8/2/2008
**5 readings 40.3 recorded 6-8/2/2009 (3 days), 40.1 om 5/1/2013, 42.0 on 18/1/2013
UPDATE: It seems the Acton meteorological station is closed BOM station 70099 for which daily observations are not available online. We have asked BOM why this is the case. Of interest the highest monthly mean for January remains Jan 1932 @ 32.5 degrees for station 70099. The record at Canberra Airport (70351) is 32.3 in January 2013.

Graham says: Adelaide: 2009, 13 consecutive days over 33, 6 consecutive days above 40 and 4 consecutive days over 23.

Graham forgets the 1908 and 1939 heatwaves. 
1908 Monthly mean record @ 34.2 degrees with 10 days over 40 (4 consecutive days-Jan 4 to 7 and 6 consecutive days 14-19)
1939 Monthly Mean @ 33.6 degrees with 5 days over 4 and Adelaide's record maximum of 46.1 degrees.

Graham says: Melbourne: 2009 12 consecutive days above 28, 5 consecutive days above 30 3 consecutive days above 43.

Once again it seems 1908 was hotter
The January 1908 heatwave in Melbourne helped push the January monthly mean to its as yet unsurpassed maximum of 31.0 degrees. The month included 15 days over 30 and a run of 5 days over 40.

UPDATE: Seems ABC's weather man has made some changes following our inquiries:

Graham Creed's blog post was based on Bureau of Meteorology Climate Information and was taken from a Bureau interview on ABC Radio in Canberra. The figures were attributed to the Bureau.  The Bureau's figures and Graham's blog post were based on the climate record from Canberra Airport. The Bureau appears not to have any records of temperatures at Acton which were the basis of the Canberra Times article. They are therefore unverified weather records and we would not normally use them. The blog has been modified to clarify that the data refers to the record at Canberra Airport.

The reference to the 2009 heat event was just meant to be a comparison with a recent heatwave. It did not claim those figures were a record. It would have been more accurate to say that "This is pretty significant given there have only been 11 days above 40 since the Bureau began recording more than 70 years ago."

Accordingly, while noting your concerns, Audience and Consumer Affairs are satisfied that reasonable efforts were made to ensure the accuracy of the article and it was in keeping with the ABC’s editorial standards. Nonetheless, please be assured that your comments have been noted and conveyed to ABC News management.

The post now reads as follows, but still ignores 1939:
Canberra Airport, In 2009 there were 3 days of consecutive 40 degree temperatures. This is pretty significant given there have only been 11 days above 40 in Canberra Airport’s history. Seven of those has occurred in the last 5 years. The 1979  heat wave was significant because it had five consecutive days in excess of 37 degrees. Hottest day on record is 42.2 and was recorded back in 1968. Data courtesy ABC Canberra and BOM.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Heatwaves of times past

According to the ABC it seems that other government acronym, the BOM, has finally got about defining what a "heatwave" is:
For the first time, the Bureau of Meteorology has provided a national definition of a heatwave.

A heatwave is now defined by three or more days of unusually high maximum and minimum temperatures in any area.

Seems we had a different definition in the not so distant past...
 They enjoy a heat wave

The Great Heatwave of 1908, the year BOM was formed, provides a different definition and a reminder that what goes around may come around again....Thankfully in these enlightened times, along with an approved heatwave definition, we also have access to air con.

THE GREAT HEAT WAVE. The Coburg Leader 25 January 1908.  The heat wave which swept over the greater portion of Victoria for the past fortnight, and which has caused so many deaths and so much distress,was severely felt in Brunswick, and caused a number of deaths, especially among infants and the old and feeble. Day after day the sun rose like a ball of fire over Brunswick, while the heat of the solar rays was supplemented by scorching hot winds and dust,which caused the thermometer to rise rapidly until over 112 degrees was registered in the shade. Doubtless the hot winds were the result of the up-country bush fires, the hot air making its way southwards towards the sea. Then at night there was little relief. The red haze even obscured the moon, and the conditions were so oppressive that many women and children had to sleep in their gardens and under their verandahs,while others, bolder still, slept in the parks underneath the trees-in fact anywhere where a cool spot could be found from the oppressive conditions which everywhere prevailed.

BOM still records January 1908 as having the highest January monthly mean on record for Melbourne at 31.0. There were 6 days in a row over 39.9 degrees including a run of 5 over 40!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Summer now a health risk

ABC's coverage of summer has taken on a new alarmist stance...
Health warnings as heatwave tipped to blast south-east Australia all week
Health warnings have been issued as a scorching heatwave starts to move from Western Australia into the country's south-east.
Authorities are warning temperatures will be in the 40s throughout the week and could cause sickness and even death among the very young and elderly.

I guess ABC's air-conditioned reporters might one day venture out of their artificial climate cells at Ultimo to see what all the fuss is about. Here's a pic from one of last year's heatwaves to give them an idea of what they might expect to see...oh the horror of it all!

Update...meanwhile ABC's heatwave tracker still suggesting temps topping 50 degrees, no answer yet to our earlier inquiries.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

History forgotten as "hottest" year news breaks

ABC run a typically alarmist piece with cherry picked weather events turning the year into something exceptional:  How Australia's hottest year on record unfolded

In 1940 CO2 levels were around 310 ppm. Since the ABC has no sense of history let's see whether similar dramatic weather extremes were reported...Using the ABC's own  headlines....It was a year of heatwaves and bushfires, sun, cyclones, and melting bitumen... it was 1940!

Scorching summer sets the tone
Eight people died in Queensland to-day at a result of the greatest heat the State has ever known. Three cases occurred in Brisbane and five in the country. Forty-three people collapsed in Brisbane and many more in the country. Brisbane experienced the highest temperature in its history—109.8 degrees at 2.35 p.m.

Nothing like this figure has been re-corded during the 85 years that the Meteorological Bureau has been operating. The nearest was 108.9 in January, 1902. To make matters worse, today's heat was accompanied by a record relative humidity of 20 per cent.The record day was followed by the hottest January night since 1922. The temperature at 9 p.m. was 83.3.

February: NINTH DAY OF TRYING HEATWAVE. 100.4 Degrees Today Gives 5th Successive Century. BROKEN HILL today experienced its ninth successive day of trying heat. The temperature reached amaximum of 100.4 degrees at 2 p.m. It would probablyhave been much higher but under the influence of a lightsoutherly wind the mercury dropped to 96 degrèes at2.40 o'clock, and 93 degrees at 3 'o'clock. Early this after-noon heavy clouds gave indication of a cool change being on the way.
Today's century was the 14th for the season, the sixth for the month, 10th for the year, and fifth in succession.

Heat returned in March, and again later in the winter

March: ADELAIDE HEAT-WAVE.Seventh Successive Century.ADELAIDE, March 13.—For the firsttime in the 82 years of the State's re-corded meteorological history, a sevenday spell of heat exceeding 100deg. hasbeen experienced in Adelaide during twosuccessive summers. The record wasestablished today, when the temperaturefor the seventh successive day passed thecentury, reaching 102.6deg. A similarheat-wave occurred in January, 1939. The Divisional Meteorologist (Mr. Bromley) predicts that a cool change should be noticeable tomorrow.Today's seventh successive century equalled the March spells of 1872 and 1934. Maximum readings during the past seven days have been 103.9, 107.7, 110.1, 108.3, 107.9, 104.9, and 102.6.
Heartwave in east: An Eastern heatwave has sent Melbourne and Adelaide temperatures soaring. By 1.30 p.m. today it was 105.3 deg. in Melbourne (40.7C) , and the mercury was still rising. (ed it reached 41.7)

Only 83 points of rain were recorded, at Muswellbrook during March, being 139 points below the.average. It is the eleventh successive month on which the fall has not reached the average. The rainfall for the first quarter of the present year was 239 points, is the lowest for that period for the last 17 years. The fall in March, 1939, was 403 points.

June: SWIMMING IN SYDNEY! SYDNEY, Sunday. —Sydney had summer weather today, although winter began officially some weeks ago. The maximum temperature reached 78.1 deg. at 2.5 p.m., and was the third highest ever recorded in June. It was the warmest June day since 1931, when a maximum temperature of 80.4 deg., the highest known in June, was recorded. Many people took advantage of the warm weather to swim at the beaches. They found the water cold, but enjoyed a summer sun bath.

August: WARM WEATHER.Temperature a 19-Year Record.With the country urgently in need of rain-some districts are still awating their usual winter rains-the State had a foretaste of summer warmth yesterday. In Perth it was the warmest August day for 19 years, the maximum temperature,77.5deg., being 13.7deg. above,the normal August maximum. Last night there was no immediate prospect of a break in the long spell of fine weather.


February: CYCLONE LOSS WIDESPREAD Extensive Washout In Main Railway
THOUSANDS of pounds damage to crops, buildings, and railand telegraphic and telephone equipment was caused by thecyclone which hit the North Queensland coast on Sunday. Washouts occurred in many sections of the main coastal railway, the worst being near Proserpine, where the rails were suspended for a quarter of a mile.

MarchANOTHER CYCLONE: Serious Damage In Queensland BRISBANE, Friday: A cyclone in northern Queensland has flooded rivers and creeks and dis-organised sail and road services.

Cyclone Causes Record Floods in Far North
SWOOPING down with dramatic suddenness, record floods in the Far North have caused the evacuation of hundreds of residents.Floods are due to the latest cyclone. Ingham, Halifax, and Innisfail have suffered most, but practically all creeks and rivers are in high flood. There have been many thrilling rescues.


Victoria becomes tornado alley
December: TORNADO NEAR BENDIGO Widespread Damage

also Sydney, and in NSW -see below

SYDNEY, Thursday. — Heavy damage was caused by a tornadic squall which struck Sydney and suburbs shortly after 3 p.m. today. Most of the damage was done in the northern and western suburbs. A man and a boy were killed. One, of the pylons of the harbour bridge was struck by lightning and half a ton of granite, was dislodged, falling 300 feet to the ground. The velocity of the wind was officially stated at 95 miles an hour.

SYDNEY TORNADO - Wind Attained Record Velocity
The velocity of the wind in the tornadic squall which struck Sydney on Thursday was 95 miles an hour, and was the highest experienced in Sydney or southern Australia since authentic records have been kept.

Adelaide sets autumn heat record
March: HEAT WAVE RECORD IN ADELAIDE Adelaide. Mar. 13.
For the first time in 82 years' of the State's recorded meteorological history a seven-day spell of heat
exceeding 100 degrees has been experienced in Adelaide during two successive summers. The record was established to-day when the temperature for the seventh successive day passed the century, reaching 102.6 degrees.

Bushfire season comes early
September: BIG FIRES RACE THROUGH N.S.W. BUSHLANDS SYDNEY. Monday.-Exceptionally hot spring days with dry winds and no apparent prospects of rain have brought an early bushfire menace to New South Wales this season. Large fires already have been reported from various parts of the State. Metropolitan and suburban fire brigades have been kept busy since early yesterday fighting outbreaks in arid bushland. Yesterday 22 fires were fought and hundreds of acres of bush destroyed. Today a fire broke out in open bushland at Hornsby, and after several hours the brigade was still fighting the flames. They were able to burn effective breaks. A series of small bushfires in the Blue Mountains near Wentworth Falls was fanned yesterday to dangerous proportions by a strong westerly wind. and firemen from several towns have been fighting the flames continuously since yesterday morning.

King-sized hail and Sydney storms
Hailstorms in Warwick, Pittsworth, and Milmerran districts have been so severe that hailstones have penetrated 2ft. into haystacks.

November: Greatest Storm in memory Hail l ft. Deep At Rose Bay SYDNEY, Saturday.Streets littered to a depth of several inches with leaves and torn tree branches, and matted with hailstones, gave evidence at Rose Bay this morning of a terrific storm which struck that suburb last night. Sweeping across like a tornado, the storm was considered the worst in the memory of many residents.The noise was terrific as the wind; increasing in fury, was accompanied by torrential rain and heavy ,hail. Lightning played round the roofs of many houses.

November: Tornado Wipes Out Thousands of Acres of Wheat at Peak Hill The tornado struck the Peak Hill district about twenty miles northwest of the town, and followed a track about three miles wide, completely destroying the wheat crops on more than twenty farms. On 3,000 acres not a head of wheat was left standing-. Some houses were wrecked beyond repair. On one farm a brick house was blown to pieces. Others were unroofed.
Pigs Killed by Hailstones
One farmer had his newly-builthome wrecked, 600 acres of cropsmashed to the ground, and 20 pigskilled by enormous hailstones.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Brisbane: Hot but not hot enough

ABC Headline: Queensland heatwave: Brisbane set to roast as weekend temperatures soar
The scorching heatwave gripping much of Queensland is being felt in Brisbane today, with residents set to roast in temperatures of up to 41 degrees Celsius.

Thankfully ABC reported reality, but as always a slant put on it: Queensland heatwave: Brisbane spared predicted maximum temperature, Bureau of Meteorology says
Brisbane has been spared the full wrath of the Queensland heatwave, with temperatures today peaking just below the predicted high of 41 degrees Celsius.
The mercury reached a top of 38.7C just after 1:00pm, Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Pradeep Singh said, a mark just shy of the expected peak and several degrees below the January record of 43.2C. 

What is the date on that  record? The city's highest recorded temperature was 43.2 °C (110 °F) on 26 January 1940.  What was the CO2 reading at the time? Below 315ppm

Degrees below: 43.2-38.7=4.5!

"just below", "just shy"?! Percentage difference: 9.44% in weather terms this hardly qualifies "just", but when you are spruiking alarm what do the facts matter?

The alternate headline reads: Brisbane heatwave: BOM wrong again!

On that 1940 temperature record here's one article from the archive. Seems global warming was much worse back then!"

BRISBANE, January 26.
Eight people died in Queensland to-day at a result of the greatest heat the State has ever known. Three cases occurred in Brisbane and five in the country. Forty-three people collapsed in Brisbane and many more in the country. Brisbane experienced the highest temperature in its history—109.8 degrees at 2.35 p.m.

Nothing like this figure has been re-corded during the 85 years that the Meteorological Bureau has been operating. The nearest was 108.9 in January, 1902. To make matters worse, today's heat was accompanied by a record relative humidity of 20 per cent.The record day was followed by the hottest January night since 1922. The temperature at 9 p.m. was 83.3.

Heatwave: a quick question

ABC are tracking a "heatwave" over Australia. The lead in sentence reads:
As a heatwave hits inland Australia and temperatures top 50 degrees Celsius, track the weather across the country with our animated visualisation, updated hourly.

We bolded the claim about temps topping 50 degrees Celsius. A quick look at the BOM's weather extremes page doesn't show any readings above 50. We have asked ABC for an explanation.

Fudged facts about Koalas

Welcome to 2014. ABC's indifference to the facts continues into the New Year....

A nationwide survey by the National Parks Association (NPA) found the animal living in the upper Blue Mountains of New South Wales, for the first time.

First time for Koalas in the upper Blue Mountains! Smacks of being a statement worthy of follow up. Did the ABC bother? Nope. Lets spend 5 minutes on the internet...

No evidence of Koala was found during surveys for this proposal, nor in previous  surveys (MV2L Alliance, 2011). During field investigations and the habitat assessment, ‘habitat critical to the survival of the Koala’ (DSEWPaC, 2012) was considered, but no evidence was found to support Koala activity in the study area. 
Although there were three scattered records in the locality during the last 20 years (see figure below) and there are known populations in Wollemi National Park, there are no known populations in the study area. The study area provides marginal foraging opportunities with uncommon secondary food trees such as the Brittle Gum (Eucalyptus mannifera) and supplementary food tree Blaxland’s Stringybark (Eucalyptus blaxlandii). The proportion of food trees is considered to only provide tertiary habitat (DECC, 2008). 
Koala sightings in last 20 years Near Mount Victoria.

Once again ABC swallow media releases without due diligence! Mind you SMH are not much better with this recent headline that also ignores the reported sightings above:
Rare sighting: Koala seen in upper Blue Mountains"For the first time in 70 years a koala has been sighted in the upper Blue Mountains, near Wentworth Falls."