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:
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.


  1. Amazed that anybody in the BoM could reply to you -
    Thank you for your enquiry. Acton 70099 only recorded rainfall from 1913-1939 and rainfall intensity (pluviograph) 1921-1939. The site never recorded temperatures.
    It takes seconds to check at -
    most interested 10 year olds could work it out.

  2. "lead to think"?? I think you must have meant "led to think."

    "Lead" is a metal previously known as Plumbum in Roman times, and "lead" today is a present-tense verb, ie, "I will lead you to the truth."

    I hope I have led you to some enlightenment about the English language, because the ABC certainly hasn't.

  3. On 20 Jan 2014 at approx 2245AEDT Channel 7 TV news in Canberra stated that we have just had the hottest period on record, five consecutive days over 37°.
    Amazing how these lies can be promulgated in the face of the facts of 9 days over 38° recorded at Acton in January 1939.

    1. and the source?...


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