Sunday, March 21, 2010

My hometown of Cunderdin becomes famous for all the wrong reasons

Given the huge volume of traffic that the blog Watts Up With That? now attracts these days, hundreds of thousands of people around the world are now being informed that my hometown of Cunderdin exists, as you can see below.

Though it might be a slightly Oscar Wilde kind of thing, with the only alternative being for people not to have heard of it!

But have a look at the state of the weather station at the post office there, which is part of the official Bureau of Meteorology network. It is one of a number in Australia found to be sited contrary to all rules regarding the proper measurement of the temperature. The survey of Australian sites has only just begun, but already quite a few have been found situated in paved areas and close to buildings (all of which soak up heat during the day).

So again the question is, just how trustworthy is the surface temperature record?

Find the weather station in this photo

21 03 2010
Above: The Cunderdin Australian Climate Reference Network station, a BoM official photo. Source:

There’s an effort to the project underway in Australia to have a look at the quality of siting of stations, see here.

They write:
We have now looked at 18 separate stations (out of a total of 103), in three separate categories. So far, not one of these stations meets the criteria of being “away from large urban centres” and the CRN quality standards of NOAA/NCDC in terms of siting.

Unless there is a dramatic improvement in the remaining 85 stations, we would be well justified in asking the questions: “Just how reliable is the RCS network data and how valid are any conclusions that are drawn from them”?

[But follow that link just above and check out the Wyalong post office, also apart of the BoM's official network, if you want to see a really badly sited weather station!

Or go here for these pictures from Laverton in Victoria that show how stations get overtaken by urban growth.]

Reader Alan RM Jones is puzzled. Here’s Laverton in 1946, around the start of the period covered by the butterfly survey:



Spot any changes that might conceivably be a local source of heating?

Reader Nick of Western Port says the urbanisation is worse than the photo above shows:
See that area of fields around williams landing… ? It now looks like Laverton as well, surounded by bitumen,, bricks, roof tiles and concrete.  That photo is way out of date, by about 3-4 years.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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