Skip to content

Another BOM scandal: Australian climate data is being destroyed as routine practice

August 7, 2017

By Paul Homewood



h/t AndyG55



Jo Nova has news on the latest scandal to hit the Australian BOM:





Historic climate data is being destroyed

The Bureau have a budget of a million dollars a day, but seemingly can’t afford an extra memory stick to save historic scientific data.

In the mid 1990s thermometers changed right across Australia — new electronic sensors were installed nearly everywhere. Known as automatic weather sensors (AWS) these are quite different to the old “liquid in glass” type. The electronic ones can pick up very short bursts of heat –  so they can measure extremes of temperatures that the old mercury or liquid thermometers would not pick up, unless the spike of heat lasted for a few minutes. It is difficult (impossible) to believe that across the whole temperature range that these two different instruments would always behave in the exact same way. There could easily be an artificial warming trend generated by this change (see the step change in the graphs). The only way to compare the old and new types of thermometer is to run side by side comparisons in the field and at many sites. Which is exactly what the bureau were doing, but the data has never been put in an archive, or has been destroyed. It’s not easily available (or possibly “at all”). We have this in writing after an FOI application by Dr Bill Johnston (see below).

These measurements from past years can never be re-recorded. A four-terabyte external hard drive costs a couple of hundred dollars and would probably store a whole years worth of text files. For just 0.02% of their budget they could buy one every day. Why, why, why wouldn’t a scientist who cared about the climate want to save this information?


Wagga, Bureau of Meteorology, Thermometer, Stevenson Screen, AWS, Temperature sensor, thermometer, thermistor.

The two different thermometers sit side-by-side in a Stevenson Screen, this example is at Wagga Wagga airport, NSW. Photo: Bill Johnston.

Dr Bill Johnston put in an FOI request for side-by-side data from both kinds of thermometer. He asked for six months of data from Sydney and Canberra Airports and was told it would cost him $460. That’s quite a barrier, and that was only to access the Sydney records. Look at what happened to the Canberra ones — the data was gone. No one could analyze it, no matter how much they were willing to pay.

Field books “disposed”?

Here’s the FOI decision regarding raw data from Canberra Dec 2014.

Bureau of Meteorology, raw data, Canberra, temperatures. FOI.




The BOM stated that “in accordance with records management practices”, the field books for early 2013 at Canberra Airport were  “disposed of” twelve months after the observations were taken. By mid 2014 the situation was even worse (if that were possible). The more recent Canberra Airport records didn’t even have field books to be destroyed. There were no records to be disposed of.

For what it’s worth, the $460 data fee was helpfully reduced to $230 after a lengthy appeal. The four page assessment cost the taxpayer more than the $230 charge, but it did successfully stop taxpayers from analyzing the data. Was that the point? The Bureau has a budget of $365 million a year – how much does it cost to store a text file?

Johnston declined to buy the Sydney data (it was confounded by multiple site changes, and he’s not paid to do this work).

He commented this week on the scant evidence that was available and the potential for a undocumented warming effect:

Comparisons between screens were done at one site using PRT (Platinum Resistance Thermometer) only and reported as a “preliminary report”, which is available; but after Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) became primary instruments, as I’ve reported before, the Bureau had an internal policy that parallel liquid-in-glass thermometer data were not databased. Furthermore, they had another policy that paper-data was destroyed after 2-years. So there is nothing that easy available….   

The only way to compare AWS  and Liquid in Glass, is to hunt for sites where there is overlap between two stations; where the AWS is given a new number. This is possible BUT the problem is that the change-over is invariably confounded with either a site move or the change to a small screen.

So, we suspect that the introduction and reliance on AWS has led to artificially higher maxima (and thus record temperatures) than in the past, but we have no way of knowing for sure and how much.

How can the CSIRO hope to produce reliable climate modelling with any number of climate scientists when the BOM cannot produce reliable temperature data?  Garbage in, garbage out.

  1. Bitter&twisted permalink
    August 7, 2017 10:33 am

    Welcome to the World of post-normal “science”.
    It stinks.

  2. Joe Public permalink
    August 7, 2017 10:44 am

    The pessimists are correct, Global Warming truly is ‘man-made’. (Or woman-made; or any of the other 60-or-so recently invented ‘genders’.)

  3. August 7, 2017 11:01 am

    To paraphrase: Audibility is the first casualty in climate war.

  4. August 7, 2017 11:06 am

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “How can the CSIRO hope to produce reliable climate modelling with any number of climate scientists when the BOM cannot produce reliable temperature data? Garbage in, garbage out.”

    The CSIRO’s climate models told us that snow would be a ‘rare and exciting event’ by now.

    Wrong, again. Australian snowfields have had a massive (for Oz) 1.5 meters of the stuff since Friday.

    Garbage in, garbage out – the trillion dollar story of “Climate Change Inc.”

    • HotScot permalink
      August 7, 2017 11:11 am


      “Wrong, again. Australian snowfields have had a massive (for Oz) 1.5 meters of the stuff since Friday.”

      Ah! But is it ‘unprecedented’? If not, it’s not newsworthy, although even if it were unprecedented it would be ignored.

      • August 7, 2017 11:23 am

        Yeah, I forgot that bit…

        Hot = climate
        Cold = weather

  5. Tim Hammond permalink
    August 7, 2017 11:06 am

    Deliberately getting rid of the data that might show a significant amount of warming is due to a change of instrument is just too convenient to be an accident.

    If it showed that the change made no difference, surely they would have made an effort to (i) publicise that fact and (ii) keep the evidence.

    I know it’s been done before, but how much would it cost to set up a (or perhaps three or four sites worth) simple comparison between the two instruments now? Should GWPF do it?

  6. HotScot permalink
    August 7, 2017 11:08 am

    Far be it from me to point out the glaringly obvious, but I will anyway.

    The good people of Aus. have paid $365M to collect this data, why are they being asked to pay for it again? Even the excuse that it takes time and effort to compile the data is nonsense as public servants are paid by the taxpayer to work on their behalf. Fulfilment of FOI requests is part of their job.

    It is also entirely unnecessary, were the data committed to a proper electronic archive, it could be made available freely online, with no need for public servant intervention which does indeed cost hundreds of $’s, but needn’t.

    This is negligent, incompetent and obstructive behaviour left wing governments consider acceptable because, of course, the data belongs to them personally.

    • AndyG55 permalink
      August 7, 2017 7:05 pm

      Trouble down here is that both major parties are now decidedly left wing.

      The once “conservative” Liberal party have disenfranchised a large proportion of conservative voters, and seem to be fighting with Labor to see who can get the most “Green” leftist votes.

      This has left a gaping hole on the centre and centre-right of politics and Australia is destined for at least 4 year of Labor union thuggery, extreme socialism, green-agenda, and economic mis-management after the next election.

      Greece, Venezuela.. here we come.!!!

      • HotScot permalink
        August 7, 2017 7:34 pm


        Little difference in the UK. The conservatives, once the domain of Thatcher, has now dissolved into some sort of apology of support for the freedom of the individual.

        Worse, its drift to the left (for drift, read headlong lunge) has encouraged the Labour party and much of the country to get behind Jeremy Corbyn, a far left socialist/communist.

        To counter that threat the Conservatives lurched even further to the left by issuing an edict that all cars will be electric by 2040. WTF?

        What happened to market forces and the belief in innovation and technology over government edicts?

        It seems Trump is the only one with enough guts to stand on the socialist brake, lets hope other follow by stopping the descent into state socialism and oppression.

  7. CheshireRed permalink
    August 7, 2017 12:01 pm

    Since when should it be acceptable (or even necessary) to destroy long-held historical data? It can be stored so cheaply and is an essential historical record, so should be retained in perpetuity. There’s only one reason anyone would deliberately destroy it; to hide something. Simple as that.

  8. prcgoard permalink
    August 7, 2017 12:10 pm

    Presumable the comparison data was collected, analysed, conclusion drawn, and surely a report was written and filed or printed for anyone to read! Where is it?
    A query: Are all AWS devices installed in Stevenson Screens?
    If not, has a comparison study been done?

  9. Robert Christopher permalink
    August 7, 2017 12:51 pm

    “Why, why, why wouldn’t a scientist who cared about the climate want to save this information?”

    Because it isn’t Science that is driving the agenda.

    Taking readings in parallel for a reasonable period of time when equipment is ‘upgraded’ should be the norm for all equipment. I am surprised there are not papers studying nine closely spaced weather stations, to see just how similar their results were.

  10. Harry Passfield permalink
    August 7, 2017 1:14 pm

    So, not so much ‘Automatic Weather Sensors, as ‘Automatic Weather Censors’.

    • Joe Public permalink
      August 7, 2017 1:27 pm

      +1 😀

  11. treghotel permalink
    August 7, 2017 2:59 pm

    How do we get the general public masses to read this as it is only seen here? I despair indeed!! Can someone please show how to easily forward all the coomon sense seen and heard on this blog.

    • HotScot permalink
      August 7, 2017 7:42 pm

      That’s what we’re all hoping for mate. But the best we can do meantime is occupy and support Paul’s blog and WUWT (numerous others as well though).

      MSM aren’t interested other than the likes of Booker and Ridley, and they are consigned to a few column inches occasionally on the subject.

      If it’s any use, Matt Ridley’s blog has numerous articles with great information on the climate scam we are enduring. If you haven’t seen it, here’s your starter for 10.

  12. tom0mason permalink
    August 7, 2017 3:10 pm

    BOM’s new age climate scientists has been told by their paymasters this is the only approved method method –

  13. Jack Broughton permalink
    August 7, 2017 3:14 pm

    If they used our new clever Met Office program they would not need any measurements and could generate exactly the results that they want: proving their case convincingly. We could sensibly also send them the computer and the programmers.

  14. August 7, 2017 3:44 pm

    These so-called scientists working in the field of “climate science” use one or all of three methods:
    1 They destroy existing evidence
    2 They adjust existing evidence
    3 They make up evidence.

    They should be in jail.

  15. Athelstan permalink
    August 7, 2017 7:08 pm


    Seeesh, what a set of bungling fools dedicated to rewriting the climate record – real data had to go……………………….. I mean it didn’t tell the proper story.

    Whatevah next?!!

    Hmm, where the Met office has made attempts at rejigging the CET………..perhaps they could just accidentally lose 400 hundred odd years of figures and which show there’s nothing to worry about – and the records [CET] pretty well observe that, man made warming is all about – as meaningful as: the square root of J**k S&%7.

    It [CET] has to go!! The nihilist Marxists and climastrologists will see to it..

  16. Philip of Taos permalink
    August 7, 2017 10:10 pm

    Everyone knows damn good and well why they dump the data. You only destroy evidence for one reason.

Comments are closed.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: