Poor BOM: Dangerous deniers, amateurs, attacking Australian Bureau of Meteorology, debilitating it by asking questions.

Poor BOM: Dangerous deniers, amateurs, attacking Australian Bureau of Meteorology, debilitating it by asking questions:

Excellent news. Obviously we are getting to the BoM.

This week, Jen Marohasy and I were mentioned by Maurice Newman in The Australian.“Smoking Gun demands Grilling for the BoM”. In response, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has unleashed a double dummy-popping effort in The Guardian.

The BoM could have answered the questions in The Australian, of course, but it’s so much easier to whine, bluster, raise the conspiracy flag and avoid the questions that matter at the-ask-no-hard-questions-Guardian.

Bureau of Meteorology attacks pushed by ‘fever swamp’ of climate denial

Graham Readfearn

Former weather bureau chief says agency debilitated by climate deniers’ attacks

Michael Slezak

It really is an extraordinary rant as the former head of the BoM admits skeptics are “debilitating” the BoM with these “attacks”. The Guardian is so starved of real news, it runs the one-sided name-calling excuses and another separate story discusses it as if it was actually news. While The Australian asks the BoM for a reply and would publish it, The Guardian didn’t ask a skeptic. One of these newspapers acts like a newspaper…

How debilitating are we skeptics? Jennifer Marohasy tells me she sent the BoM questions in 2015, but hasn’t heard back yet. It doesn’t take much to debilitate the million-dollar-a-day agency. Ask a few questions and cripple them for years…

Obviously, the BoM have stopped trying to answer Marohasy, but now they also say they won’t answer our national masthead newspaper either. That’s another scandal to add to the list.

Maybe Rob Vertussy is still hurting from the time I said that Maurice Newman knew more about climate models than he did.

Vertessy spent a decade at Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology. He retired in April 2016 after five years as the agency’s director.

Over that time, Vertessy’s agency was under consistent attack from climate science denialists who would claim, often through the news and opinion pages of the Australian, that the weather bureau was deliberately manipulating its climate records to make recent warming seem worse than it really was.

When the Bureau makes mistakes, this is how it thanks the volunteers who want to improve the national data:

Vertessy said these sorts of attacks were dangerous.  “From my perspective, people like this, running interference on the national weather agency, are unproductive and it’s actually dangerous,” Vertessy told me. “Every minute a BoM executive spends on this nonsense is a minute lost to managing risk and protecting the community. It is a real problem.”

It’s all a wicked conspiracy:

Now, the agency is under another wave of attack through the pages of the Rupert Murdoch-owned broadsheet, which is publishing claims made by Jennifer Marohasy, of the “free market” conservative thinktank the Institute of Public Affairs.

The recent spate of trouble for the BoM started when Lance Pidgeon and Jen Marohasy caught the BoM artificially clipping the coldest temperatures from Goulburn and Thredbo. The BoM then took weeks to do an internal review and finally answer that it was — through incredible coincidence — only these two stations, and it didn’t matter (even though it had been going on for years). The BoM admitted the hardware was clipping temps at minus 10.4, but still hasn’t explained why that was then altered to minus ten, which made the original “accidental” clipping problem worse. Maurice Newman not only mentioned this issue, but also discussed the far more serious matters of data being deliberately deleted and one-second-noise was being written into our record books. These are radioactive hot potatoes that the BoM won’t even touch:

Science writer and blogger Joanne Nova has raised scandal after scandal concerning the BOM’s record-keeping.

She refers to historic data being destroyed, and the influence of adjustments on Australia’s warming trend. She reports private auditors advising the bureau of almost a “thousand days where minimum temperatures were higher than the maxes”.

When Australia’s bureau transitioned from mercury thermometers to electronic sensors more than 20 years ago, to ensure readings from these devices were comparable with the old thermometers and complied with World Meteorological Organisation guidelines, parallel studies were undertaken at multiple sites….

A key conclusion was that readings from the new electronic sensors needed to be averaged over one to 10 minutes. However, rather than implement practices consistent with their finding, the bureau records one-second extremes (or noise), which can be announced as new record highs

Vertussy answers these criticisms of missing data, inexplicable adjustments, using sub-standard noise,  and terrible quality-control with nothing but hand-waving bluster. Essentially: don’t be mean, how dare you ask! We’re Experts and you are lowly scum.

So when a shock jock or a thinktank employee claims the bureau is trying to cook the books, how should the public react?

What needs to be front of mind, Vertessy says, is that there is “virtually complete consensus on the extent to which the planet has warmed and why, since the beginning of the industrial revolution”.

“The facts are just unequivocal because they have been replicated so many times, by so many teams, using multiple independent methods.”

He says if the bureau “was really making a hash of managing its climate data” then it would be documented in scientific “journals and at symposia” but “that’s clearly not happening”.

He says it “beggars belief” that these commentators “actually profess to know better”.

Obviously, if he hadn’t deleted all the data he wouldn’t need to over-react.

Vertussy continues spinning wild claims and dodging the real questions:

“Time and time again there has been one independent review by experts after another, all telling the same story. The simple, unimpeachable facts are that the BoM is doing an exemplary job at managing the nation’s climate data and multiple independent reviews have confirmed that and we are recognised by our World Meteorological Organisation peers as being amongst the best in the world; that keeps being restated and restated.

“I think the Australian play on very dangerous ground here,” he says, adding that some editors at the newspaper were guilty of “perpetuating nonsense”.

The truth is the BOM will do anything they can to avoid any independent review. Vertussy only provides one example of a so-called independent review, but that one day wonder used hand-picked people who avoided looking at the points the skeptics raised. It wasn’t independent, and it isn’t relevant, and there are no better examples because there are no independent reviews. The Guardian swallows these fantasy answers 100%. What’s the difference between The Guardian and a PR agency? A PR guys are more honest. They don’t pretend to be journalists.

Graham Readfearn launches into full strawman agitprop:

The current non-story centres on two of the bureau’s 695 automatic weather stations (AWS). As temperatures reached -10.4C in Thredbo and Goulburn in July, a hardware card in the AWS stopped working. This event, detected by the bureau, kick-started several internal quality control processes.

The bureau found four other hardware cards in areas where things can get chilly and replaced them. The cards should not have been used, as they could become faulty at low temperatures.

That’s essentially it.

“No. That’s essentially lying by omission” says Jo Nova.  The Guardian is hiding all the real problems from their readers.

Here come the conspiracy theories again:

But the Australian and the IPA and the network of climate science denial blogs have once again screamed scandal.

What network? Our secret networks are called “bigpond” and “gmail”.

Vertussy even resorts to vague threats:

“But, as the costs of climate change accumulate in the years ahead, I can see that leaders of this climate change denial movement will really be seen as culpable.”

Culpable indeed. As volunteer amateurs we are only guilty of asking questions the BoM doesn’t want to answer.

Graham Lloyd, and The Australian deserve great praise. If they didn’t ask the hard questions and report both sides of the story, who would?

UPDATE: See Jennifer Marohasy’s question for the BOM below from 2015 that they won’t reply too.

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