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:

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