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BOM incompetence ?

December 21st, 2002

As I predicted, it didn’t take long for the global warming sceptics to deny the latest evidence that the world is getting hotter.

Irony alert on At least in the case of Australia’s Bureau of Metereology, Bizarre Science charitably prefers to blame incompetence rather than the political bias that is usually imputed to bodies like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Apparently, the BOM’s statistics are wrong because they fail to take account of urban ‘heat islands’, a phenomenon of which anyone even casually familiar with the global warming debate has been aware of for years. Well, they are only meteorologists, after all … Irony alert off

Seriously, the urban heat island problem is a dead horse that shouldn’t be flogged any further. The issue has been investigated extensively, and found to be of very modest significance.

Here’s the IPCC summary

Clearly, the urban heat island effect is a real climate change in urban areas, but is not representative of larger areas. Extensive tests have shown that the urban heat island effects are no more than about 0.05°C up to 1990 in the global temperature records used in this chapter to depict climate change.

And obviously the BOM doesn’t think heat islands are a big problem or they would be adjusting their measurements and historical statistics to take account of them.

Update The irony alert didn’t work (sigh!) BS takes violent exception, accuses me of Lysenkoism, then sets the record straight (!) by saying ‘The BOM is not incompetent. But it is being selective about which data it uses to justify its “warmest year on record” claim.’ If I were with the BOM, I can’t say I’d be any more pleased by this imputation than by the suggestion that they had simply stuffed up.

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