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australian temperature records


These eight locations remain a part of the ACORN-SAT dataset, as they are important for monitoring changes in the climates in which many Australians live. The catalogue includes current details of each weather station and a history of observations at the location, including record length, a summary of the data adjustments and comparison stations. In this way, it is a necessary process, that compliments the use of unadjusted data. Temperature records were being maintained around settlements, but there was very little data for Western Australia, Tasmania and much of central Australia (Figure 2). Researchers have developed Australia's longest daily temperature record, identifying a decrease in cold extremes and an increase in heatwaves since 1838. As a result of this process, four ACORN-SAT locations (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart) were defined as urban in the initial classification, and four more (Laverton, Victoria; Richmond, New South Wales; Townsville and Rockhampton, Queensland) as urban-influenced as a result of anomalous trends being identified at those sites. This is because a large number of factors that are unrelated to climate affect the consistency of the temperature records over time. For Australia, the most important result is that all of the adjusted temperature datasets, analysed here and internationally, produce comparable results for temperature trends for Australia as a whole. The Bureau's surface air temperature measurements for Australia compare well with the remotely sensed satellite record in terms of area-averaged variability and warming trends. Koch, S.E., DesJardins, M. and Kochin, P.J. The temperature data that comprise Australia’s long-term climate record are known as ACORN-SAT (Australian Climate Observations Reference Network – Surface Air Temperature). When it is warmer than the climatological average (and therefore a positive temperature anomaly) in a particular location, it is generally also warmer than average over hundreds of kilometres—corresponding to the mean synoptic weather pattern—even though the actual temperature may be quite different from location to location. The science behind the preparation of homogenised temperature data has a long history in the scientific literature, and several climate research centres independently prepare adjusted climate data for use in climate monitoring and research. Each day, automated and semi-automated quality control systems identify observational errors using methods such as comparison with data from nearby sites. The January 1896 heatwave in inland New South Wales is often cited as an indication of a very warm pre-federation period. There are a small number of ACORN-SAT locations where certain extremes cannot be satisfactorily homogenised. It is worth noting that Charleville (in Queensland), which did have a Stevenson screen by 1896 and is hence comparable to modern practice, had maximum temperatures between 38 °C and 42 °C through most of the 1896 heatwave, with a high of 43.4 °C. However the differences between adjusted and unadjusted data, and the differences between ACORN-SAT and international datasets, can be considered a reflection of the underlying uncertainties during this early period. In this way, the unadjusted or ‘raw’ temperature data contains spurious artefacts (including artificial ‘jumps’ in the data in individual site records) from non-climatic factors that are likely to bias derived trends. Also shown is the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures (BEST) dataset. Statistical detection using reference stations tests must also take into account the trends in data—otherwise results will be unreliable. Transfer functions for all adjustments, documentation of the format used, and related material: Transfer function files. Australian records forecast to be broken as temperatures surge past 40C This article is more than 9 months old. The Bureau employs staff with these skills and is the most suitable institution to undertake the necessary analyses. The standardisation of instruments in many parts of the country did not occur until 1910, two years after the Bureau of Meteorology was formed. An interactive Barnes objective map analysis scheme for use with satellite and conventional data. 1983. Once calculated, these station anomalies are interpolated to a spatial surface, in the form of a regular grid, using the Barnes successive correction technique (Koch et al., 1983), and national and regional means are calculated from averaging these grid-point values. Over the past 60 years, which is the period that Australia has warmed most rapidly, the adjusted and unadjusted temperatures show virtually identical trends. The three tables below provide information on adjustments applied as part of the ACORN-SAT 2.1 dataset. Temperature Records for Roanoke, VA Record High Coolest High Record Low Warmest Low; Day °F Year °F Year °F Year °F Year . The three main global temperature dataset providers (the UK Met Office–University of East Anglia, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have mostly conducted these types of analyses. These elements create very large uncertainties when calculating national temperatures before 1910, and preclude the construction of nation-wide temperature (gridded over the Australian continent) on which the Bureau’s annual temperature series is based. 2008. She said the last eight years had been in the top 10 warmest on record for Australia. Adjustments ensure that trends in the climate record can be accurately attributed to changes in temperature—and not due to changes in the site or the equipment used to take the measurements. This page includes a chart with historical data for Australia Average Temperature. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology was formed in 1908 by an Act of the Federal Parliament. Temperature Normals for Roanoke, VA. Day Normal High Normal Low Mean Temp Heating ° Days Cooling ° Days . An example of relatively larger uncertainties in adjustments can be found in the Darwin record, where the impact of significant site moves during the early part of the record are informed by relatively few neighbouring observations. It is so hot, birds are abandoning the sky. We analysed daily weather records from the coastal city of Adelaide and surrounding areas, including the Adelaide Hills, back to 1838. The warming in the ACORN-SAT dataset is very similar to that shown in international analyses of Australian temperature data and very closely matches satellite data and warming of sea surface temperatures around Australia. Considering all of these factors in creating long, continuous temperature records for individual locations, there are only two ACORN-SAT sites that require no subsequent adjustment for factors such as site moves, changes in observing practices, instruments and instrument exposures: Point Perpendicular and Gunnedah, both of which opened in the 1940s. The Bureau provides access to all of its digital daily and monthly temperature data holdings to both domestic researchers and international users (accessible via Climate Data Online). For sites with a relative lack of neighbouring stations, it is likely that each homogenisation method will produce more noticeable differences. helpdesk.climate@bom.gov.au. When characterised this way, both adjusted and unadjusted data show virtually identical warming over this latter period. “The average maximum temperature for the country as a whole was particularly warm, sitting 1.55 degrees above the 1961-1990 average, making 2018 Australia's second warmest year on record … Sea surface temperatures are monitored and analysed in very different ways to temperatures over land. Starting with the daily timeseries, monthly averages of station temperature are calculated. Global dataset providers make their own decisions about which data to include and how to undertake their own data analyses. One year of parallel observations from the old and new site were used to quantify the differences in climatology between the sites. Additionally, the Bureau maintains multiple temperature datasets—analysed in different ways—to provide a consistency check on the accuracy of temperature observations. This difference reflects the respective changes in the rate of temperature decrease with altitude (or lapse rate), which is in turn influenced by the amount of moisture in the atmosphere. The table below contains details of new adjustments which have been introduced in version 2.1 based on statistical analysis. The standardisation of instruments in many parts of the country had occurred by 1910, two years after the Bureau was formed. Nine of Australia's top 10 hottest years on record have all occurred since 2005. Article content. Each day, the real-time monitoring system uses all available reporting sites—the entire observational network—to create a high-resolution, gridded temperature analysis for the Bureau’s website. ACORN-SAT and the Bureau's real-time high-resolution temperature analyses are aimed at providing much more information than just an estimate of Australian annual-mean temperatures. Adjustments are applied to all data prior to the date listed in the table. This situation is now rare for ACORN-SAT stations but was common up until the 1990s. To account for these issues, a separate check was carried out on the homogeneity of time series of the It is standard practice for major meteorological organisations to update their datasets. In this way, the objective statistical tests using reference stations to determine non-climatic discontinuities, described above, are more powerful than relying on metadata alone. Many observations from the pre-federation period were taken with non-standard instrumental configurations, and the accompanying documentation is patchy. undertaken in 2011. Site move – The ACORN-SAT site in this location closed and a new site established. Böhm et al., 2010; Brunet et al., 2011). Climate averages published in the Australian Weather Calendar are calculated from data recorded at the Bureau of Meteorology sites and over the time periods listed below. The data from each ACORN-SAT observing location is subject to ten different quality control checks. Warming in the Australian region is also evident in local sea surface temperatures. This example does not, however, imply that the late 19th century was as warm as the recent climate. A significant change relative to other sites indicates a non-climatic driver, which sometimes has an easily identifiable cause (e.g. Temperature anomalies have certain physical properties that are useful when analysing and adjusting temperature data for artificial biases. The main reason is to incorporate the most recent data. 2010. This is because averaging over very large areas smooths out local variations, and because spatial temperature variability is much lower over the oceans. Whilst this documentation has generally been recorded electronically since 1997, and many earlier documents have been scanned, a substantial proportion of the documentation remains on paper only, and is stored in the Bureau’s Regional Offices or in various facilities of the National Archives of Australia. No—the Bureau’s method for analysing Australian temperature records accounts for changes in the observing network over time. It wasn't just the past few days that were hot — spring overall saw Australia's mean and minimum temperatures reach the warmest on record at 2.03C and 1.91C above the average, respectively. Include a date for which you would like to see weather history. a new building near a site) and sometimes does not (often these will relate to local vegetation or land surface changes). and Jones, P.D. Equipment change – A new smaller screen was installed at the site, replacing a large screen which had previously been in use. Locations in regions with widely spaced observations (mostly remote areas) have a larger footprint in the analysis than locations in more densely observed areas. Climatologists refer to these adjustments as homogenisation. Hence, a relatively small number of observations from Australia can contribute to the construction of a meaningful hemispheric or global average. For example, imagine if a weather station in your suburb or town had to be moved because of a building development. Jones, P.D. Brohan, P., Kennedy, J.J., Harris, I., Tett, S.F.B. While the methods are reasonably straightforward, the application of such statistical techniques to real data requires some expert knowledge of the temperature data and metadata, including a physical interpretation of surface temperature as a climate variable. For this reason, a carefully prepared dataset such as ACORN-SAT is vital for climate research. Over the past century, the Bureau has expanded, developed and advanced its network of observing sites. Statistical detection must also take into account the trends in data—otherwise results will be unreliable. The satellite-based microwave sounding unit (MSU) temperature record provides recent estimates of temperatures over Australia, with records starting in the late-1970s. Author of the article: Reuters. Warming trends over Australia are evident in both adjusted and unadjusted temperature datasets. The Bureau employs standard statistical methods to account for the impact of site moves on the temperature record. In this way, it is possible to create a continuous long record for that location (an area represented by concatenated site records within a particular vicinity). The spatial interpolation of temperature from a sparse network propagates errors in the data over large areas. Jones, P.D., Lister, D.H. and Li, Q. In terms of larger uncertainties in site-specific adjustments, or significant revisions of site-specific adjustments based on newer methodologies – those are mostly dependent on whether a site is in a data sparse region, particularly where steep local climate gradients exist (where the climate changes significantly over short distances). The increase in temperature is particularly pronounced at night and under conditions of light winds and clear skies. It should be noted that their estimate of uncertainty relates mostly to the spatial sampling, or sparse data coverage. Without going through a process such as ACORN-SAT, we would not be able to determine how realistic temperature trends are, since we will not have estimated the impact of changes in observing practices on the continuity of the data. How do the trends in ACORN-SAT compare to other datasets? For New South Wales, AWAP minimum temperatures are consistently about 0.2 °C to 0.4 °C cooler than ACORN-SAT minimum temperatures from the mid-1990s to the present, as a result of a large number of site moves from town to airport sites in the 1990s (Figure 10). Standard observational practices (such as the use of a Stevenson screen to house the instruments) were in place at most sites in Queensland and South Australia by the mid-1890s, but in New South Wales and Victoria many sites were not standardised until between 1906 and 1908. For example in New South Wales. In Australia a consequence of this is that ACORN-SAT is generally cooler than satellite MSU-lt during wet La Niña years such as 2010 and 2011, and warmer during prolonged dry El Niño conditions such as those which prevailed in the early 1990s. These include artificial changes in the record due to the replacement of thermometers or changes in observing practices, such as the change from imperial to metric units in the middle of last century. Many records have been smashed during Australia’s latest heatwave. Since 1950, every decade has been warmer than it's predecessor. From the context of relative comparison of temperatures from one period to another—it should be noted that ‘raw’ temperature data are not pristine instrumental observations that are more ‘real’ than the adjusted data. classifications, Gridded Effects of changing exposure of thermometers at land stations. The Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed that 2020 was Australia’s fourth warmest year on record with temperatures 1.15C above average. Comparison with independently measured sea surface temperatures from around Australia and data from New Zealand reinforce conclusions that the 1860 to 1910 period was substantially cooler than recent decades. This is an extension of work originally reported at the time of the ACORN-SAT release in 2012 (Fawcett et al., 2012). and Wigley, T.M.L. What is the hottest day in Australian history? It is standard scientific practice to reassess past adjustments as new data becomes available, to ensure we're providing the Australian community with the best-possible estimate of Australia's long-term temperature trend. The Bureau does not alter or delete the original temperature data measured at individual stations. While some temperature records for a number of locations stretch back into the mid-nineteenth century, the Bureau's national analysis begins in 1910. While the heatwave was significant, the veracity of extreme temperatures recorded at Bourke can be assessed through a standard statistical test that compares temperatures at Bourke with those recorded at nearby locations (see Methods). The vast majority of these observations have been subsequently digitised (entered into an electronic database) at the monthly timescale. Indeed, the calculation of a national average (whether monthly, seasonal or annual) represents an important but narrow use of the data. The satellite data and surface thermometers do not measure the same thing. While considerable effort is made to keep observational practices consistent—and to keep a careful log of changes at each site—each change in methodology or technology can leave its mark on the record. The early instrumental warm-bias: a solution for long Central European temperature series, 1760–2007. While there is no significant trend in Australian temperatures prior to 1950 in either the ACORN-SAT or AWAP dataset, the difference in the adjusted and unadjusted climatologies for this period causes differences in the overall temperature change from 1910 to 2018. The Bureau makes both adjusted and unadjusted temperature data available to the public. This site move resulted in a drop in overnight minimum temperatures, particularly in the cooler months. Some differences between the satellite record and the surface thermometers are understood and to be expected—being directly related to the difference between the climate of the air near the surface and that of the lower troposphere. Within months of the arrival of the First Fleet, Australia’s first ‘meteorologist’, Lieutenant William Dawes, set up an astronomical observatory and commenced recording weather observations. This may occur when the station was moved without provisioning a period of overlapping observations. *Mount Read was affected by wind, snow and outages on several occasions during 2016, so the exact total is not known but is almost certainly higher. For example, while considerable effort is made to keep observational practices consistent, changes in observing methods or technology over time may create artificial jumps in the temperature data. The locations are chosen to maximise the length of record and network coverage across the country. On Wednesday, the hottest place on … Apparent temperatures at Bourke, New South Wales, during the January 1896 heatwave suggest extreme warmth in that period. Figure 16 (see also Figure 12) shows that 2013 was the warmest year on record for Australia in several datasets, including the Bureau’s unadjusted dataset (AWAP) and the adjusted dataset (ACORN-SAT). An additional point on available digitised records relates to the discoverability of disparate historical records. To do this, the Bureau and other major meteorological organisations such as NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the UK Met Office use a scientific process called homogenisation. The ACORN-SAT Station catalogue includes information about each station including adjustment history. Pre-1910 records are not included in ACORN-SAT because they are insufficient in their continental coverage. Over time, a lot of these sites have undergone changes in the way temperature has been recorded. By 1910, however, the newly formed Australian Bureau of Meteorology had established standardised equipment in many parts of the country. Researcher Jennifer Marohasy claims the adjusted records resemble “propaganda” rather than science. The SEARCH dataset assessed that the Bourke data for January maximum temperatures differed from that obtained by modern practices by some 3.5 °C and the unadjusted observations (with thirteen consecutive days above 45 °C, available via Climate Data Online) erroneously exaggerate the severity of the event. The AWAP data is spatially analysed onto a high-resolution national grid dataset (Jones et al., 2009). The homogenisation of temperature records is a time-intensive task that requires proficiency in data analysis and computing. By carefully accounting for the impact of these non-climate factors on the data, it is possible to better characterise real changes in temperature at each location over time. 2011. Automated and semi-automated quality control systems are used to identify differences in observational readings. (see Orbost adjustment example published in 2014 using version 1 data). 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