Jones said that the names of the Australian sites was unknown. However it turned out that the names of these locations are known to mankind and, with a little effort, that the names of these sites could be tracked down from an Australian reference list through the CSIRO reference numbers at the Jones site. My first pass at finding original data for these sites online at CSIRO proved unsuccessful, although the opportunity for purchasing the data from CSIRO is available.
However, an interesting trove of historical information archived here in 1996 turned up. This proved to be the “high quality” network from Torok and Nicholls 1996, that was mentioned in the correspondence between John Daly and Neil Plummer of CSIRO in 1996. That was the letter in which Plummer responded to Daly’s criticism of inhomogeneity at Low Head Lighthouse by saying that Jones et al 1990 made no claim that its stations had been assessed for homogeneity (foolish reader to assume that!) The Maatsuyker lighthouse is mentioned in the Low Head discussion. This post is not just about the Maatsuyker exclusion in the Torok network, but I sort of liked the phrase – it sounds to me like the title of an action novel.
In your report, you query the selection of 49 mostly ‘rural’ stations over eastern Australia as used in Jones et al. 1990. This network was selected on the basis of stations having few missing monthly mean values over the 1930-1988 analysis period. None of the data used had been assessed for homogeneity and the paper makes no claims in this regard. It is interesting to note, however, that the high quality data set of Torok and Nicholls (1996) confirm a warming over this region.
The Torok and Nicholls archive proved to be a substantial collection of data, described in the readme as follows:
A high-quality historical surface air temperature data set, for mean annual temperatures, has been prepared for Australia by adjusting data for inhomogeneities caused by station relocations, changes in exposure and other discontinuities. An objective procedure was developed for determining the necessary adjustments. Station history documentation was also used for this purpose. Time-series of annual mean maximum and mean minimum temperatures have been produced for 224 stations. Trends in annual mean maximum, minimum, the mean of the maximum and minimum, and the range between maximum and minimum, have been calculated at each site. The data set provides adequate spatial coverage of Australia back to 1910 for the production of all-Australia average temperatures. Maximum and minimum temperatures have increased since about 1950, with minimum temperatures increasing faster than the maximum temperatures.
The reference includes a list of stations in Torok and Nicholls classified as rural and urban here . So the first thing to do was to see if the sites in the 49-site Plummer-Jones network are all in the archived Torok and Nicholls network. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to find all the relevant data, just for once. Take a guess as to how many of the 49 stations in the Plummer list were in the Torok and Nicholls rural list?
29. A further 8 sites from the Plummer rural-village network were in the Torok and Nicholls urban list, listed below (with Newcastle Nobby’s being called urban this time.) One wonders as to how they calculated the average population in the Nature article.
id csiro csiro.name lat long
2 2 18070 PORT LINCOLN -33.73333 135.8667
6 6 23733 MOUNT BARKER -35.06667 138.8667
21 21 40126 MARYBOROUGH -25.53333 152.6000
30 30 56002 ARMIDALE (RADIO STATION 2AD) -30.51667 151.6667
32 32 58037 LISMORE (CENTRE STREET) -28.80000 153.2833
33 33 60026 PORT MACQUARIE (HILL STREET) -31.90000 152.4833
34 34 61055 NEWCASTLE NOBBYS SIGNAL STATION -32.91667 151.8000
35 35 65012 DUBBO (COOREENA RD) -32.21667 148.5667
Twelve sites from the Plummer network did not reappear in the 1996 Torok and Nicholls network, listed below. (Bundaberg airport occurs in the later network)
id csiro csiro.name jones.lat jones.long
1 1 16044 TARCOOLA -30.71667 134.5667
4 4 21043 PORT PIRIE BHAS -33.18333 138.0167
10 10 31016 COOKTOWN POST OFFICE -15.48333 145.2500
13 13 33007 BOWEN POST OFFICE -20.00000 148.1667
14 14 34002 CHARTERS TOWERS POST OFFICE -20.03333 146.3333
15 15 35069 TAMBO POST OFFICE -24.86667 146.2500
18 18 39015 BUNDABERG POST OFFICE -24.83333 152.3500
22 22 41038 GOONDIWINDI POST OFFICE -28.50000 150.2833
23 23 43030 ROMA POST OFFICE -26.53333 148.7667
28 28 51039 NYNGAN AIRPORT -31.56667 147.2000
47 47 94010 CAPE BRUNY LIGHTHOUSE -43.33333 147.0000
48 48 94041 MAATSUYKER ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE -43.66667 146.5000
The net result is illustrated in the graphic below: red is the Torok urban sites in the Plummer-Jones network; blue is the “rural” sites in both networks; cyan is the non-recurring Plummer-Jones sites and small black is additional Torok sites not in the Plummer network.
I haven’t made any effort to evaluate these exclusions. However, one of the sites caught my eye because it was mentioned by John Daly in his dissection of the Low Head lighthouse series – Maatsuyker. Daly had observed an anomalous increase in Low Head maximum temperatures. One of his comparanda where there was no trend in maximum temperatures was Maatsuyker in the graphic. I’m sure that there’s a “good” reason for its exclusion, but the Maatsuyker exclusion is just another one of those amazing coincidences that characterize climate science. Oh, in case you were wondering, the Low Head lighthouse site contested by John Daly was included in the Torok and Nicholls network. I guess that I’ll have to compare the Jones 90 version of the Low Head lighthouse with the Torok and Nicholls version tomorrow.
Torok, S. and Nicholls, N., 1996. An historical temperature record for Australia. Aust. Met. Mag. 45, 251-260 is the reference (which I haven’t seen yet.)