A review of temperature recording instruments was ordered by Australian scientists at the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). This was after the government agency was caught tampering with temperature logs in several locations.
The Agency officials have admitted that the problem with instruments recording low temperatures likely happened in several locations throughout Australia, but they refuse to admit to manipulating temperature readings.
The missing logs were located by the BOM located in Goulburn and the Snow Mountains, both of which are in New South Wales. One of the strange disappearance was observed by Meteorologist Lance Pidgeon on the 2nd of July. The recording, which was 13 degrees Fahrenheit Goulbourn, disappeared from the bureau’s website. The temperature readings fluctuated briefly and then disappeared from the government’s website.
Pidgeon revealed that the temperature dropped to minus 10 (13 degrees Fahrenheit), stayed there for some time and then it changed to minus 10.4 (14 degrees Fahrenheit) and then it disappeared, adding that he notified scientist Jennifer Marohasy about the problem, who then brought the readings to the attention of the bureau.
The original 13 degrees Fahrenheit reading was later restored by the bureau after a brief question and answer session with Marohasy. A bureau spokeswoman told reporters on Monday that the bureau’s quality ¬control system, designed to filter out spurious low or high values was set at minus 10 minimum for Goulburn which is why the record automatically adjusted. BOM added that there are limits placed on how low temperatures could go in some very cold areas of the country.
Andrew Johnson, who is the Bureaus Chief Executive, told Australian Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg that the failure to record the low temperatures at Goulburn in early July was due to faulty equipment. A similar failure wiped out a reading of 13 degrees Fahrenheit at Thredbo Top on July 16, even though temperatures at that station have been recorded as low as 5.54 degrees Fahrenheit.
Johnson said that the failure to observe the low temperatures had been interpreted by a member of the community in such a way as to imply the bureau sought to manipulate the data record, adding that he categorically rejects the ¬implication.
Marohasy, for her part, told reporters that Johnson’s claims are nearly impossible to believe given that there are screen shots that show the very low temperatures before being “quality assured” out. It could take several weeks before the equipment is eventually tested, reviewed and ready for service, Johnson said.
Johnson also emphasized that he had tried and taken steps to ensure that the hardware at the location is replaced immediately so as to ensure that he has full ¬assurance on the matters. He also revealed that he has actioned an internal review of the AWS network and associated data quality control processes for temperature observations.
This is not the first time that BOM has been put under the microscope before for similar manipulations. The agency was accused in 2014 of tampering with the country’s temperature record to make it appear as if temperatures had warmed over the decades, according to reports in August 2014.
However, Marohasey claimed at the time that BOM’s adjusted temperature records are propaganda and not science. She also said that BOM adjustments changed Aussie temperature records from a slight cooling trend to one of dramatic warming over the last hundred years.