BOM Climate report is sobering

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has published an extremely sobering report on the nation’s (and world) climate, with figures showing that 2016 was the fourth hottest on record for Australia.

From the ABC:

Assistant Director for Climate Information Services, Neil Plummer, said 2016 was an “eventful year” with significant climate drivers affecting the country’s weather.

Individual states across the country had local weather records broken — 2016 was the warmest year on record for Sydney, recording the most days above 25 degrees Celsius on record, while parts of South Australia recorded its wettest year on record.

“The year started off very warm and dry, with bushfires in Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia, and a nation-wide heatwave from late February to mid-March,” Mr Plummer said.

“We had our warmest autumn on record partly due to a very strong 2015-16 El Nino.

For Australia as a whole, annual rainfall was 17 per cent above average.

Australia was also warmer than average, with a national mean temperature 0.87 degrees Celsius above the norm. Sea surface temperatures were the warmest on record, 0.77 degrees Celsius above average.

The BOM's key 2016 climate facts and events (infographic)

In isolation, a bad year – according to the WMO 2016 was “very likely” the warmest year on record globally –  affecting farmers, households and businesses alike in terms of lost productivity, energy disruptions, land degradation and property losses.
Here are the longer term trends from the BOM’s overall report (available here):

  • Australia’s climate has warmed in both mean surface air temperature and surrounding sea surface temperature by around 1 °C since 1910.
  • The duration, frequency and intensity of extreme heat events have increased across large parts of Australia.
  • There has been an increase in extreme fire weather, and a longer fire season, across large parts of Australia since the 1970s.
  • May–July rainfall has reduced by around 19 per cent since 1970 in the southwest of Australia.
  • There has been a decline of around 11 per cent since the mid-1990s in the April–October growing season rainfall in the continental southeast.
  • Rainfall has increased across parts of northern Australia since the 1970s.
  • Oceans around Australia have warmed and ocean acidity levels have increased.
  • Sea levels have risen around Australia. The rise in mean sea level amplifies the effects of high tides and storm surges.
bom bom2 bom3

That last chart is the most sobering and shows pretty clearly that “climate change” doesn’t just mean a linear increase in temperature, but rather more severe weather – hot, cold, wet, dry – over the long term.

Here are there conclusions, which from an investment point of view might dissuade you from buying insurance, or indeed non-renewable energy shares, let alone worry about coastal property prices:

  • Australian temperatures are projected to continue increasing with more extremely hot days and fewer extremely cool days.
  • The number of days with weather conducive to fire in southern and eastern Australia is projected to increase.
  • Winter and spring rainfall is projected to decrease across southern continental Australia, with more time spent in drought.
  • Past and ongoing greenhouse gas emissions mean further warming of ocean temperatures.
  • Sea-level rise and ocean acidification around Australia are projected to continue.


    • ResearchtimeMEMBER

      Wow – they have sea surface temperatures going back to the 1920’s!!! And we swallow that one whole??? This site is full of un-asking minions. Did anyone look at the data points and ask the most basic questions? The above is total BS.

      How about looking at raw Austrlaian climate data, that tampered guff that bureau-of-meteorology and others have been playing with over the past 12 months, which has boosted our current ambient temperatures massively and denigrated old temperature data because its unreliable supposedly (… even if accepting the argument is true, how is anything even remotely comparable??? And by the way, we still measure the temperature the same way with similar instruments 100 years later! As has been noted elsewhere ( & (

      • I wouldn’t be too concerned with data from 100 years ago, mid 50s on is where things start to get interesting, as does human population growth, industrial activity and our impact on the natural environment. There seem to be rather a lot of charts with an exponential shape from thereon, as well as some showing catastrophic decline.

        Here’s one such chart:

        A quick glance at that chart suggests to me the amount of fossil fuels cumulatively consumed in the 50 years between 1900-1950 was less than what we have burned since 2010.

      • They do take the differences in measurement standards into account. It’s called weighting. First year uni stuff.

        An older measurement would be given a larger confidence interval, say plus or minus 2 degrees, while a newer one might be plus or minus 0.2. Even if the older measurements weren’t as precise, or accurate, as the newer ones they can still be used in modelling without wrecking the integrity of the model. That been said, if it is truly junk, they should just get rid of it.

        In the age of big data sets this is actually a big question. Since we now have the computational power to work with it all do we throw it all in or do we only keep what we meets a certain standard? Both are completely legitimate and can be pursued as long as the methodology and justifications are shared.

        Coming back to the temperature data set, BoM is in a lose/lose position if someone is determined to cast them in a bad light. If they keep all of it in, they get in trouble for the older stuff. If they clean up the data they get accused of cherry picking.

        It doesn’t help BoM that those who want to sew the seeds of doubt won’t try to explain the above and are usually talking to an audience that is ignorant of such things.

      • ResearchtimeMEMBER

        This is the quality of intellect on this site – Chris Becker deletes posts. With valid statements? Explaining why the above was mathematical nonsense.

        If MB wants to be taken seriously, you need to sort out this guy. Becker is the guy who band me from his postings because he didn’t know what an apologetic meant!!! It would have taken him fives seconds to Google. He is uniformed, arrogant and abusive.

        He doesn’t even understand what he posts sometimes!

      • Having just had a post of mine ‘vanish’ without explanation I share some concern re the editor’s commitment to open dialogue. Not a good look for a prominent and mature economics/business/public policy/politics blog and a terrible one for a business looking to expand into investment advice and portfolio management.

        Transparency please.

      • desmodromicMEMBER

        RT If you want respect don’t present nonsense in a robust discourse on a serious topic. To label the scientific work of many as BS, suggest a conspiracy and then present an article in one of Rupert’s newspapers as evidence to support your view of the world adds nothing to the discussion.

      • Opinions don’t matter on the science of AGW climate change – if you have an opposing scientific view, you must provide peer reviewed research from a serious journal with references – and your authorship (not an anonymous handle).

        Opinion/ideas/discussion about risk mitigation and how to fix the problem of climate change is completely open.

      • Questioning data from 100-200 years ago is a red herring. The majority of warming – and emissions – happened in the last 50 years. The latest data is seriously alarming but I think the skeptics have already won the political battle. Most people are now fatigued by the endless propagation of FUD (fear uncertainty doubt) around insignificant data points, accusations of scientific conspiracies etc and have switched off from trying to understand the detail. In the presence of doubt they have chosen the course of action that suits their present lifestyle (i.e. do nothing), rather than the one which requires sacrifice.

      • they have sea surface temperatures going back to the 1920’s!!!

        They had ships measuring sea surface temperature in the 19th century too!!!!

        This site is full of un-asking minions.

        Actually it’s full of world wide conspiracy theorists.

  1. Quite simply, inaccurate data picking. The Southern Hemisphere has not seen a statistically significant warming trend, Australia obviously included.

    I welcome the BOM review panel’s report.

      • Nature Climate Change

        “If the new reconstruction of Southern Hemisphere temperature is accurate, then estimates of climate sensitivity — the response of global temperature change to a given amount of external radiative forcing — may be lower than those calculated based solely on Northern Hemisphere reconstructions. Indeed, instrumental temperature data suggest that warming in the Northern Hemisphere has been greater than that observed in the Southern Hemisphere over the past two decades — a feature reproduced in the current suite of climate models11. Therefore, this hemispheric asymmetry may be a fundamental feature of the climate system’s response to a change in radiative forcing, whereby the ocean-dominated Southern Hemisphere acts as a buffer of sorts to global temperature change on decadal to centennial timescales. On the other hand, Neukom et al. propose that divergent hemispheric temperatures arise from strong natural climate variability in the Southern Hemisphere, and have been a constant feature of the past millennium.

        Given the new information now available from the Southern Hemisphere, climate scientists must consider a larger role for natural climate variability in contributing to global temperature changes over the past millennium. While the new reconstruction brings strong additional support to the phrase ‘anthropogenic global warming’, it also highlights the limits of our current ability to understand, and predict, global temperature variations from decade to decade. In other words, global temperatures will warm appreciably by 2100, but the road may be bumpy and full of surprises.”

        There is now a growing body of work addressing the divergence re Northern/Southern hemisphere climate data.

      • Interesting paper (what I could read of it) but it doesn’t disprove the dataset or methodology of BOM for Australia which shows a warming across the continent and surrounding oceans.

        It actually adds weight to the AGW hypothesis and helps current models (you do realise the author does NOT deny AGW?)

        Im curious to why you started your comment with an obfuscating “Quite simply, inaccurate data picking”.

        Please show evidence of this inaccurate data picking.

      • Failed Baby BoomerMEMBER

        Climate blogger Ptolemy2 explains this NH/SH difference quite well;

        The positive feedback loop of salinity-downwelling-Greenland ice melt gives the AMOC its chaotic bistability. The AMOC and Gulf Stream are driven by the salinity-downwelling positive feedback. The Gulf Stream brings high salinity water to the North Atlantic. When it cools its higher salinity makes it exceptionally dense so that it downwells all the way down to the ocean floor. This is the deep water formation in the far North Atlantic (OK Bill it’s not the Norwegian Sea). This deep cold dense water flows south, completing the loop of the AMOC. By doing so it in turn propels the northward Gulf Stream up on the surface, reinforcing the whole circuit with positive feedback. This feedback-reinforced AMOC considerably warms North West Europe and transports warmer water right up to the Arctic.

        In the paradigm of current climate science this positive feedback at the heart of the AMOC would be assumed to be runaway and would soon be expected (projected) to turn the Atlantic Ocean into a whirling maelstrom like a washing machine. However in the real world of complex systems positive feedback does not do this, instead it causes oscillation and intermittency. Each “run” of the positive feedback causes eventually a negative feedback, which cuts it off. In the North Atlantic the negative feedback that cuts off the Gulf and cold downwelling feedback – which warms the Atlantic high latitudes – is Greenland ice melt and a resulting freshwater pulse, which chokes off the cold water formation and downwelling.

        What results from these intermittent pulses or chaotic oscillations of the AMOC is what we call the AMO. This gives a chaotic instability to the whole NH climate.

        By contrast in the SH there is no such instability, there is no meridionally bounded ocean south of Africa and South America. In the Southern Ocean you have the unimpeded circumpolar circulation. Thus no salinity feedback driving meridional current loops. Thus in the SH both oceanography and climate are much more stable and changes occur more smoothly over much longer timescales. This gives a reciprocating interplay of climate change between the two hemispheres.

      • Aussie1929MEMBER

        I think the best way to fix it is the following:
        -Kill fat people
        -Outlaw eating meat (meat industry produces alot of methane)
        -Reduce global population
        -A law that makes it illegal for only 1 person using a car
        -Outlaw cars in a CBD (force people to take public transport or use human powered vehicles)

        Anyone have any other suggestions?

    • Not a significant warming trend? Stop providing false arguments.

      Yes it is trailing the Northern Hemisphere – perhaps the fact that the Northern Hemisphere produces significantly more greenhouse gasses (US, EU, China) can explain this.

      This does not mean there is no Climate Change though. The trend since 1910 is clear.

      Honestly, what is it with the Anglo-Saxon world? No-one in Europe even debates this anymore. We just grab the opportunity to create new industries.

      • The climate is changing. It is not uniform and attempts to massage data to present same thwart concerns by those like me who are interested but not ideologically attached to the AGW proposition.

        I’m confident that we understand far less than we assume. I am confident many climate models are unreliable. I am confident that climate change as and where it occurs (differently across the globe) is far from solely the result of human action, dare I say it, far more likely the old friend and foe, Mother Nature. Not fashionable views but likely to be correct in the long run.

      • Mike – those that support AGW never said climate change was solely from human activity. This suggests you haven’t actually read much of the science in the area.

    • The Southern Hemisphere has not seen a statistically significant warming trend

      Mike’s citation says nothing of the sort so he obviously believes in proof by non-sequitur. If this is the normal level of intellect from these people then it’s no wonder they can’t understand climate science.

    • What are his actions supposed to be saying ? Did his words predict a sea level rise that would engulf his house within his lifetime ?

    • If only we could raid the various fossil fuel corporations for their data and find out whether they believe the Arctic will soon open up for oil & gas exploration. Ditto oil fields in Siberia and Northern Canada.

      When $$$$ is involved it pays to have good information. When information takes away your $$$ it pays to be ignorant.

      This kind of contradictory stance can be seen in a few places. The Aus govt will say “Everything is great, never a better time to be an investor!” while also saying “Times are dire, we must take extreme measures to protect our economy”. “Inflation will pick up any day now” vs “We need to reduce penalty rates, and lower wage growth to be competitive!”.

    • Hoping you can provide a citation for this Jono, because I am pretty sure it’s been debunked but happy to be proven otherwise (maybe he moved again?).

  2. Nothing to be concerned about. Any moment now someone from one nation, or tony abbot will pop up in the media and explain its just God hugging us all a bit closer.

  3. BoM should have been dismantled years ago, all the money saved could be propping up more tranched debt for the household sector… instead the children must pay centrelink a $2B stealth ‘bail-in’.

  4. Chortle….

    I wonder if the say it ain’t so camp, because it impinges on mufh freedumbs or it was not written in the good book understand the energy increase even 1C mean translates too and the ramifications…..

  5. The denialism is about stranded assets.

    Fully-depreciated coal fired power stations that could make a few hundred million dollars more if their pollution is disregarded.

    Perfectly good low-quality coal deposits begging to be ripped from the ground.

    And the LNG stuff isn’t particularly clean either.

    While the owners may change, the agenda does not. All run for cash, their commercial position bolstered by trolls and a virulent anti-climate change narrative that refers to beliefs, not facts.

    Australia will never build another coal-fired power station, nor a nuke for that matter. It is highly unlikely to build a gas peaker either.

    This is a rear-guard action. Recognise this. Condemn their attempts to wring a little more in economic rents from the situation, polluting the atmospheric commons.

    • David, I don’t think this is entirely correct.

      Fossil fuel companies are well aware that barring an exceptional leap in battery technology, fusion or some other unknown, these energy sources will be deployed for some decades to come. Donald Trump appears committed to shaking the tree so to speak and has an enthusiastic array of advisers not of the conventional IPCC mold. Expect tangible reassessment of energy provision going forward.

      Don’t forget traditional fossil fuel providers consider themselves first and foremost, energy companies. As such these corporations are happy to exploit all energies and are not going to blindly ignore government incentives to featherbed investment in various renewable energies. Government mandated transition well subsidised is an attractive proposition, nothing better than a finger in all pies.

      Adani? Keen interest remains.

    • Not often I agree with you David but this time I’ll make an exception.
      You’ll notice they complain about data cherry picking while cherry picking the data themselves.
      Visit NZ glaciers and observe their retreat over >100 years.
      The key question now is not whether climate change exists but what should be done, to what cost and to what extent. Resource allocation 101. This is a politics and economics question now, not a science question. The politics of denying the science is a distraction campaign to achieve what you describe, where those who would have to suffer economic loss from those measures get to kick the can down the road.

    • Australia will never build another coal-fired power station, nor a nuke for that matter. It is highly unlikely to build a gas peaker either.

      Once upon a time Australia would build new fossil fuel burning power stations because they could produce electricity more cheaply than the old ones.

      Now they can and do charge consumers a rapidly increasing price for electricity so there is no longer any need to try to produce electricity more cheaply so they just keep using the old fossil fuelled power stations even though their electricity production cost increases as time goes by.

  6. Aussie1929MEMBER

    I’m more concerned with the radiation spilling into the pacific from Fukushima and how to stop it.

    • Over the next 100 years, it’s pretty certain AGW will pose bigger challenges and impose much greater costs globally. Addressing AGW effectively via more renewable energy might actually reduce the chances of another Fukushima in the future too. Better to look forward and take a long view as there are no quick fixes in this space.

    • I’m more concerned with the radiation

      The wildlife living around Fukushima and Chernobyl aren’t. Great way to start a new national park, just let a nuke go haywire.

  7. “Wake up idiots!”
    You will get more traction by refraining from the statements like this and posting relevant information on the actual subject from credible sources.

  8. Serious question: when does Australia welcome its first Climate Change refugees?

    You know, the ones whose homes were to be inundated by rising sea-levels..

    And how will this affect the immigration ponzi?