Australia warming at just 0.1C per decade, despite 2013 being “hottest year”

Catastrophic warming?

Catastrophic warming? Click to enlarge

The ABC/Fairfax media axis has been hard at work plugging the “hottest year on record” meme, my response to which is, so what?

The planet has been warming slowly since the Little Ice Age, and so it is hardly surprising that this decade is warmer than the last, and that individual years in the recent past are likely to be warmer than earlier years as well.

But to read the breathless reporting of this fact on the ABC and the Bureau of Meteorology websites, you would think that this is something shocking. The ABC:

Australia has just sweltered through its hottest year on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. Average temperatures were 1.20 degrees Celsius above the long-term average of 21.8C, breaking the previous record set in 2005 by 0.17C, the bureau said in its Annual Climate Statement.

All states and territories recorded above average temperatures in 2013, with Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia all breaking annual average temperature records. And every month of 2013 had national average temperatures at least 0.5C above normal, according to the statement.

The country recorded its hottest day on January 7 – a month which also saw the hottest week and hottest month since records began in 1910. A new record was set for the number of consecutive days the national average temperature exceeded 39C – seven days between January 2 and 8, 2013, almost doubling the previous record of four consecutive days in 1973.

The highest temperature recorded during 2013 was 49.6C at Moomba in South Australia on January 12, which was the highest temperature in Australia since 1998. Further, with mean temperatures across Australia generally well above average since September 2012, long periods of warmer-than-average days have been common, with a distinct lack of cold weather, the statement says. (source)

The BoM’s Annual Climate Statement is a picture of alarmism, with scary graphics implicitly linking every weather event during the year to man-made climate change.

Yes, 2013 was warm in Australia, but 2010, 2011 and 2012 were cooler – it’s what the climate does.

Despite all the hyperventilating, the BoM’s own data show a temperature increase of only 0.1C per decade since 1979, equating to a 1C increase over a century. In the same period, atmospheric CO2 has increased by 18%, from 340ppm to 400ppm. UAH data for the same period actually shows slightly larger warming of 0.16C (data here in the AUST column).

With the Sherwood paper predicting increases of 4C by 2100, the rate of warming would have to more than quadruple (to 0.44C/decade) to reach that level. And how likely is that?


  1. Hey, as the Aust Climate Sceptics point out, the report pushed the fact that the world (the globe) was still warming whilst satellite data show a different position, leading to the question…”IS Global”

  2. As per usual, the 2013 annual climate summary from the Bureau of Meteorology, comes with the following disclaimer:

    “… -is subject to the uncertainties of scientific and technical research
    -may not be accurate, current or complete …”

    So it’s about as useful as Catherine Deveny at a comedy festival.

  3. Sean McHugh says:

    Hi Simon,

    It’s not just the ABC and Fairfax. The commercial TV stations (at least 7 and 9) have been doing the same. And when interviewed, Julie Bishop didn’t help when she had the opportunity to do so. For example, she could have pointed out that the global temperatures have been essentially flat for 15 years and that small rises or falls on a plateau are to be expected. Instead she spoke about the ‘direct action’ reducing CO2. She reinforced their religion.

    I am just so disappointed at the lack of knowledge and/or will demonstrated by the Coalition in dealing with the Labor/Greens warming hysteria. What is wrong with them?

    Simon, ever thought of entering politics?

  4. I think the temperature is stuck in the Antarctic Ice with the with Professor Christmas Turkey and his climate worriers. <:o)

  5. In the 1960’s Marble Bar in WA had over a 100 days of temperatures around 40c.
    The “experts” blamed the BOMB.

    The weather is so cold in Victoria at the moment, perhaps, the Nuclear Winter, predicted by much the same “experts”, in the 70/80’s has finally arrived.

  6. Can someone tell me by what means they gather this data? Is it by Satellite?

    A few years ago, Anthony Watts came out to Oz and pointed out some rather “interesting” positions of the ground-based temperature sensors, not just in the US, but also in Australia.

    One in the particular, was a sensor in Melbourne which would be clearly affected by the “Urban Heat Island” effect. A few blokes from the local weather bureau had a chuckle about this, one commenting “I knew he would bring this up” … It doesn’t seem to be a mystery to those in the know.

    He also went on to point out, that despite all the interest in the human influence of climate change and global warming, that the amount of sensors collecting data was *decreasing* and scientists were increasingly relying upon extrapolation.

    So every time I hear about the “hottest x-period-of-time ever” I’ve always got this information in the back of my mind. I don’t trust anything but Satellite data!

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