Carnarvon “world’s hottest place yesterday” is barely any hotter than it was in 1896

Carnarvon “world’s hottest place yesterday” is barely any hotter than it was in 1896
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The following post discussing Carnarvon Heat is syndicated from jonova.com.au.

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— (AAP) NZ Herald

In Carnarvon yesterday the Bureau tells us that the temperature was “a record” 49.9 degree day (almost 122 Fahrenheit). But in 1896 the Brickhouse Station just 15 kilometers north of Carnarvon hit 121 Fahrenheit in the shade, and there were reports of birds dying and other measurements “in the shade” that were as high as 125F. Somehow man-made emissions have been heating the planet for 128 years but the current freakishly hot days are about the same as the ones when no one in Australia owned a car and CO2 levels in the atmosphere were still under 300 ppm.

Lest we forget, there are hundreds of thermometer records from the pre-1908 era that are apparently worth nothing to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Climate change threatens all life on Earth, so you’d think climate scientists would be excited about the longest historical records they can find, but for some inexplicable reason they show little interest in the historical records from 1896 when a heatwave struck and 437 people died across Australia.

Temperatures hit 50C in the shade in many places in January 1896.  In locations hundreds of kilometers apart, people were reporting similar temperatures. Perhaps they were all wrong?

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At Yalgoo over Christmas 1895 temperatures reached 122 to 127F:

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At Southern Cross a man died in his office chair. The heat averaged 115 and reached 122F.

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A child succumbed to the heat in Geraldton and in Mullewa it was so hot the railway workers refused to work because it was “impossible to handle the rails”. These towns are 500 km south or 300 miles away from Carnarvon.

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Temperatures in Mullawa hit 121F.

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Inland at Cue for three weeks the temperature was above 105 F, even reaching 118 twice in the shade.

1,000 kilometers south of Carnarvon, nested among forest, south of Perth, even Pinjarra experienced  114F on Friday 3rd January 1896. This heatwave affected a vast area.

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The Bureau will say many of these older records were done in “non-standard” equipment, but thermometers were a 300 year old technology even then. Sometimes we have records of the types of screens they used and we even have standardized comparisons of the small differences between the different screens. But the BoM is too precious to admit these old records are useful — the same BOM that doesn’t care when modern sites are surrounded by hot black bitumen or sits near incinerators. The same BOM that shrank the Stevenson screens from 230 litres to just 60 litres and changed the glass thermometers to electronic ones. The best measurements in our history probably came after the BOM was formed in 1908 and standardized the screens. Yet the BOM has adjusted the Carnarvon trends in those years down by as much as 2 whole degrees. In what universe does this make sense?

The actual warming over the whole century was almost nothing until the BOM adjusted the records. Thanks to Ken Stewart for this analysis:

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The ABC parrots the mindless weather trivia produced by the BOM — they both lie by omission

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Thanks so much to research by Chris Gillham, Ken Stewart and Silligy and the rest of the BOM volunteer audit team — without any funding they discover the hot records the bureau can’t seem to find even with $350 million dollars a year and a staff of 1,600 people.

Citizen science beats government funded science any day.

All the historic newspaper links for the map are available at the original post on historic heatwaves.

Find more blogs from Joanne Nova here.


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Joanne is a former Australian Nine Network TV Host, Writer, Speaker and Author. Joanne is a regular expert guest around the world specialising in climate change and science communication. Her writing regularly appears in The Australian newspaper, The Spectator magazine and now here on The Aussie Wire.