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BoM Forum Panel: one-day-wonder. Rigorous as Annual Cakes and Tea Jamboree

Last August the BoM were feeling the heat — Graham Lloyd at The Australian and skeptics, particularly Jennifer Marohasy, were asking why cooling trends were being revised to warming trends at stations with no recorded moves. People were raising eyebrows at embarrassing questions about why the Bureau thought climate change was all-critical, yet they were tossing out historic Stevenson-screen data. The BoM felt so squeezed they finally answered some basic questions they’d been ignoring for years (like details on Rutherglen).

But the pressure kept growing because nobody needs a degree in Meteorology to know that there ought to be a reason for fiddling with historic thermometer data. The dumb punters were not impressed with the excuse that stations “might” have moved because tricky statistics on other stations 300km away detected an “unrecorded shift”. So the BoM and their apologist friends in The Dept of Environment dusted off a 3 year old idea called a Technical Advisory Forum, pulled out some names of respectable sounding statisticians and “voila” — created a one day wonder. The “technical forum” will spend more time releasing press releases than analyzing data.

On Jan 19th we were promised so much. The full gloss press release ticks all the right keywords:

The establishment of this Forum will provide an independent framework for quality assurance tests and analysis of the Bureau’s data sets for greater transparency.

Blah blah blah. Finally the Terms of Reference are out, and we can see the meat: a new ultra thin variety of Nano-Spam.

The Forum will meet all its goals and peer reviewed angels will sing, if it … “provides comment”. It’s hard to imagine all those academics saying absolutely nothing, so I’m expecting it to be declared a complete and rigorous success. It is bound to be “world’s best practice” because the rest of the world is dismal too. No bureau anywhere ever publishes all the information, all the historic data, and all the details of their mystery homogenie which transforms past temperatures with a cold wand.  The comprehensive and in-depth extent of the panel is such that “Forums will run over one day, every year.” (Don’t scoff, it is a whole day which has a morning and an afternoon, and they have different agendas. So this is extended “Tea and Cakes” — there is even lunch). All the pre-reading materials will be given to the members at least “a fortnight” beforehand.

Jennifer Marohasy wrote to Bob Baldwin today expressing her disapproval. She describes the pointless forum as Like Expecting George Pell to Admit Pedophilia During Sunday Sermon.

As she so rightly says, the Church of the B0M hath spoken, and no dissidents will be heard.


Dear Mr Baldwin

Re: Robust assessment of the trusted and respected Bureau of Meteorology obviously requires that the dissident view be heard

There once existed a broad consensus that the Church must be the ultimate judge of scientific truths.  That was before the enlightenment.  More recently, there was an equally mistaken consensus that the Church could provide a safe environment for little children.

Those who dared suggested otherwise were first ignored, then ridiculed, and only much later able to fight for truth and justice.   When their concerns finally registered, there was disbelief that such outrageous abuse was allowed to persist for so long.

In your recent appointment as ‘Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment’ with responsibility for the Bureau of Meteorology, you have the opportunity to provide a forum for dissident voices to be heard concerning what is perceived by many to be the bastardization of Australia’s temperature record.

Eventually, simply through the establishment of a forum of experts tasked with hearing the alternative evidence, history might  record you as courageous, and as having begun a process that ultimately exposed the deceit and bias that now riddles this once most respected and trusted organization.   This, I thought, was indeed a possibility when I read your media release of January 19, 2015, outlining the establishment of a technical advisory forum that would undertake a “robust assessment” of Australia’s official temperature data set.

Then, just today I was provided with the actual terms of reference for this forum comprising eight statisticians and/or mathematicians, and I see that they intend to meet for only one day each year.  Furthermore, during the morning of this one day they will be lectured to by Bureau scientists, with the afternoon devoted to discussion.

Indeed the current format is likely to be as useful at getting to the bottom of our issues with the Bureau’s revisionist approach to Australia’s climatic history, as expecting George Pell to voluntarily admit pedophilia during a Sunday sermon.

If indeed you are serious about a robust assessment of the Bureau’s handling of temperature data, then I urge you to immediately modify the format for the forum.   I urge you to immediately establish a mechanism for public critical review including testimony from dissidents.

Yours sincerely

Dr Jennifer Marohasy, Independent Scientist

Golly but aren’t methods of temperature-homogenification closely guarded secrets?

Thanks to Bill and Jennifer.

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