Forgotten: Historic hot temperatures recorded with detail and care in Adelaide

What I found most interesting about this was the skill, dedication and length of meteorological data taken in the 1800’s. When our climate is “the most important moral challenge” why is it there is so little interest in our longest and oldest data?

Who knew that one of the most meticulous and detailed temperature records in the world from the 1800’s comes from Adelaide, largely thanks to Sir Charles Todd. The West Terrace site in Adelaide was one of the best in the world at the time, and provides accurate historic temperatures from “Australia’s first permanent weather bureau at Adelaide in 1856″. (Rainfall records even appear to go as far back as 1839.) Lance Pidgeon went delving into the National Archives and was surprised at what he found.

If we want to understand our climate the records from the 1800’s in Adelaide are surely worth attention?

The BOM usually shows graphs like this one below starting in 1911. You might think you are looking at the complete history of Adelaide temperatures and that smoothed temperature is rising inexorably, but the historic records remain unseen. While “hottest” ever records are proclaimed […]

Ian Hill: There have only been 78 other heatwaves like that in Adelaide… and 51 were hotter

It’s another mindless record used to remind the public to “keep the faith” and recite the litany: “Adelaide had it’s hottest start to the year since 1900” Sky news Picking three particular days outof 365 and comparing them over a century is about as cherry-pickingly meaningless as it gets. But Ian Hill went back through the records to find that not only have there been 79 heatwaves in Adelaide since 1887, but there have been 51 heat-waves that were hotter since 1887.

Ian Hill crunched the numbers and wrote:

Using the definition of a heatwave being “three or more consecutive days at or above 38C”, for no other reason than the fact that this fits in nicely with Adelaide’s recent maxima of 38.0, 41.6 and 40.6 on Dec 31, Jan 1 and Jan 2 respectively, I found that there have been 79 such heatwaves recorded in Adelaide since Jan 21, 1887, the date of the first such information available from the BOM. The recent heatwave is ranked 52nd, where the average maximum of days involved is used to rank heatwaves of the same duration.

If the file is sorted in chronological order a familiar trend emerges […]