Sweating over bureau weather statistics

There’s no doubt that it’s been unusually warm lately, another opportunity to be told that, based on statistics provided by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), Mildura’s climate is heating up alarmingly. I’d like to ask some questions about the validity of these statistics.

Until 1946, all official recordings were done at the old Mildura post office on the corner of Eighth and Deakin. In August 1946, the first readings were available from the new weather station at Mildura airport. Not surprisingly, in that month, Mildura’s official mean monthly maximum dropped from 18.0 (at the post office) to 16.8 (at the airport).

Figures are available from both sites until the end of 1949 & this disparity in the readings continued over the time both sites were active, with the airport consistently being more than a degree cooler than the post office.

Now consider what has happened at the airport over the past 70 years. Instead of a largely rural environment with lots of trees, there’s now a location containing runways, buildings, roads and parking lots that weren’t there in 1946.

The weather station is on the south side of the airport, so on hot days when the wind is coming from the north, air that is being measured for our official temperature has to pass over all these man-made constructions before it reaches the weather station. 

No wonder the readings are becoming higher but is this a true indication of changes to our climate as we are led to believe by the media? Maybe it’s time to move the weather station again?

Shirley Medlin, 

Mildura

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