Weather bureau defends data methods after ‘fiddling’ claim

Australia has almost 800 weather stations across the country.

Ken Hodge

Australia has almost 800 weather stations across the country.

Emily Evans, Staff Reporter

The Bureau of Meteorology has defended its actions against claims that it is ‘fiddling the data’ in a bid to make Australia seem hotter than it actually is.

In a response to claims by The Australian newspaper, the Bureau says its data and methods are among the best in the world.

The accusation is based on a method called “data homogenisation”, where non-climate-related changes are removed from weather station data.

The Bureau measures temperature at almost 800 stations across the country, and states temperature records can be influenced by outside factors, such as shade from trees or wind, relocation of stations, and measurement methods.

“Such changes introduce biases into the climate record that need to be adjusted for prior to analysis,” the Bureau stated in a press release.

“Adjusting for these biases, a process known as homogenisation, is carried out by meteorological authorities around the world as best practice, to ensure that climate data is consistent through time.”

An article released by online magazine The Conversation shows the alleged data manipulation reduced the supposed extreme temperatures.

They said the warming trend across the whole of Australia looks bigger without homogenisation than with, disproving the accusation made by The Australian.

In 2012, the Bureau requested an independent peer-review on their climate data management practices.

International experts found the Bureau’s data and methods to be “amongst the best in the world.”