Willis was right – and NCDC agrees: no wild adjustments at Darwin.

 Christopher Booker’s Telegraph column yesterday quoted Willis Eschenbach. Except that some trolls there didn’t like what was being said about Willis’ critical open letter to Nature – how dare he!  They felt they should point out why his views are not worth a cent.

Previously he’d dared to ask questions about the adjustment process at Darwin Airport in the GHCN V2 record (here and here).  But while Deltoid and other sites had attacked and ridiculed Willis over Darwin, other people looked and found perhaps he had a point. Perhaps they saw the error independently. It doesn’t matter – Willis was right to question and he was right that something wasn’t right.  More fool his detractors.

Here’s what Willis was pointing out at Darwin – an adjustment that did not seem physically possible given what was known about the station history and the record at other stations in the area:

Figure 1. GHCN homogeneity adjustments to Darwin Airport combined record

This is how Kevin’s TEKtemp version of the graph looks:

Figure 2. GHCNv2 record for Darwin

That is one hell of an adjustment for one site. But wait, that was GHCN V2 and NCDC have been rolling out the process they use for adjustment and UHI correction in the USHCN set to the rest of the world.

Figure 3. Menne's Presentation: Slide 23

NCDC’s Matt Menne at a workshop in Exeter in September:  Lessons learnt from US Historical Climate Network and Global Historical Climate Network most recent homogenisation cycle acknowledged critiques from what he called “non traditional scientific sources”.  In September, when NCDC released GHCN V3 (Beta) it was apparent that many of the “unusual” adjustments pointed out by bloggers (including Willis) had been corrected.

And looking at Darwin, NCDC’s algorithms found no need for adjustment:

Figure 3. NCDC QC data for Darwin Airport

Here’s what it looks like (from TEKtemp) with the two sets overlaid (Kevin’s QC leaves out any years with missing months):

Figure 4. GHCNV3 record for Darwin

Willis responds here.  He’s right – it should not be about him – but it is – it is inconvenient for some people that he is good at asking the right questions – good questions – the ones that objective scientists themselves should be asking, but too often they aren’t! Perhaps they are no longer objective.

So kudos to Willis and other bloggers with their limited resources where they do find something ‘off’.  It can be like finding a needle in a haystack. The important thing in science is to get things right.  More people need to do the things that Willis is very good at – seeing it straight and asking the right questions. To quote Willis:

As my story shows, some of us have studied extensively and thought long and hard about the subjects in question even if we may not have credentials and diplomas and official positions.

Who needs credentials when you’ve got a brain – and you’re not afraid to use it.

At the risk of embarassing Willis, I decided I should repost something previously written here, and not just link to it.  It only begins to illustrate his effectiveness.

(to be sung to “If I only had a brain” from the “Wizard of Oz”)

I often while away the hours, calculatin’ powers
of thunderstorms and rain.
And my head I’m never scratchin’ while
my thoughts are busy hatchin’
‘cos I like to use my brain.

I unravel every riddle, every hidden fiddle,
and bring clarity again.
With the thoughts I am thinkin’
I can show no island’s sinkin’
‘cos of sand and coral gain.

Oh, I can tell you why, Post Normal Science is a bore.
I’ll make you think of things you’ve never thunk before.
And then I’ll sit, and think some more.

Global warmin’s just a nothin’ or your head is full of stuffin’
but my blogs will keep you sane.
Well unless the sun is foolin’, I am sure the planet’s coolin’,
‘cos I like to use my brain.

This entry was posted in GHCN V3 Beta, Station Data, Trends and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Willis was right – and NCDC agrees: no wild adjustments at Darwin.

  1. Another Ian says:


    Not quite off thread

    Do you recall the chorus of a not quite Sunday school song that went

    Old soaks, young soaks, everybody come
    To our little Sunday school and have a tot of rum
    Park your toffee apples and sit down upon the floor
    And we’ll tell you bible stories like you’ve never heard before

    In the course of some jobs where thinking is an option to boredom I’ve imagined this adapted to climate science, which could go something like

    Old folks, young folks, everybody come
    To our little climate school and we’ll give you the drum
    Grab your cup of cool aid and sit down upon the floor
    and we’ll tell you climate stories like you’ve never heard before

    And, with appropriate characterization – maybe like a poeticising of Josh’s cartoons – verses could be added to make, say, “An Ode To UEA”, A Lauding of Al Gore” etc. The potential seems to be vast.

    Except that I’m basically not a poet, so I’m putting up the idea – maybe blog-coordinated poetry?

    • Verity Jones says:

      Great idea Ian!

      I can’t say I know that song but I do like your treatment of it. I sort of imagine one of those ‘get in touch with your inner spirit drumming school’ workshops in a forest somewhere where environmentalists learn to beat the climate drum. I like it.

      I’m no poet, but given someone else’s metre I can alter words to fit almost anything. I think I’ll create a new category on the blog here “Quirky stuff” to replace the previous “Less serious” and ” “humour” categories, and start it with a competition. Not sure what the prize would be though. Watch this space.

  2. KevinUK says:


    Great thread! Perhaps its time I resurrected the ‘Top 50 Cooling turned to Warming’ and ‘Top 50 Warming turned to Cooling’ tables except this time for GHCN V3 rather than for GHCN V2 as did previous on the following DITC thread back in Decemeber 2009 shortly after Climategate.


    Those trolling Willis can then see just how much NCDC have ‘moved the goal posts’ thanks to Willis’s efforts. And of course as we know no one from NCDC ever visits DITC and would ever have read that thread would they otherwise they’d have give us some credit wouldn’t they?



  3. Pingback: WUWT Bloggie Winner – A Competition | Digging in the Clay

  4. Doug Proctor says:

    So … GHCNN3 now shows Darwin’s temperature history as Willis & Kevin showed, correct? And others were changed, also. What effect did this have on the Australian temp record and trend?

    The warmists* AGW proponents claim cherry-picking, and Hansen claims that even discounting NIWA records mean little as, again, those records are but a small part of the Great Whole which supports his version of the global record of GISTemp. Is this so?

    Does Willis et al now accept the Australian GHCNV3 data and trends? Are the perceived errors now fixed? Does the new data support more or less global warming as seen by Australia?

    *Altered 01Oct2011 in line with new policy: https://diggingintheclay.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/cleaning-house/ VJ.

  5. BT Harley says:

    This link is to photos taken of this week’s apogee king tides in the area around the airport and shopping centre, showing the BOM new office building and radar tower just above the high tide of 10.6m. They are not obviously worried about sea levels rising, (they are no higher than several other times last century), as the buildings are less than 1 metre above this mark.


    • Verity Jones says:

      Oh LOL – re the BOM office – thanks for this. If you are happy for me to post links to your photos, I think I could make a good blog post out of this.

      • BT Harley says:

        Yes Quite happy, I can also send you some links to low tide when I put them up, we had 10.3 metres of movement that day in just over 6 hours…

      • BT Harley says:

        Hi Verity, I have linked the latest bunch of pics and included a couple of pics of a high tide in the 1960’s taken from the same place as the latest high tide pics.
        Thanks for an excellent blog, I will be coming more often.

      • BT Harley says:

        Hi Verity, this from Bolt’s blog this morning. I f the last paragraph of this cut and paste is correct BOM would have wet feet at work here in their flash new Broome building quite soon. Also Bolt’s blog shows up the strong ABC bias…

        “MPs told to warn of climate mayhem

        * Matthew Franklin, Joe Kelly
        * From: The Australian
        * March 26, 2011 12:00AM

        JULIA Gillard has told Labor MPs to warn voters that a failure to back a carbon tax will lead to more bushfires and droughts as well as coastal inundation and shorter skiing seasons.

        MPs have also been instructed to warn constituents that unchecked climate change would lead to people in northern NSW experiencing a climate like that of Cairns, in far north Queensland.

        The Prime Minister has given her troops scripted lines they should use with journalists or constituents, which justify the use of public money on government advertising in an apparent bid to soften up the electorate for a coming campaign in favour of the tax.

        Political parties routinely distribute talking point briefs to MPs containing lines they should use to ensure consistency of political messaging.

        The latest talking points document distributed to Labor MPs, obtained by The Weekend Australian, exhorts MPs to accuse Tony Abbott of conducting a fear campaign about the carbon tax, but is liberally peppered with scary lines about the effects of not acting on climate change.

        Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.
        Related Coverage

        * ‘Gillard deceives public’ The Australian, 1 day ago
        * Labor MPs handed their carbon tax script The Australian, 1 day ago
        * New row erupts over carbon tax jibes Herald Sun, 3 days ago
        * Ruin looms on tax, warns steel boss Herald Sun, 3 days ago
        * Hockey vows to repeal tax cuts Adelaide Now, 4 days ago

        End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

        Proposed warnings to be offered include: “If we don’t act then we will see more extreme weather events like bushfires and droughts. We will have more days of extreme heat and we will see our coastline flooded as sea levels rise.

        “People in northern NSW will feel like they live in Cairns. That will affect the crops we grow, it will affect our native animals, and it will affect our lifestyles.”

        MPs are also urged to warn that extreme weather leads to associated additional deaths.

        “Sea levels could rise by up to a metre and possibly even more by the end of the century,” the document says. “Up to 250,000 existing homes are at risk of inundation. ”

        [Reply – good one – I am working on something and this fits perfectly – Thanks. V.]

  6. lawrie says:

    Although a regular at Bolt, Jo and WUWT and a few others this is my first visit here. I’m impressed with what I have seen. Thanks for the effort.

    • KevinUK says:


      Thank you for you kind comment.

      Even though we are but a ‘minnow’ in a large ocean, we do attract some interesting visitors (Hi Matt! How are things at NCDC at the moment? How are Imke and Tamara?). But for for our full-time jobs I’m sure Verity and I would blog a lot more. Thankfully we are getting more an more people who are happy to put up guest posts/threads on DITC which helps a lot. Looking at DITC’s web stats it certainly looks as though a lot more people prefer to come here to just read what we post rather than to necessarily comment on it.

      Keep coming back as we’ve got some great posts/threads in draft at the moment that will be ready for publishing very shortly (this weekend hopefully).

    • Verity Jones says:

      Lawrie, – thanks! That makes it all worthwhile (apart from it being fun too – mostly).

  7. MarkinAustin says:

    Tuning in for the first time and I too am impressed! Perhaps Anthony watts will feature one if your fine blog entries to help send your stats through the roof!

    • Verity Jones says:

      Thanks Mark. Happy enough to keep a low profile actually – the problem for me these days is getting time to do the background work to develop good posts.

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