2013 – that was the year that was ….. hot!


The Daily Telegraph in Sydney has been mounting an extensive disinformation campaign on climate change for years now. The tactic is simple, and apparently effective, if not truthful – latch onto any isolated “fact” that seems to show some evidence of a cool world, ignore all the facts, evidence and reports to the contrary, and sneer rather than argue logically. And make sure all your columnists, cartoonists and featured letter writers are ‘on message’.

So now that 2013 is over, what does the data tell us in Australia?

The Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology

The BoM is the body charged nationally with recording all aspects of weather and making predictions. While weather forecasters are sometimes the butt of jokes, the Bureau has a good reputation and is independent of government policy. It has just released its Annual climate statement 2013.

A record breaking year for heat!

The Bureau reports that 2013 broke scores of temperature records, including:

  • 2013 was Australia’s warmest year since records began in 1910.
  • The Australian area-averaged mean, maximum and minimum temperature were all significantly above average.
  • Mean temperatures were the highest ever recorded in large areas of Australia, and in the top 10% almost everywhere.
  • Summer and Spring were both the warmest on record, and Winter the third warmest.
  • 7 January 2013 was Australia’s warmest day on record. (It was 46oC in Sydney, the hottest I have ever experienced.)
  • 31 August was the warmest Winter day on record.
  • Warm periods tended to be more frequent and to last longer.

We’re smashing the records …. We’re not tinkering away at them, they’re being absolutely blitzed.”

Andy Pitman, director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, UNSW

The folly of silly ‘analysis’

The Bureau’s report also shows up the folly of some comments by climate change sceptics. 2011 and 2012 were not as hot in Australia as previous years, so sceptics have seized on this as ‘evidence’ that climate change had slowed or perhaps was in decline, showing that it was a fake all along – ignoring the high variability in weather and the climate change predictions that variability would get even greater.

But the result for 2013 shows that these ‘lower’ temperatures in 2011 & 2012 (though they were still on the high side of average) were exactly what climate change models have predicted – high variability about an upward trend. Check out the graph. The lower temperatures for 2011 & 2012 plot to one side of the 10-year average, while 2013 plots on the other side.

Temperature graph

Say what?

Meanwhile, two Telegraph columnists sing from the same song sheet as they focus on the humour (to them) of some climate change scientists stuck in ice in Antarctica, as if that little anecdote negates all the hard scientific data. And the Prime Minister’s “top business advisor” has been quoted as saying: “The scientific delusion, the religion behind the climate crusade, is crumbling”

One wonders if there is any amount of data that would convince these sceptics.

Soon …. the world!

I’ll have a look at how the world fared in 2013 soon.

Photo: MorgueFile


  1. This is another of those very complicated areas where the layman’s opinion is not worth a light. Fortunately the scientific consensus comes to our rescue. All the premier scientific organisations in the Western World such as the Royal Society and the National Academy of Sciences have made unequivocal statements on the subject to the effect that global warming is happening and that human activity is contributing to it.

  2. Is there any country where business advisers are not among the reactionary rearguard against policies to address climate change? Climate scepticism is nothing more than a corporate PR campaign. This despite the existence of several corporations that do show that large-scale business and a sensible approach to the climate are compatible.

  3. Gordon, yes, it is amazing how newspapers with an agenda can ignore the facts so wilfully.

    IgnorantiaNescia, I can understand that having to address climate change is a hit for business, but (1) it is also an opportunity as you say, and (2) I wouldn’t mind if they disagreed about the best course of action, if only they’d recognise facts.

  4. @IgnorantiaNescia
    The boot is also on the other foot. Some businesses exaggerate some aspects of climate change in order to sell more product.

    It’s also worth noting that the temperature doesn’t need to increase for the Earth to hold more heat in its surface layers. The following are also signs of global warming irrespective of average temperatures:
    Reductions in sea ice
    Retreat of glaciers
    Deep sea water temperature
    Higher average relative humidity
    More storm energy

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