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#1359939 - 23/01/2016 06:53 Losing faith in the BoM
Graham M Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 21/01/2002
Posts: 425
Loc: Boambee East near Coffs Harbou...
A year or two ago I posted a thread relating to consistent errors in forecast minimum temperatures in certain conditions for where I live, Coffs Harbour NSW. I demonstrated that, when the BoM was given a nudge, they lifted their game for a while, but, as the computer models were never tweaked, the errors returned. I've also in a recent thread lamented the downgrading of our met office with often no one around to maintain equipment or take manual readings of things like sunshine (I still haven't worked out why in the 21st century sunshine readings can't be automated, but that's another story.) There are a lot more holes in the data than ever before when anemometers or pluviometers require servicing or wet bulb thermometers dry up.

Forecasts are increasingly done by computer models with little or no human input. The forecast maximum temperatures for Coffs over the last few months have been extraordinarily wide of the mark, more often than not over-estimating by several degrees. The week before last on two occasions 39 was predicted two days out, later revised to the mid-thirties, but the actual maxima were in the high 20s. Two days ago a predicted 35 was 29 and yesterday 37 turned out to be 30. Our highest maximum in January has been 30 and in December 31, despite frequent forecasts much higher.

The thing is, I don't think anyone in the BoM is even noticing! If a forecaster rather than a machine was making these consistent glaring errors, I'm sure s/he would pick it up pretty quickly, and make allowances.

Now before anyone points out to me that Coffs is difficult for forecasters, let me tell you that I know this. On hotter days a few compass degrees difference in a northerly wind can mean ten degrees temperature difference. But the BoM has always done better in the past. They have gone too far down the automated path.



Edited by Graham M (23/01/2016 06:55)
Edit Reason: typo

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#1359947 - 23/01/2016 08:19 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Wave Rider Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 27/01/2014
Posts: 7212
I don't think the BoM are aware that Coffs Harbour is a coastal location.
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The longer you wait for storms, the more you appreciate them.

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#1359953 - 23/01/2016 08:40 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
logansi Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 17/11/2014
Posts: 1389
Loc: Adelaide S.A/Portland Vic
Portland Victoria suffers the same incorrect forecast but in a different way, - under forcasting. Over Christmas eve and Christmas day they were 25C out over just to days, Forecasting high 20's which reached high 30's
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Located in Adelaide or Portland Vic smile

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#1359999 - 23/01/2016 12:53 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Seira Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 27/08/2003
Posts: 7699
Loc: Adelaide Hills
On the subject of automation one might want to consider what's happening across the country.

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#1360129 - 24/01/2016 09:34 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
retired weather man Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 01/07/2007
Posts: 5019
Loc: Wynnum
As someone who left BoM as automation was rapidly taking over, with staff redundancies continuing to this day as a result, my lips are sealed.


Edited by retired weather man (24/01/2016 09:42)
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Wyn Nth 2019-Jan11.4(160),Feb47.0(146),Mar253.8(130)YTD312.2(436)

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#1360131 - 24/01/2016 09:44 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Funkyseefunkydo Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 30/04/2007
Posts: 863
Loc: East Lake Macquarie
the hunter valley can funnel wind down through Newcastle and keep the nor'easter off the coast. This can put temps well above the predicted. Not sure they can forecast that in.

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#1360138 - 24/01/2016 10:17 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Graham M Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 21/01/2002
Posts: 425
Loc: Boambee East near Coffs Harbou...
Retired weather man, I'd have liked to see what you said in the eight minutes before you edited your post! smirk (I've been interested to read your posts in the past.)

I also find it annoying that no one seems to care. Whenever the BoM puts out a media release saying how clever they are because they've got a new toy and they can now forecast seven days out, all the media outlets obligingly rush to publish it. The few investigative journalists that are left these days have better things to do than look into something as trivial as the weather. Inaccuracies are a taboo subject. Is it because most of us have low expectations, or do we just not care?

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#1360150 - 24/01/2016 11:59 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
bbowen Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 30/03/2011
Posts: 161
One quick thought....Has anyone actually got any empirical evidence of the inaccuracy of modern weather agencies (not just the BOM. My thoughts are that I think possibly peoples expectations may not be matching the reality.

Put yourself back 20 years, when people assumed that if the forecast was close enough then it was good enough, because they didn't expect much. Now put yourself in the present where we possibly assume that with all of the modern equipment we have we just assume that it should be very accurate.

It could be that if the data was analysed we may find a vast improvement ....or not. I can understand at the local level it may be more varied.

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#1360153 - 24/01/2016 12:52 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Seira Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 27/08/2003
Posts: 7699
Loc: Adelaide Hills
From my own perspective weather forecasting is only something the play around with and not take too seriously when people are not paying good money for a service.

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#1360155 - 24/01/2016 13:17 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Mike Hauber Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 13/07/2007
Posts: 3697
Loc: Buderim
Every government service has been cutting costs and privatising etc where ever possible for decades. Its the result of more of us living longer putting and additional strain on pension and health care budgets, and it being political suicide for any politician to suggest raising taxes to compensate.

Overall due to the benefits of computer models etc weather forecasting is way better than it was say 30 years ago. Sometimes I wish for the good old days when a major weather system could arrive as a surprise instead of being dissected to death in the models for days in advance.

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#1360156 - 24/01/2016 13:23 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Nerd65 Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 30/01/2011
Posts: 444
Loc: Cranbrook, Townsville
It's been said that a seven day forecast of the broad synoptic scale circulation today is as good as a three day forecast of 20 years ago and I'd believe that. The problem is when a local forecast comes straight out of a numerical model with no human interpretation. Only a skilled on site meteorologist can perform that function.
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#1360172 - 24/01/2016 15:27 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
bbowen Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 30/03/2011
Posts: 161
I understand everyone's issues regarding local automatic forecasts. But I would like to see forecast versus actual history from both today and from 10 - 30 years ago. It may be that we have come to expect something more that we never really had in the first place.

Of course I could be wrong but I would like to see the results. Perhaps RWM could give us some insight, if he is allowed/able.

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#1360177 - 24/01/2016 15:58 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Eevo Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 02/11/2013
Posts: 1696
Loc: Adelaide Hills
where else can you be consistently wrong and still get to keep your job? at the BOM!

i knew someone who worked for the BOM as a radar tech. he said the BOM have a high staff turnover, is this correct?

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#1360179 - 24/01/2016 16:05 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
bbowen Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 30/03/2011
Posts: 161
Not to target you specifically Eevo, but I think that your comment above shows maybe a lack of perspective. I think we may have lost sight that although our local obs may not be on the mark everytime (maybe even moreso) we now can predict better and further out storms - direction severity, cyclones - Direction, severity, genesis etc. where once we wouldn't have a clue. Just my thoughts. Againn Eevo not directed at you just what alot of people think in general, me included.

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#1360184 - 24/01/2016 16:32 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: bbowen]
Seira Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 27/08/2003
Posts: 7699
Loc: Adelaide Hills
Originally Posted By: bbowen
I understand everyone's issues regarding local automatic forecasts. But I would like to see forecast versus actual history from both today and from 10 - 30 years ago. It may be that we have come to expect something more that we never really had in the first place.

I'm not an expert in computer programming, but I do know the modelling we use as a guide requires input from Navier-Stokes Equations (Fluid Dynamics), and a lot of work has gone into them.

I also agree a lot of accuracy does depend on the memory (past behaviour) of the system.

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#1360196 - 24/01/2016 17:33 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: bbowen]
Eevo Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 02/11/2013
Posts: 1696
Loc: Adelaide Hills
Originally Posted By: bbowen
Not to target you specifically Eevo, but I think that your comment above shows maybe a lack of perspective. I think we may have lost sight that although our local obs may not be on the mark everytime (maybe even moreso) we now can predict better and further out storms - direction severity, cyclones - Direction, severity, genesis etc. where once we wouldn't have a clue. Just my thoughts. Againn Eevo not directed at you just what alot of people think in general, me included.


my comment is tongue in cheek. dont take it too seriously.:)

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#1360199 - 24/01/2016 18:06 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: bbowen]
ColdFront Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 29/06/2008
Posts: 18953
Loc: The Beach.
Originally Posted By: bbowen
Not to target you specifically Eevo, but I think that your comment above shows maybe a lack of perspective. I think we may have lost sight that although our local obs may not be on the mark everytime (maybe even moreso) we now can predict better and further out storms - direction severity, cyclones - Direction, severity, genesis etc. where once we wouldn't have a clue. Just my thoughts. Againn Eevo not directed at you just what alot of people think in general, me included.


I think you hit the nail on the head. I put up a fairly long winded rant about all the BoM bashing this morning and decided not to post it. If anything forecasting has gotten better over time and I can assure everyone that whinging about inaccurate forecasts occurred way back when too. BoM have always been an easy target for armchair experts that really have no idea of the complexities of the climate.

The part that has changed is how readily people blame everyone else these days and social media has been a big part in this. I could fairly accurately forecast the min-max in the tropics two to three days out most of the year particularly in Darwin, but there are so many complexities that people simply have no idea of as you head more into temperate climates like Melbourne and Sydney where troughs ,cold fronts (and more so their timing) make it extremely difficult to be right all the time. Particularly when there is often a 20 deg temp difference either side of the trough or front .

I propose those critics have a go themselves where we can all watch and judge grin .I'll go first .I reckon Darwin will be around 26 degs overnight for the next 2 months and 32 degs each day. Now for those of you in the lower half of the country smashing BoM for being a few degrees out , bang up your forecasts for the next two months day by day and let's see how you fair.

I remember not that long ago where I used to get a synoptic chart in the paper that was already a day old when the paper arrived. People these days don't know how good they've got it , but they'll whinge anyway.

*yes ,this is the short version* wink

Originally Posted By: Mike Hauber
Sometimes I wish for the good old days when a major weather system could arrive as a surprise instead of being dissected to death in the models for days in advance.


Me too. But then people would be wanting to sue BoM for lack of info as per the storm debacle in Brisbane a few years back despite being warned of severe storms on the news the previous night. Heck we even saw it on the news in Cairns, but they went and set up their marquees anyway and complained when they got blown away.
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"water has c.30x the heat capacity of air. Someone drop the penny please for those fixated on the notion that the atmosphere is the driver ( preferably in 3D)".

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#1360202 - 24/01/2016 18:23 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Seabreeze Offline
Weatherzone Moderator

Registered: 18/09/2005
Posts: 10608
Loc: South West Rocks, NSW
The errors with Coffs Harbour forecasts just seem to occur when there is above normal warmth. I can only recall it starting to be a problem around November, before that point forecast maximums were reasonably accurate (the odd big miss here and there but that kind of stuff will happen, this is now happening too often though). It's almost like they're forecasting for Grafton or some random location in the Coffs Harbour hinterland, rather than Coffs itself (was its location re-plotted in an incorrect location for some reason? e.g. during a recent upgrade?). Port Macquarie, Kempsey and Taree maximums have overall been very accurately predicted on these days. No doubt if this was occurring in a metropolitan area that it would have been rectified by now.

11/01/2016
Coffs
forecast 34, actual 29.0
Port
forecast 29, actual 28.4
Kempsey
forecast 31, actual 29.6
Taree
forecast 32, actual 31.4

12/01/2016
Coffs
forecast 33, actual 29.9 (the forecast had been a completely ridiculous 39 until the afternoon before)
Port
forecast 32, actual 30.9
Kempsey
forecast 34, actual 33.3
Taree
forecast 36, actual 36.1

13/01/2016
Coffs
forecast 34, actual 28.6
Port
forecast 30, actual 29.6
Kempsey
forecast 33, actual 31.2
Taree
forecast 31, actual 29.8

14/01/2016
Coffs
forecast 34, actual 30.2
Port
forecast 33, actual 32.2
Kempsey
forecast 35, actual 33.1
Taree
forecast 36, actual 37.0

21/01/2016
Coffs
forecast 35, actual 29.5
Port
forecast 31, actual 31.3
Kempsey
forecast 33, actual 31.7
Taree
forecast 34, actual 34.4

22/01/2016
Coffs
forecast 37, actual 30.3
Port
forecast 31, actual 31.4
Kempsey
forecast 33, actual 32.6
Taree
forecast 32, actual 34.8

Average error:
Coffs Harbour, 4.9C error
Port Macquarie, 0.6C error
Kempsey, 1.3C error
Taree, 1.0C error

Biggest error:
Coffs Harbour 6.7C
Port Macquarie 1.1C
Kempsey 1.9C
Taree 2.8C

Smallest error:
Coffs Harbour 3.1C
Port Macquarie 0.3C
Kempsey 0.4C
Taree 0.1C
_________________________
South West Rocks, NSW Mid North Coast:
March 2019 Rainfall: 161.2mm (March Avg. 185.9mm) // March 2019 Raindays: 14 (March Avg. 15.5 raindays)
Year-to-date Rainfall: 235.4mm (Jan-Mar Avg. 498.8mm) // Year-to-date Raindays: 33 (Jan-Mar Avg. 42.8 raindays)

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#1360206 - 24/01/2016 19:42 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Graham M Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 21/01/2002
Posts: 425
Loc: Boambee East near Coffs Harbou...
Thanks for those stats, Seabreeze. I haven't been organised enough to record them recently. If my memory serves me correctly there was another absurd 39 degree forecast two days out for the 14th.

And I agree, things seemed to go haywire around early November.

Our local ABC radio has a live cross to a BoM staffer each morning, and I phoned in one November morning to ask whether they had changed their algorithms for Coffs or were using different computer models. The day before I phoned, 30 degrees had been forecast and 22.5 was reached. I don't think he was happy at being ambushed. He didn't answer my question but pointed out that Coffs is a difficult place to forecast. I know, but as I pointed out, the BoM had done a good job until a few months ago.

The errors occur only when winds are roughly northerly. (The computer models don't seem to have enough faith in our seabreezes.) Today the winds were southerly and the forecast was spot on.

On one occasion last year I noticed that relative humidity readings from their AWS were about 15 to 20% out. Had been for the best part of a week. I brought it to their attention, but as there are now long periods when there's no one home, it was several days before it was fixed. Only after I'd pestered them did I receive acknowledgement and thanks for pointing it out.

And in response to the person who says many people complain too much, I agree. Social media has made it easier to whinge about anything and everything. But are you saying we should all bite our tongues when something is awry?

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#1360267 - 25/01/2016 09:19 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
retired weather man Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 01/07/2007
Posts: 5019
Loc: Wynnum
Originally Posted By: Graham M
Retired weather man, I'd have liked to see what you said in the eight minutes before you edited your post! smirk (I've been interested to read your posts in the past.)

I also find it annoying that no one seems to care. Whenever the BoM puts out a media release saying how clever they are because they've got a new toy and they can now forecast seven days out, all the media outlets obligingly rush to publish it. The few investigative journalists that are left these days have better things to do than look into something as trivial as the weather. Inaccuracies are a taboo subject. Is it because most of us have low expectations, or do we just not care?


Graham M - All I added after those 8 minutes was the bit regarding redundancies continuing to this day.

The cut backs started back in 1985, when the then 'Worlds Best Treasurer' ( how many since then ?? ) who not only sewed the seeds for where the country is today ( little local manufacturing left ), but commenced an 'annual efficiency dividend' for all Commonwealth Departments, including BoM. This was a percentage based annual reduction in spending.

As BoM is a scientific organization the stage was set for increased automation with the resultant commencement of staff reductions particularly in the operational ( Observation ) areas.

Back then there was always a high degree of quality control of our observations, almost all of which were then still performed manually. Instruments had to CLEANED AND MAINTAINED regularly, at least weekly, as they were exposed to the elements.

As AWS's started to proliferate many parallel observation sites were created to check new against the old. And yes there were some differences in characteristics between them, particularly at the extreme ends of the readings. So the arguments commenced were the old or new systems correct, with a backdrop of a subject not allowed to be discussed in these Forums looming.

But as years rolled by and the efficiency dividends tightened it was decided that AWS's were the way to go. But there are so many AWS's now they are a tech's nightmare, and the techs simply cant get around the massive array of AWS's to perform cleaning, maintenance and repair in a timely fashion compared to the manual days with a lesser network.

I think the feeling now is that with a massive array of AWS's a few malfunctioning will be ' covered ' by a close by properly working one. But I doubt it they are all cleaned as often as we did. Any by cleaning I mean inside and OUTSIDE the instrument shelters. The outsides are painted white and we cleaned them weekly. If not dust, pollution, salt, smog etc build up on the outsides and discolour the white coatings and if left unchecked more heat is absorbed by these darker colours giving rise to a potential for higher readings by the enclosed instruments whether they be manual or automatic.

And of course there are all manner or problems for the instruments themselves not reading correctly with the same build up of elements described earlier on the instruments, plus snakes, ants, wasps nests and other wildlife that feel these enclosed instrument shelters are good for them too.

In our day we checked these things daily, but now with hundreds of mostly unmanned AWS's all over maybe what I described above could have a bearing on some of the anomalies that some WZ posters are noting in there own areas.

But the dollar reigns supreme and as another poster correctly said - pensions, etc and don't forget the pollies own massive super payouts, have to be paid for.
_________________________
Wyn Nth 2019-Jan11.4(160),Feb47.0(146),Mar253.8(130)YTD312.2(436)

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#1360284 - 25/01/2016 10:07 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Graham M Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 21/01/2002
Posts: 425
Loc: Boambee East near Coffs Harbou...
Ah, the good old days! smile

You've made me feel very guilty. My Stevenson screen is lucky if it gets cleaned a couple of times a year!

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#1363437 - 02/02/2016 15:06 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
MOUNTAIN h2o Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 23/03/2012
Posts: 761
Loc: Hobart Lenah Valley Tas 198 as...
I just question why here in Hobart that the BOM always under predict what we all can see coming as a hot day. Typical examples yesterday 22 degrees predicted max and we ended up with 24.8 degrees. Again today 28 degrees predicted max , currently 31.2 degrees. It happens all the time , why ?

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#1364267 - 05/02/2016 14:25 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: retired weather man]
Trim Tab Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 22/11/2001
Posts: 527
Loc: Mount Osmond, Adelaide, South ...
Originally Posted By: retired weather man
I think the feeling now is that with a massive array of AWS's a few malfunctioning will be ' covered ' by a close by properly working one.

I was flying out to regional centres back in the late 80's just as their Flight Service Units and adjacent Met offices were closing. Automation was to take over allowing everything to continue seamlessly, using electronics they couldn't afford or was yet to be invented. Of course it didn't happen, with just the temp and wind direction the usual response to an actual destination weather report - both typically not a threat to a successful flight. I used to joke that a time lapse webcam pointed at a thermometer, barometer and with a windsock in the background would have covered what we wanted to know nicely - including rain, cloud, viz.

We certainly missed being able to simply call up the local FSU or Met office for an appreciation of the cloud base, fog or 'Was still clear to the east?', especially before we set set off to waste $1000's in fuel just to have a look.

Often all we got from the 'beep-back' radios was a beep - no temp, pressure or wind - for days on end until someone ventured out to see what was wrong with the AWS. CASA/Airservices' NAIPS system was a great idea, but took about 20 years to even become half capable of replacing a bloke on the ground.

The bean-counters responsible for the plan should have had their calculators and PCs taken away, and told to use a pencil and paper from then on :|

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#1364281 - 05/02/2016 15:24 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Dipole Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 10/01/2013
Posts: 360
Loc: Hervey Bay 48m,Tuross Head
" I used to joke that a time lapse webcam pointed at a thermometer, barometer and with a windsock in the background would have covered what we wanted to know nicely - including rain, cloud, viz"

....actually, that is not a bad idea at all.....

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#1364291 - 05/02/2016 16:27 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Graham M Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 21/01/2002
Posts: 425
Loc: Boambee East near Coffs Harbou...

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#1364293 - 05/02/2016 16:49 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Dipole Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 10/01/2013
Posts: 360
Loc: Hervey Bay 48m,Tuross Head
Originally Posted By: Graham M


"We also have the ability to automatically release weather balloons."

Now, that will interesting, hope that webcam is operating smile

Looks like a downgrading of the autosondes (their terminology).This is not looking good at all.

I note in press releases like this, it is common to end on an upbeat note, this is no exception.

"The information that's going to be available to the public is not only not going to change, it's also going to improve in its breadth, and the forecasting services that we provide are certainly going to expand as well," Mr Bergin said.

How ?


Edited by Dipole (05/02/2016 16:55)

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#1364297 - 05/02/2016 17:17 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
GoldCoast Steve Offline
Cloud Gazer

Registered: 19/08/2015
Posts: 21
Loc: Mermaid Beach Qld
With all the forecasts being computer generated these days, it wouldn't surprise me if the BoM closed down the all Capital City offices as well in future. All daily forecasts would generate and come out of the Docklands Melbourne head office.

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#1364312 - 05/02/2016 18:37 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
retired weather man Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 01/07/2007
Posts: 5019
Loc: Wynnum
GoldCoast Steve, As I am an ex insider, you've got it in one....

Also with no one to regularly CLEAN the equipment, there could be some fairly high temps on some occasions.

When we manned the stations, not only did we open the screens multiple times daily to read the equipment, we also kicked out the various wild life that would take up residence inside, sometimes on top of the equipment or nestled around it in the case of snakes.

We washed the screens inside and out to keep them white to reflect the heat. If not washed, over time red dust or black soot in cities, and near airports would build up on the outsides and help to absorb more heat, which of course would raise temps a certain amount, not too good in these days of uncertain global temperature times.

Also with the weather balloons which now are automatically filled and released by the press of a button a few hundred kms away, there could be more failures in bad weather.

With the automated system set amounts of gas are put into the balloons. In rain, the balloons and targets get heavier and ice up soon after the freezing level which varies from about 17000ft in the tropics to below 10000ft in the south. The ice builds up and eventually stops the balloon ascent. So when we would manually inflate the balloons in bad weather, we would 'bomb' the balloons, meaning adding more gas to help get them through the icing up stage.

But of course all these minor problems of accuracy and reliability mean little when the almighty dollar reigns supreme ( not BoM's fault by the way - they have to follow Govt monetary policy ).


Edited by retired weather man (05/02/2016 18:39)
_________________________
Wyn Nth 2019-Jan11.4(160),Feb47.0(146),Mar253.8(130)YTD312.2(436)

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#1364488 - 06/02/2016 09:24 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Graham M Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 21/01/2002
Posts: 425
Loc: Boambee East near Coffs Harbou...
Retired Weather Man: I know it is desirable to keep Stevenson screens clean, but as I said in a previous post, I don't clean them nearly as often as you say is necessary. If I lived close to a smokestack at a factory I'd probably do so more often, but the air is pretty clean here, so unless I develop a Lady Macbeth complex, I don't see any reason to clean it "at least weekly". By how much would this affect temperatures? I'd be surprised if it were more than a tenth of a degree. I can live with that. Apart from laziness, the other reason I don't clean the screen more often is that whenever I do, it leaves a gap of an hour or two in the data while the cleaning takes place and it all dries out again. I try to do it on a day when conditions are pretty stable, then I usually guess the missing data and add it manually, but this probably introduces greater inaccuracy than just leaving it alone, and cleaning it every few months.

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#1364503 - 06/02/2016 10:52 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
RC Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 29/09/2007
Posts: 2544
Loc: near Rockhampton, Qld
You can blame societies insatiable demand for improved health services and welfare handouts for the BOM cost cutting decisions. They get less money as more money has to go into the black money hole that is health and welfare.

The ponzi scheme is slowly nearing it's peak.

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#1364510 - 06/02/2016 11:23 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
retired weather man Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 01/07/2007
Posts: 5019
Loc: Wynnum
Graham M, The reason I have detailed these requirements was the Bureau's then insatiable need for accuracy.

BTW, another thing I forgot to mention are the automatic rain gauges. They rely on the tipping bucket principle. Usually a piece of gauze was inserted in the hole of the collection funnel to stop debris etc entering the gauge. This works well but it too needed cleaning as wasps loved building their mud nests there and debris builds up slowing the flow of rain into the gauge and thereby altering intensity readings.

Also the buckets themselves, accurate to 0.2mm - Whether or not gauze is added, dust, dirt, soot builds up in the buckets and if not cleaned out the bucket volume is decreased making the buckets tip more often, having the effect of over reading the rain. Also if no rain has fallen for a long time one bucket gets a build up, the other one doesn't thereby altering the delicate balance of the two buckets, once again causing incorrect rain.

As I live near a rail line with uncovered coal trains 24/7, plus an industrial area stretching upwind 10 km in NW to N winds ( good for my asthma !!!), I have to clean these buckets every few weeks to clean out the black sludge.

I realize the above seems finicky, but I am pointing out the high standards we had to follow on manned stations, these standards seeming to now slip particularly these days when a 0.1C temperature increase causes front page headlines.
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Wyn Nth 2019-Jan11.4(160),Feb47.0(146),Mar253.8(130)YTD312.2(436)

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#1364516 - 06/02/2016 11:44 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Graham M Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 21/01/2002
Posts: 425
Loc: Boambee East near Coffs Harbou...
RWM, I'm happy to report that I clean my tipping bucket gauge much more often than the Stevenson screen. (I also calibrate it every now and then.) I have a lemon-scented gum quite near the gauge (tsk, tsk) which drops all sorts of debris. On several occasions when I've spent several weeks overseas I've returned home to find a big pool in the top of the gauge after the central tube has become clogged. There's a plastic mesh, but it doesn't stop this happening. I missed some record-breaking falls in 2009 (anecdotally 450 mm in 24 hours) thanks to a clogged rain gauge. (On these occasions the BoM's gauge was underwater!) When I go away I have a charming neighbour who collects my mail and discards all the junk catalogues etc, but I haven't had the courage yet to ask her to periodically clean my rain gauge. Maybe one day I will frown


Edited by Graham M (06/02/2016 11:46)

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#1364523 - 06/02/2016 12:25 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: retired weather man]
Thunderstruck Offline
Lightning man

Registered: 10/05/2001
Posts: 14994
Loc: Seaford Meadows, SA
Originally Posted By: retired weather man
GoldCoast Steve, As I am an ex insider, you've got it in one....

Also with no one to regularly CLEAN the equipment, there could be some fairly high temps on some occasions.

When we manned the stations, not only did we open the screens multiple times daily to read the equipment, we also kicked out the various wild life that would take up residence inside, sometimes on top of the equipment or nestled around it in the case of snakes.

We washed the screens inside and out to keep them white to reflect the heat. If not washed, over time red dust or black soot in cities, and near airports would build up on the outsides and help to absorb more heat, which of course would raise temps a certain amount, not too good in these days of uncertain global temperature times.

Also with the weather balloons which now are automatically filled and released by the press of a button a few hundred kms away, there could be more failures in bad weather.

With the automated system set amounts of gas are put into the balloons. In rain, the balloons and targets get heavier and ice up soon after the freezing level which varies from about 17000ft in the tropics to below 10000ft in the south. The ice builds up and eventually stops the balloon ascent. So when we would manually inflate the balloons in bad weather, we would 'bomb' the balloons, meaning adding more gas to help get them through the icing up stage.

But of course all these minor problems of accuracy and reliability mean little when the almighty dollar reigns supreme ( not BoM's fault by the way - they have to follow Govt monetary policy ).


Had to do that many times in Darwin to penetrate thick Nimbostratus or Altostratus, sometimes it worked, but often it did not if the deck was thick enough, I found the bigger sfc area of the balloon just allowed a greater weight of ice to form effectively cancelling the extra gas efforts out. Worked well for thinner layers though.

Don't have such a problem in Adelaide as it doesn't rain enough.

TS cool

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#1364561 - 06/02/2016 16:30 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
retired weather man Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 01/07/2007
Posts: 5019
Loc: Wynnum
Originally Posted By: Graham M
RWM, I'm happy to report that I clean my tipping bucket gauge much more often than the Stevenson screen. (I also calibrate it every now and then.) I have a lemon-scented gum quite near the gauge (tsk, tsk) which drops all sorts of debris. On several occasions when I've spent several weeks overseas I've returned home to find a big pool in the top of the gauge after the central tube has become clogged. There's a plastic mesh, but it doesn't stop this happening. I missed some record-breaking falls in 2009 (anecdotally 450 mm in 24 hours) thanks to a clogged rain gauge. (On these occasions the BoM's gauge was underwater!) When I go away I have a charming neighbour who collects my mail and discards all the junk catalogues etc, but I haven't had the courage yet to ask her to periodically clean my rain gauge. Maybe one day I will frown


Now you can see why I made my comments about the new regime of unmanned stations. I wasn't being sensationalist.
_________________________
Wyn Nth 2019-Jan11.4(160),Feb47.0(146),Mar253.8(130)YTD312.2(436)

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#1365624 - 13/02/2016 18:15 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
MOUNTAIN h2o Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 23/03/2012
Posts: 761
Loc: Hobart Lenah Valley Tas 198 as...
One would have thought that when Hobart peaked last evening at 27 degrees that the BOM would have adjusted todays forecast up from 27 degrees. But no , and guess what 30.3 degrees .

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#1367088 - 23/02/2016 15:22 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
J Pabo Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 12/10/2012
Posts: 429
Loc: Clydesdale NSW
I am just putting this forward:

If the BOM is not cleaning and maintaining their equipment as thoroughly as they had in the past (as per RWM posts), would you be expecting that the rest of the world's Meteorological Services being doing the same, due to the winding down of their funding?

Would this also be a cause of global warming, due to not cleaning and calibrating their equipment to a high standard thus giving our false readings?

If that is the case then, any Meteorological department that is not taking the proper procedures and maintenance of their equipment would be failing as scientists, due to the data being contaminated and falsely analysed. This would also give fuel to the those who are saying that the "greenhouse" and "global warming" is just false, because the data that these "scientists" is inaccurate!

Can the BOM and government somehow rectify this situation with little cost? I think they can, especially now that unemployment is rising due to a slowing economy, and that those who are receiving unemployment benefits can be used maintaining these equipment with the adequate training as work for the dole scheme. But wouldn't that be essentially be re-employing staff from the BOM that have been made redundant previously, only to do their job on a lower pay?? Talk about Work-Choices!!! crazy

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#1378619 - 07/06/2016 09:56 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
kizz Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 11/02/2002
Posts: 2152
Loc: Beacon Hill, Sydney 152m asl
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national...606-gpcc32.html

I wonder if this is part of the stuff that Blair does where there is always older data that has yet to be digitised.

I have done this stuff in the past. Actuary tables and insurance data sets etc.
Scan and OCR. Any errors can be manually checked.

Couldn't you get some meteorology or climatology students to do this? Great opportunity for them to get some paid work and a bit of exposure to the BoM's work.

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#1383806 - 02/08/2016 12:56 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Stace84 Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 17/04/2011
Posts: 111
Loc: Toowoomba
Sorry to resurrect this thread, haven't been here in quite a while.

I knew the govt was cutting funding to the BoM, but I had no idea it was getting THIS bad.

I am an active member of the ALP in North Toowoomba, I am willing to put forward a motion to be carried at a national level to have funding increased if anyone would like to get in touch with me with details on what is currently being done at the BoM now as far as services go and any suggestions on what should be done to improve. I won't be able to do it at this month's meeting as I already have 3 major motions to put forward to go to the regional conference next week, but I can get one ready before the National conference (no idea when that one is yet, will have to ask someone).

Just shoot me a private message if you want to chat about it.
_________________________
The best way to conquer our fears is to face them head on, and go Leroy Jenkins on it.

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#1483047 - 29/12/2018 13:44 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Graham M Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 21/01/2002
Posts: 425
Loc: Boambee East near Coffs Harbou...
Three years on, and nothing much has changed. This time the forecasts are way out in the other direction. Our forecast maxima have consistently been four to six degrees too low for a while now. Yesterday we reached 29, and as far as I could see, with a strengthening northerly influence, it would be much the same today. But the BoM predicted 24. It was 29 again.

Computer-generated forecasts often are accurate. But there are occasions when the algorithms are plain wrong for extended periods. A real live forecaster with his feet on the ground would never make the same mistakes.

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#1483062 - 29/12/2018 17:52 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Petros Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 30/12/2002
Posts: 7897
Loc: Maffra, Central Gippsland, Vi...
The BOM do an excellent job in predicting temps and rainfall in my location Nth Gipplsand Victoria.

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#1483072 - 29/12/2018 18:49 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
retired weather man Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 01/07/2007
Posts: 5019
Loc: Wynnum
Here too at Wynnum North - OCF is the closest here.
_________________________
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#1489077 - 04/02/2019 11:49 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Graham M Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 21/01/2002
Posts: 425
Loc: Boambee East near Coffs Harbou...
Things improved slightly after my December post, but still over the five weeks the BoM has underestimated the Coffs maximum every day!

The weather patterns have been very similar to those in 2016 described at the start of this thread, with maxima usually within a degree or two of thirty. But back then the forecasts were in the low- to mid-thirties, this year they've been around 8 lower.

I haven't been assiduously taking notes (like you did above, Seabreeze?), and I've been overseas some of the time, so I just might have missed one or two occasions when they got it right. But it's tiresome to me and the small percentage of locals who give a rats' that the forecast this summer has almost always been two or three degrees low.

I'm reminded of occasions when the authorities alter the sequence and timing of traffic lights to reduce a perceived traffic flow problem, but end up making matters worse. After a week or two they revert to the earlier pattern, conceding that was the best available after all. It would appear that when the BoM tweaks their algorithms, there is little or no checking whether they've got it right. In this instance, being a few degrees out each day might be acceptable to some but when it's always the same direction over a period of months?


Edited by Graham M (04/02/2019 11:55)

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#1489101 - 04/02/2019 16:56 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
retired weather man Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 01/07/2007
Posts: 5019
Loc: Wynnum
Gong back a few decades - Persistence forecasting ( averages ) - error rate +/- 5 degs, before " please explain ". Don't know what the rate is now.
_________________________
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#1489107 - 04/02/2019 17:57 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Vinnie Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 17/05/2006
Posts: 6699
Loc: Mulambin , Yeppoon Central Qld
BOM was saying for days Yeppoon 30 deg , and every day it hit 29 deg . So close but wrong .

Also said rain periods today and then changed it to a shower or two, but initially 2 days ago the forecast was for a shower or two.

Sometimes it is easier to just not rely on the BOM for forecasts.


Edited by Vinnie (04/02/2019 17:58)
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#1489124 - 04/02/2019 19:21 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
bbowen Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 30/03/2011
Posts: 161
Vinnie have a think about alllllll the variables that go into a prediction, and you are concerned that they were off by a degree. Some perspective is needed I think.

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#1489142 - 04/02/2019 21:10 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Vinnie]
Graham M Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 21/01/2002
Posts: 425
Loc: Boambee East near Coffs Harbou...
Vinnie, if the BoM were consistently one degree out for us here I'd be over the moon.

The three reasons most people I speak to have no faith in BoM forecasts for Coffs ...

(1) The weather station is in a location not representative of most of the city. It's very close to the coast, whereas the city is a few kilometres inland. The city and western suburbs are frequently five or more degrees warmer during the day.
(2) Forecasts don't include humidity which to many is a more important indicator of comfort than temperature. (When I raised this with the BoM a year or two ago they directed me to an obscure page labelled "beta" that included humidity in its three-hour forecasts but you really have to look hard.)
(3) As is the theme of this thread, forecasts sometimes mysteriously stray way off the mark and remain so for weeks or months.


Edited by Graham M (04/02/2019 21:11)

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#1489144 - 04/02/2019 21:10 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: bbowen]
Homer Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 16/06/2007
Posts: 6203
Loc: Dural
Originally Posted By: bbowen
Vinnie have a think about alllllll the variables that go into a prediction, and you are concerned that they were off by a degree. Some perspective is needed I think.


Exactly!!
The BOM aren't perfect, and that's perfectly understandable. The climate and day to day weather are still really an inexact science. Yes, they get it wrong occasionally, but
overall, I think it would be a bastard of a job and they do pretty well with the majority of their forecasts.
In the end, it's beyond their control to keep everyone happy with whatever forecast they put out. A general forecast for an area will have one person saying they got it wrong because it didn't rain in their backyard, and they'll have a 100 people happy because it did.

My advice is to stay away from social media platforms and comments on the weather. The absolutely killer of of society

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#1489162 - 05/02/2019 07:48 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
ozone doug Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 06/11/2006
Posts: 1908
Loc: Roma SW QLD Eye to the West...
Worried about 1 deg .Imagine no internet ,power ,tv,radio after a solar storm . You will have to learn to look outside away from the keyboard. And well said Homer
_________________________
Cheers Doug. 491 Doug/ uhf ch40 When severe weather
BOM Stormspotter G0388 Roma S W Queensland Formerly Redcliffe.

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#1489163 - 05/02/2019 08:00 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
ozone doug Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 06/11/2006
Posts: 1908
Loc: Roma SW QLD Eye to the West...
Timed out on me lol.I have been trying to get several home weather stations accrete with Stevenson screens and haven't even come close lol.
Can get most things close but temp have delay in readings and higher temp readings are high ,colder temps are close. When i get to 1 deg out i will be happy. lol
_________________________
Cheers Doug. 491 Doug/ uhf ch40 When severe weather
BOM Stormspotter G0388 Roma S W Queensland Formerly Redcliffe.

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#1489166 - 05/02/2019 08:30 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: ozone doug]
Graham M Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 21/01/2002
Posts: 425
Loc: Boambee East near Coffs Harbou...
I assume you meant to reply to Vinnie, not me?

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#1489167 - 05/02/2019 08:32 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
retired weather man Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 01/07/2007
Posts: 5019
Loc: Wynnum
Everywhere there are micro climates. So The BoM site their equipment as representative of the " general area ".

It is impossible to satisfy all.

The only way to satisfy all seems to be to have an AWS on every hill or slight rise in the ground, in every gully or slight depression in the ground, on every building, in every yard, on every footpath - and so on - and average out the lot, or have a forecast for every 10 metres along the ground and every metre above the ground.

A similar argument continues to rage along in another thread regarding sea temperatures.
_________________________
Wyn Nth 2019-Jan11.4(160),Feb47.0(146),Mar253.8(130)YTD312.2(436)

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#1489168 - 05/02/2019 08:39 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: retired weather man]
Graham M Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 21/01/2002
Posts: 425
Loc: Boambee East near Coffs Harbou...
Originally Posted By: retired weather man
It is impossible to satisfy all.


So you strive to satisfy the majority.

Their site is not representative of the city.


Edited by Graham M (05/02/2019 08:40)

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#1489170 - 05/02/2019 09:13 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
ozone doug Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 06/11/2006
Posts: 1908
Loc: Roma SW QLD Eye to the West...
My comments were mine not at anybody.Everyone is free to say what they like.
I am going to move my Stevenson screen into the shade a bit more as i seem to get higher temps when the box gets direct sunlight . I did install a computer fan on a solar panel to circulate the air from the bottom but didn't make much difference. Bit like antennas keep playing till you like it lol.


Edited by ozone doug (05/02/2019 09:21)
_________________________
Cheers Doug. 491 Doug/ uhf ch40 When severe weather
BOM Stormspotter G0388 Roma S W Queensland Formerly Redcliffe.

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#1490694 - 17/02/2019 14:33 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Graham M Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 21/01/2002
Posts: 425
Loc: Boambee East near Coffs Harbou...
In the fortnight since my last post, I've gathered some statistics ...



Standard deviation of errors is 2.9 degrees (if my calculations are correct!).

(The forecast maximum for February 13 was revised up from 34 to 37 on the morning of February 13, which would make the error -2.9 for that day.)

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#1490778 - 18/02/2019 00:53 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
marakai Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 05/01/2006
Posts: 2154
Loc: Maryfarms NQ
Urban island effect ?

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#1492737 - 01/03/2019 11:51 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Graham M Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 21/01/2002
Posts: 425
Loc: Boambee East near Coffs Harbou...
Looks like someone's finally tweaked something, after three months! The last ten days have been back to the BoM's usual accuracy standards, usually within a degree or two, and the errors have not all been in the same direction: +1.1, -0.3, -2.0, -1.2, -2.0, -1.2, +0.6, -0.7, -0.5, -1.2

Standard deviation of the errors for the ten days February 19-28 was a much better 1.2

It's still a worry how it seems comeone can input a dodgy variable and not notice for months.

But for now, thank you BoM, thank you Blair, thank you ball boys.


Edited by Graham M (01/03/2019 11:54)

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#1492741 - 01/03/2019 12:18 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Petros Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 30/12/2002
Posts: 7897
Loc: Maffra, Central Gippsland, Vi...
Did I read somewhere that the BOM has performed a recent re-tweek of Aus historic temperature records which resulted in the ABC telling us we've had a record hot February?

....or was it just twitter noise?

For the record, February here in SE Vic was another cool one, as was last years. In Gippsland not a single 40C day, the month also contained a week of quite cool and cloudy weather. ......which saved "Lights-Off" Lily (our energy minister) further embarrassment.

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#1492764 - 01/03/2019 16:50 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Funkyseefunkydo Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 30/04/2007
Posts: 863
Loc: East Lake Macquarie
So BoM were pretty spot on with there summer temp outlook.

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#1494122 - 13/03/2019 17:19 Re: Losing faith in the BoM [Re: Graham M]
Delta-T Online   content
Weather Freak

Registered: 21/01/2011
Posts: 133
Loc: Peachester
I've discovered a massive problem with the BOM.

If you're on Mt Kanigan radar you can't click to Mt Staplton in one go. I've written to the suggestion box pointing this out three times! (I actually have) and no-one seems to want to get off their fat, bought and paid for asses and fix it. How can we trust them with other stuff like weather forecasts or sigmets...

No more Mr Nice guy, I'm calling it out right now if you want proof click here for the smoking gun. All it needs is one more effing arrow, typical.

And btw, there is no way the ECS is under 3.


Edited by Delta-T (13/03/2019 17:20)

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