Just like that: the suspicious solar panel disappears. The Bureau of Met experts at work?

By Jo Nova

Remember the strange solar panel that appeared a few meters due south of the Sydney Observatory thermometer at the same week as the city ended it’s coldest streak in 140 years? Well Craig Kelly, who took the original photos, went back and now its gone.

Today there is just grass and shrubs to reflect the midday sun towards the back of the thermometer box.

Sydney Observatory, Thermometer, solar panel, Jan 2023.

Photo by Craig Kelly

As Craig Kelly said: “The fact that it’s disappeared shows that it was never installed – someone at the BOM just happened to grab a random solar panel and place it at such an unexplained position…”

So much for expert rigorous science accurate to a tenth of a degree.

Kelly explains that this site is nearly invisible:  “The only way you can see it is by holding a camera above your head – it’s not visible to the eye – even if you were 6’6” and standing on your toes you can’t see over the fence – and the Observatory is closed to the public for some unknown reason.”

Perhaps the BOM just thought no one would notice, and “it’s for a good cause, eh?” We can’t have the punters thinking Sydney was cooler today than in 1883.

As I said:

The solar panel was exactly due south of the Stevenson screen on exactly the right day. If, hypothetically, someone wanted to leave a reflective object pointed at the box at midday, that’d be the place to do it.


Sydney Observatory, Thermometer, solar panel, Jan 2023.

That’s a strange spot to leave a panel… | Photo by Craig Kelly 

There’s only been one day above 30°C since Feb 21st last year in Sydney, and that was a day when the awol solar panel was there, seemingly connected to nothing and leaning on a bush.

Guilty, what? Will the BOM retract the 30.2°C “official temperature” or do secret homogenisation adjustments to figure out what the temperature might have been with thermometers 800 km away?

Solar panels only absorb 22% of the sun’s energy. They can reflect plenty of light, much more than grass would, and it’s possible that extra light heated up the Stevenson screen artificially.

 …even if somehow this solar panel didn’t change the temperature on the day, it tells us everything we need to know about the lackadaisical BOM standards. There is something profoundly dishonest about claiming they do expert science while not maintaining sites, or explaining how large the uncertainties really are, and how meaningless most “hot records” may be.

The site is a terrible site even on a good day. Ken Stewart notes the BOM’s own instructions say there should be a 30m buffer around the thermometer screen.


Google Maps of Sydney Observatory

Sydney Observatory Temperatures in Jan 2023  | Long term records of BOM site ID 066214Site metadata and maps   |   Latest Sydney Observatory temperatures (last 72 hours.)

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via JoNova


January 30, 2023 at 01:18PM

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