Aussie Bureau of Meteorology denies it "sought to tamper" with record temperature data

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-01 15:34:43|Editor: ying

CANBERRA, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Australia's executive weather agency, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), on Tuesday denied that it "sought to tamper" with sensitive temperature data, after two whistle- blowers noticed the agency was removing extreme temperatures from its records.

Earlier this year, meteorologist Lance Pidgeon noticed that the BoM was removing data from its website - notably a -10.4 degrees Celsius reading from Goulburn on July 2. He then told a scientist who approached the BoM about the claims, but when asked about the sudden disappearance of the -10.4 reading, the BoM reinstated it to its website, raising further questions about temperature tampering.

But on Tuesday, the BoM responded to the claims in a statement which said its systems were "designed to flag unusual temperatures" for further analysis.

"Contrary to claims, the Bureau has not deliberately set limits on the temperatures it records. The Bureau's systems are designed to flag unusually high or low temperatures so they can be checked for veracity before being confirmed," the statement said.

"Through this process, it was identified that hardware at Thredbo and Goulburn was not fit-for-purpose, with outages occurring at very low temperatures below -10 degrees Celsius.

"Initial analysis indicates this has occurred on one day in Goulburn and on six days at Thredbo. The hardware was replaced as a matter of urgency.

"The CEO and Director of Meteorology Dr Andrew Johnson has established a review to ensure the matter is understood and resolved thoroughly. The panel for this review will include expertise from outside the Bureau."

The BoM also revealed that Johnson sent a letter to Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg, saying the claims that the BoM deliberately set temperature limits were "not the case" and that a review would be undertaken to determine the cause of the anomaly.

"The review will be conducted by a member of the bureau's senior leadership team and will ­involve independent external ­expertise where appropriate," the letter said.

KEY WORDS: Australia