One of the things that happens when your work becomes well known is that people send you things to look at. Such is the case for today’s subject. Here we have a NOAA COOP station which is on the side of a mountain, well away from large cities. Only problem is, they put it right next to a parking lot.
A reader of this blog, Brad Herrick, sent me these photos of the Mt. Charleston weather station on State Route 157 west of Las Vegas. For those that don’t know, Mt. Charleston is the large mountain to the west that overlooks Las Vegas. NOAA lists it on it’s COOP-A list, meaning that it reports for the climatic database. It’s been in operation since 1949. Its been moved 3 times, but all within about 1/2 mile as the fire station changed and grew.
According to NOAA’s MMS database, here is the description: Elevation, 7600 feet. NV DIV OF FORESTRY FIRE STN KYLE CYN OUTSIDE AND 30 MI NW PO AT LAS VEGAS NV. Topographic Details: RUGGED DEEP CANYON .25 – .5 MILE WIDE, RISING TO PEAKS 3000-5000 FEET HIGHER TO NORTH, SOUTH AND WEST A DISTANCE OF 2 TO 4 MILES. Lat/Lon 36.2597, -115.6452 , COOP ID 265400
Seems pretty rural, with a mental image of “way up in the mountains” if you were researching this station. By James Hansen’s figuring, it would also be a “lights=0″ station since I doubt there is municipal street lighting for this area.
It’s certainly well enough away from the super sized Las Vegas concrete and asphalt heat island.
Here is the view from Google Earth:
Except for a few houses, it certainly looks “rural”. Any researcher at NCDC or maybe a university that might use this station in some research report would certainly think this station was well away from the building/concrete/asphalt influence of bustling Las Vegas wouldn’t they?
But then we see this:
Unfortunately, I don’t have a time series temperature graph of this station to show you since I haven’t found a place at NCDC yet to graph COOP stations that are COOP-A. If anybody knows of such a link, please let me know.
There’s nothing like convenient parking to convert a rural station to urban. But lets not forget the maintenance of the Stevenson Screen roof (see pic #2 -large), hillside, shade bushes, fire station building revisions, and portable storage unit. When did all that happen? We have no idea.
Surely, it’s easy to disentangle all that from the temperature record. Quick! Somebody create an adjustment equation.