How not to measure temperature, part 88 – Honolulu’s Official Temperature ±2

People send me stuff, some days my email explodes. Today I got all sorts of things about Obama and John Holdren and the new NCDC climate spincycle which Steve McIntyre has dubbed Chucky Returns Part IV. That one made me laugh out loud.

Something else that made me laugh today was this well done story (h/t to Andrew Walden) from reporter Tina Chau of KGMB-TV in Honolulu, HI. The NWS spokesman Tom Birchard was clearly flummoxed, and at the end of the interview said exactly what I’ve always said about the ASOS system and measurement of climate data at airports. Comedian George Carlin was right in his “Hippy dippy weatherman routine”: Why do they always give the temperature for the airport? Nobody LIVES there!

“ASOS…placed for aviation purposes…not necessarily for  climate purposes.”


Yet, ASOS weather stations at airports worldwide are in fact used for climate, and are part of the official climate record. In the US alone, there are 64 ASOS stations (that I’ve found so far) in the official USHCN climate record, plus there are hundreds in GHCN worldwide.  In my studies of the USHCN temperature network, I’ve found dozens of such poor siting examples even at non-airports. See my report here (PDF, 4 MB).

Our old friend the ASOS and HO-83 temperature sensors may be up to tricks again in Honolulu. It seems the temperature is a wee bit off and new records are being set by the ASOS weather station at the airport. I’m reminded of the similar situation in Tucson years ago that went on a long time before anybody caught it. I’ve found the HNL station, seen below. It is located at lat/lon 21.32403 -157.939467 There’s more than meets the eye. More after the news story.

Honolulu Airport Weather Station - click for live interactive map view

Honolulu Airport Weather Station - click for live interactive map view


Honolulu Temperature Records Questioned

Written by Tina Chau

The high in Honolulu Monday was 92 degrees. It was the hottest June 15 since the National Weather Service started keeping track and the 8th straight day we’ve broken or tied a record. But was it really that hot?

That’s what the experts at the NWS have been wondering. They settled their suspicions with a trip to the airport to check Honolulu’s official temperature sensor.

“We had one of our technicians visit the site and they did a side-by-side calibration and found the thermometer at the Honolulu International Airport was reading a little warmer than what his caliberation thermometer was reading,” said Tom Birchard, a meteorologist at the NWS.

It was two degrees warmer. There’s some wiggle room with the accuracy of the temperature sensor.

“Which means, if the reading is 90, the thermometer is only accurate to read within about two degrees so it could be anywhere between 88 degrees and 92 degrees.

Which means our records these past eight days may not be records after all.

“If it turns out, after further investigation of the thermometer the data were skewed,” said Birchard, “they could be stricken.”


Now see these ground level photos I’ve found of the HNL ASOS courtesy of NCDC’s photo library of ASOS weather stations.

Not only is there a faulty sensor at HNL, as indicated by the NWS meteorologist in the news story, take a good look at the site photo below.  The HO-83 temperature sensor is the little white mushroom shaped device.

Hygrothermometer

The HO83 ASOS thermohygrometer - the same type used in Honolulu

Honolulu ASOS looking south - click for larger image

Honolulu ASOS looking south - click for larger image

There’s an asphalt access road directly adjacent to the ASOS temperature sensor. Plus a heat generating power transformer, and the requisite air conditioner exhaust for the ILS electronics building.

As we know from common experience, temperatures are almost always warmer near asphalt than natural soil or ground cover. From a scientific perspective we can cite either Yilmaz et al (PDF 2008 ) and the measurements of temperature differences over such surfaces, or we can reference NOAA’s Climate Reference Network Handbook which rates the likely temperature error of such placements.

See the Climate Reference Network Site Handbook (PDF 2002) including explanation of the CRN 1-5 rating system used by surfacestations.org

Honolulu ASOS looking southwest - click for larger image

Honolulu ASOS looking southwest - click for larger image

Honolulu ASOS looking north

Honolulu ASOS looking north - click for larger image

How close is the temperature sensor to the asphalt? I decided to use Google Earth’s measurement tool:

Honolulu ASOS measurement view - click for larger image

Honolulu ASOS measurement view - click for larger image

The answer: 1.6 meters, about 5 feet.

But what’s a little asphalt when the temperature sensor is surrounded by a sea of it at HNL?

Honolulu's ASOS temperature sensor - surrounded by asphalt - click for larger image

Honolulu's ASOS temperature sensor - surrounded by asphalt - click for larger image

The 2 degree temperature error in the ASOS record was only found because it exceeded the June 15th high temperature record for Honolulu. It seemed “odd” enough for somebody to check to be sure.

Honolulu surface temperature record - source NASA GISS

Honolulu Airport GISS surface temperature record plot - source NASA GISS

So the question we have now is, how much of the data in the plot above from NASA GISS is from influences such as urban growth, airport expansion, etc.  I’ve confirmed that GISS uses the Honolulu Airport for climate data since their ID of 425911820000:

GISS_honolulu_numericID

click for larger image

Matches that of the National Climatic Data Center description for Honolulu Airport’s WMO code (91182)

click for larger image

click for larger image

Note the big step change in 1960 in the HNL airport data plot. Hawaii became the 50th US state in 1959. So it would stand to reason that 1960 would be a period of growth at the airport, or perhaps a station move to a warmer location. According to the National Climate Data Center, the ASOS station was installed on February 1st, 1998. Since then, the temperature swings appear to have been larger than in prior years.

But the nearby Honolulu Observatory temperature record doesn’t seem to have much of a trend, though it no longer measures temperature for climate records, a pity:

Honolulu Observatory GISS station plot

Honolulu Observatory GISS surface temperature record plot - click for larger image

When dealing with climate change, it is generally accepted that the amount of temperature rise attributable is about 0.7°C or about 1.3°F. With errors of 2 degrees or more creeping into the climate record due to faulty equipment and poor station placement, are we so certain?

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81 Responses to How not to measure temperature, part 88 – Honolulu’s Official Temperature ±2

  1. Mike Bryant says:

    Wow… People are waking up and understanding that all is not as it appears…

  2. Squidly says:

    HA, only 2 degrees hot? I’ve been there several times, I am quite amazed that it is only hot by 2 degrees. That airport is like sanding in the center of hell. Surrounded by lava rock and asphalt. I cannot believe they would even remotely consider placing a temperature gauge anywhere near there.

  3. Squidly says:

    sorry .. should be: “standing in the center of hell” .. although, sanding in hell is not a bad analogy either .. ;-)

  4. DoctorJJ says:

    And certainly exhaust gasses from all the jets taking off and landing wouldn’t have ANY affect on the temperature readings in the surrounding area. LOL!!!

  5. Halfwise says:

    But of course if you have a large number of sample points, their individual quality doesn’t matter, right? Isn’t that how science gets “settled”?

    It would be useful to have reliable data before taking bold and decisive steps towards crippling the economy of the developed world.

    //Irony off//

  6. IW says:

    Considering that so many “records” and official measurements are made at airports, one must wonder about the relatively localized effects, even for things like precipitation when there are strong thermals after a sunny day. Temperature may be just the tip of the iceberg.

    Apologies for asking here: I would like to submit a guest post for consideration, but I have failed to find a mechanism to do that here. Please contact me!

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    And, of course, since GIStemp can smear a temperature over 1500 km around, who knows how much “ocean” was warmed by the same sensor…

  8. Dave Wendt says:

    I’ve often wondered if in these poorly sited urban stations there might not be an additional stacking effect that should be considered. If the UHI is raising the ambient temperature of the general locale, might not the individual heat island effects of a poorly sited station be providing a stronger amplification that the siting protocols do not seem to consider?

  9. Kirk W. Hanneman says:

    It would be very interesting to find out what happened at the site in the late ’50s that suddenly temperatures increased dramatically thereafter. Aren’t there any clues here?

  10. Andrew says:

    Is there any record of the sequence of construction at the airport? When was the runway asphalted for example? I would hazard a guess and say that there was major construction in the early 1960s.

  11. klockarman says:

    This is very off-topic, and my intention was to have the moderator delete this message after it is forwarded to Anthony.

    Anthony,

    Here’s a story in my local paper, The Oregonian. It’s about Jack Capell who was one of the first TV meteorologists in town. He just passed away at 86.

    Anyway, the really interesting part of the story is the adventure that Capell experienced forecasting the 1962 Columbus Day storm – which is the storm that all other storms are compared to in the Northwest. It is a must read. It shows just how far we’ve come technology wise. I’m sure you’re aware of the advances from personal experience, but still, this is a good story.

    http://blog.oregonlive.com/weather/2009/06/jack_capell_the_forecaster_who.html

    An excerpt:

    Then he began to watch the teletype. It wasn’t what it said. It was what it didn’t say. Like dominoes falling, the reports stopped coming in.

    First, Coos Bay fell silent. Then other stations along the Southern Oregon coast stopped transmitting. They all depended on electricity, and the power was going off.

    “That’s the only way we could tell where the storm was,” Capell said. “There was no power. There were no reports.”

  12. rbateman says:

    +- 2 Degrees. Wow.
    That’s what I would call a very bad make of thermometer or one busted piece of equipment.
    I would think that for all the money they spend on that equipment they could at least equal what you can buy in the store (nearest 0.1 degree F).
    Now I do know from attending a USFS fire station sensor replacement (lifted from another site that was malfunctioning….budget problems) that some sensors are encased in a rather hefty chunk of metal pipe. The tech at the site told me they were state of the art, replacing the platinum wire thing, something about a gizmo that oscillates rapidly.
    Anyway, the handheld unit used to check on the offending station read 3 degrees cooler than the heavy-metal encased sensor. Attached by a very stout metal arm to a very hot aluminum pole. All that metal. Fine for worst case fire weather. Fine for recording the temp of the runways. Bad for reporting to the local weather forecast. Great input for your rapidly warming globe models.
    Look at the bright side: If your house forecloses and you have to live under a freeway overpass, you’ll know how hot it will be 10 feet away. And if you decide to make a tarmac your home, you’re all set.

  13. rbateman says:

    Has anyone else had the honor of holding the great wad of metal that passes for an official temperature sensor? Are any of them plastic encased? Do some of them use the platinum wire method (pre-calibrated by length)? Are they mostly the fancy bifurcating special formula kind that go haywire on a regular basis?
    Just curious.

  14. steven mosher says:

    Anthony don’t forget that Parker’s study on UHI used largely ASOS stations.

  15. steven mosher says:

    It’s accuracy is only +-2 degrees but phil Jones, climate scientist, will tell you that if you read this sensor 30 times in a month the error goes down and you can know the monthly average with more precision that the daily temp.

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    Tangential:

    So, Hawaii is where we measure co2 at Mauna Loa. And we have from:

    http://www.andhawaii.com/hawaii/big-island/volcano/index.html

    “The Kilauea Volcano is mostly located within the boundaries of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, on the southeastern flank of Mauna Loa (mountain and volcano) in the Puna and Kau districts of the Big Island of Hawaii. It covers over 13% of the Big Island.”

    And from:

    http://www.seablogger.com/?cat=22 we have:

    Kilauea Chiasmus
    volcanoes by seablogger
    The summit eruption of Kilauea began in March, 2008, with the explosive opening of a vent in Halema’uma’u crater. Over the months, collapse by collapse, explosion by explosion, the vent has grown to a great funnel, hundreds of meters deep, with lava sometimes churning at the bottom.

    Kilauea’s east rift eruption, which began in 1983, may finally shut down before much longer. For months SO2 release from the Pu’u O’o vent has been decreasing, while release at Halema’uma’u has remained rather steady, despite short-term fluctuations. Now in the daily status report I learn that summit SO2 release exceeds that of the east rift for the first time.

    Now, maybe I’m a bit slow… But I was on The Big Island about 30 years ago and there was no volcanic activity. I was really bummed because I wanted to see some lava, and there was none. Not too long after leaving a small bit of volcanic action started. Eventually it grew (even swallowing the volcano visitor center I’d gone to). Now it seems, from the above posting, that things are pretty well active and have been for a while.

    So tell me again exactly how they manage to make clean measurements of CO2 when they have massive volcanic emissions going on, increasing relatively steadily over time? How did they go from near zero volcanism to a yawning crater with lava pool and keep a calibrated zero?

  17. Tom in South Jersey says:

    ASOS observations at airports are important for such things as calculating density altitude so that pilots can determine take off performance of their aircraft, amongst other things. Planes won’t perform as well on hot humid days as they will on a cool dry day. In some extreme cases, certain aircraft may not be able to take off from airports with a high density altitude and shorter runways. This is especially true in smaller aircraft, but will apply to air transport aircraft as the pilot determines accelerate stop distances, weight and balance with baggage and fuel requirements etc. I would say it’s important to know what the temperature near the runway is and it would be best to err on the high side than the low side so that performance calculations are conservative. Naturally this is not helpful for climate and probably never should have been used as such in the first place.

    If we go back far enough in aviation history you will find most airports being named “field,” and as such were really were open grass fields. It wasn’t until the approach of WWII and the advent of aircraft the size of the DC-3 and larger that they began to pave over the airfields with asphalt and concrete.

    I believe the first place that the term “airport” was used was at Bader Field in Atlantic City, which is now closed. Ironic since it was known as Bader Field and not Bader Airport.

  18. DR says:

    It’s not the temperature that’s important, it’s the anomaly! Everybody knows that…..:)

    Bad data + right answer= ?

  19. E.M.Smith says:

    Kirk W. Hanneman (20:44:34) : It would be very interesting to find out what happened at the site in the late ’50s that suddenly temperatures increased dramatically thereafter. Aren’t there any clues here?

    My guess would be the onset of the jet age…

  20. cobra says:

    I propose that the temperature sensor be moved to a more suitable location, perhaps in one of the islands active volcanoes.

  21. Nasif Nahle says:

    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/asos/pdfs/aum-toc.pdf

    Please, crack down on the section 1.4 on “Quality Control”. ;)

    In passing, the temperature reported by the official weather station at MIA is almost always around 1.2 °C above or below our records. I suspect the technicians make some adjustments from time to time. Unfortunately, MIA is no more an unrestricted airport; it’s a private development which belongs to OMA, so I think they wouldn’t grant me permission for taking some photos of their weather station.

    REPLY: No need. See http://www4.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-win/wwcgi.dll?wwDI~StnPhoto~20004250~a~225

  22. Leon Brozyna says:

    Another high quality station in a high quality network.

    Right.

    Your tax dollars at … work(?)

    At this point, some overpaid wonk steps forward to explain how difficult a job they face, blah, blah, blah…

  23. Bob Wood says:

    This would all be amusing if it were not for the fact that legislators are preparing draconian measures to slay the imaginative dragon of global warming. But, instead of the dragon we will be the ones who get slaughtered in the “end” where we keep the pocketbook.

  24. E.M.Smith says:

    You know, I’ve been all “up in their grill” over the reporting of fractional degree anomalies from whole degree F data records, now this guy is saying it’s a 2 degree “wiggle room” error band? SHEESH! Even the Whole Degree Place has error in it? And we’re supposed to be frantic about movement in the 1/10 degree well into the error band?

    Isn’t there a mathematician somewhere in NOAA or NASA that can tell them that just doesn’t work? How in the world did they ever get a PhD in anything (heck, even a Masters) and not have mastery of error bands and precision…

    BTW, the ASOS gear at airports is NOT poorly placed. It is being poorly used. Any aircraft taking off or landing will be limited in the load they can carry by the “density altitude” that is determined by the actual altitude, the barometric pressure, and the temperature at the runway. So these sensors are ideally placed for aviation use. Not so much for climatology…

    It’s like using your BBQ to heat your garage. Yeah, it’s better than nothing, but not what it was intended for, and not really very good at it… It would be much better to put it back in the yard and put a steak or chicken on it…

  25. Nasif Nahle says:

    REPLY: No need. See http://www4.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-win/wwcgi.dll?wwDI~StnPhoto~20004250~a~225

    Wow! Is there any station has passed undetectable under your scrutiny? Thank you!

    I wonder what that white area just under the station is. Could it be a pebbles bed or sand?

    REPLY: Typically it is crushed rock – Anthony

  26. John F. Hultquist says:

    Everyone . . . Please read the comments —
    Tom in South Jersey (21:18:48) : and the third paragraph at
    E.M.Smith (21:40:35) :

    As I’ve read more and more of the “How Not To —” stories I have been wondering if there are any stations that have a sufficiently clean and long record that some sense could be made of the data for climate purposes? Not likely.

  27. Larry says:

    Another great job, Anthony. It made me laugh. Maybe more of the media rubes will start to catch on elsewhere about this stuff.

  28. p.g.sharrow "PG" says:

    If I remember correctly the prevailing wind at the runway is from the west and quite dependable. that would place the thermometer down wind of the building, air conditioner and power transformer as well as the middle of hell ( nearly 2 square miles of pavement and crushed rock) an eratic sensor seems like a small problem that can be fixed.

  29. mark says:

    the christchurch airport in new zealand has the same set up right next to the run way.this is the place wear NIWA takes its readings.

  30. Nasif Nahle says:

    REPLY: Typically it is crushed rock – Anthony

    Thanks again, Anthony… Sorry for this question: what kind of rock? The total normal emittancy at environmental temperatures is 0.93 for crushed quartz, 0.9 for calcite and 0.83 for sandstone with 5% calcite.

  31. David Ball says:

    You caught this one and many others. Still, it makes one wonder as to how much faulty data is being used. I can hear a chorus of “statistically insignificant” now. How can +-2 degrees be statistically insignificant when we are only talking about 1 degree of warming? Tell me again how many weather station are out by 2 degrees? I love to hear the numbers, …… 8^]

  32. evanmjones says:

    In the US alone, there are 64 airports in the official USHCN climate record,

    I do not go by what NOAA designates as “airport”. Their official designations are, to a large degree, for crap. They include sites where there is no airport anywhere near and leave out a bunch, besides.

    I went through the gallery and actually looked, and then used Google Earth resources to pin down the few that are not yet surveyed. My count is 72, and all of these are actually in the airports.

  33. evanmjones says:

    After looking at that graph, how do I go about laying a bet that the station was moved to the airport in 1960?

  34. Graeme Rodaughan says:

    My apologies for the OT.

    Does anyone have any data resources on the Sea Surface Temperature Trends, or “Ocean Warming” Trends?

    The question is prompted by the following articles,

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/what_steve_asked_penny/

    and

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/fielding_gets_no_answer/

    Apparently the Australian Government are using Ocean temperatures as the key confirmation of AGW (begs the question of what’s wrong with surface and atmospheric temps), and I would like to know more about this aspect of the AGW Case.

  35. Gerard says:

    Great Job Anthony – someone said it made them laugh, as a scientist it makes me very sad that decisions about our future are being made based on such sloppy science and data. In Australia we have the same sort of politicians basing our future economic security on the same faulty data. In Victoria we have enough cheap brown coal to produce electricity for the next 700 years but it is now considered dirty and bad for the climate so we have carpetbagger developers getting ready to receive taxpayer handouts to build wind farms across some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world such as the Macedon Ranges in central Victoria

  36. David Walton says:

    What a wonderful blog post. It makes me think that some day temperature recording diagnostics placement and calibration may be considered important to NASA climate research.

  37. D. King says:

    Great, K-Mart temp sensors. What’s next, wet finger wind
    direction?

  38. Espen says:

    E.M. Smith: CO2 is measured in a lot of places, e.g. on the South Pole. This page is quite informative: http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html

  39. bill says:

    E.M.Smith (21:17:50) :
    So, Hawaii is where we measure co2 at Mauna Loa. And we have from

    There are many places that measure CO2. The yearly averaged values are all very similar. The daily/monthly/hourly figures are interesting to look at. As has been discussed on another thread What sucks CO2 out of the atmosphere in July-August.
    This plot is on the same scale for CO2 – Ch4 scale is on the right
    http://img527.imageshack.us/img527/6153/co2manysitesch4.jpg

  40. bill says:

    DR (21:23:54) :
    It’s not the temperature that’s important, it’s the anomaly! Everybody knows that…..:)
    Bad data + right answer=

    To answer the question \”is the planet warming\” this is all that is needed – the difference from a baseline!! I.e. how much is Jan 1st this year different from the average January 1sts over a defined period.

    What is important is consistancy of environment. So UHI in a growing city will cause problems as would sudden paving of the area.

    Hot transformers/close asphalt/radiating buildings will convect vertically as will exhaust fans from air conditioning. Additional shade should have no effect (the unit must be isolated from solar radiation to be effective anyway).
    I have suggested many times that experiments need to be done to see how proximity to such sources changes temperature measurements – but I have seen no results. You shouldn\’t rubbish a reading unless you have quantifiable proof that these sort of heat souces will affect it.

    The type of surface under the \”thermometer\” will affect summer to winter variations and minimum temps but providing the surface does not change over the years the max should reflect the GW/GC change. (it should be remembered that if the surface is grass then the heat output of this will change with season. At an unmanned station snow may accumulate, water on the grass will cool, dead summer/autumn grass may be different to spring lush vegetation.

  41. Bob Tisdale says:

    Long Term SST Anomalies Surrounding Hawaii (ERSST.v3b) peaked in 1940.
    http://i43.tinypic.com/dp8g2s.jpg

    Short Term SST Anomalies Surrounding Hawaii have been dropping since 2004, like the rest of the North Pacific.
    http://i39.tinypic.com/bea64y.jpg

    It’s curious that GISS land surface temperatures don\’t seem to track the SSTs.

  42. FerdinandAkin says:


    Tom in South Jersey (21:18:48)

    And

    E.M.Smith (21:40:35)

    Have good points. The atmospheric measuring equipment at airports are put there for aviation safety and efficient operation of aircraft. Data collection for long term weather observation is a side benefit, but it is up to the end users of the collected data to insure its validity for their purposes, not the airport authority who installed the instruments.

    It seems rather non-professional for a scientist or academic group to stake the results of their research on data provided by an organization that has no interest in the research. Validation and verification of data is wholly the responsibility of the person doing the research. It makes me wonder about the condition of our society when we are staring at ‘Cap –n- Trade’ based on data that was intended for local use for aircraft safety, but was shoe horned into other applications for which it was not intended.

  43. Wally says:

    The Honolulu Obs data doesn’t look all that good either. Looks like something significant changed in 1947 to 49.

    “steven mosher (21:14:52) :
    It’s accuracy is only +-2 degrees but phil Jones, climate scientist, will tell you that if you read this sensor 30 times in a month the error goes down and you can know the monthly average with more precision that the daily temp.”

    Averaging multiple data to improve the overall resolution only works if the errors in the data are random or at least balanced, not if there is a bias in one direction or the other.

  44. Tom in Florida says:

    Perhaps the best way to get momentum for this kind of reporting is to take this video and show it to one of your local news/weather persons. I would bet that they would be very happy to scoop their competition with a similar report. Enough of these scoops and maybe, just maybe, the whole thing will turn around.

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  46. Ed Reid says:

    Just for the sake of perspective, global temperatures over the past ~4,500 years have apparently remained within a +/- 2 degree band (maybe). http://longrangeweather.com/global_temperatures.htm

    If that is the case and if the inherent error in the measurement sites used to fabricate [ :-) ] the temperature record is +/- 2 degrees (+2/-0 ?), perhaps Mann was correct, at least about the “shaft” of the hockey stick. Too bad about the “blade”.

  47. PaulHClark says:

    Anthony,

    You highlighted the step change in the data around 1960 and it would seem from this link that there was a great deal of development of the airport at that time:

    http://hawaii.gov/hnl/airport-information/hnl-1960-1969

  48. jeroen says:

    Don’t forget to mention all the Airplanes rushing by with jet engines. Don’t know the effects of that part.

  49. jeroen says:

    E.M.Smith (21:25:45) :

    Maybe they put the asfalt over there or the building with the a/c and power unit.

  50. Wade says:

    This is a joke and a travesty. Official weather stations should use the best equipment available. 2 degree variation is unacceptable. If my thermostat was 2 degrees off, I would be really angry. How much more so should an official station be accurate! In fact, I know of a commercial thermostat that is so efficient that if you breath on it the measured temperature immediately rises and it accurate to 1/10 of a degree. Why do we hold our air conditioners to a higher standard than official weather stations?

  51. Jason S. says:

    It would be interesting to plot 88 bad examples vs 88 good examples in similar geographic ranges, and clock the annual difference.

  52. John Goetz says:

    Note that the airports continue to be about the only component in the GIStemp data set for the US in the last 24 months.

    I don’t know about the rest of the US, but the northeast, specifically Connecticut is experiencing an unusually cool spring and June, yet GISS shows us as being above average.

    REPLY: Welcome back John! We’ve missed you. – Anthony

  53. BarryW says:

    Hmmm, 1960’s about when the jet age in passenger travel really started. Jet’s are a lot hotter than props. I wonder if you could find out when jet service started in ernest at an airport and compare it against the temps?

  54. don't tarp me bro says:

    Hold on. I have some swamp land to purchase in Colorado before all the Floridians come.

  55. pwc says:

    Lots of confusion between precision, accuracy, and sensitivity. But the most alarming thing is the “averaging” statements. Averaging can be helpful in the presence of random variation, but is useless with a biased or systemic error.

    Whole discussion reminds me of the old statement “A person with one foot on a hot stove and one foot on a cake of ice is comfortable on the average.”

  56. John G says:

    If it’s only the anomaly that’s important then there’s an implicit assumption that the baseline average from which the anomaly deviates is the norm. I’m OK with that but think that baseline ought to over be the entire interglacial in which we find ourselves, i.e. about the last 10,000 years. If that were the case I suspect we’d find we’ve been bumping along at a negative anomaly for quite a while and the whole AGW hypothesis, were it true, would appear at worst to be a reprieve from a return to glaciation.

  57. Rod Smith says:

    BarryW (07:07:05) :
    “Hmmm, 1960’s about when the jet age in passenger travel really started. Jet’s are a lot hotter than props. I wonder if you could find out when jet service started in ernest at an airport and compare it against the temps?”

    Hickam/Honolulu International is a dual use airport, and military jets were operating there long before regular commercial jet air travel was common.

  58. rbateman says:

    D. King (00:28:39) :

    Great, K-Mart temp sensors. What’s next, wet finger wind
    direction?

    You can get a better sensor accuracy at K-Mart, or any store that sells cheap digital thermomoters. To the nearest 10th. The only caveat is calibrating to a known temp.

    Now, if I were to take your photo using a digital camera that had 32 pixels x 24 pixels, then took a bunch of images, my best resolution of that set would be the equivalent of 48 x 36 pixels by using a dithering technique. I could then drizzle the 48 x 36 to get 64 x 48.
    That temp sensor, over a time sequence can get to +-1 degree from +- 2 degrees.
    In other words, you need to take a good number of samples from that +- 2 deg. sensor.
    At least 5, preferrably 10 per hour. If the thing malfunctions (it’s electronic and we haven’t identified the exact type) and sticks on the high end, your sampling is useless, and so it the data.
    You can do what I described because the operation is done at the numerical level. Any thing further and you inject artifacts.
    The point I and others have made is valid: The sensors being used for airport purposes are useless for meterological purposes, weather or climate. The same goes for Fire Weather Stations that read to only the nearest degree. I equate the approach to using a sledgehammer in place of a finish hammer to trim out your kitchen cabinets.

  59. D. King says:

    rbateman (09:34:30) :

    The same goes for Fire Weather Stations that read to only the nearest degree. I equate the approach to using a sledgehammer in place of a finish hammer to trim out your kitchen cabinets.

    Yep, and electronic sensors have an individual linearity profile over the temperature range.

  60. M White says:

    At last HadCrut3
    5-2009: +0.40 °C. Rank: 5/160
    Warmest May in this series was in 1998.
    Average last 12 months: 0.38 °C.

    http://junkscience.com/MSU_Temps/Warming_Look.html

  61. Becka says:

    I am currently in Maui and about fell off my chair when I was watching the local news and heard the weather man actually say that he didn’t think the temp report was accurate as other readings in the area were showing 2 to4 degrees lower than that of the airport reading. He said it was hot but not a record breaking hot. It doesn’t feel any warmer or cooler here in Maui than normal other than the ocean which feels cooler but maybe that’s just from my sunburn. Aloha!

  62. Tim Clark says:

    17
    Rod Smith (08:22:12) :
    BarryW (07:07:05) :
    “Hmmm, 1960’s about when the jet age in passenger travel really started. Jet’s are a lot hotter than props. I wonder if you could find out when jet service started in ernest at an airport and compare it against the temps?”

    From: http://archives.starbulletin.com/1999/11/08/special/story8.html

    1959: Hawaii officially becomes 50th U.S. state on Aug. 21: U.S. Senate approval occurs March 11, then the House on March 12, then signing of the law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on March 18; a plebiscite of residents OK it in June. In Hawaii’s first general election on July 28, Republican William F. Quinn is voted governor; Oren Long and Hiram Fong, U.S. senators; and Daniel Inouye, U.S. representative.

    As a pact of statehood, U.S. transfers former Hawaiian Government and Crown lands to the state of Hawaii and puts the land in a public trust, to be used only for Hawaiians and specific public purposes. ALSO: Ala Moana Center opens. ALSO: First Hawaii-mainland jet service. ALSO: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at Punahou School.

  63. Tim Clark says:

    Also:

    1959
    A groundbreaking ceremony for a
    new jet-age airport at Honolulu
    International was held on February
    5. Construction started on
    February 11.
    Pan American Airways inaugurated
    Boeing 707 jet service
    between the mainland U.S. and
    Honolulu. United Air Lines began
    DC-8 jet service in March 1960

    The station was probably moved to the new airport and hansenization began.

  64. John Galt says:

    This thermometer is accurate within plus or minus 2 degrees? Not 2/10 of a degree but 2 degrees? What is the accuracy of the rest of the thermometers in the network?

    And how much warming did we have last century? About 2 degrees?

  65. Tim Clark says:

    Here’s some more stuff: If it’s TMI snipit
    FY 1960
    Commercial passenger traffic increased 33.3 percent over the preceding year. This increase was attributed to the effect of Statehood for Hawaii in August 1959 and the inauguration of jet aircraft service. Interisland passenger traffic increased by 32.6 percent due to more visitors coming to Hawaii and traveling to the Neighbor Islands.

    Info HNL 1960-1969
    A new airport was under construction in 1961.

    1959-1960Construction of the jet age terminal facilities for Honolulu International Airport proceeded according to schedule. Stage 1, which included site preparation and rough grading work on the north side of the airport where the new terminal facilities will be located, was completed in December 1959. Work was immediately started on the next stage for building site development and construction of taxiways leading to the new terminal.

    The HAC awarded contracts for the next succeeding construction stages. These included construction of all electrical, water, drainage, sewer systems and communications ducts; electrical distribution systems; the terminal buildings, and grading and paving of aprons and installation of related utilities.
    Work was started in February 1960 for the construction of all electrical, water, drainage, sewer systems and communication ducts.
    Construction of the new Terminal Buildings was started in March 1960, and the Interisland Terminal was expected to be completed by the end of November 1960. The Foreign Arrivals building was expected to be completed by the end of June 1961. Construction work on the remaining two units of the terminal facilities, the Domestic Arrivals and Overseas Departure-Administration buildings, were underway and completion of these buildings was expected by the end of August 1961. While all the construction activity was going on on the north side and a portion of the south side of the airport, aircraft activity, passenger traffic and related activities continued to increase, over-taxing the present inadequate terminal facilities.
    September 1959
    Pan American Airways inaugurated Boeing 707 jet service between the mainland United States and Hawaii.
    December 1959
    Stage 1 for the new terminal at Honolulu International Airport was completed. Stage two was begun immediately.
    March 1960
    United Air Lines began its DC-8 jet service between the Mainland and Honolulu.
    FY 1960
    Commercial passenger traffic increased 33.3 percent over the preceding year. This increase was attributed to the effect of Statehood for Hawaii in August 1959 and the inauguration of jet aircraft service. Interisland passenger traffic increased by 32.6 percent due to more visitors coming to Hawaii and traveling to the Neighbor Islands.
    1959
    Canadian Pacific Airlines initiated jet prop service to Australia from Vancouver via Hawaii in Bristol Britannia aircraft.
    May 4, 1960
    Ground breaking was held for the Hawaii Air National Guard fighter complex at Hickam AFB. Completion was expected in July 1961 at a cost of $1.847 million.
    May 22, 1960
    The entire Hawaiian Island chain was put on alert for a possible tsunami. Bellows was evacuated, aircraft moved to higher ground north of Runway 8 or to Wheeler. Hickam received the full force of the tsunami.
    December 31, 1960
    Commercial passenger traffic increased 33.3 percent in 1960.
    January 13, 1961
    Use of Dillingham AFB by privately owned aircraft was the subject of a meeting due to concerns about the increasing hazards of air traffic at HNL. When the privately owned Kipapa airstrip was converted to housing, the military was approached for use of Wheeler or Bellows. This was not considered feasible by the military so Dillingham AFB was offered instead and a proposed lease negotiated.

    April 1, 1962
    The Naval Station at Ford Island was decommissioned.

    1962-1963 The new John Rodgers Terminal was sufficiently completed to be dedicated August 22, 1962, during the annual conference of the Airport Operators Council, held in Honolulu August 19-25, 1962. Several members of the Legislature, as well as aviation officials, participated in the dedication program. Keynote speakers were Najeeb Halaby, Federal Aviation Administration, and W. A. Patterson, United Air Lines president.

    On the day of the dedication, Pan American World Airways delayed its Flight No. 843 from San Francisco for 50 minutes to preface the formal program with the first commercial jet arrival at the new Terminal.

    All operations ceased at the old Terminal at midnight, October 14, 1962, and the first passengers from the new Terminal departed for Japan shortly after midnight the following day.

    The new airport, more than 14 years in the planning and building, was regarded as a $34 million investment. With its opening, Honolulu had caught up with the Jet Age.

    The roofed area of the new passenger buildings covered about 550,000 square feet, or roughly five times the area of the old buildings they replaced. The Crossroads of the Pacific at last had a facility that was appropriate to its rating as the nation’s ninth busiest airport.

    The rating had been bestowed on Honolulu International Airport by the FAA on the basis of figures for the calendar year 1962. Aircraft movements, including arrivals and departures of all types of aircraft, totaled 266,561 for that period.

    Travelers expressed concerns about the new airport, including: the access road system confused motorists; the system of signs and maps for the guidance of pedestrians was inadequate; and inter-line connecting passengers needed more frequent and more easily accessible ground transportation between the various arrival and departure terminals. The airport was studying solutions to these problems.
    July 10, 1962
    The widening of Taxiway X and restoration of P Road with a crossing over a new drainage ditch was completed at a cost of $113,463.82.
    August 20, 1962
    Construction of the U.S. Department of State office building was completed.
    August 31, 1962
    Construction of a wood and concrete building for 15 lei sellers was completed at a cost of $129,274.
    September 1, 1962
    The enlargement of a reinforced hollow tile building housing equipment for enplaning and deplaning passengers was competed at a cost of $47,869.
    September 24, 1962
    Construction of a interisland joint maintenance hangar building with 41,000 square feet for aircraft, excluding shop space, concrete walls, hollow tile partitions and a metal roof was completed at a cost of $1,229,223.
    October 8, 1962
    Construction of a concrete elevated walkway on the field side of the terminal and construction of nine rooms underneath the walkway for final ticketing and agricultural inspection was completed at a cost of $773,029.
    October 15, 1962
    Installation of amplifiers, wiring and loudspeakers for the overseas paging system was completed at a cost of $62,200.
    November 13, 1962
    Construction of the Ramp Control Tower and Aloha Airlines Lounges was completed. Cost of this project and the Department of State building was $117,410.
    December 7, 1962
    Construction of a rigid-frame steel building, 70 by 160 feet, with freezer and chill rooms, each 35 by 20 feet, was completed as a Hawaiian Airlines Cargo Building. Cost: $119,494.
    January 22, 1963
    Construction of nine pools (three with fountains and three with waterfalls), construction of a children’s playground, and landscaping of the overseas terminal area was completed at a cost of $633,808.54.
    April 30, 1963
    Construction of two general aviation light plane hangars, each 120 by 144 feet, was completed at a cost of $354,413.
    May 9, 1963
    Construction of a high-speed taxiway and a concrete apron on the Ewa side of the terminal, drainage provisions and taxi way lighting was completed at a cost of $3,279,746.28.

  66. Tim Clark says:

    PaulHClark (05:18:14) :
    Paul beat me to it, delete my post.
    Tim

  67. rbateman says:

    John Galt (12:25:30) :

    This thermometer is accurate within plus or minus 2 degrees? Not 2/10 of a degree but 2 degrees? What is the accuracy of the rest of the thermometers in the network?

    And how much warming did we have last century? About 2 degrees?

    Yes, you heard it right. I am shocked over +-2 degrees, as I thought +-1 degree was as
    bad as things got. Start looking at some RAWS data, for example, and you will see whole degrees. Look at other type of stations, such as CalTrans or Water Resources and you will most likely see outputs to the nearest 10th of a degree.
    Good project now that most of the stations have been identified.

    The warming of the last century (AFAIK) was 0.7C, or 1.26F.
    +-2 F is ugly.

  68. Craig D. Lattig says:

    Nasif Nahle (22:41:56) :

    REPLY: Typically it is crushed rock – Anthony

    Thanks again, Anthony… Sorry for this question: what kind of rock? The total normal emittancy at environmental temperatures is 0.93 for crushed quartz, 0.9 for calcite and 0.83 for sandstone with 5% calcite.

    If I understand your thread, you are discussing MIA (Miami International)….white gravel in south Florida is virtually always crushed shellrock/limestone, usually about 1″ sized…particularly on government locations as it produced locally….cdl

  69. Dan Hawkins says:

    As an NWS co-op observer, I fail to be shocked by a two degree thermometer error. Until five years ago, our station used min/max recording mercury thermometers. There were two thermometers, one for the max reading, and one for the min. Either one was also theoretically useable for reading the current temperature at observation

    Each thermometer had a special pellet in the mercury column. The max pellet was pushed ahead by the mercury, and stuck at the hottest point as the mercury shrank away from it by cooling. The min pellet, on the other hand was pulled down (cooler) by the retreating end of the mercury column. It somehow stayed put at the coldest point when the mercury expanded again by heating.

    After observation, the max thermometer was spun like a propellor- it was mounted on an axle. The centrifugal force moved the mercury and the pellet to a low temperature position, hopefully lower than the highest temperature that could occur in the following observation period.

    The min thermometer was reset by shaking the mercury and pellet to an artificially high temperature position.

    These two thermometers never agreed closer than two degrees as to the current temperature at the time of observation. At first, I thought the thermometers were faulty, and requested new ones from our NWS supervisor. Well, the new ones were no different.

    Now we are using a Nimbus electronic sensor and digital readout. It displays to the nearest 0.1 degree. However it is only accurate to 0.3 degree, per manufacturers literature. It has no stamps or stickers indicating calibration. Is it better than the old mercury sticks? Couldn’t prove it by me.

    Accurate temperature measurement is not and never has been trivial. Don’t think that your Kmart digital with 0.1 degree precision means it’s accurate, unless you can calibrate it – more than once.

    Sorry for the long ramble. It’s not much fun for me to think that weird government actions causing the degradation of our country’s energy supply could hinge on data collected in this way.

    dh

  70. Mike D. says:

    What, no luau pit?

  71. jukin says:

    As the public becomes more aware of the greatest hoax of the last 50 years expect ever more hysterical claims and attribution of normal phenomenon to the CRISIS of AGW.

    The left does not have much time left to get us all an order of magnitude lower living standard and pick our pockets clean.

  72. Becka says:

    Just heard on KITV news Honolulu that the thermometer at HNL was changed today but that the ‘records’ would still stand…huh?!?!?! Isn’t the change in equipment admitting faulty readings!?!? I don’t get it…

  73. According to the Hadley CRUTEM3 data the 5×5 degree grid containing Honolulu has had no warming since the early 1970s (See: http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/hawaii.jpg) Since the IPCC attributes warming prior to the 1970s to natural causes and there has been no warming in Hawaii since, it appears that CO2 causes no warming in that environment.

    Here is a climate summary for the state of Hawaii (http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/RS_Hawaii.htm)
    Some observations:
    Hilo temperatures correspond almost exactly to the local SSTs.
    Hilo temperatures correspond to the PDO.
    Hilo sea level fluctuations match the PDO.

  74. K-Bob says:

    I just about fell out of my chair this evening when I read this story. This morning as I was getting ready for work, and as usual I had the Weather Channel on for the days weather forecast. The discussion turns to the prolonged number of days that Honolulu has had record highs. Dr. Greg Forbes then explains that the highs were due to a lull in the trade winds (I’m sure that may have been the case). No discusssion or explanation is given that the sensors or thier location might be the cause. But then again, I find the TWC continues to plant suggestions of AGW without saying it directly. By the way, what ever happend to Dr. Heidi Cullen. She was so blatently pro AGW that it was disgusting.

  75. Richard M says:

    Alan Cheetham (22:04:21) :

    “According to the Hadley CRUTEM3 data the 5×5 degree grid containing Honolulu has had no warming since the early 1970s (See: http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/hawaii.jpg) Since the IPCC attributes warming prior to the 1970s to natural causes and there has been no warming in Hawaii since, it appears that CO2 causes no warming in that environment.”

    I’ve made this point before … why aren’t there CO2 measurements being taken at all/most/a few of the temperature recording sites? It would seem like a study of the relationship would be essential to understanding the impact of CO2 on temperatures. With all the money being spent on climate research the cost would be low. I guess no one really wants to know.

  76. WTH says:

    “I’ve confirmed that GISS uses the Honolulu Airport for climate data since their ID of 425911820000″

    Do they? I see HONOLULU OBS OAHU and HONOLULU, OAH (the two near stations shown below the quote) but not the Honolulu Airport in GISS’s “list of stations actually used”:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/station_data/station_list.txt

    It does show up in the “full list”:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/station_data/v2.temperature.inv.txt

    The above links in context are here:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/station_data/

  77. Does anyone know why the Honolulu Observatory data ends in the 1980s? Did they stop measuring or did GHCN stop collecting the information from them?

  78. wattsupwiththat says:

    I just checked the NCDC COOP forms, and they indeed stop. There is no current data. But NCDC MMS reports the site as “current”. Also it has been made a “class B” station which says it is no longer used for climate reporting.

    Something hinky there. Will investigate. – Anthony

  79. wattsupwiththat says:

    Interesting, the Observatory is current, and has the traditional and more modern sensor set:

    [ 2008-04-10 ] Current EVAP GALVAN(F) PRIMARY GALVANIZED PAN, FIXED POINT EVAPORATION — — COOP SOD
    PRCP SRG STANDARD RAIN GAGE PRECIPITATION
    TEMP MMTS MMTS ELECTRONIC SENSOR TEMPERATURE UNK
    CRS — COTTON REGION SHELTER — — —

  80. wattsupwiththat says:

    Here is the web page for the Honolulu Observatory. It is USGS and geomagnetic, not optical

    http://geomag.usgs.gov/observatories/honolulu/

    It is certainly a cooler environment than the airport:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=21.31528,-157.99917&z=17&t=h&hl=en

    And just 3.9 miles to the west, about the same distance inland, but sans the asphalt ocean.

  81. Tom Loffman says:

    I worked for the NWS Division of Climatology in Honolulu in the early 1970’s, before my 29 year career as a TV meteorologist. We had a similar problem with record temperatures being recorded every day at HNL. Since other stations were NOT recording record temperatures it became obvious that something was wrong with the readings. An investigation by the Star-Bulletin found that black aviation oil was being dumped at the temperature observing site. It took about a year of arm twisting, but eventually the oil was cleaned up.

    We, at the Division of Climatology, could not get the forecast office guys to admit there was a problem and fix it. It took the newspaper expose to get someone to do something about the oil.

    During the past couple of years the temperatures at HNL began to increase relative to other nearby stations. A simple comparision with those stations, and other statewide temperatures, shows that by mid June the HNL readings had hit 3-4 degrees higher than an index of other Oahu stations and other statewide stations. This is much more than a “couple of degrees”. The bogus readings should be removed from the official record.

    I sent a detailed email with a thorough statistical analysis to the NWS office in Honolulu and did not receive a response. I also sent the same email to one of the Honolulu TV stations that had been advertising the record temperatures and they even did a live story on The Weather Channel about the record heat. Of course, I have yet to receive a response.

    I would suggest to anyone reading this that they do a similar, simple statistical comparison of HNL vs any other Hawaii temperature station. You’ll immediately see the 3-4 degree variance into mid June compared with past months and years.

    REPLY: Spot on Tom, and welcome. – Anthony

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