Getting crabby – another missing NASA GISS station found, thanks to a TV show

Deadliest_catch

Gavin should watch this show - he might find his missing weather station

A couple of days ago, I located the “long lost” Honolulu Observatory GISS weather station on the Island of Oahu with just a couple of hours of digging. That one apparently got “lost” because the station name changed, and the inter-agency communications seemed to be the cause, and nobody at GISS bothered to look to see if there was still current data coming from the station.

Today I found one in under 5 minutes. I wasn’t even planning on looking for one, it happened by accident. I was watching the Discovery Channel TV show this afternoon “Deadliest Catch” where crab fishermen brave the worst imaginable weather to keep crab shacks running nationwide. They are based out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

While watching a scene where they were coming into the docks, I saw an ever so brief flash of what looked like a Stevenson Screen off in the distance near the docks. I hadn’t expected to see one and I wasn’t 100% sure, but I thought I’d check NCDC’s metadatabase (MMS) for Dutch Harbor, AK. Sure enough, they have a COOP station there with a Stevenson Screen there that is “current”.

Dutch_Harbor_MMS_capture

When NCDC says “MAX-MIN THERMOMETERS”. that means mercury thermometers in a Stevenson Screen.

The MMS Location description tab had this:

Topographic Details: TOPO- STN NEAR WATERFRONT, ACROSS HARBOR FROM DUTCH HARBOR ARPT IN VILLAGE OF UNALASKA. MNTOUS ISLAND. STN EXPOSED TO STRONG TURBULENT WINDS AND TEMPS INFLUENCED BY SURROUNDING WAT

I assume the last word was to be “WATER” and they ran out of characters in the database field. The MMS database also mentions it to be located at REEVES TERMINAL, which I assume is the ship terminal/dock.

Here is where the lat/lon given by NCDC places it, I seem to recall my brief glimpse was closer to the docks visible near the top of the image, but the lat/lon given by NCDC is not always accurate:

GE Dutch Harbor wxstat

Click for a larger image

So I was curious to see what the temperature record looked like in this very remote part of Alaska. I figured if it was an active weather station, GISS would have a plot of it. They did indeed but it was not what I expected to find:

GISS_dutch_harbor_AK_plot

Graph from NASA GISTEMP

Here is the link to the GISTEMP graph above.

Huh. Big data hole. But NCDC said it is current? WUWT?

So I decided to look at the COOP section of NCDC, and sure enough it WAS current to April 2009. I found the most current B91 form and downloaded it.

click for larger image

click for larger image

Here’s the PDF of the form: Dutch_Harbor_April2009

Seeing the big hole in the GISS data,  I decided to look for the data forms  backwards, and sure enough, it is current all the way back to 1985 where it picks up in January and appears to have every month through April 2009.

Dutch_harborCOOP_selector

So why does GISS not have this data? Remembering the name change which happened in Oahu, names again come to mind.  I can’t be sure, but it might have something to do with the station name spelling.

  • I spell the station name this way: Dutch Harbor
  • NCDC MMS spells it this way: Dutch Harbor
  • NCDC B91 selector spells it this way: Dutch Harbor
  • The station COOP observer spells it on the B91: Dutch Harbor

NASA GISS spells it on the graph header and web page station selector:

GISS_dutch_harbour1

GISS_dutch_harbour2

Harbour? WUWT? It’s an American port!

I checked this guide for differences in British, Canadian, and American spelling, and sure enough:

BritCanadaUSA_header
BritCanadaUSA_spelling

Note to Gavin: change the spelling in the GISTEMP database and the station data might automatically kick in on the next data pass.

Glad to help! Got any more lost stations and station data you need found? We’ll look for the last 20+ years of Dutch Harbor data to show up in GISTEMP real soon.

UPDATE:

In comments “timetochooseagain” writes-

I’m reminded of this from John Christy:

“the use of a few popular stations for which the data are easy to find, leads to too much warming when the averages are constructed. I have published research for North Alabama, Central California and in a few months East Africa, in which I went back to the original sources of data to augment the number of stations by roughly a factor of ten – indeed, ten times more stations. This effort requires significant time in searching for and manually digitizing the records for scientific purposes. In each case, I’ve found that the data sets based on a few popular stations overstate the warming by up to a factor of three.”

http://www.nsstc.uah.edu/atmos/christy/ChristyJR_WM_Written_090225.pdf

Update2: I’ve removed a sentence related to Gavin Schmidt and British spelling of the station name, since he’s not at fault, GHCN managed by NCDC is the source of error -Anthony

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145 thoughts on “Getting crabby – another missing NASA GISS station found, thanks to a TV show

  1. Another embarassment for our government data collectors. Sad that with all those multi-billion dollar budgets, staff out the yazoo, and stimulus cash to boot they can’t even get the basics. Pathetic.

  2. So sad. So, so sad. If you’re gonna live in the USA it might be a good idea to learn the language…

  3. Not only do the best people not work for government (ref: R. Reagan) but the ones that do apparently have prissy Euro affectations. Right! I don’t care what colour your harbour is, put down that rubber, take your torch and go read the thermometer.

    Personally, I don’t have anything against prissy British spellings, provided that they are consistent throughout the database. However, to paraphrase Bogie as Rick Blaine, there are some parts of New York where I suggest you don’t use “harbour”.

    Our neighbor is a former Royal Marine. He and his fellow English ex-pats in town all concede that ANY british accent (even the lower echelon ones) is worth 30 points on their “perceived IQ” when working in the US. Apparently, “perceived IQ” doesn’t help with written work.

  4. I’m reminded of this from John Christy:

    “the use of a few popular stations for which the data are easy to find, leads
    to too much warming when the averages are constructed. I have published
    research for North Alabama, Central California and in a few months East Africa, in which I went back to the original sources of data to augment the number of stations by roughly a factor of ten – indeed, ten times more stations. This effort requires significant time in searching for and manually digitizing the records for scientific purposes. In each case, I’ve found that the data sets based on a few popular stations overstate the warming by up to a factor of three.”

    http://www.nsstc.uah.edu/atmos/christy/ChristyJR_WM_Written_090225.pdf

    REPLY: Good find, I’m going to add it to the main article. Dutch Harbor is already digitized by NCDC so there’s no excuse for GISS not being able to use it. – Anthony

  5. Nice spotting.

    When I first looked at the Steig station data, I expressed annoyance about their failure to provide identification numbers, because manual concordance is complicated by precisely the sort of spelling variation that you caught here. So you can’t match directly by name and manual handling is required. I objected in passing to this in connection with Steig here http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=4914

    They leave out station identifications (a practice that “peer” reviewers, even at Nature, should condemn). Matches to information at the BAS are complicated by Mannian spelling errors and pointless scribal variations (things like D_10 vs D10, which can be matched manually, but why are the variations there in the first place??)

    In a bizarre over-the-top outburst at CA http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=4945#comment-322363, Eric Steig mentioned this complaint in passing, expressing disdain for people who worried about data availability and spelling consistency:

    Complaints about data availability (the raw data used in our study have always been available via the sources cited in the paper), or childish whining about “Mannian spelling errors”, do not help your credibility, Steve.

    As events proved, Steig’s data was not all available. He didn’t provide satellite data until the end of March and the pre-cloudmasked data remains unavailable.

    IT wasn’t that I was complaining about how it was spelled – but about the lack of identification numbers which increased the possibility of identification failure of the type that you’ve demonstrated here – one that has eluded NOAA and NASA for 20 years, leading, it seems, to the loss of a potentially valuable continuous record.

    BTW I’ll bet that GISS just uses the GHCN spelling and that GHCN spells it Harbour (which is my natural way of spelling it BTW).

  6. Remember how quickly Gavin Schmidt moved to try to get the faulty Harry station record deleted from the British Antarctic Survey (which would have made it that much more difficult to decode Steig et al.) If Gavin is as concerned about the integrity of station histories as he then professed, presumably he will be right on top of this situation and send a notice to the relevant agencies before the weekend is over.

    REPLY: I sent him an email tonight to be sure. I wouldn’t want him to miss this one just in case he doesn’t read WUWT regularly, especially on weekends – Anthony

  7. Been there once,Dutch Harbor even in June is anything but warm….
    Yep,Fish on! Anthony!…

  8. Steve McIntyre: I’m sure that as soon as Father’s Day starts, Gavin will be right on it.

  9. I gotta say, more and more of this type of thing keeps popping up, making Hansen, Schmidt et al, look pretty bad. I am am finding myself becoming increasingly critical of Gavin Schmidt in particular, as I come to the overwhelming conclusion that he is a complete hack.

  10. Just came across this on Google Books, in a book from 1892 written by an old Scotsman about the climate in Dundee in the 1820s:

    IS OUR CLIMATE CHANGING?

    In a climate like ours the weather is a never- ending topic. I have often heard old people speak of the weather changes that had taken place since their young days, as they expressed it. The summers, they said, were then much warmer, and, as an instance, they said that barley would be above the ground in forty-eight hours after sowing. It was then, they admitted, the last grain that was sown. The summers were then so hot that the cows could only be put out to pasture in the early morning and evening, as they were driven mad by the glegs” or horse flies biting them. Then the winters were almost arctic in their severity and length. The seasons also were more sharply divided, approaching those of Russia and North America in their rapid seasonal transitions. I know that many about my own age have the same ideas of what has taken place in their time. A very hot or a very cold season or two may, as we get older, come to assume the general character of that far-off time, still I cannot but think that for a good many years past there has been more of a mixing of summer and winter than was the case fifty years ago, winter now being often found in the lap of spring, and summer-like weather about the New Year. On a New Year’s day—I can’t remember the date—I gathered blossom from our gooseberry bushes to show to a friend. It must be sixty years since a funny occurrence took place in the next garden

    to ours. A decent old man, Johnnie C , who was

    a wabster in winter and delved people’s “yairds” in summer, was one day so overcome by the heat that he threw off his “duds” until nothing was left but his blue bonnet and his “sark” and “shoon.” The sark he required for decency’s sake, and the shoon to drive in the spade.

    link: http://books.google.com/books?id=QmULAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA19&dq=changing+climate&as_brr=1&client=firefox-a

  11. I can just see all the major newspaper headlines for Monday…..?

    “Surface Temperature Record In Doubt!”…….. “Mistakes Made”…. Read all about it.

    Yep….I know, I know. My cynicism blinds me to the rigours of our modern journalistic excellence;-)

  12. Even MS-Word’s spelling checker won’t give a pass to harbour. Maybe MS Corp. can provide them with a copy.

    This “find” makes me wonder how many more of these sorts of things have occurred and been corrected (or not). Say such a thing happened and three years on someone figured it out and made the appropriate spelling change. Would they have also re-inserted the 3 years of missing data?

    What a bloody (Brit.) mess.

  13. Anthony: Can you tell me how you did that? I mean with the starting url and some steps?
    There are some gaps in our weather records here, and I’d love to get them filled up.
    At least I could try.

    REPLY: I’ll write something up and turn it loose. GISS desperately needs our help. – Anthony

  14. GISS data chart page has an ID of 425704820010.
    The MMS page has a COOP id’s of 509575 & 502587, and NCDC id of 20021772.
    Maybe that’s confusing them.

    .
    I’m webmastering a Canadian S.F convention web site (from Texas) and I run into the spelling differences quite a bit. Because of that, I notice the skeptic/sceptic variations here at WUWT coming from our Brits and Australians, and a tendency to use ‘s’ where Americans put a ‘z’, as in paralyse. Canadians use the British (really French per AD 1066) ‘re’ instead of ‘er’, as in centre. Another toughie for me is that Canadians don’t stick with purely British spelling, so I’ll put something up thinking British, then get an email about it. Double ll’s are a chancy game, too.

    It’s a bilingual site, but others take care of the French translations. Even that isn’t trouble-free, because txt and doc and rtf and other formats treat the accented characters in different ways. And I can’t begin to say what a mess it makes when somebody posts a new page with French characters in the URL.

  15. I’m guessing that Reeves terminal is the old Reeve Aleutian airlines terminal. They used to fly 727’s into Dutch until they went out of business. Alaska Air flies in there now. If you check the runway starts pretty much at the beach.

  16. Hey Anthony, we Canadians are so polite, we spell words both ways, American English and UK English! It all depends on which spellchecker you use these days!

  17. Anthony, there is a very valid reason for not using this station. The readings do not agree with the conclusion they have jumped to, …..

    REPLY: we don’t know that, nor has anyone plotted the missing data since 1985 to show what it might portray. -Anthony

  18. To clarify, just a betting analogy, since it is unlikely you are a gambling man.

    REPLY: Well I was just going to go plot it and settle the issue, but the price NCDC charges for the 288 monthly mean datapoints since 1985 is a bit absurd. See this:

    What kills me is that the American Taxpayer has already paid for this data! NCDC runs a racket it seems. – Anthony

  19. In reading of such basic problems as on the difference in spelling, I’m suddenly reminded of a phrase I picked up while in the employ of Uncle Sam’s big green machine – Get your head out of your duffle bag.

    Sometimes ya gotta wonder – do they know which end of the thermometer is up?

  20. Was Gavin working for NASA in 1985? Whether he was or wasn’t, even submarine logs from WWII spell it “harbor”. Steve is perfectly correct in criticizing (note the american “Z” in the word) a system that relies on spelling rather than coding and referencing. In business and manufacturing systems you just plain cannot do that. Imagine a letter going out from the customer service department at Kumquat Oil Pressers, Inc.:

    Esteemed Sir:

    Please be advised that our product catalogue does not contain an entry for Qumkwat Oil, but to better assist you, we have noted that the firm of Cumquate Associates may be able to meet your needs.

    With all good wishes, we remain your humble servants…

  21. But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
    In proving foresight may be vain:
    The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
    Gang aft agley,
    An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
    For promis’d joy!

    Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
    The present only toucheth thee:
    But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
    On prospects drear!
    An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
    I guess an’ fear!

  22. (22:36:04) :
    REPLY: Well I was just going to go plot it and settle the issue, but the price NCDC charges for the 288 monthly mean datapoints since 1985 is a bit absurd. . . .
    What kills me is that the American Taxpayer has already paid for this data! NCDC runs a racket it seems. – Anthony

    Maybe we should file a FOI Act request.

  23. Rest assured that when I was in the process of giving birth to my son I was definitely in labouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuur!

    Another excellent catch, Mr. Watts. Such a shame we will not learn how the missing data affects the GISS record any time soon.

    I’m reminded of a seminal British TV drama from the 80s called Boys from the Blackstuff. There was a character called Yosser Hughes who went around demanding of people who are working, “Giss (give us) a job. I can do that. Go on, giss a job.”

    Perhaps GISS would indeed be better off employing you to track down all that errant data. The world might be a better place.

  24. FatBigot (23:25:04) :

    “Maybe it has something to do with Gavin Schmidt being British? ”

    Sorry.

    Please accept my apologies too!

  25. Boy, that has to be embarrasing.

    A British guy with a German surname who does not know American.

  26. FatBigot (23:25:04) :

    “Maybe it has something to do with Gavin Schmidt being British? ”

    Sorry.

    ‘Smith’ is the most common surname in England.
    ‘Schmidt’ is far rarer. Germanic origin perhaps?
    There don’t seem to be any Schmidt’s harboured in the smith section of the local phone directory. :-)

  27. Anthony – “What kills me is that the American Taxpayer has already paid for this data! NCDC runs a racket it seems”.

    We have this problem in Australia too. Independent audit is being priced out of the market. Here is a product from our Bureau of Meteorology:

    “Dry bulb, wet bulb and dew point temperatures, relative humidity, vapour pressure and saturated vapour pressure, mean sea level pressure and station level pressure data have been compiled for all stations across Australia. For each station the corresponding data file contains data from the start of recording until the latest available. Some stations do have gaps in the record. Not all elements are measured at each station, and not all elements may be measured over the same period of time at the same station.”

    Here is the sting: Cost $226.00 for the two CD ROM set or one DVD ROM. Price includes GST and postage within Australia.

    If perchance one asks for specific information like 100 station metadata sheets, there can be such a high charge demanded that it’s just not worth the effort. It’s a tactic, I suspect.

    What did my taxes do for the last 50 years?

    BTW, re spelling, remember that the Brits had the original spelling in many cases before the USA was settled by English speakers. “Harbour” always had a “u” in it. Just as the car steering wheel should be on the right. Seriously, it would help if the USA followed convention as some of the above examples of file formats illustrate. And, at the end, “Z” is not “zee”, but “zed”. Little verbal matters like this can contribute to aircraft safety.

  28. I pray silently for an ice age. Only that would shutup the yappers of doom.

    Unfortunately, wishes rarely come true. But hey, we can dream right?

  29. I know taking potshots at GISS is an amusing pastime, but surely the problem here is between NCDC and GHCN? The ‘Harbour’ spelling is on the GHCN Inventory file so the misalignment, (if that is the root cause of the problem) occurs between them and NCDC before NASA pick up the data.

    Or would you expect Gavin to personally check the spelling of every one of the NCDC weather stations vs the GHCN file ….?

  30. Deadliest Catch should be required viewing for those prone to a romantic view of the North. The current episodes are filmed during the January “Opie” (Opilio) season . At this time they are frequently fishing the southern edges of the ice flow a few hundred miles out of Dutch Harbo(u)r.
    Sobering stuff. A million miles from 2D energy transfer diagrams.

    The brave men endure sub-zero arctic weather, 60mph winds and turbulent seas with waves the size of four-story buildings; all on three to four hours of sleep each night, if they’re lucky.

    To add to the weather nightmare, a thousand gallons of water crashes onto the deck every 30 seconds, freezing as it hits the boat. To prevent the boat from becoming too top-heavy and capsizing at sea, deckhands are continuously forced to stop fishing and spend hours clearing the ice with sledgehammers.

  31. Before anybody wastes money on unnecessary FOIA requests… has anybody ever considered that the data might be available for free, but the charges are if you want somebody else to do the work for you, and then go through the paperwork/overhead of billing you and processing your payment? The webpage…
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/mpp/freedata.html lists various free data sets. I’m not a US resident, and am not famiiar with the formats, but a couple of possibilities are…
    “Free Data K” which seems to be global daily data
    “Free Data M” which seems to be USHCN monthly data

  32. Well, apparently NASA scientists are too busy making $3000 for speeches to bother with verifying the accuracy of their station list. Check this link out.

    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/597/story/791871.html

    About half-way in, under the subheading “Her wish: less fundraising”

    Another donor that Mary Easley approached was GE Nuclear. The energy company received grants from a fund controlled by the governor, totaling $1.2 million, in 2005 and 2008. In between, in 2007, the Wilmington-based company donated $3,000 to sponsor a speech on the climate by a NASA scientist after Mary Easley talked with a key official of the company.

    The former governor of my state, Mike Easley, and his wife are under investigation from the feds for corruption. They are going down hard, the feds don’t play. In essence, Mike Easley got his wife a job at NC State University and when the economy was going sour, she received a 95% pay raise thanks to the taxpayers. So I am naturally curious about details now coming out. That is when I noticed that an unnamed NASA scientist spoke about the climate for $3000.

    I don’t know who this NASA scientist is, but I would be willing to bet money he or she was from GISS and that that person was still on our taxpayer’s time when he or she made said speech. Now I really doubt that NASA has a climate office in Wilmington, NC so that means traveling to give the speech and back and since this is a NASA scientist, he or she will not be making a day trip out of this. MAYBE a two day trip, I personally think a three day trip. In any event, this NASA scientist is not his or her job but is instead getting paid for speeches. No wonder they believe so much in climate change, it puts them in a bigger house. NASA scientists are just as corrupt as the politicians in my state!

    If I had to take a shot-in-the-dark guess, I would guess this NASA scientist is James Hansen.

  33. I question the spot for the station. REEVE TERMINAL would have to be the Reeve Aleutian Airways terminal at the airstrip, to the left of the photo image. the spotting of the station on the beach below a steep cliff is massively unlikely, as storm surges would quite likely carry it away. I worked in Alaska for 25 years and often visited Dutch Harbor/Unalaska. Far more likely that the station was at the airstrip, not where the lat/long numbers would indicate.

  34. Philip Johns (04:05:36) :

    I know taking potshots at GISS is an amusing pastime, (…)

    Or would you expect Gavin to personally check the spelling of every one of the NCDC weather stations vs the GHCN file ….?

    For Trillions of dollars in tax increases and the wholesale destruction of our economic base I would expect every last pencil mark checked many times over.

    Seven 10ths of a degree over 100 years is a major foundation in the Alarmist house of cards. With what is being proposed, would you like to roughly cost out each 10th degree either way?

    I for one would like to know where we are measuring Acme Corp. air conditioning output or increased volumes of raw sewerage processed rather than “global temperatures”.

  35. PS Their data from NCDC is from Oct., 1948 to Dec., 1949 and again only for June, 2001.

  36. Interestingly, the anomalous cool spot present at 100m, 160e, is common during El Ninos. fm

  37. Philip Johns (04:05:36) :
    “Or would you expect Gavin to personally check the spelling of every one of the NCDC weather stations vs the GHCN file ….?”

    He’s getting paid isn’t he?
    As per Steve Mc, there is no reason that a consistent alphanumeric station ID system cannot be maintained across all databases. But we’re supposed to trust the people who can’t be bothered to put in the time, as Anthony did here, to maintain their database. Slackards.(American South spelling)

  38. OT: Looks like this is going to be a record wet June in the US. Looking at the NOAA precipitation records for June 19/09 some 130 records were broken and 5 were tied. On June 18/09 some 188 records were broken and on June 20/09 some 135 records were broken.

    Where could all those clouds come from ? GCRs due to Grand Solar Minimum ala Svwensmaark ?

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/records/index.php?ts=daily&elem=prcp&month=6&day=20&year=2009&submitted=Get+Records#recs

  39. Hey! Little ol’ me gets mentioned in a WUWT post! My heart swells with pride. Thank you.

  40. As a place name the spelling of Dutch Harbour should not have been affected by dictionary changes although it appears that it has been changed by common usage.
    As for the S v Z thing, common usage has led to S being accepted by British dictionaries but serious linguists and boring old pedants like myself still use the ‘correct’ British spelling with a Z in most cases.

  41. Slightly OT: As one who for several years gathered and disseminated world wide weather observations for the USAF, handling observations in a computer by the station name rather than by their WMO Block/Station number or ICAO call sign is at best very clumsy, and at worst beset by simple errors.

    To be blunt about it, in my opinion it is absurd, and I am very surprised that both NCDC and/or GISS wouldn’t include a Soundex field in their records and station library.

    Soundex is very useful in handling names “as encountered,” from whatever source. The system would also have to handle handle things like “FT” for “Fort” and other common abbreviations in place names.

    Soundex would have reduced both Dutch Harbor, and Dutch Harbour (or for that matter DUTCH HARBOR and DUTCH HARBOUR), to “D320 H616″. It would even produce the same results had all the wrong vowels been used. DOTCH HuRbeeR would also reduce correctly.

    Soundex, as far as I know is used in all Airline Reservation systems and law enforcement computers. For example, Smith, Smitty, Smythe, Smyth, and Schmidt all reduce to S530.

    It shouldn’t take very long to produce the foundational routine(s). Exceptions like FT, take time to dig out.

    We did find Soundex wasn’t much help for “John Doe” in law enforcement systems though!

  42. For Trillions of dollars in tax increases and the wholesale destruction of our economic base I would expect every last pencil mark checked many times over.

    No doubt, but this post aims at the wrong target. As I understand it, the data flow is

    NWS Co-Op/NCDC ==> GCHN ==> NASA

    Now the station name mismatch is at the first transfer, so any suggestions for imptovements in procedures should be aimed at GCHN, and snarky remarks about Gavin Schmidt’s nationality do nothing for this site’s presumed aim of being taken seriously…

    REPLY: It wasn’t snarky, it was a suggestion as to the source of error. Read Steve McIntyres comments. – Anthony

  43. I suspect that USHCN/GISS will do nothing to bring the Dutch Harbor record current, because it lacks intact data for the 1951-1980 “base period” that is used to compute anomalies.

  44. Anthony, I think you have found the key to some nagging sceptic problems. If we can just rename the city New Yorke, maybe GISS positive UHI temperature adjustments will be lost forever. Hell, they might not even be able to find their way to “work”.

  45. I vaguely remember a sci-fi story in which the pilot says ” This is tricky!”, the navigator replied “You’re right.” The pilot immediately yawed to the right. BANG
    Take possible ambiguities out of the picture: use proper scientific nomenclature.

    By the way when we Brits visit the colonies we do feel it is incumbent on us to help you keep up decent standards, don’t you know!

    Seriously (please note the “u”), great work. We are all indebted to you. Keep on exposing ineptitude and bias.

  46. But , do I really have to spell it out? Gavin works for GISS, GISS do not own the GHCN list of Stations. It is in that list where the station is ‘misspelt’, therefore it is not plausible that Gavin (or anyone els at NASA) is responsible for the problem or is the source of the error.

    In fact there is really no such thing as a ‘NASA GISS Station’, GISS are simply data customers of NCDC and others, and it is these agencies who are primarily responsible for the stations and the data quality from them. This comment

    Note to Gavin: change the spelling in the GISTEMP database and the station data might automatically kick in on the next data pass.

    is nonsense. The change needs first to be in the GCHN Inventory file – it is there that the problem exists.

    REPLY: Rubbish. You are defending the indefensible.The issue here is that GISS has not done due diligence to find out and correct why the systemic station dropout has occurred. The first job of a customer getting shorted on an order, be it data or sundries, is to complain and get the problem solved. The station name is Dutch Harbor, not Dutch Harbour. NOAA

    It boggles my mind that GISS is so lax in their concern that they can’t take a few minutes as I did to find out why their data order keeps getting smaller and smaller and complain to NCDC.

    The problem is confirmation bias, so they don’t bother. EXCEPT when one station threatens their studies, like “Harry” in Antarctica. Gavin reacted like greased lightning to that one. See Steve McIntyre’s comments.

    As we’ve seen in the past, GISS has so little care of quality control, that this sort of thing is systemic in their database. GISS can’t even find clear errors in the surface data such as occurred in Lampasas, TX and Miami, AZ.

    If you go to a restaurant and order live lobster or crab, do you at least expect the restaurant to separate the dead lobsters from the live ones? The fishermen at “deadly catch” have to do just that. They don’t get paid for the dead crabs, they dump them back at sea.

    And as a customer, if you get an obviously “dead” lobster advertised as Live/fresh by the restaurant and you end up with a puddle of goo on your plate is it not your duty to complain? Why does GISS accept “dead” stations in their database? Too lazy to complain perhaps?

    Though, they seem to spend plenty of time adjusting the data, dead stations and all.

    Well listen up “Mr. Johns”, I’m the American taxpayer, and I’m complaining. The “lobster” GISS served up to the American people is not as advertised.

    Further, if GISS KNOWS the data is terribly incomplete with dead stations, why keep this veg-o-matic bit of data like Dutch Harbor in GISTEMP? Or maybe they don’t know? Maybe they have no QC procedures to check for the completeness of data.

    Maybe they are sausage makers as demonstrated by John Goetz. – Anthony

  47. This illustrates again the difference between two mindsets – the mindset of those who are officially in charge of the data and the mindset of Anthony Watts, Steve McIntyre and others on the outside who probe, analyse and question the data (and, in cases like this of course, the lack of data.) The outsiders display a fundamental curiosity, a questioning attitude, persistence and an interest in solving these mysteries that seem to be oddly lacking in those on the inside. It’s as if the insiders feel they know enough and have no particular thirst or motivation to know more. They don’t seem to be curious about these discrepancies, or want to follow the clues to find out where they lead. So my (rhetorical) questions are: what’s up with that? And who are the real scientists?

  48. A note of interest about past climate of this area, since Deadliest Catch shows us current conditions. It is not only a story about climate change in the not-so-distant past, but how people adapted to the changes.

    The small region around Dutch Harbour & its airport on Unalaska has been occupied by people for at least 9,000 years, the longest record of anywhere in the Aleutians (must have had good things to offer even then). A large archaeological site (I do Canadian spelling) near the airport was excavated a few years ago (called Amaknak Bridge) & our company got the contract from MOT (Ministry of Transport) to identify & interpret the animal bones recovered (food refuse from animals hunted, discarded bone tools & bones modified on their way to becoming tools).

    This was the most interesting piece of work so far in my 30 year career. A peer-reviewed paper is available summarizing the results. The site itself has now been destroyed by construction but research on the data recovered is ongoing.

    In short, the site was occupied from about 3500 to 2500 years ago, during the height of the so-called Neoglacial period, when temps were colder than now. The impact of this cold on the people who lived here was pronounced: ringed seal, bearded seal, walrus & beluga were available to hunt nearby (their skin boats could not travel more than 4 hours or so at a time, so hunting can be assumed to be local).

    Some of the bearded seals they hunted were newborns (up to 3-4 weeks of age), which today are born mid-spring (April) on sea ice. So there must have been sea ice just off Dutch Harbour on a regular basis (we cannot tell for sure if the sea ice came close each & every year but it must have been fairly regular). Sea ice does not come this far south today, even in cold years (see Deadliest Catch folks working the ice edge).

    Ancient Aleuts at Amaknak Bridge during the Neoglacial had all of the equipment that Inuit living in the true Arctic possessed & did many of the same things to survive the cold, like making bird skin & gut clothing using tiny bone needles. They carved ivory & whalebone. They had Inuit-style harpoons. Their houses were semi-subterranean, 3-4 feet below ground level, lined with loose rocks. Some bones from large whales were used in construction.

    The Amaknak Bridge people developed a truly unique & remarkable style of fireplace. Inuit in the high Arctic did not have wood, they burned oil in lamps for light & heat. Amaknak Bridge people burned mostly whale bone in open fireplaces built into a house wall, each with a short true chimney made of unconsolidated rock. Leading out from the base of each firepit is a V-shaped pattern of channels in the floor leading out into the room (covered with flat rocks). This style of construction is not seen before or after in North America.

    Although those of us involved in this project argue about the reason this particular style of fire pit was chosen, my personal opinion is that the wind at that time was so strong that a fire would not stay lit without the draught provided by these floor channels. We know that wind is the primary determiner of sea ice extent in the Bering Sea today: while there must be a certain amount of cold, winds essentially PUSH ice formed in the Arctic down into the Bering Sea. More north winds, more ice.

    So, I suggest it was not necessarily remarkably colder 3000 years ago in the eastern Aleutians, but it was much windier. Adjust temps for wind chill & it would have been close enough to Arctic conditions to require Arctic adaptation. I do not believe Dutch Harbour is currently classified as having an Arctic climate.

  49. Big fan of the DC show. It’s interesting that Discovery never asks the captains whether they notice any climate change, some of whom have fished there with their fathers for decades.

    This season it looks like the ice and cold moved down aggressively in the Bering Sea (NSIDC was the only one who didn’t notice this).

    Meanwhile, the Steve Irwin on Whale Wars (Discovery’s Animal Planet) was almost trapped and crushed by the ice in the Antarctic.

    Look for a Discovery Special on Arctic melting this Summer.

  50. Huh? With all the stuff on Anthony’s “plate”, i.e. Surfacestations Project, WUWT, the day job, family responsibilities, etc., I’m having a hard time picturing him ever couch potatoing it watching Deadliest Catch. Didn’t the lawn need to be mowed? WUWT? ;)

    REPLY: I have a TV next to my computer, watching while computing. – Anthony

  51. I just donated $50, Anthony, so you can go ahead and get the data. I’m curious.

    REPLY: Thanks! I still hate paying twice for publicly funded data, especially when the COOP observer in Alaska gets nothing for braving the cold, winds, and snow to get it in the first place. I’ll let you know. I’m not sure if they deliver it online or via CD and snail mail. Will advise. – Anthony

  52. The name confusion affects not only data updates, but station locations as well. By using GISS’ map to search for records, in past years I’ve downloaded data that was placed not only in the wrong country (e.g., St. Paul in the Pribiloff Islands vs. St. Paul in Canada), but in the wrong hemisphere (e.g., Oran, Algeria vs. Oran, Argentina). How’s that for data management by civil servants?

  53. The information on this site on NCDC/NOAA data issues reminds me of my time with BC Environment developing waste discharge standards for the mining industry. Historically waste discharge data (water quality, air quality etc.) had been submitted by the mining companies to the government in the form of monthly paper reports. Ministry staff then manually input the data into the ministry’s database. On starting the project I dug into the data recorded in the database and found a horror story. Problems included missing data, input errors, duplicte data etc. etc. I spent months fixing obvious errors, removing dupicate data, finding missing data etc. The basic problem was that no one “owned” the data and thus no one was responsible for it’s accuracy.
    Because of the staff time required to input data the ministry then spent millions developing a new super database system which would allow the mining companies to directly input their data into the system in a digital format using a telephone modem. (Few, if any, mine sites had internet service at that time.)
    For the regions that the regional staff took the time to work with the mines and labs to iron out the glitches the system worked as the companies “owned” the data and had the ability to insure that it was correct. Some regions decided that they liked the monthly paper reports, didn’t work with the companies to insure the input/output worked. When I retired from government no one with authority was interested in ensuring the data in the new “foolproof” database was complete and correct. There were huge gaps in the data and many companies had given up on digital reporting.
    I suspect that no one in the NCDC/NOAA data chain has the responsibility and authority to insure the the surface station data is complete and correct. Everyone can truthfully say “it’s not my problem” and as long the data can be used to generate the answers they want it will remain some one else’s problem.

  54. O/T, but I don’t know what else to do with it.

    Anthony,

    Chico might want to look into what San Jose is doing. This is proven technology (Germany is using a LOT of this,) and will be a cornerstone in San Jose’s bid for energy independence. Waste to Biomass

    REPLY: OK that does it, I’m making a tip line – Anthony

  55. I have no doubt that NASA GISS would delightedly welcome the funding required to chase up every suspicious-looking station, even though this data is produced and owned by another agency. Or maybe they could just accept that any database this size is bound to have some errors and take this into account when doing their analyses, which might just be a better use of resources.

    Read Steve McIntyres comments. – Anthony

    Well, I did, especially BTW I’ll bet that GISS just uses the GHCN spelling and that GHCN spells it Harbour (which is my natural way of spelling it BTW).

    And he is correct, the GHCN Inventory file ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ghcn/v2/v2.temperature.inv has the ‘Harbour’ spelling, as I surmised. On the GISTEMP Station Data home page we have …

    In our analysis, we can only use stations with reasonably long, consistently measured time records. For a list of stations actually used click here, for the full list (copied from GHCN’s website and augmented from SCAR) click here.

    So GHCN own the Station names, assuming the difference in Spelling is the cause of the data loss, Gavin’s rational response to a complaint is to contact GCHN and NCDC and ask them to get their act together. The Japanese have a proverb: ‘fix the problem, not the blame’, and the important thing is to restore the data feed and play catchup with the historical data. It is an embarrassing fowlup, but the embarrassment is not primarily NASA’s. The original comment about Gavin was misguided, but not snarky, I concede, but it did kinda open the floodgates in the comments….

    REPLY: OK I hear you. The point being made is that GISS needs to do a better job of quality control. They should complain to NCDC when station data disappears and follow up on it. What is mind boggling is that one part of NOAA spells it one way ( in surface reports) and the other (NCDC who manages GHCN) spells it another, and is inconsistent in their own databases. MMS, COOP -vs- GHCN – Anthony

  56. I called up Dutch Harbor on Google Earth, and searched the area for an automated weather station. The only thing I could find that I THINK is a weather site is between two buildings just to the east of the runway. I’ve deduced that this may be a weather facility by studying the shadow cast on the ground to the north-northwest of the actual tower. It’s situated between a hangar and what appears to be a fire station. Coordinates are: 53°53’50.39″N, 166°32’22.19″W.

    REPLY: There are two weather stations in the area. 1) an AWOS station at the airport, used only for aviation. It is linked to the airport VHF radio system on 121.5 I believe so pilots can get the report in the air on approach. 2) The COOP station, with Stevenson Screen and mercury max-min thermometers, read daily, and manually. It is the one that climate data is logged from. – Anthony

  57. KW (02:53:58) :

    I pray silently for an ice age. Only that would shutup the yappers of doom.

    You’re no longer “praying silently” if you are expressing these sentiments on a blog that gets 1M+ hits a month. ;)

    Also, I think that this line of thought is not constructive, and is intellectually lazy. On my blog, I’ve ridiculed those on the alarmist side that are “rooting for global warming” ( http://algorelied.com/?p=2106 ), and I think that “praying silently for an ice age” is just as ridiculous.

    Me? I practice the “Que sera, sera” philosophy. I do find the cooling temperatures amusing, but I’m certainly not “praying silently” for them.

  58. * I spell the station name this way: Dutch Harbor
    * NCDC MMS spells it this way: Dutch Harbor
    * NCDC B91 selector spells it this way: Dutch Harbor
    * The station COOP observer spells it on the B91: Dutch Harbor

    They all seem to be spelled the same, am I missing something?

    REPLY: Yes

  59. Philip Johns (04:05:36

    Philip, I won’t presume that you’ve done any data analysis of substance. If you watch Steve Mc or any of the other folks at CA, the first step is always checking your sources rather than trusting your sources. even if only to spot check or check for obvious mistakes. Much of the study of temperature data is really rather simple math done on a VERY COMPLEX data provenance problem. The math of calculating an area weighed average is mundane. The ARCHEOLOGY of reconstructing which sites reported what data when and where and under what conditions is the HARD problem and one that requires a disciplined attention to detail. Like surveying every site, like looking at all the instrument issues, Like reading B91 forms. Its not for the feint of heart.

  60. Here is a plot of NCDC vs. GISS. I was only able to get NCDC data back to 1922. GISS goes back to 1881.

    REPLY:
    Thanks! What was your source data from NCDC? do you have a link? – Anthony

  61. Link to the data: http://dss.ucar.edu/datasets/ds560.0/

    You can get data through 1991 from the state file for Alaska and the rest of the data from the individual yearly time series files.

    REPLY: Thanks very much, this is valuable. I never would have thought to look at UCAR as they are not normally a surface data provider. – Anthony

  62. As an Aussie, i consider myself at least tri-lingual. I can understand Australian, British and American English in both written and spoken forms. The wonders of English will never cease and may be summed up by a poem detailing the difficulties of English. The first two lines are:
    We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
    But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.

    The full poem can be found here http://www.worldwidewords.org/articles/ar-eng1.htm
    Personally, I vote for harbour ;-)

  63. One other thing-concerning Crabbers,I know a few and some are still alive some are dead.Lost a family friend last year running the Gold Beach (Rouge River) Bar. Even on the Oregon coast the Old man North Pacific can have his way with you…
    I respect these people…

  64. Philip, I won’t presume that you’ve done any data analysis of substance. If you watch Steve Mc or any of the other folks at CA, the first step is always checking your sources rather than trusting your sources. even if only to spot check or check for obvious mistakes. Much of the study of temperature data is really rather simple math done on a VERY COMPLEX data provenance problem.

    Quite. As it happens, I was once responsible for the Data Warehouse at a global bank. We took feeds from around 150 subsidiary countries, rather fewer than NASA’s several thousand stations. We worked with all the suppliers to get the data as good as it could be, yet we knew that there were residual defects [I guess the equivalent to this would be a branch that was reported as closed, when in fact it had just changed name. ]. We could have diverted resources into investigating every last suspicious data dropout, only to find that the majority were legitimate, and that the effect of restoring the missing ones on the ‘fitness for purpose’ of the warehouse would be marginal. Such a proposal would not have got past the Board.

    Another analogy would be a retailer who ordered several thousand live lobsters, inevitably a proprtion would be DOA. The business that ordered a postmortem into every last dead crustacean would not be in business very long.

    Actually, given that a lot of the data is online, a systematic investigation into ‘missing’ NCDC data feeds might make an interesting volunteer project, as long as the expected result was not predetermined, naturally.

    But I fear the relevance of Dr Schmidt’s nationality still escapes me, given that

    – GISS does not own the Station Inventory File

    – The data dropout dates from 11 years before Gavin joined NASA

    ;-)

    • Philip Johns wrote:

      “Another analogy would be a retailer who ordered several thousand live lobsters, inevitably a proprtion would be DOA. The business that ordered a postmortem into every last dead crustacean would not be in business very long.”

      No disagreement there.

      But in the case of GISS, they don’t even sort out the “DOA lobsters”, they leave them in place with the “live” ones.

      So by your analogy, using GISS practices any lobster business that didn’t sort the DOA from the “live” would not be in business very long either.

      I just don’t think it is too much to ask to either manually or programatically sort the dead stations from the live ones. There’s just no quality control of this type going on at GISS at all. – Anthony

  65. John Christy:

    “…the use of a few popular stations for which the data are easy to find, leads
    to too much warming when the averages are constructed.”

    If enough “lost” stations are found, it would be interesting to compare their averages to the non-lost stations to see if there is any statistically significant difference.

  66. I would suggest that someone propose to Gavin that he should determine a list of words spelled differently in the US than Britain and do a global search for them in the GISS database. I would bet he finds at least several dozen stations that have been lost in cyberspace.

  67. There is a Stepheson’s screen type box over at the Mississqoi National Wildlife Refuge in Vermont. I havn’t seen it in the list. Maybe I have missed it, if it is on the list, I can survey it, since I drive by it several times a week. It would be located in Swanton, V

  68. “REPLY: I sent him an email tonight to be sure. I wouldn’t want him to miss this one just in case he doesn’t read WUWT regularly, especially on weekends – Anthony”

    chuckle :-)

  69. Philip Johns,
    As it happens I was once responsible for running a data system at a university that billed 15,000 students multiple times per year. Every set of transactions had to be correct or we heard about it. It was part of the system to do QC and nobody would ever think to accept errors. People weren’t “diverted” to get it right; it was part of their primary job. Should be the same with a dataset so crucial to world economies and policy making. No excuses.

  70. The first rule of gathering and transmitting, and later archiving, weather observations was (and surely still is), if you can’t identify the reporting station plus the date and time of the observation, then you really don’t have a weather report.

    Storing such data requires a bit of complex indexing — both on-line and off-line — but if you can’t find it, it may as well not exist.

    So why is the storage of weather archives at NCDC so haphazard? These folks have had computers since sometime in the 60’s.

  71. Anthony,

    I am wondering if someone evaluated the historical locations in the country side, ie those locations with little urban heat effect, how much change they have seen on average over their life of reporting. Has anyone pulled the data on the stations with the correct level of maintenance and audited their change specifically? Ie I know you are working on a longer term larger project on the topic, my question is, has anyone built a smaller sample of the best stations and evaluated them yet?

    If not, could I get a list from you, of the pool of best choices to look at? 100 give or take stations with long histories and a lack of urban heat island effects to choose from would be my choice. I personally would like to know, in the countryside, has global temps changed that much on average.

    Jack

  72. As it happens I was once responsible for running a data system at a university that billed 15,000 students multiple times per year. Every set of transactions had to be correct or we heard about it. It was part of the system to do QC and nobody would ever think to accept errors.

    Yeah, but I bet you had some sort of control over your inputs, in the case of GISS, it is the NOAA that decide which monthly station data gets released, not NASA.

    Oh, and Gavin is not concerned with the day-to-day running of GISTEMP.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/06/a-warning-from-copenhagen/#comment-127464

    Bye for now.

  73. Good grief Anthony, you eat drink and sleep this. Catching the screen on TV is truly remarkable. I hope your wife supports you 100%. I know how tough it can be if not.

  74. All of these types of foul ups should be reported to Fox News. I’d suggest emailing them to Glen Beck. I think some of them will make his show. The more you can show the ineptitude of the AGW scientists the more you cast doubts on their claims.

  75. Wow, two for two. Maybe it’s time you set up a project to try and find all of the missing stations. Seems like it might be worth it.

  76. Part of the reason one may have to pay to get weather data (from the US, Australia, UK, etc) is because in the ardor to make the government more business-like, rules were passed that required these agencies to recover the costs of providing these data. In short, since business gives away nothing for free, the government shouldn’t either. Thus folks get charged for data.

    If you don’t like that, then urge your representatives to change the rules regarding costing of data.

    REPLY: Explained that way it makes sense. Thanks, Anthony

  77. Not to me it doesn’t. They are funded by taxes. They are not businesses. That data is public. It’s our data. Charging for it is bogus. They make public policy based on that data, and we have a right to know what it is and they have an obligation to provide it. Is it to be “data for the rich”?

    It’s my data. Gimme.

  78. The principles of cost recovery go back to the 1980s – and the dominant ideology of that time. I think we can all remember that era, and the “government is the problem” dogma that took hold.

  79. So every single item of ‘government’ data should be available, free of charge, to every single citizen?

    Good luck with that, and the tax rises required to fund it.

  80. Philip Jones, I take it that you’re unaware of the backstory on Gavin. Late Superbowl Sunday, I posted at CA that there were some problems with the Harry station used in Steig et al. – the archived version at the British Antarctic Survey was a splice of two unrelated stations though I hadn’t then worked out which stations were in the splice. A couple of readers and I traded ideas and I signed off the night.

    Although Gavin had no prior record of any interest in station data, while I was busy with my family, Gavin pored over minutiae of station data and got the BAS data changed the next morning. At realclimate, he told a CA reader that someone had “independently” discovered the problem with Harry and blamed me for failing to promptly notify the BAS of the error. It seemed remarkable that someone could have “independently” identified this obscure problem referred to at CA, but that was Gavin’s claim. Why was this mystery man? http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=5077

    Soon afterwards, the BAS outed Gavin as being his own mystery man. http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=5093

    Gavin pretended that his only concern was the veracity of station data. OK, if he’s red hot concerned about the veracity of station data, then he should be as aggressive in getting Dutch Harbor fixed as he was in getting Harry fixed.

    If he is not particularly interested in minutiae of station data (as he now says), then his explanation at the time – that he was merely interested in the veracity of station data – is untrue.

    Anthony and I are both aware of this back story and that’s the reason for the jibes.

    Given Gavin’s new story (and it’s sometimes hard to keep up with the Team), readers should ask themselves why was Gavin so red hot to get the screwed up Harry data expunged from the BAS archive? (And it was expunged within 24 hours without any record of a change being made. A change notice and record of the flawed data was only posted after my request.)

  81. Gary, it is my understanding that NOAA does not charge university researchers for the data. Giiven that Anthony’s purposes are academic rather than commercial, as I noted above, he has every right to request a waiver of the fees.

  82. Philip Johns (18:54:49) :
    So every single item of ‘government’ data should be available, free of charge, to every single citizen?
    Good luck with that, and the tax rises required to fund it.

    That’s like the parricide asking leniency from the court on the grounds that he’s an orphan. I’ve got the suspicion that a national data library would run a lot less than what has already been allocated for “stimulus” and is certainly less than cap and trade will cost. Data that is being used to drive important national decisions should be available to everyone who wants it free of charge.

    The formulation of a national data policy is not something that can be reduced to a snide one-liner, but in the long run, yes, publicly funded data should be publicly available. There will almost certainly be issues of national security, fair use, individual privacy (I’d love to have the census data set….) …. Maybe RP Jr. would like to stop by and address this issue….. but yes, Mr. Johns, to resurrect an old slogan, data wants to be free.

  83. Regarding taxes, costs, and fees:

    Why does it cost us anything to go to a State or Federal Park? Usually there is an entrance fee. Do you want to camp? Do you want an electrical hookup? Do you want to dump your camper waste? At what point are my tax dollars paying for your camping experience? I accept and willing pay taxes that we might have a national park that I may never visit. If you want to use electricity therein to keep your beer cold I am in favor of you paying a fee.

    Anthony, ask your local university to request the data. Someone mentioned that should work and be free.

  84. John F. Hultquist (21:32:34) :

    Regarding taxes, costs, and fees:

    Why does it cost us anything to go to a State or Federal Park? Usually there is an entrance fee. Do you want to camp? Do you want an electrical hookup? Do you want to dump your camper waste? At what point are my tax dollars paying for your camping experience? I accept and willing pay taxes that we might have a national park that I may never visit. If you want to use electricity therein to keep your beer cold I am in favor of you paying a fee.

    Anthony, ask your local university to request the data. Someone mentioned that should work and be free.”

    Correct me if I am wrong, but we are talking about data that exists already on government servers that is being sold instead of allowed open access.
    That is somewhat a different matter than charging to provide services for individuals.

  85. Yes. Also one is not basing public policy based on camping. The data is being used to bring about heinously expensive public policy. There are no issues of proprietorship nor of national security. Therefore, the data should be freely available.

  86. RE Philip Johns (12:37:08) :

    You wrote:

    “Another analogy would be a retailer who ordered several thousand live lobsters, inevitably a proprtion would be DOA. The business that ordered a postmortem into every last dead crustacean would not be in business very long.”

    I’ll suppose that you have never done retail. Typically, in a retail contract, there is a stipulated DOA rate. For example in electronics I would warrent a DOA rate of <2%. FA ( failure analysis) is typically triggered if the DOA rate
    goes above the expected rate. even when the FA is below 2% we would periodically perform FA. If I manufacture a device that costs 1000 dollars and warrant a DOA rate of 2%, the cost of DOA is 20 per unit.
    If the cost of FA is low relative to this, then FA of every unit might make sense, at least initially, especially if I can lower the DOA rate to say 1%.
    Some of these data ( like serial numbers and date codes )are collected as a routine part of the return process.. " hey joe, we got another crate of dead lobsters from Jiffy lobsters, thats the third this week!" anyways your analogy falls flat: The cost of doing QA, even routine QA, on the data sources that GISS uses is small. Very simply it would be a part of any serious research proposal into global temp. The code is trivial. I know, I've read it. And some of the QA required but not performed is also trivial. Look now at the cost of getting it wrong, cost to the credibility of the AGW story.
    Second, in the retail example, the retailer is constantly getting a new supply of lobsters. As long as the DOA rate is low, you are right there is no sense
    in checking EVERY dead lobster. Check a few. But the case with Temperature stations is entirely different. Their number is fixed. Further, we know from Climate science, nay from gavin himself that "60 good stations" are all we need. If you only need "60 good stations" then it would only make sense to invest the one time effort to identify those stations that are good and shit can the rest. In your lobster example, it would be like finding the bad supplier and stopping orders from him.

    "Actually, given that a lot of the data is online, a systematic investigation into ‘missing’ NCDC data feeds might make an interesting volunteer project, as long as the expected result was not predetermined, naturally."

    Funny, you predetermine that the wholesale lack of such an effort on the part of GISS is not of interest.

    "But I fear the relevance of Dr Schmidt’s nationality still escapes me, given that

    – GISS does not own the Station Inventory File

    – The data dropout dates from 11 years before Gavin joined NASA

    ;-)"

    Oh gosh, In one of my first jobs I had to process the sensor inputs from 1000s of stations. The provenance of this data was spotless
    and highly classified. Again the math was trivial, just combine that data from this disparate set of sensors ( spread throughout the former easter block) into one number. As part of of my routine I "looked" at each individual track. Man it sucked and nobody could figure out why I would check data that was A) collected before my time. B) already been validated by 3 letter agencies. C) took so damn long. They didn't laugh when I found a error that had escaped people for 10 years. I didn't OWN the inventory file. I used it. and before I used it my sense of getting things right said " do some sanity checks" Look for missing data, change points, outliers, duplicate records, all those silly errors that creep into "validated" data sets. And it wasn't that hard, just a bit tedious. Finally, you don't get gavins role in this because you havent followed the discussion closely enough.

  87. Seven 10ths of a degree over 100 years is a major foundation in the Alarmist house of cards.

    Raw USHCN shows +0.14C. With TOBS (calculated by unreleased algorithm rather than taken from B-91 forms), it’s +0.31.

    With FILNET/SHAP, it’s +0.59 (SHAP being a positive adjustment is an enormity).

    And this does not consider microsite issues, which I believe add a spurious +0.2C to the record.

    Long story short, I doubt it’s even as much as +0.7C.

  88. One wonders how much tolerance one would have if, for example, a Mr. Balfor made a deposit at his bank and it was instead improperly credited to a Mr. Balfour’s account. Not much I suspect.

    If the nations’ banks can, for the most part, keep their millions of accounts [datasets] correct to the penny, each month, year in and year out, then why should we not expect a little better accuracy from GISS or NCDC or whoever is responsible for missing/misplaced/misfiled/misspelled data?

    In my dealings with several banks over a period of five decades, I have encountered less bank errors than the number of digits on my left hand. [A few more than that for my errors, though!]

  89. Steve Mosher But the case with Temperature stations is entirely different. Their number is fixed.

    Get your facts right (you could start with reading Gavin’s RC comment), the stations that release monthly data (or not) each month is decided by NOAA, and the data is then collated by GCHN. NASA have no control over which stations they receive data from each month. Once again, you have the wrong target.

    REPLY: Your previous comment was deleted, feel free to resubmit it sans the insult. It was uncalled for, and I don’t much care for it, especially from somebody with a false identity. If you want to insult Mr. Mosher and I have the courage to use your real name. – Anthony

  90. Mr Johns…

    It’s not the target that is important… It’s the slipshod and incompetent methods of data collection that are the problem.

  91. OK. Let me be quite clear, I am not defending the data loss,if you read back you will see that I described it as an ‘embarrassing foulup’ or similar. And WUWT deserves credit for identifying what may be the cause of the data dropout.

    Still the OP is problematic,

    Maybe it has something to do with Gavin Schmidt being British? …Note to Gavin: change the spelling in the GISTEMP database and the station data might automatically kick in on the next data pass.

    Which is nonsense and kicked off a cascade of personal jibes [Steve M's word, not mine] in the comments.

    This displays a flawed understanding, GISS do not maintain the station list, Gavin has no hand in running GISTEMP, and the data first disappeared from the record over a decade before he joined NASA. His nationality is thus an irrelevance, and it is GHCN who need to fix their station list, not NASA.

    AN attribute of a good auditor is impartiality, strange then that Steve McInytre drops by to make an anti-Schmidt jibe but is nearly silent on this misinformation, hmmmm? You can read Gavin’s side of the BAS data correction kerfuffle here…

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/warm-reception-to-antarctic-warming-story/#comment-111354

    Since this thread is apparently now more about attempts to personalise the issue, and ‘jibes’ than serious debate, I am signing off.

    The lobster analogy is dead. ;-)

    • jeez:

      Philip Johns. It is very simple, Gavin Schmidt is a liar and if he had a real job where he would be under scrutiny for ethical violations from a real employer he would be fired.

      Read more here.

  92. Steve Mosher:Oh gosh, In one of my first jobs I had to process the sensor inputs from 1000s of stations. ….

    Admirable, but were you also conducting climate research for publication in peer-reviewed journals at the time?

    • Philip Johns

      Admirable, but were you also conducting climate research for publication in peer-reviewed journals at the time?

      This attempt at retort is so weak that a succinct description fails me-I’ll just post alternate examples.

      1. You’re not a woman, how can you possibly have an opinion on [child rearing, rape, birth control, custody issues, sexual harassment, makeup, etc.]

      2. You’re not Black, how can you possibly understand [power issues, oppression, curly hair, race relations, inner city education, drug problems etc.]

      3. etc. etc. etc.

  93. Yes, by all means, let me pay you to provide a product, and then pay again for the product itself. And, no, I don’t mind doing my own QA on the product I’ve already paid for… twice. Makes sense to me.

  94. SQUEAK.

    Somehow being dead seems to suck, no matter how you slice it, but then i am not dead so i am not entitled on having a opinion about it, right?

  95. Jeez, my point clearly went sailing over your head, it was not about expertise, it was that investigating issues in National Weather Service climate stations is not in Gavin’s job description, therefore the comparison is not valid. You rather make my point that the aim here as much about demonising Dr Schmidt as it is constructive criticism of the data issues.

    And RP Jnr is not a reliable source on the politics or the math.

    • Philip Johns:

      So your extra smarty point that my poor little head is incapable of understanding is that the people at GISS are just too busy to check their work or ensure any level of quality. Powerful argument there. I hope someone smarter than me can understand it.

      As far as calling Gavin a liar, I am one of the people who witnessed the events unfolding in real time. He is a liar.

      Look for yourself where Seth Borenstein calls him out on this thread at RC.

      His credibility is sinking to an all time low, except with his disciples and fellow Team members.

  96. Given the massive number of screwups involved in the temperature records (and climate science “studies”), no rational, moral scientist would rely upon it to advocate massive changes to the world economy.

    The first step in any analysis has to be to insure the quality of the information. Otherwise, garbage in, garbage out. The scientists in charge of maintaining the database have failed. The scientists who allocate resources have failed. And the scientists who never bothered to check the quality of the records have failed miserably. They shouldn’t be trusted or relied upon for policy advice because they have proven that they aren’t up to the job.

  97. I agree with Philip Johns on one and only one point. The jibe in the head post that spelling error had something to do with Gavin Schmidt being British was inappropriate on two counts: 1) the mis-spelling long preceded Gavin Schmidt and, while there are jibes that are warranted, this particular jibe wasn’t; 2) going a bridge too far enables people like Philip Johns to pick one weakest issue and ignore the other issues.

    I suggest that the crack about being British be removed with a note in the comments that you’ve removed a crack.

    In return, perhaps Philip Johns would agree that Gavin Schmidt’s changing stories about the nature of his interest in station data don’t hold up. If he is uninterested in station data details, as he now says, this story is inconsistent with his story when he was outed as his own Mystery Man.

    REPLY:
    Thanks Steve, I actually thought Gavin’s British heritage was germane, and that it was relevant to the spelling error, but in the interest of keeping the peace I’ll remove it. – Anthony

  98. Philip Johns, have you even read what has been written about others on RC? I wouldn’t say this is even coming close. The fact that the basis for all of his assumptions may be so tainted is a wake up call to those who ardently adhere to the belief of runaway warming. A little constructive criticism is warranted as well as a little payback for disparaging comments made by Gavin and his minions. How can you defend the actions of someone who is playing a childish game on our dime? And by the way, condescending means “to talk down to”. Please stop that. It is not necessary or welcome.

  99. Philip Johns (03:48:27) :
    “…investigating issues in National Weather Service climate stations is not in Gavin’s job description…”

    In other words, it’s not in Schmidt’s job description to check the accuracy of the data with which he’s doing ‘peer-reviewed’ research, even though problems with the data are constantly being pointed out by Anthony and others. Nobody should get a pass on this- not NCDC, GHCN, or GISS- providers or end users.

  100. Given the massive number of screwups involved in the temperature records (and climate science “studies”), no rational, moral scientist would rely upon it to advocate massive changes to the world economy.

    The first step in any analysis has to be to insure the quality of the information. Otherwise, garbage in, garbage out. The scientists in charge of maintaining the database have failed.

    Just out of interest, Stan, do you include Dr Roy Spencer and Dr John Christy, custodians of the UAH temperature series, in your generalisation of climate scientists who have ‘failed’?

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/plot/gistemp/from:1979/offset:-0.2

  101. Look for yourself where Seth Borenstein calls him out on this thread at RC.

    LOL! He wrote ‘long interview’ in a blog post when he meant ‘longer’ Now corrected.

    Steve McIntyre – would you agree that the main focus should now be to idnetify and fix the root cause of the problem – and that this is likely to be the way the station named is spelt by GHCN? And therefore that is is GHCN who should investigate and fix the error? And therefore attempts to personalise the issue against a NASA employee are something of a diversion?

    I agree that Gavin took a personal interest in the BAMS / Harry data but that appears to have been a one-off, if it means he gets branded as ‘inconsistent’ if he does not subsequently chase up each and every data problem that emerges, well I guess he can live with that ….

    REPLY: “Since this thread is apparently now more about attempts to personalise the issue, and ‘jibes’ than serious debate, I am signing off.”

    And yet, here you are. – Anthony

  102. Philip Johns, contrary to his present protestations, Gavin has in the past acted as NASA spokesman on GISTEMP e.g. Hansen’s Y2K problem.

    He also spends time trolling the blogs for signs of trouble with the GISS record. For example, when they goofed last year by using September data in October in Siberia, yielding record “heat” waves, – something identified almost simultaneously at CA and WUWT – Gavin notified GISTEMP.

    Last February, as mentioned above, I noticed a problem in one of the stations relied upon in Steig et al. Gavin notified the British Antarctic Survey of this error without crediting Climate Audit. When the issue was raised at realclimate, he said that someone had identified this problem “independently” of Climate Audit. Later the Mystery Man was outed as Gavin Schmidt himself, who admitted that he had learned of the problem from Climate Audit. For some reason, you do not seem to have any problems with Schmidt;s conduct (which was also sharply criticized by Pielke Jr).

    In the case at hand, there are precedents for Gavin trolling WUWT and CA and running back to headquarters with his scouting reports, and so it is entirely reasonable for us to leave messages for Gavin when a similar problem was encountered with Dutch Harbor.

    Again, Gavin was hellbent for leather to get Harry fixed and now he’s uninterested in Dutch Harbor. Explain that to me.

    You’ll have

  103. Philip Johns,

    my post above crossed in the mail.

    As noted above, the Harry incident was not entirely a one-off. Gavin got involved in the Siberian October mix-up which was also about station data and was the NASA spokesman on the Y2K problem. He’s used realclimate to enhance the public image of NASA GISS and to act as a NASA GISS spokesman, while at the same time pretending that it is a personal hobby. So it is entirely reasonable to view him as the public face of the GISTEMP program. IF Gavin doesn’t want to be criticized for GISTEMP defects, then it’s open to him to let the responsible people speak for themselves. However, he’s been the public face for the past number of years.

    I agree that the error originates with GHCN but mutual fingerpointing between federal agencies is of zero interest to me. GISS uses the GHCN data and its their name on the data index. Therefore they are accountable for all the components. Ford or Toyota don;t get to blame their equipment suppliers for a product failure. Neither should GISS.

  104. Just out of interest, Stan, do you include Dr Roy Spencer and Dr John Christy, custodians of the UAH temperature series, in your generalisation of climate scientists who have ‘failed’?

    First, GISS runs warmer, especially recently. (You also have to consider that lower troposphere trends are 1.2 to 1.4 times greater that surface data, depending on latitude.)

  105. Well, thanks for the prompt response Steve, even if you didn’t actually answer all my questions. [That's fine, you don't have to.]. I am pleased that you agree with me that the root cause of the problem is likely with GHCN, rather than NASA, but am less pleased with but mutual fingerpointing between federal agencies is of zero interest to me. when apparently personalising the issue, making ‘jibes’ at Gavin’s expense is of interest, even when it is a completely different agency that is at fault. You’ll excuse me if I find this slightly desparate point-scoring a little juvenile, and certainly not helpful in either fixing the problem or advancing the debate. Dr Schmidt is completely at liberty to pick and choose which issues he takes a personal interest in, in this regard he is certainly not accountable to you or anyone else. But I think maybe we have exhausted these thoughts.

    Therefore they are accountable for all the components. Ford or Toyota don’t get to blame their equipment suppliers for a product failure. Neither should GISS.

    Oh really? Ford Motor Company is considering asking Firestone to recall more tyres after the car maker said it found safety problems with other tyres installed on its vehicles, reports say… Nashville, Tennessee-based Firestone says its “making it right” advertisement stresses the tyre manufacturer’s goal of increased quality control and hopes to rebuild consumer confidence, following the Explorer debacle.

  106. Philip Johns (02:23:44)

    “Was I producing peer reviewed articles for climate science at the time?”

    Yes. But, since those writings are classified, you can’t read them.
    Ha, kinda like Phil Jone’s CRU data.
    You should know that the propagation of thermal signatures in the atmosphere was of great interest to those of us who worked in the
    “stealth” field. Next.

    Now you see how silly your prattling is. I say something that is true, and your retort is to wonder if I was producing peer reviewed articles. Can you say non sequitur?

  107. First, GISS runs warmer, especially recently.

    Actually, over the lifetime of the satellite data, it is UAH that is out of step with the other three major indices.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1979/trend/plot/uah/trend/offset:0.2/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1979/trend/offset:0.085/plot/rss/trend/offset:0.23

    In about the last decade, it is true that UAH and GISS have diverged, and this may be something to do with a strange annual cycle emerging in the UAH data since around 2003, discussed at these places

    http://atmoz.org/blog/2008/04/21/interannual-divergence-in-satellite-temperature-records/

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/rss-and-uah/

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/10/30/annual-cycle-in-uah-tlt/

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/03/05/seasonal-divergence-in-tropospheric-temperature-trends/

    Interesting stuff…

    REPLY: OK, suspiciously a little too quick on the draw there chum, and too much like previous comments made here under a similar name.

    That made me suspicious. Now I get it, you are the same troll known as John Phillips @ set….. that was hounding us last year. You just changed your network setup and did a slight name switcheroo. John Phillips > Philip Johns Neither of which appear to be your real name in your email address.

    The comment origination IP addresses then and now plot out to the same location in the UK. The same DSLAM host was used in both cases as it serves both IP address sets.

    So, with deception, now your comments have sub zero value here. Bugger off. – Anthony

  108. Anthony, I recall two weather stations in Wallowa. One is at a ranger station at the edge of town, and the other is at a private residential site. The one at the ranger station I remember having quite a long (more than a century) record with no moves. The other one in town has moved at least once? Does my memory serve me?

  109. Back to taxes, fees, costs . . .

    Many things the US Gov produces cost at an individual level. Example 1: USGS topographic quad maps. I’ve not found them to be free for the asking. Why? It costs money to print, handle, and mail them (or to visit an office and deal in person). I’ve never met anyone that objected to this. Example 2: National Forest Recreation Pass — You have paid via taxes for the FS to build access roads, boat ramps, potties, and such things as are needed at particular sites. If you want to park and spend the day and use the facilities you are requested to pay. With general taxes we do not get to direct them in specific ways. With fees we do. A non-hiker in NYC having paid taxes has also helped with the provision but will never need to pay the fee. Such a person may pay to visit a National site that I will never visit. The size of the fee, in whatever case, may be objectionable but the concept does not seem to be generally regarded as such.

  110. That’s physical work.

    This is a matter of online data. They don’t have to hire a screever to engrave the dang stuff.

  111. steven mosher (21:39:09) :
    And the climate clown of the week award goes to…..

    Uh, what’s his name?!

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