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”.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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:
Harbour? WUWT? It’s an American port!
I checked this guide for differences in British, Canadian, and American spelling, and sure enough:
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.
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.”
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