BoM embraces UHI

They join the UK Met office in embracing UHI now. Of course, my friend Jim Goodridge, former California State Climatologist, had this nailed in 1996 with his study of surface temperature in California:

MEDIA RELEASE Wednesday 13 October 2010

Hot cities

If you thought our cities are getting warmer, you’re right.

“We can now confidently say that the reason our cities are warmer and warming faster than the surrounding countryside during the day is because of the urbanisation…”

Bureau of Meteorology researchers have found that daytime temperatures in our cities are warming more rapidly than those of the surrounding countryside and that this is due to the cities themselves.

Bureau climate scientist, Belinda Campbell, said “we’ve known for a while that city night time temperatures have been warmer because the heat’s retained after sunset just that much longer than the countryside, and that city daytime temperatures have been warming too.”

“But what we didn’t know was whether city day time temperatures were also warmer because of the urbanisation or whether it was due to the overall warming of the planet associated with the enhanced greenhouse effect.”

“We can now confidently say that the reason our cities are warmer and warming faster than the surrounding countryside during the day is because of the urbanisation, the fact that all those offices, houses and factories absorb the heat and retain it a little bit longer,” Ms Campbell said.

On average, the enhanced greenhouse effect is responsible for about 0.5 to 1.0 degree of observed warming around the globe (more in some areas, less in other areas).

The additional effect of urbanisation on warming varies from city to city (depending on the buildings and open parkland close to the observation site).

The research team analysed data from 70 sites in the Bureau’s meteorological data archive in order to quantify how much the increases in daytime temperature can be attributed to urbanisation and how much to the enhanced greenhouse effect.

The sites were mostly from towns with populations ranging from 500 to 100,000, with a handful being either in cities with more than 100,000, or in isolated locations with hardly anybody for hundreds of kilometres.

Ms Campbell is presenting the results of the team’s work at the Australia – New Zealand Climate Forum in Hobart on Thursday (14 October, 2010).

For media inquiries

(03) 9669 4057
Mobile 0439 452 424

Source: http://www.bom.gov.au/announcements/media_releases/ho/20101013.shtml

===================================

h/t to WUWT reader “gibo”

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Also, see this work I did in Reno, NV measuring and proving the UHI effect to myself:

UHI is real, in Reno at least

…and if you’d like to measure UHI yourself:

Measure UHI in your town with this easy to use temperature datalogger kit

About these ads

69 thoughts on “BoM embraces UHI

  1. Well this has slipped underneath the radar here in Australia, or is it sometingthat I’ve missed recently. Either way it should be bigger news than it will be.

  2. Yeah, I think the attempts to deny UHI via nightlights and breezes have about run their course and even those who would like to support CAGW have to admit that there has to be a proper accounting for UHI. Progress is being made!

  3. There’s also a local effect from anthropogenic heat generation. Averaged over the entire surface of the earth the amount of energy used by people (heating, cooling, lights, appliances, industrial processes, transportation, and so forth) is vanishingly small compared to energy received from the sun but anthropogenic waste heat is highly concentrated in urban population centers. The waste heat isn’t spread out over hundreds of millions of square kilometers but is rather concentrated into hundreds of thousands of square kilometers.

  4. Nice to see you and your team vindicated Anthony. This reads as if they are in despair:

    On average, the enhanced greenhouse effect is responsible for about 0.5 to 1.0 degree of observed warming around the globe (more in some areas, less in other areas).

    ‘Average’, ‘about’, ‘more in some areas, less in other areas’ = WattsUpWithThat?

  5. who Paid for this cr*p…and er der! indeed.
    gee who’d’a thunk it!

    any normal non goreite, who could also figure using mostly urban sites and cutting rural, was intentional to up the temp to support the falsehoods..thats who’da thunk it.
    good on Ya Anthoney et al:-)

  6. So the reason cities are warmer is because, they are cities (minus 0.5 to 1 degree of gw of course). I wonder what is the thermal output of an average city, has it ever been analysed?

  7. It’s taken awhile for this spectacular bit of general knowledge to filter through to oficialdom; I recall learning in high school Geography classes that urban areas created their own microclimates and their own weather, which tended to be warmer and wetter than the surrounding countryside. And that was in the early 1950s.
    I also learnt then that Man has the silly habit of building on flood plains which not only puts housing at risk of flooding, but uses up the limited supply of rich alluvial farmland better suited to producing meat, milk and vegetables.

  8. “But what we didn’t know was whether city day time temperatures were also warmer because of the urbanisation or whether it was due to the overall warming of the planet associated with the enhanced greenhouse effect.”

    Couldn’t be bothered/didn’t want to find out, I presume. It’s not that difficult, is it?

  9. “On average, the enhanced greenhouse effect is responsible for about 0.5 to 1.0 degree of observed warming around the globe (more in some areas, less in other areas).”

    Please explain us, where was the “enhanced greenhouse effect” in 80ties, when Europe was colder than decades around 1900.

    Another thing, if urbanization can retain so much heat, just imagine how much heat retains the earth surface, water and atmosphere itself. Until this is quantified, all babbling about greenhouse effect providing 33K is meaningless.

  10. OK, now it’s bothering me, what complexities am I missing that would make the entire “discovery” worthy of years of study requiring the input of fine minds and thousands of hours together with the appropriate budget? What is hidden from me that I can’t just say – “duur, dudes?

  11. Is this before or after Phil Jones and what’s his name – Cheung? – get hold of the UHI numbers?

  12. The UHI effect is well known and has been taken into account by climatologists. This new work is an interesting refinement on what is known, but has no barring on the reality of AGW. As the article stated “On average, the enhanced greenhouse effect is responsible for about 0.5 to 1.0 degree of observed warming around the globe (more in some areas, less in other areas).”

    See also: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/the-surface-temperature-record-and-the-urban-heat-island/

  13. OK, I agree with some that this is too little too late, but it is good to see this out in print. We need more information like this out in the open, so this is a step in the right direction.

    What jumped out at me was the amount of the UHI identified. I presume their “degree” is in C. If so, the 0.5 – 1.0 degree warming due to UHI largely explains the 20th century warming that is observed (at least for those locations), without need to invoke CO2, unknown feedback mechanisms, etc.

  14. P Gosselin says:
    October 14, 2010 at 7:45 am
    So what is this going to lead to? More adjustment of the temperature records?

    of course more adjustments will be made, we have to get that darn rural temps up to par with the cities you know!! :)

  15. Notice they say an “additional effect” of UHI which suggests that they think that the global temperature records are not contaminated by UHI. It will be difficult to defend this position, but in the crazy world of alarmist logic I’m sure it is possible.

    For some reason the following seems appropriate

  16. So what does happen if you remove UHI effects from the BOM temperature records for Aus?

    It couldn’t possibly be a Kiwi style flat liner could it?

    Global warming only now seems to affect the northern hemisphere, where climate scientists can get their hot sticky fingers on the thermometers/data

  17. We’ll only know they are embracing real science when they make sure the politicals are also aware and take account of the uncertainties and alternative viewpoints. They’re still making assertions about “enhanced greenhouse effect”. Another commenter on another thread here suggested that the agw crowd were making a strategic withdrawal to fight in another place. Real science needs to be ready to deny them their chosen position.

  18. Mike …

    find me a urban GISS station that has UHI adjustments … have fun becasue you won’t find too many … most often you will find negative adjustments in the older years decreasing to zero for recent measurements …

    So tell us again that “The UHI effect is well known and has been taken into account by climatologists. ” We need a good laugh …

  19. “But what we didn’t know was whether city day time temperatures were also warmer because of the urbanisation or whether it was due to the overall warming of the planet associated with the enhanced greenhouse effect.

    This last truly makes no sense. In non-climate discussion “overall” would mean “pretty much everywhere.” And that would mean even out in rural areas. So if it is overall, rural areas should be seeing warming.

    And then somehow she is saying that the UHI might be “due to the overall warming” feeding back into the cities. FROM the rural areas?

    A warming or cooling effect must go from the more intense to the less intense, not the other way around.

    On average, the enhanced greenhouse effect is responsible for about 0.5 to 1.0 degree of observed warming around the globe (more in some areas, less in other areas).

    This part is even more insane. We all generally accept a 0.7C warming since 1900. And she says 0.5 or 1.0 of that is UHI. It doesn’t leave much for CO2 to do, does it?

  20. RichieP says: “We’ll only know they are embracing real science when they make sure the politicals are also aware and take account of the uncertainties and alternative viewpoints…”

    The politicals already know. This hoax serves their ends and they’ll happily spend your last dollar/pound/quatloo on propaganda to keep their simple acolytes in line.

  21. Obviously there are too many researchers that have spent their entire lives having never left the city. Around here some people live and work in the city, others live in the country or in surrounding smaller towns and drive to the city to work. These people have for decades known that it is warmer in the city and cooler in the country. So common sense and casual observation figured out long ago what science and dedicated research was just discovered.

  22. “But what we didn’t know was whether city day time temperatures were also warmer because of the urbanisation or whether it was due to the overall warming of the planet associated with the enhanced greenhouse effect.”

    This is HUGE… don’t you all see? They have discovered yet another devastating property of C02…that it reflects heat ONLY back to cities! This proves it. How else would a city warm up more than a rural area due to the greenhouse effect?

    Amazing research. I almost feel unworthy.
    Almost.

    JimB

  23. Wow, common knowledge backed up by scientific research. This pretty much sums up most real research (a very small percentage of all research) – which simply verifies what we already know. The rest is either wrong, poorly done and wrong, or fraudulent and criminal (which constitutes almost all AGW research), with a small percentage, probably about .005% of pure research.

  24. Anthony, Assuming that the 0.5 to 1.0 deg C range for UHI effect quoted is of the right order of magnitude and that this could be extrapolated for all towns and cities where climate weather stations are employed, what sort of impact would this have on world-wide land temperature anomolies? Aye, Bob.

  25. But what we didn’t know was whether city day time temperatures were also warmer because of the urbanisation or whether it was due to the overall warming of the planet associated with the enhanced greenhouse effect.

    Oh, Lord. I have looked at USHCN1 raw trends for the last 100 years and USHCN2 raw trends for the last 30 years. I separated out urban suburban and rural trends (using NASA designations).

    For the 1979 – 1998 warming period, urban warmed faster than suburban warmed over a third faster than rural, with suburban right between the two. During the cooling period since 1998, urban ares cooled slower than subrban which cooled slower than rural.

    So during both warming and cooling periods, the trend for cities was warmest, followed by suburban, with rural trends being coolest.

    You’d think these highly paid climatologists might have done the same sort of fifth-grader excel efforts by now. Or maybe they just didn’t want to know the bottom line.

  26. If this is so (and no sensible person would doubt it), please explain why homogenisation adjustments post 1970 are invariably (if not always) upwards rather than downwards. When will they revist/explain those adjustments?

  27. Could someone get ABC into the glossary as in:

    Shocker! ABC says UHI making cities hotter!
    thanks
    Mike

  28. “But what we didn’t know was whether city day time temperatures were also warmer because of the urbanisation or whether it was due to the overall warming of the planet associated with the enhanced greenhouse effect.”

    Read that as failure of the climate modelers to step out of the office. An hour’s trip with a few pit stops removes all doubt.
    Most modern cars have temperature readouts built into the dash, which means that the majority of drivers potentially know the answer to that question.

  29. Anthony, Assuming that the 0.5 to 1.0 deg C range for UHI effect quoted is of the right order of magnitude and that this could be extrapolated for all towns and cities where climate weather stations are employed, what sort of impact would this have on world-wide land temperature anomolies?

    It seems that you and many others have misunderstood the press release. The 0.5 to 1.0 deg C is for the general greenhouse gas AGW.

    The size of the UHI effect was not mentioned in the press release.

    In other words, they press release did NOT claim that UHI was 0.5 to 1.0C.

  30. Richard111 says:
    October 14, 2010 at 9:51 am
    I guess there is very little difference between a city and a desert.

    Rocks are rocks, natural or manmade, where heating is concerned.
    This had been known since the Romans invented concrete and put it to widespread use.
    So, can we say that the MSM took a detour into the Dark Ages of reporting?

  31. …”We’ve known for a while”…Dear young lady at BoM, the old Romans knew this, but
    crazy Nero didn’t think it was enough, so he set Rome, the city, on fire…Or did I miss
    something?? Btw, an assessment made by 2 Swedish researchers in Luleå, says that as
    as much as half of the observed GW can be explained by human energy use…so stay in
    your pyjamases if you want to save the world [see recent BBC-thread...]

  32. Business as usual. AGW scientists take credit for work done years ago by the surfacestations project of WUWT, the Pielkes, and others – oh dear, without accreditation-this will give Raymond Bradley another plagiarism fit on top of the Wegman one although he may be too exhausted to take up this cause .

    The jig is now apparently up, so if you have to accept UHI’s considerable effect on the official record, you might just as well arrogantly make it your new scientific discovery. One of two things will come out of this: a) they will make a bit of an adjustment but not enough to bend the trend too much below the CO2 trend or b) this will lead to their scientific discovery that we are going into a cooling period – I’m betting on both.

  33. The research team analysed data from 70 sites in the Bureau’s meteorological data archive in order to quantify how much the increases in daytime temperature can be attributed to urbanisation and how much to the enhanced greenhouse effect.

    The sites were mostly from towns with populations ranging from 500 to 100,000, with a handful being either in cities with more than 100,000, or in isolated locations with hardly anybody for hundreds of kilometres.

    And where are the weather stations situated I wonder.

  34. “It seems that you and many others have misunderstood the press release. The 0.5 to 1.0 deg C is for the general greenhouse gas AGW.

    The size of the UHI effect was not mentioned in the press release.”

    I agree with Charlie A. If you parse this closely they’re not admitting to any specific figure. “Enhanced” is very much a weasel word.

  35. I cannot understand the total lack of ignorance to the obvious. Cities and their surrounding urbanized areas are tremendous users of energy, not only do these entities absorb solar radiation in their biuldings pavement etc, it requires tremendous inputs of energy from the surrounding environment just to function. Large metropolis’ cannot provide itself with the required energy inputs on it’s own, given their size and populations, a steady stream of resources from outside is vital. Heating, cooling, transportation, food inputs, and maintenance in all aspects can be and should be viewed as energy inputs. For example (and by no means is this based on any facts or studies) if a family of four requires the energy output of one acre of land to maintain a developed world lifestyle then to maintain a metropolis of a million people requires a million acres equivalent, of the surrounding environment to sustain it always.
    When viewed in this context, it is a no brainer that cities are warmer, on average to rural areas. (third law of thermodynamics) Simply put, all resources equate to energy, concentrate the energy in one area the resultant area is warmer.

  36. “……on average, the enhanced greenhouse effect is responsible for about 0.5 to 1.0 degree of observed warming around the globe (more in some areas, less in other areas)….”

    How can they differentiate, does it come up as a different color on their instruments?

    They’re starting from their conclusion and working backwards — laughable.

  37. My feedback to the BOM –

    Re: Wednesday 13 October 2010 MEDIA RELEASE Hot cities

    <I find it disturbing that we are paying for the ‘research’ by people such as bureau climate scientist Belinda Campbell to investigate climate conditions that your average 5th grader would know. Of course, there is also the mandatory trip to a conference to announce her world-shattering discovery (that has been studied since 1810 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_heat_island)

    Many urban temperature monitoring stations are situated in areas close to buildings, vehicular trraffic/parking, artificial surfaces, air conditioners, airports, etc. Can we now expect Ms Campbell to be tasked with studying the effects of, say, Boeing 747 jet exhaust on temperature trends?

    I suggest Ms Campbell’s time would be better spent informing us, the tax payers who provide her salary, the specific reasons and adjustments that the BOM place on the raw data from the High Quality Data Sites. A good starting point would be to answer the issues raised at http://kenskingdom.wordpress.com/about/.

    I recommend kenskingdom to those who have not found it before – a real eye-opener.

  38. All I can say to the BoM is nice try Sunshine but it won’t wash. Too little, too late. Making a press release in the compliant lame stream media and hoping the public forget the past is so 1984. The lame stream media are no longer the gate keepers of opinion. Once the fourth estate, they are now the fifth wheel. We live in the age of the Internet, and Little Brother has been watching and recording. A web search for UHI and climate pulls up links to sceptic sites that have been discussing this for many years. The old techniques for backing away from gross malfeasance do not work in the age of the internet. BoM can look forward to having their noses rubbed in the ugly stain they have left on the scientific carpet that underlies our society. No amount of apologetic whining and puppy eyes is going to help.

  39. I can’t believe they have only just proven it. I am truely shocked and stunned.

    And even then, it was “…analysed data from 70 sites in the Bureau’s meteorological data archive…”, which seems a very week proof to me (meaning; insufficient knowlage of just how much UHI effect there actualy is).

  40. NS says:
    October 14, 2010 at 7:27 am
    So the reason cities are warmer is because, they are cities (minus 0.5 to 1 degree of gw of course). I wonder what is the thermal output of an average city, has it ever been analysed?

    +++++++++

    I have made such a calculation recently for Ulaanbaatar which lies in a valley in a low wind area. The heat is about 6 GigaJoules per day in winter. The depth of the local inversions is 200 metres. The town is about 20 km long and the valley is narrow. There is a significant local warming which one can see on the car thermometer as one drives into town from, say, Gachuurt. It is several degrees C.

  41. It amazes me that “scientific training” can blind people to the obvious.

    I’ve been watching the temperatures recorded in Western Sydney with amazement over the last few years. It has undergone amazing growth and development over the last few decades and the temperatures have gone up with it. It used to be that summer temperatures over 37 degrees C were quite rare there, now they happen for several days each year.

    Strangely though the temperatures in inland parts of New South Wales have not risen in the same way. Summers are now typically hotter at Penrith on the western edge of Sydney than in Narrabri 500 km north and about 300 km from the coast.

    It can’t be climate change– only urbanisation can account for this.

  42. If they are saying the UHI effect is 0.5 to 1 degree locally they are blowing smoke.

    Here, near an urban area of about 150K (Tuscaloosa, AL) it is at least 5 degrees F.

    I live about 20 miles north of town and sometimes my nightime lows are 10 degrees less than the official temp.

  43. It might be worth stating here that whatever level of proof there may have been, there has never been a time in the last 200 year that urban heat (whether from heat production or heat retention) has not been taken into account in the analysis of the temperature record by climatologists. And this does not exclude AGW: Tyndall in the 1850-60 tried to deal, with as did Callendar in the 1930s. What is new with this research is that it is moving towards a more precise measure of the effect and its distribution around the daily cycle.

  44. “On average, the enhanced greenhouse effect is responsible for about 0.5 to 1.0 degree of observed warming around the globe (more in some areas, less in other areas)

    Assuming (as I think likely) that they are referring to the non-UHI component of warming; it is a meaningless statement without a time frame attached.

    (And as I and others have asked before – why do UHI adjustments seem to be inverted in the temperature record – has anyone answered this satisfactorily? If so a link would be appreciated)

  45. Mike says:
    October 14, 2010 at 8:23 am (Edit)

    The UHI effect is well known and has been taken into account by climatologists.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^

    perhaps you can explain how GISS decide if a station is rural or urban?

    Simple question. How do they decide?

    dont fumble this question

  46. So these facts should be subtracted from the current temperatures reported to compensate for this phenomena. And since the olden days before UHI didn’t have UHI there should be no changes to those temperatures done. The result as we should expect is that rather than cooling past temperatures they should be left alone, while recent temperatures should be reduced to compensate for UHI.

    It seems so simple to understand, yet Hansen can’t seem to understand this simple fact. How he ever got away with doing the reverse of reality is beyond anything I could possibly comprehend.

  47. So let me get this right- UHI effect has nothing to do with increased use of air conditioners pumping out heat from buildings, or incorrectly placed thermometers.

  48. Anthony sez:

    “…and if you’d like to measure UHI yourself:

    Measure UHI in your town with this easy to use temperature datalogger kit”

    Out of curiousity, do any of the “warmist” sites offer equipment for sale and invite us to “measure it yourself”?

    Best,
    Frank

  49. John Marshall says:
    October 15, 2010 at 1:28 am (Edit)

    So let me get this right- UHI effect has nothing to do with increased use of air conditioners pumping out heat from buildings, or incorrectly placed thermometers.

    $$$$$
    very little to do with that. other factors drive it

  50. (And as I and others have asked before – why do UHI adjustments seem to be inverted in the temperature record – has anyone answered this satisfactorily? If so a link would be appreciated)

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    the adjustmenst go both ways. The bottom line is the adjustments dont matter and cant matter. mathematically cant. steve Mc did a collation

    very simply urban stations are adjusted to ‘follow’ rural.

    if the rural cools and the urban warms, the urban gets cooled
    if the rural warms and the urban cools, the urban gets warmed.

    The adjustments do not matter in the big picture/

    the Trick, that few seem to get is this

    How hansen defines rural.

    Thats the trick.

  51. Data for Melbourne and elsewhere in Voctoria at

    http://arts.monash.edu.au/ges/research/climate/urban/

    (Unfortunately, some graphs lack units).

    http://www.earthsci.unimelb.edu.au/~jon/WWW/uhi-melb.html

    http://www.earthsci.unimelb.edu.au/~jon/WWW/deniliquin.html

    http://mclean.ch/climate/Melbourne_UHI.htm

    Actual measurements indicate one to several degrees over a century for Melbourne, about enough to make the record flatline after adjustment for UHI – depending on the constancy of UHI over days to months to years, when averaged for daily and seasonal effects.

  52. Mr Mosher, (October 15, 2010 at 2:21 am)

    I understand what you are saying and it seems a very sensible way to go about things
    “…if the rural cools and the urban warms, the urban gets cooled – if the rural warms and the urban cools, the urban gets warmed.”

    It’s just that it doesn’t seem to work that way in practice. It doesn’t explain why the historical (pre-UHI) records are adjusted for it at all. Nor do we hear much about rural or, especially, urban cooling; so I wonder when it has been applied in the manner you state.

    Not all adjustments are in the wrong direction of course as per this example…

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/21/fudged-fevers-in-the-frozen-north/

    …but even then it seems unclear why it has been done in quite the way it has.

    Of course you are right that it matters very much which stations you adjust but I would propose that it matters too that the adjustment itself is defensible.

    “The adjustments do not matter in the big picture”

    I must have misunderstood this statement. You seem to be asserting that 4-5 degrees of UHI measured at a large number of stations does not matter when looking for a signal of a fraction of a degree over the same period. Where have I got it wrong?

  53. It’s amazing that the AGW is just now catching on; over ten years ago I was at a energy conference with an EPA representative where she stressed how we could ease the urban heat island effect by installing vegetation on roofs.

  54. Haven’t we all been saying for years now that it wasn’t CO2 but all the concrete and asphalt? Heck! Kids don’t even go barefoot any more! The street’s too hot. I haven’t gone barefoot in 50 years. I think they’re adding old concrete and asphalt to beach sand too.

  55. Any0ne who rides a motorcycle could have told them that… Nice and cool near an irrigated peach orchard, warm in town. Had that effect many nights in the Central Valley. Some times it was so pronounced that I’d be comfortable without a jacket in town, then visit a friend a couple of miles outside and be shivering from the damp cool near the orchards. (70 MPH can give a decent wind chill ;-)

    Then there is the seasonal shoulder effect in places with snow. We truck megatons of the stuff out of cities globally so the nice black asphalt is exposed. That has an impact on the surface temps in the entry / exit from snow season. It’s always warmer over the parking lot than it is over 5 feet of snow on the ski slope.

    I think the ‘warmers’ need to get out more ;-)

  56. Mike says:
    October 14, 2010 at 8:23 am

    The UHI effect is well known and has been taken into account by climatologists.

    I’m calling bullshit on that one. There is no adjustment made for UHI in the surface temperature record nor is there any adjustment made for otherwise poorly placed temperature stations such as near airport tarmacs, parking lots, buildings, and air conditioning vents.

    Warmists are quick to point out that CO2 measurements are best taken at great remove from sources and sinks; locations like Antartica and Mauna Loa. The same discipline is not employed in measuring land surface temperatures. The only reliable source of atmospheric temperature on a globally averaged basis is the satellite record beginning in 1979 and even that has problems associated with it like not having a good enough view of very high latitudes.

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