NOAA’s ‘Janus moment’ – while claiming ‘The American public can be confident in NOAA’s long-standing surface temperature record’, they fund an experiment to investigate the effects of station siting and heat sinks/sources on temperature data

NOAA’s impersonation of the two faced god Janus just proved my point about station siting issues with their actions that speak louder than words.

While there’s all this caterwauling about my PBS News hour interview, and my statements were apparently so threatening that NOAA itself asked PBS to publish a rebuttal in their apologetic story about having my interview, in the real world, NOAA is actually taking my concerns seriously and funding a research project to study my concern. But NOAA of course wouldn’t own up to that on PBS, instead they wrote essentially “all is well, nothing to see here, move along”.

Here’s Spencer Michels  commentary and NOAA’s statement as published at the PBS website yesterday:

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

Let’s start on the question of whether temperature data is flawed. That was raised by Watts, and his views on that are being heavily criticized on the web today.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wrote a response to us and stands by its record on temperature data. Here is what NOAA sent:

The American public can be confident in NOAA’s long-standing surface temperature record, one of the world’s most comprehensive, accurate and trusted data sets. This record has been constructed through many innovative methods to test the robustness of the climate data record developed and made openly available for all to inspect by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. Numerous peer-reviewed studies conclusively show that U.S. temperatures have risen and continue to rise with recent widespread record-setting temperatures in the USA. There is no doubt that NOAA’s temperature record is scientifically sound and reliable. To ensure accuracy of the record, scientists use peer-reviewed methods to account for all potential inaccuracies in the temperature readings such as changes in station location, instrumentation and replacement and urban heat effects.

Specifically, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center published a scientific peer-reviewed paper (Menne, et al., 2010) that compared trends from stations that were considered well-sited and stations that received lower ratings on siting conditions, which found that the U.S. average temperature trend is not inflated by poor station siting. A subsequent research study led by university and private sector scientists reached the same conclusion (Fall et al. 2011). Additionally, the Department of Commerce Inspector General reviewed the US Historical Climatology Network dataset in July 2010 and concluded that “the respondents to our inquiries about the use of and adjustments to the USHCN data generally expressed confidence in the [USHCN] Version 2 dataset.”

Looking ahead to the next century, NOAA has implemented the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) – with 114 stations across the contiguous United States located in pristine, well-sited areas. Comparing several years of trends from the well-sited USCRN stations with USHCN shows that the temperature trends closely correspond – again validating the accuracy of the USHCN U.S. temperature record.

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

Now, while NOAA is claiming at PBS that the surface temperature record is “accurate” and “The American public can be confident in NOAA’s long-standing surface temperature record…” they quietly fund a new project to look into EXACTLY the questions I’ve been raising. It’s a Janus moment for NOAA.

From the USCRN Annual Report: http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/uscrn/publications/annual_reports/FY11_USCRN_Annual_Report.pdf

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

5.1.3 Planning for Thermal Impacts Experiment

Initial funding was provided this year by the USRCRN Program for a multi-year experiment to better understand the thermal impacts of buildings with parking lots on air temperature measurements. A site near the offices of ATDD will be instrumented to measure accurately the air temperature and other variables at multiple distances from the potential thermal heat source, corresponding to the distances from thermal sources used in classifying USCRN stations (Figure 7).

This study will have several applied and practical outcomes. Determining the downwind range of influence of a typical building will be important for understanding built environment impacts on surface air temperature measurements. Other measurements of radiation and heat fluxes will help illuminate the physical processes responsible for any detected heat transfers. Finally, this information will help influence future USCRN/USRCRN siting decisions. Additional insight is being sought by collaborating with National Weather Service (NWS) and National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) on extensions of the basic project. This effort promises to be greatly useful to understanding climate quality temperature measurements and how they can be influenced by the station site environment.

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

So why would NOAA say “all is well” with the surface temperature record, on one hand to PBS, while on the other hand fund a project to examine exactly my issues that they say “don’t matter”? It seems they took Spencer Michels and PBS for a ride with their Janus duplicity.

I predict that unless they figure in surface area of heat sinks/sources as well as distance, the experiment will show no significant effects. Of course, given what we’ve seen, that may be the goal.

We’ve already learned about what happens when you figure in distance AND surface area of biasing elements around climate monitoring stations and published about it here in my announcement of Watts et al 2012. Not looking at the surface area issue is why Menne et al 2010 and Fall et al 2011 found no significant effects. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has endorsed this as the new standard for station siting analysis:

World Meteorological Organization Commission for Instruments and Methods of Observation, Fifteenth session, (CIMO-XV, 2010) WMO publication Number 1064, available online at: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/CIMO/CIMO15-WMO1064/1064_en.pdf

See Michel Leroy’s study listed in there. When we applied Leroy’s surface area metrics to the siting bias equation, bingo, station siting effects popped right out:

Our new reanalysis (taking into account the TOBS issue raised) says the siting related heat sink/source effect is real and affects not only the absolute temperatures (for record highs/lows) but also the trend of temperatures. NOAA compounds the issue by making adjustments that mask the problem, and make it worse.

I’ll have more in a future post. (h/t to Steve Mosher)

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74 Responses to NOAA’s ‘Janus moment’ – while claiming ‘The American public can be confident in NOAA’s long-standing surface temperature record’, they fund an experiment to investigate the effects of station siting and heat sinks/sources on temperature data

  1. tallbloke says:

    I so hope this ruckus doesn’t affect the impartiality of your 2012 paper’s reviewers.

    Good luck and keep up the good work.

  2. Mpaul says:

    The way modern science works is you fund people to publish papers that support your pre-arrived at conclusions. The scientists know the drill and make sure they perform properly. I suspect NOAA is simply funding a paper that shows that the record is “robust” and beyond criticism.

  3. intrepid_wanders says:

    Yep, as Dr. Spencer notes:
    “1) even at “zero” population density (rural siting), the USHCN temperatures are on average warmer than their Climate Reference Network counterparts, by close to 0.5 deg. C in summer.

    2) across all USHCN stations, from rural to urban, they average 0.9 deg. C warmer than USCRN (which approaches Anthony Watt’s 2 deg. F estimate for July 2012).

    This evidence suggests that much of the reported U.S. warming in the last 100+ years could be spurious, assuming that thermometer measurements made around 1880-1900 were largely free of spurious warming effects. This is a serious issue that NOAA needs to address in an open and transparent manner.”

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2012/08/spurious-warmth-in-noaas-ushcn-from-comparison-to-uscrn/

  4. Pat Frank says:

    NOAA: “all potential inaccuracies in the temperature readings such as changes in station location, instrumentation and replacement and urban heat effects.

    But nothing about the systematic sensor measurement error documented in the literature. Systematic measurement error can’t be separated from data. When it correlates among nearby sites, as systematic temperature sensor error will do, cross-comparisons do not distinguish good data from systematically erroneous data.

    It’s criminal that only now is NOAA starting to address siting issues. The sources of error in surface air temperature measurements should have been fully investigated beginning 20 years ago, when AGW became such a big issue. Instead of taking professional care, NOAA winged the whole thing, pandered to alarm, and purveyed garbage as diamonds. Negligence on that scale and for that long is indistinguishable from incompetence. The whole lot deserves to be fired.

  5. Scott Finegan says:

    Starting off by putting the sensor over brown dirt. The vegetation doesn’t appear to be representative.
    Experiment appears to line up to the NNE side of the building. There is less sun on that side, than the SE side.
    The closest sensor while over asphalt, is at the corner of the building. The angle of the building minimizes reflected heat from the building to that sensor.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    Not one of those sampling locations is in that green belt around the location. The surface looks to be slightly green in the picture, but in some way surface treated. Plowed. Now what’s going to happen in summer when that dry brown dirt is in the sun? Hmmm?

    I suggest finding a place nearby in the trees and putting a station there. I think it would be fascinating as a true control on the ‘experiment’…

    In short, it isn’t just the buildings that matter, it is the surface changes too.

    This is widely seen in the actual temperature data, that mostly comes from airports now. Look at any airport. Buildings are far away, but the surface is all concrete, asphalt / tarmac, and dirt. Sometimes brown plowed dirt. Sometimes dead stubble. Sometimes short grasses if you are in a wet place that doesn’t have a weed problem. ( I’ve found several airports bidding folks to kill the weeds, plough the surface, etc. They want a bare or nearly bare weed-free surface.)

    What they are doing here, IMHO looking at the picture, is recreating that same airport like environment. Looked at from above, it has high similarities. Cluster of buildings surrounded by tarmac. Plowed field. Concrete ribbon ‘nearby’ with fuel burn. If I were trying to make an airport analog, I doubt I could do much better (other than adding vertical air mixing).

    I don’t know how much money it would take, but buying a bit of dirt with trees nearby and instrumenting it with identical equipment would be a great way to “police” this “study”…

  7. Not much reflected heat on the north side of a steel building.

    IMO, we should be studying what causes UHI, because from what I have read lack of evapotranspiration (humidity) and reflected heat are the main causes. And by the look of this location they will not detect much of either of these 2 effects.

  8. Auto says:

    Hmmmmm.
    “The American public can be confident in NOAA’s long-standing surface temperature record . . . . ” [per their statement quoted above].
    ‘Can’ be confident.
    The American public can beliveve every word uttered by a politician.
    The American public can think that cutting the deficit actully reduces the amount of money owed [like the public of the United Kingdom, too. My sucker compatriots, in thrall to a load of Euro-bedazzle politicians (see apove).]
    The Russian public can have confidence in the democratic credentials of whoever succeeds Tsar Vladimir I (Of the Putin dynasty).
    Any wined-up fifteen year-old can trust the intentions of the older man . . . .
    Can – but, perhaps, might be wiser not to.
    Or has a decade of Tony Blur, Saviour of the Planet, Victor of lots of wars, and Gordon Brown’s bestest friend ever, left me just a bit cynical?

  9. Rob says:

    Storage radiators in the 60`s were popular in the UK, they were made of bricks and absorbed heat during the night (cheap off peak electric) then omitted that heat during the day, seems NOAA have no idea how this works.

  10. Paul Coppin says:

    A site near the offices of ATDD will be instrumented to measure accurately the air temperature and other variables at multiple distances from the potential thermal heat source, corresponding to the distances from thermal sources used in classifying USCRN stations

    One site? For all the good it will do, save the money, use inverse-square law, apply positive fudge, and call it “corrected” …

  11. John@EF says:

    Good thing Watts et. al. 2012, documenting the spurious doubling of the claimed temperature trend, will be released in a week or two …

    REPLY: No claims were made of this except by you. As you know publishing in journals is a long and arduous process. – Anthony

  12. Jeff D. says:

    Did I miss a post showing new information on the TOBS that was being addressed for Anthony’s new paper?? In the above post he alluded to it ” Our new reanalysis (taking into account the TOBS issue raised) “

  13. Gunga Din says:

    I hope this study is an honest examination of siting issues that would lead to improvement but I suspect it is a study designed to be able to claim they’ve studied the siting issue and there’s no problem.

  14. tallbloke says:

    I’m being stalked by something called ad-choices at the top of the page which won’t let me opt out. I’ll be back at WUWT when they’ve gone.

  15. Ian W says:

    This is the wrong approach. NOAA has stated that their temperature metrics are accurate and take account of all the possible siting induced errors. Fine. Let us all agree that NOAA is correct and take them at their word.

    Now make a report to NOAA’s auditors and GAO that NOAA is wasting money on a research project to obtain figures that they have stated they already have and have accounted for in their super accurate USHCN. This proposed new siting project is unjustifiable and is therefore a direct waste of government funds.

  16. LazyTeenager says:

    So why would NOAA say “all is well” with the surface temperature record, on one hand to PBS, while on the other hand fund a project to examine exactly my issues that they say “don’t matter”?
    ————
    It’s called checking and rechecking your work.

  17. Bob, Missoula says:

    The real test would be to get permission to place your own equipment next to theirs and do a dual study. Compare the outcomes when the studies are done, if there is a difference each side must defend their findings.

  18. A govt agency investigating itself. Yeah, that’ll work

  19. LazyTeenager says:

    I predict that unless they figure in surface area of heat sinks/sources as well as distance, the experiment will show no significant effects. Of course, given what we’ve seen, that may be the goal.
    ————
    What if this study does not give the result that you want?

  20. One station. One direction. No rigor.
    Priceless… the study will have no value at all.

    Also, we musn’t do anything on a scale large enought that might show up an Urban Heat Island signature, should we?

  21. Gerry Parker says:

    If you were to analyse the comments from the folks who have so vigorously objected, I wonder if you’d be able to statistically detect the organized opposition from common phrases and wording? That is to say, it has been shown the Team has set up a Rapid Response group for such events, I expect that includes swamping NPR and associated comments, and there appears to be a common script being used repeatedly.

    And no, I don’t think the moon landings were faked.

    Gerry Parker

  22. Martin457 says:

    There should be reflection in June and part of July to the North side of the buildings there. Not much though.

  23. D Boehm says:

    Bob, Missoula says:

    “The real test would be to get permission to place your own equipment next to theirs and do a dual study.”

    Their response to that request would be interesting in itself.

  24. John@EF says:

    REPLY: No claims were made of this except by you. As you know publishing in journals is a long and arduous process. – Anthony
    =====
    “Release” is not the same as “publish”. Maybe I’m not using the proper terminology. Last I knew you stated that, baring significant unexpected issues, you’d have a submittable revised version of your paper ready before the end of September. Is that your schedule? Will you be publishing it on WUWT, as you did with the initial version? Do you know which journal will be handling the peer review process?

  25. mfo says:

    “Comparing several years of trends from the well-sited USCRN stations with USHCN shows that the temperature trends closely correspond……” is not quite the same as part 5.4.1 of the USCRN annual report, which states that, “the magnitude of the difference between the U.S. Historical Climatology Network Version 2 (USHCN v2) monthly temperature departures for the U.S and those for USCRN would be expected to decline over time as USCRN better resolves the national climate signal with more stations.”

    Why don’t they just give the research money to Anthony Watts who is already doing the research to help him to continue with the research? That is what a well run business in the private sector would do.

  26. temp says:

    LazyTeenager says:

    “What if this study does not give the result that you want?”
    The study is clearly designed to produce the results they are looking for… also

    LazyTeenager says:
    “It’s called checking and rechecking your work.”

    Normally one checks and rechecks before they make huge claims saying everything is perfect and such. When suddenly everyone is questioning your work and you make a huge claim… and then start checking and rechecking, thats generally viewed correctly as one or more of the following

    1. Not having faith in your work.
    2. Not having done proper checks in the first place.
    3. Doing your best to cover up any problems found.
    4. Doing damage control because you know you’ve been caught.

  27. D Boehm says:

    mfo says:

    “Why don’t they just give the research money to Anthony Watts who is already doing the research to help him to continue with the research? That is what a well run business in the private sector would do.”

    I think Anthony should submit a bid, at half the USHCN budget for the new ‘well sited stations’. No doubt there would be plenty of profit in such a bid, and USHCN would have a hard time explaining how they are not wasting taxpayer funds. Plus, Anthony is honest. Not so sure about USHCN.

  28. tallbloke says:

    John@EF says:
    September 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm
    Do you know which journal will be handling the peer review process?

    I’m sure he does. Thanks for your interest. Now naff off.

    Browser ad-choices nonsense solved. A tweak on the firewall has blocked them.

  29. Jean Parisot says:

    I wonder what the temperature record looks like if every undocumented adjustment is removed?

  30. AndyG55 says:

    One building DOES NOT equate to urban expansion ! DOH !!!!!

  31. I hope you get a good portion of that government money for all the work you have done on the subject. If you had not done what you have done they wouldn’t be doing what they are doing.

  32. Steven Hill says:

    Just moved my sensor over to the air conditioner by the grill and furnace exhaust, think it will alter the temp. data? Nah, my data is always correct in my mind.

  33. Steven Hill says:

    Now that I think of it, when we setup a station in high school it was in a field away from everything. We should have placed it by the parking lot and Hasen would have thought it was warming in 1977.

  34. John@EF says:

    tallbloke says:
    September 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm
    … I’m sure he does. Thanks for your interest. Now naff off.
    ======
    Thanks for the informative response. You’re obviously knowledgeable regarding the status of Watt et al. 2012. Do you have any information to share relative to my other two questions?

  35. Max Hugoson says:

    I wonder if anyone has ever figured out that having a sampling station at say, 50′ AGL (above ground level) may obtain a more REALISTIC local Atmospheric temp than ANY ground station within the level of the “boundary layer”…?? In point of fact, a comparison between “standard” stations (over various ground conditions, versus a MATCHED station, 50′ high, would be interesting. I think I’ll get a remote sensor put up in one of my 90′ high oak trees!

    Max

  36. David Ball says:

    If I read Steven Mosher’s semi-cryptic hint correctly, this is not supposed to matter. Apparently it does. Mosher?

  37. clipe says:

    E.M.Smith says:
    September 19, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Extreme example of not uncommon “hot brakes” after landing. Not to mention burning rubber.

  38. Gunga Din says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    September 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm
    So why would NOAA say “all is well” with the surface temperature record, on one hand to PBS, while on the other hand fund a project to examine exactly my issues that they say “don’t matter”?
    ————
    It’s called checking and rechecking your work.
    ======================================================
    It’s also called CYA.
    (If only they’d rechecked Hanson and Mann!)

  39. As usual we have the PR tail wagging the rational dog. Most of what NOAA says is little more than smoke and mirrors. What I find most disconcerting is the lack of rationality and civility being shown by the all sides in of these debates. That is to be expected what the issue is essentially faith based.

  40. DesertYote says:

    Title works with the “J” removed also.

  41. David Ball says:

    LT’s posts need some viagra or something. Sure are flaccid lately.

  42. David Ball says:

    DesertYote says:
    September 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    8^D

  43. And for the NewsHour doubling down (or tripling down) on the NOAA coming to their rescue, pull the slider on this video of their 9/18 broadcast yesterday to the 53 minute 05 second point (after the obligatory opening 30 second commercial allows you): http://www.pbs.org/newshour/video/archive/2012/09/18/index.html There is not web transcript for this little bit at the end or their program.

  44. stevenmosher says:

    There are some other studies that might be of interest to folks

    I’ve sent one to Anthony on average SUHI for large cities ( over 1 million) about 400 cities
    studied. And there is some work coming out on small cities and the role of city size and Shape!

    not a simple problem.

    and there is another one.. more later.

    maybe Antony will compose a seperate page and folks can contribute there favorite papers. a resource page

  45. tallbloke says:

    David Ball says:
    September 19, 2012 at 3:20 pm
    DesertYote says:
    September 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    8^D

    Cracked, cheeky, and best covered up…

  46. clipe says:

    DesertYote says:
    September 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Title works with the “J” removed also.

    http://www.news.com.au/realestate/selling/roads-by-any-other-name-would-sell-as-sweet/story-fndbawks-1226470718882

  47. Steven Mosher says:

    EM. Smith there is a study of the micro climate at an airport. hard to find but its out there.

    For folks who worry about jet exhaust one place to start to get an idea of how the temperatures fall off as a function of distance you can start with ground safety documents.

    Like the one below around pages 6-6-13

    http://www.airbus.com/fileadmin/media_gallery/files/tech_data/AC/Airbus-AC_A340-500_600_Dec11.pdf

    Of course that doesnt answer all the questions, but it gives you idea of how quickly the temperature falls off in the plume. There are other documents showing that, but again
    you need to look in the right places ( defense publications ) where there is a reason
    to measure how quickly a temperature field dissipates.

    And you can just look at the surface temperature from space. Also, instructive. Wind , low buildings, and low surface roughness..all interesting

  48. MattE says:

    At least you have to give them props for looking into it. They could just go “Hansen,” bury their head in the sand and declare it a perfect record.

  49. I hope they do a couple of things:

    1. I’m sure there are still a few Cotton shelters out there. Maybe they could “pair-up” the CRS with the MMTS (Maximum-Minimum Temperature System) and see if there is a difference between the two. With that, they’d have a better handle on the cross-over of stations.

    2. Make sure they have a good data-logger. With minute-by-minute data, they can see if their TOB corrections are valid.

    BTW, is there temp data already in the system for that location? Would be nice to see the current history (before they start the study).

  50. clipe says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    September 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    EM. Smith there is a study of the micro climate at an airport. hard to find but its out there.

    For folks who worry about jet exhaust one place to start to get an idea of how the temperatures fall off as a function of distance you can start with ground safety documents.

    Like the one below around pages 6-6-13

    http://www.airbus.com/fileadmin/media_gallery/files/tech_data/AC/Airbus-AC_A340-500_600_Dec11.pdf

    Of course that doesnt answer all the questions, but it gives you idea of how quickly the temperature falls off in the plume. There are other documents showing that, but again
    you need to look in the right places ( defense publications ) where there is a reason
    to measure how quickly a temperature field dissipates.

    And you can just look at the surface temperature from space. Also, instructive. Wind , low buildings, and low surface roughness..all interesting

    Apus Gpus Coolers Heaters Water trucks Lav trucks Food trucks Fuel trucks Hot brakes Burning rubber Paymovers Airstarts Baggage systems Snow melting Hot deicing…

  51. gnrnr says:

    Aren’t the three stations located the furthest from the buildings all equidistant from the road? Wouldn’t that alter the results?

  52. David Ball says:

    Steven Mosher, have you considered that the entire city is releasing heat in the winter. Buildings, although insulation is improving, radiate heat from inside all winter. Air conditioning units radiate heat all night. As I recall, dad was measuring the temperature of the city and surrounding rural areas throughout the night. We crossed the city multiple times from the outlying areas and out of the city to the rural area again. The city does not shed heat for only a short period. It sheds heat 24/7. You may not have considered this.

  53. Anthony, they are not funding research to investigate your concerns, they are funding research to show your concerns are groundless. The former would be scientific and so made public the latter is only made public once (if) it brings home the bacon.

  54. David Ball says:

    Winnipeg was approximately 500,000 at that time. Still showed on average 3 C difference.

  55. Mark Luedtke says:

    This article acts like this study is a good thing. It’s not. This is an announcement of whitewash intended to dishonestly refute the urban heat island claims. Government is not honest. Scientists funded by government are not honest. They work to advance their own economic interests, and the urban heat island claims undermine those interests.

  56. Pamela Gray says:

    I think we can write the summary and save the tax payer the coinage it will cost for these researchers to discover what they are wanting, waiting, and willing to “see”.

  57. wayne says:

    If they think that this one-building layout in the picture proves *anything* about the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI), they fail as knowledgeable scientists from the get-go.

    They still do not understand that what is being said about UHI is not the absolute UHI that affects the temperature trend but the change of the UHI over time. Maybe using a bit of simple math might drive home this to the other supposedly intelligent scientists that still don’t quite ‘get it’.

    T.actual = T.rural + ∆T.uhi
    or
    ∆T.uhi = T.actual – T.rural

    ∆T.actual = (T1. rural – T0. rural) + (∆T1.uhi – ∆T0.uhi)

    For instance:
    ∆T.actual = (T. rural.2012 – T. rural.1960) + (∆T.uhi.2012 – ∆T.uhi.1960)
    as taken by a sensor now embedded with a city that was but a small town in 1960 with the station a mile away on a farm at that time.

    Someone might critique that if I failed to label the terms slick enough.

    If a city has never changed over the given time period in any way then there is no *change* in the UHI therefore the slopes will be the same whether UHI is included or not… the delta is zero.

    ∆T.actual being the slope of the increase in temperature over time that is being labeled GW (global warming), but with UHI in the equations, and specifically the *change* in the UHI, it is quite simple to see that this is NOT the actual ‘global’ warming we have experienced and this is still being called GW by the alarmists. They are either quite dumb or being quite devious.

    I think we are still not wording this effect properly (it’s the delta in UHI) so the more simple public can understand.

  58. Brian H says:

    Rob says:
    September 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Storage radiators in the 60`s were popular in the UK, they were made of bricks and absorbed heat during the night (cheap off peak electric) then omitted that heat during the day, seems NOAA have no idea how this works.

    They nullified (omitted) that heat during the day? Will wonders never cease?

    ;)

  59. Theo Goodwin says:

    Another amazing revelation! NOAA is now doing the kind of empirical research necessary to validate temperature measurements. This particular research looks like just a beginning and much more experimental work must be done. WUWT has really moved some bureaucrats off their chairs and into nature.

  60. Steve Garcia says:

    The siting of their measurements downwind is correct as far as it goes, but all locations have prevailing wind directions that represent varying days per year. At each site a secondary direction may only be slightly less than the MOST prevailing direction, and a tertiary one not a lot less than that one,. In my last US location the most prevailing was only about 32% pf the year; the next was about 25%, with a third at about 20%. I would ask if this kind of spread will be taken into account.

    It sucks that scientists so often try to oversimplify. And I don’t accept funding limits as a valid excuse. Either do the job right or get out of the field and let someome better take over.

  61. Peter Plail says:

    I am puzzled that our BBC weather reports regularly say things like “you must remember these are night-time temperatures for towns; temperatures for rural areas can be expected to be several degrees lower”. Are they misinformed or do they know something that NOAA doesn’t?

  62. Coldlynx says:

    To measure local ground effects:
    Use wind farms as measurement sites and put a weather stations meters on top and at the ground of several turbines in each location. Then have different ground treatment for each turbine and see over a year or more which ground conditions i suitable for real measuring. Can be done in many locations all over the world. Probably easy funded as well. Go for it Anthony.

  63. Sue says:

    The 2011 USCRN report states “The USCRN temperature record for the U.S displays no significant trends during its first seven years (Figure 17).” See the accompanying graph on page 21 of the report (page 27 of 44 of the pdf) at http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/uscrn/publications/annual_reports/FY11_USCRN_Annual_Report.pdf . The US temperature departure for max temps and min temps from 2004 to 2011 varies +/- 0.2 degrees F, hitting a high in 2006 and a low in 2008 (min temps) and 2009 (max temps). Maybe PBS and the AGW should read this report!

  64. David Ball says:

    What are satellites calibrated to?

  65. Dr. Lurtz says:

    We are 10 miles from the “official airport based temperature sensor for zip 48363″ in a low density, non-farmed, rural area. Most homes are on 3 to 10 acre sites. My sensor is located 10 feet due north of my home, mounted 6 feet above the ground, protected by a home made wooden shield, mounted on a tree, and over low green vegetation. It has been checked against three other digital temperature sensors and all register within 0.1 F.

    My typical readings are 6 F to 8 F lower than the “official sensor” during the night [7:00 am]; and 2 F to 6 F lower that the “official sensor” during the peak day at about 5:00 pm.

    We are about 60 miles north of the “official Detroit Metro Airport sensor”. It is like we are in a different state. My readings are 8 F to 12 F lower than the “Detroit sensor” during the night [7:00 am]; and 6 F to 10 F at about 5:00 pm.

    The NOAA should come to my house [and leave some money] to get this valuable “well sited” temperature data.

  66. ferdberple says:

    wayne says:
    September 19, 2012 at 7:50 pm
    ∆T.actual = (T1. rural – T0. rural) + (∆T1.uhi – ∆T0.uhi)
    If a city has never changed over the given time period in any way then there is no *change* in the UHI therefore the slopes will be the same whether UHI is included or not… the delta is zero.
    =============
    Correct. This was the failure of the BEST analysis of UHI. They compared temperature to absolute city size rather than deltas, and concluded there was no UHI. However, they never compared temperature to the change in city size. (or if they did, they didn’t publish the results).

    Similar to looking for lost keys. BEST concluded they must not exist because they didn’t find them anywhere they looked. In reality, lost keys are always to be found in the last place you expect to find them.

  67. wayne says:

    Right, it’s rather amazing that the distinguished physicist Dr. Muller and his mathematician daughter didn’t even have a foggy what they were measuring in UHI effect when applied to the slopes of trends in temperatures over time. They blew it big time. It just shows that no one, even with degrees and letters behind their names, the consensus, can all be so wrong.

    Anthony Watts knows the difference.
    Dr. Spencer knows the difference.
    Dr. Dryson knows the difference.
    Dr. Christy knows the difference.
    Dr. Michaels knows the difference.
    (the list would be lengthy if I continued)
    And so do so many good scientists and engineers, the ‘skeptics’.

    This is why BEST, GHCN, GISS, NCDC, Hadley CRU, NOAA are all deeply flawed datasets of this Earth’s temperature trends differentiated over time periods by run-of-the-mill ‘climatologists’. Their instantaneous spot records may not be so bad but the application (differentials) over two times are not correct when looking at long period temperature trends. That is when I became a denier of their alarmist 1.0 to 1.4C trend. Analyses have already been performed, multiple of them, that shows clearly that ~1.0C is a fallacy. There is still the about 0.3 to 0.4C trend still remaining at zero population density (logarithmic plotted) but most of the alarmists fire is now extinguished and it is the UHI effect that made that difference.

  68. fretslider says:

    Over on SkS there is a thread titled ‘PBS False Balance Hour – What’s Up With That?’

    I asked…

    ["When asked to describe his 'skepticism' about human-caused global warming, Watts went into a long discussion about his concerns that encroachment of human development near surface temperature stations has introduced a bias into the temperature record. However, what Watts failed to mention is that the scientific groups who compile the surface temperature record put a great deal of effort into filtering out these sorts of biases."]

    If this assertion – the scientific groups who compile the surface temperature record put a great deal of effort into filtering out these sorts of biases. – is true, can you tell us why NOAA is quietly funding a new project to look into the questions Anthony Watts has been raising? That they are funding such work surely shows that while NOAA is claiming at PBS that the surface temperature record is “accurate” and “The American public can be confident in NOAA’s long-standing surface temperature record…”, NOAA ain’t so sure.

    ["5.1.3 Planning for Thermal Impacts Experiment
    Initial funding was provided this year by the USRCRN Program for a multi-year experiment to better understand the thermal impacts of buildings with parking lots on air temperature measurements."]

    NCDC Annual Report http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/uscrn/publications/annual_reports/FY11_USCRN_Annual_Report.pdf

    I wonder what they’ll come up with

  69. fretslider says:

    vrooomie at 04:42 AM on 21 September, 2012
    fretslider@116; your fake skeptic underwear are showing..;)

    There is *no* “alleged” taking care of biases in the temperature record: it’s well-documented, utterly open to anyone whoc ares to learn about it, and there’s simply no ‘there’ there. If you are truly trying to learn, and not just be a troll, you can find all that info on this website, among many others. There’s no conspiracy here…except in some folks’ *heads.*

    fretslider at 04:59 AM on 21 September, 2012
    vrooomie

    My smalls have naff all to do with anything here.

    I never mentioned a conspiracy. Let me restate the question so you can get your head around it.

    If this assertion – the scientific groups who compile the surface temperature record put a great deal of effort into filtering out these sorts of biases. – is true, can you tell us why NOAA is quietly funding a new project to look into the questions Anthony Watts has been raising? That they are funding such work surely shows that while NOAA is claiming at PBS that the surface temperature record is “accurate” and “The American public can be confident in NOAA’s long-standing surface temperature record…”, NOAA ain’t so sure.

    It’s a pertinent question, obviously one you are unable to answer. Perhaps another can.
    Moderator Response: This is a good topic for the Why we can trust the surface temperature record thread. Please take it there.

    fretslider at 05:29 AM on 21 September, 2012
    Moderator Response: This is a good topic for the Why we can trust the surface temperature record thread. Please take it there.

    With respect, it is part of this discussion.

  70. Richard G says:

    The narrative sure got turned on it’s head by Anthony Watts. The PBS show was billed as ‘Climate Change Skeptic No Longer Doubts Human Role In Climate Change’ about Richard Muller.

    It morphed before their eyes as Anthony Watts confesses to having been a True Believer Who now has Reasonable Doubts. Doubts not about the temperature trends. Doubts about WHAT CAUSES that trend.

    Horrors. This Heretic Apostasy CAN NOT STAND. It is a mortal threat aimed at the heart of CAGW and Carbon demonizing. This religion does not tolerate apostasy. Reminds me of another religion that has been in the news lately.

    Anthony stole the show. They can’t abide a scene stealer. Especially such a nice man, so reasonable, so absolutely persuasive.

    …”There is no doubt that NOAA’s temperature record is scientifically sound and reliable. To ensure accuracy of the record, scientists use peer-reviewed methods to account for all potential inaccuracies in the temperature readings such as changes in station location, instrumentation and replacement and urban heat effects.”… There is only Doubt About The Cause of the trend.

  71. wayne says:

    fretslider, bet they will come up with the answer that their temperature readings are basically correct. To me that is probably correct.

    But that is not the real question about AGW is it? Read my next comment. I’ll sepearte it so not appearing I am shouting at you, just venting a bit.

  72. wayne says:

    Here’s a small example: take two equivalent days that in an urban area, if there were no city present for a moment, would have both read on the thermometers at the same time of day 58F. That is, make the days decades apart identical. Now, put them in a real environment. The one in 1930 in a small town would read 58.3F but the one forward in 2012 in the now huge city reads 60.9F.

    Is the 58.3F correct scientifically? Yes. They had state-of-the-art thermometers then also.

    Is the 60.9F correct in 2012? Yes, scientifically correct. NOAA’s off the hook there.

    Is the 2.6F difference caused by co2 levels that just by chance has been also increasing over the same time period? HELL NO. Excuse me.

    Any scientist with a shred of integrity would instantly see this was not so. You can drive your car with an external thermometer from inside a large city near the weather station and then outside town in twenty minutes and see the cooler temperature. In twenty minutes drive back to the same point by the station, it’s warmer. Repeat till you are convinced, many days if you wish. So many people know this is true by this very simple method now that cars have thermometers. The satellites show the thermal infested heat over large cities but the amount over tiny towns is many magnitudes smaller if not measureable at all. That 2.6F is the UHI differential over long periods of time I spoke in the two comment above.

    More that that, this increase is mainly over nighttime minimums and cold winter settings when a small amount of additional energy will affect the temperature to a greater degree due to the Stefan fourth power law. This is documented in many papers. The daytime and summer temperatures are not being affected as much. This is also documented in many peer reviewed papers and studies.

    Does this make me mad at current climate “scientists” who actually call themselves scientists repeatedly ignoring and trivializing this effect? You bet ya’.

  73. fretslider says:

    Wayne

    My question seemed reasonable to me and it referred to what had been posted. And the moderator wanted me to take it to “Why we can trust the surface temperature record thread.”

    Now if that isn’t a blatant attempt to shut down any discussion, I don’t know what is.

    I live in London – it’s a helluva lot warmer than the surrounding countryside. I wonder why that should be ; )

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