When it comes to new high temperature records, ‘shoot first, ask questions later’

Readers may recall my investigation over the weekend of an announcement by the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) about a new all-time high temperature record set in Greenland that was subsequently picked up by the Capital Weather Gang at the Washington Post.

How not to measure temperature – Part 94 – Maniitsoq, Greenland all time high temperature rescinded?

Maniitsoq_closeupOver the weekend, I had advised Jason Samenow of the WaPoCWG that he should probably issue some sort of retraction. Not getting any response to my initial email and tweet, I followed up with additional tweet yesterday and today. I’m happy to say that he responded with an update on the original article, and to his credit has written a new article on the subject:

Update, August 12, 12:15 p.m.: This record may not be legitimate and is under review. See related post: Greenland may not have recorded its highest summer temperature

What I find most interesting is this communication from DMI to Samenow:

[Samenow] “…according to a response from John Cappelen, data management specialist and senior climatologist.

Here’s Cappelen’s response, in full:”

Dear Jason,

The reading was valid….but the temperature sensor at the airport station Maniitsoq is not placed according to the WMO [World Meteorological Organization] standards…

It is generally very hard to follow the WMO standards in all details in arctic areas, but this sensor is placed so influence from the surroundings can have affected the reading in a way, so the reading maybe will have to be rejected.

Quality control procedures is ongoing like all ways, where we among other procedures used station data from another station in the area and look into the weather situation in more details.

Whether or not the temperature reading will be rejected and for that reason not included in the extreme records will be announced later.

Best regards,

John

So, the event is still under review.

The takeaway here is:

  • They think station siting is an issue here
  • Station siting quality seems to be a common problem in the Arctic
  • The Maniitsoq station is not WMO compliant and thus likely not suitable for climate monitoring, but fine for aviation monitoring as I pointed out.

The other takeaway is that when there is a rush to judgement (and announcement) of significant new temperature records, the devil is always in the details, and reporting of such events should have appropriate caveats in place.

I don’t blame Samenow for this, he was reporting what DMI said, and one could generally assume their reporting can be taken as solid. But, as we see, that may not be the case.

In the current mindset of  warmer world, it is easy to brush aside such concerns, only to find later they come back as legitimate concerns that may make the report a non-event.

It should be noted that any new temperature record is subject to review, all-time high ones, even more so. A rush to trumpet a new temperature record before it is certified doesn’t help the credibility of climate science.

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46 thoughts on “When it comes to new high temperature records, ‘shoot first, ask questions later’

  1. Would anything even close to a retraction have been forthcoming without your numerous tweets and emails?

    Once again, your efforts pay off, and are sincerely appreciated out here in the blogosphere.

    THANKS!

  2. So is it “hard to comply with WMO siting standards in the Arctic” because, a) the Arctic region has been paved over with parking lots and tarmac, or b) it is too dang cold to site the station any farther away from offices and civilization to be practical?

  3. I live in a the DC area and am a regular follower of Capital Weather Gang, the weather/climate blog of the Washington Post. I’d like to applaud both Mr. Watts and Mr. Samenow for handling the reporting of such a sticky issue as a possible new temperature record with professionalism and courtesy. While it would be nice if unverified records weren’t immediately trumpeted in the press, I’ve liked how wattsupwiththat and CWG have been able to respectfully report on each other without recourse to name calling or disparagement of the others’ views.

  4. Anthony, you found a bad high temperature record a few years ago in Hawaii but were told it would stand at least the Danes are looking into this.

  5. The most fundamental facts of the global warming issue are surface temperature data.
    These data are known to have quality control problems. See

    http://www.surfacestations.org/

    In science, if the data are suspect, they must be rejected, not “homogenized” or “adjusted”
    There are some surface station data that have been maintained with scientific integrity.
    Examine these stations, as some have done, and plot the data.
    For example, the four Antarctic science staions, Amunsend-Scott, Halley, Davis and Vostok.
    All four show zero warming since the first full year of data, 1958
    Conclusion, Antarctica is not warming, therefore the global warming claims are rejected.

  6. Of course, this also brings into question every other temperature recorded at that same station – e.g., the entire Greenland record from that site. Are they also looking into that? Why do I suspect the answer is “no.” And that it will stay “no” unless Anthony or others start peppering them with emails about the issue? And don’t those temperatures wind up going into at least one or more of the official global temperature data sets?

  7. I wish I could go back in time and hand Leif Ericson a thermometer and have him send me its readings for the summer of AD 1000 when he lived in Greenland. It would be nice to have some relevant temperature readings to beat in this modern day.

  8. As a Dane it saddens me to see that such otherwise stalwart institutions as DMI has also been smitten with the CAGW virus. I do hope that they will come out with a statement shortly that takes full account of the circumstances and retracts the “temperature record” as would seem to be the correct course of action in the circumstances.

  9. Anthony,

    You see what you’ve done. Now all these criminals in the AGW clan gotta hurry around and get their shit straight. Ain’t that somthin.

    Seriously, because of you Anthony, the big scam is off. You are responsible for untold positive influences in this whole charade.

    REPLY: For the record, never attribute to malice, what can be explained by simple incompetence. – Anthony

  10. I don’t blame Samenow for this, he was reporting what DMI said, and one could generally assume their reporting can be taken as solid. But, as we see, that may not be the case.

    I’m sorry Anthony, but I must respectfully disagree with this statement- a real journalist would have checked the facts before going into print. It’s this type of churnalism that has caused the cAGW bandwagon to run and run.

  11. Anthony, caught them again! Using the link to the WaPo climate clowns, brought me to one of their trackers. A 90 degree day tracker for Washington, D.C., currently they are looking at 22 days this year. Average is 36, with today being the only chance through 22 Aug for a 90 degree day, this might get added to your list of a ‘year of living dangerously’ claims.

    Thanks for the hard work and keeping the alarmist straight!

    Brian a skeptical engineer

  12. Resourceguy,
    Having worked up at Eureka in 79/80…it was alway a concern…and the weather screen wasn’t all that far from the building. However, once a day we had to hike up the hill to clean off the radiation sensor’s they had up there. If a bear came by at that time…you were done…so as a “try” you called the station dogs with you, but they got smart after a while and wouldn’t go, they stayed in their warm kennels…thankfully, no bears visited us while i was stationed there…

  13. Ok, couldn’t avoid noting the comments from the cheerleaders either … (Pom-pom warning!)

    This “blogger” doesn’t seem to have any major problems with UHI, which in this case can be described as AHI (Airport Heat Island).

  14. [Snip. Multiple violations of site Policy. But just so you know, your link was already posted above. The rest of your comment was nothing but a juvenile name-calling rant. Feel free to post again, if/when you have some verifiable facts to share. ~mod.]

  15. I don’t know Samenow and or the Washington Post but his seems to be good journalistic practise.

    A mistake was made by a journalist who attributed more authority to the DMI than was warranted in this case. When he was informed there was a question mark over the information that had relayed he went back to the a source to check.
    Then he relayed the correction and the question mark.

    In fact, I am even willing to suggest that the original message was ignored for the simple reason that it was the weekend. He or she may have been busy.

    You don’t get this concern for accuracy from the environment desk of the Guardian.

  16. “REPLY: For the record, never attribute to malice, what can be explained by simple incompetence. – Anthony”

    Never attribute to incompetence what is a well documented trilateral collusion.

    Phd thesis Javob Nordangard pol sci, history of the CO2AGW scare
    and biofuels
    GLOBE, founded 1989 , trilateral bunch of all party parlamentarians,
    SHARES headquarters with The Fabian Society; same building

    some highlights:
    TRIGGERING EVENTS for pol initiatives were always oil price hikes;
    CO2AGW was used as the argument to sell it to the public
    GLOBE is supported by Unilever et al
    only 4 % of Friend Of The Earth’s money comes from members
    96% come from EU commission
    Björn Stigson, boss of Unilever: NGO’s must become part of the cast
    (NGO’s all got paid off to help)

  17. Well, to some extent, good for DMI and good for Samenow. And, with certainty, good for Anthony. I’d like it, personally, if journalists include the word “meteorologist” when writing about Anthony. It’s an important fact about him that shouldn’t be skipped. “Blogger” doesn’t quite cover it.

  18. “bw says:
    “August 12, 2013 at 11:08 am
    “The most fundamental facts of the global warming issue are surface temperature data.”

    and

    “In science, if the data are suspect, they must be rejected, not `homogenized’ or `adjusted’ ”

    – – – – –

    That says it all. Good show, bw.

  19. “REPLY: For the record, never attribute to malice, what can be explained by simple incompetence. – Anthony”
    And eagerness to report a new record. Seems to have been handled professionally on both sides. Perhaps they will be a bit more reluctant to rush out with a new record report.

  20. Anthony,

    Remember Death Valley too- you did a great article in the new temp station sited in what looks like the focus of a parabolic cliff at the end of an airless waddy. They will be out with that one like a shot when it happens.

  21. mkelly says:
    August 12, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Anthony, you found a bad high temperature record a few years ago in Hawaii but were told it would stand at least the Danes are looking into this.
    ###

    Oh don’t worry. They will correct it when the time comes to lower temps in the past so as to make current temps seem higher.

  22. “A rush to trumpet a new temperature record before it is certified doesn’t help the credibility of climate science.”

    Neither does the hockey schtick, the attempted abolition of the medieval warm period or the plethora of convenient ‘adjustments’ to the temperature record, the irretrievable loss of temperature data, the inability to surrender method, and on and on….
    No sir.
    To the stampeding herd of sycophantic bureaucrats, MSM, climate ‘scientistas’, policy makers, carbon racketeers, banksters, Uncle Tom Cobbly ‘n all, the credibility of climate science is COMPLETELY irrelevant.

  23. They bent over backwards to deny the Illinois record LOW temp a few winters ago, not understanding that temps can vary greatly, more quickly, when they are very low. 2 mornings in a row it hit -38. The first morning then claimed something was wrong, then “fixed” the problem. the second morning… you do the math

    The Maine record low was done is a much more professional way and was verified as I believe the OK state record.

    I am sensitive to this issue because a) the Altantic City record high of 106 in 1969 was a joke.. no temp within 100 miles of the airport was above 100 and a strong south wind was blowing. My father went out there and with 5 thermometers, showed there was a warm bias that would increase the warmer it got ( in other words at 0C it might be fine, but as it rose, the difference from the other thermometers rose.. A reproduction indicated that at a mean of 5 thermometers at 96, the airport reading was 106! It was likely a 10 degree error..DC was the closest station to reach 100 degrees) The second is the course I took at PSU, meteo 461 which showed how the buiding, siting and upkeep of thermometers, if not done properly almost always results in WARMER readings than what actually is occurring Since that course had labs that
    kept me up all night ( it wasnt just reading the instrument, but building and calibrating) I still have the scars of what it takes to maintain a proper thermometer

  24. The real takeaway Anthony is YOUR INFLUENCE. As others have said or intimated, if it weren’t for you & other Warmist sites & bloggers, there’s no telling how swamped we’d be in CO2 taxes, environmental restrictions, etc, etc.

  25. Rational Db8 says:
    August 12, 2013 at 11:13 am

    “And don’t those temperatures wind up going into at least one or more of the official global temperature data sets?”

    Not only that but GISS extrapolates the arctic ones over 1600km. I wonder if much of the “red hot” colour-coding in the arctic arises from this?

  26. Every little bit helps. It only took 2 days

    From: Dennis Kuzara
    Sent: Saturday, August 10, 2013 12:49 PM
    To: Samenow, Jason P
    Subject: Reader feedback for ‘Greenland soars to its highest temperature ever recorded, almost 80 degrees F.’

    Now that the “record temperature” has been rescinded, will you be offering the same number of column inches to why it wasn’t a record breaker?

    On 8/12/2013 12:29 PM, Samenow, Jason P wrote:
    Please see this update on the issue…

  27. JimS says: @ August 12, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I wish I could go back in time and hand Leif Ericson a thermometer and have him send me its readings for the summer of AD 1000 when he lived in Greenland. It would be nice to have some relevant temperature readings to beat in this modern day….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    There may not have been thermometers but there were plants.

    Vikings grew barley in Greenland
    A sensational find at the bottom of an ancient rubbish heap in Greenland suggests that Vikings grew barley on the island 1,000 years ago.

    The Vikings are both famous and notorious for their like of beer and mead, and archaeologists have discussed for years whether Eric the Red (ca. 950-1010) and his followers had to make do without the golden drink when they settled in Greenland around the year 1,000.

    The Greenland climate was mild when they landed, but was it warm enough for growing corn?

    Researchers from the National Museum in Copenhagen say the answer to the question is ‘yes’. In a unique find, they uncovered very small pieces of charred grains of barley in a Viking rubbish heap on Greenland.

    The find is final proof that the first Vikings to live in Greenland did grow barley – the most important ingredient in brewing beer, making a form of porridge or baking bread, traditionally seen as staple foods in the Vikings’ nutritional diet.

    Each side of the grain of barley is only a couple of millimetres long, and the grain weighs less than 0.01 mg – yet the find is an archaeological sensation. (Photo: Peter Steen Henriksen)

    “Archaeologists have always believed that the Vikings tried to cultivate the soil on their farms in fertile southern Greenland,” says Peter Steen Henriksen, who holds an MSc in agriculture. “But this hasn’t been proved until now.”….

    Growth and Development Guide for Spring Barley

    And from WUWT 2011: The day of the killed tomatoes

  28. Txomin says: August 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Apparently there are more people who discovered the problems with what she writes …

    There are a couple of obvious things mentioned in one of the comments and strange enough the comment is not deleted, which usually is a tradition at pro-AGW sites …

  29. Dear Jason,

    The reading was valid….but the temperature sensor at the airport station Maniitsoq is not placed according to the WMO [World Meteorological Organization] standards…

    So it’s a valid reading…….of course. The reading is spot on for the local airport temperature but what does it tell me about the surrounding areas? Jason should do a read up on albedo. I understand that the airport is rather dark in color. Jason, start here:

    Dr. James Hansen – NASA – 2003

    Soot climate forcing via snow and ice albedos

    …..Plausible estimates for the effect of soot on snow and ice albedos (1.5% in the Arctic and 3% in Northern Hemisphere land areas) yield a climate forcing of +0.3 W/m2 in the Northern Hemisphere. The “efficacy” of this forcing is ~2, i.e., for a given forcing it is twice as effective as CO2 in altering global surface air temperature.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/101/2/423.short

  30. PS, don’t any warmist tell me that it is not soot at the airport. I KNOW. My comment concerns albedo.

  31. Quality control procedures is ongoing like all ways, where we among other procedures used station data from another station in the area and look into the weather situation in more details.

    A completely bogus practice, unless the other station is VERY close to the first.

    I live in Oak Harbor, WA and work in Mt Vernon, WA, a straight-line distance of 10-12 miles. On a sunny day, the summer temps between the two locations can differ by as much as 15f at the same time of day. I live it every day. Last week in Mt Vernon it was about 84f almost every day when I left work. By the time I got home it was about 70f. This is also reflected in the temperature stations used by the local news network.

    You just can’t average temperatures from different locations and come up with anything meaningful.

  32. “The reading was valid …”

    If I was a pilot flying into that air strip, that’s exactly the reading I would want – not some local climatalogically valid vaue, but the actual local temperature. I want to know if there is likely to be ice on the runway or not, and don’t really care whether the same location would have ice without the runway.

    So the problem here is not “bad” citing, but that there is no existing world-wide set of climate recording stations designed for that purpose. This one (and most others) was designed for a different purpose, and it performs that purpose just fine.

  33. bw says:
    August 12, 2013 at 11:08 am
    Conclusion, Antarctica is not warming, therefore the global warming claims are rejected.
    =============
    Global warming is almost exclusively a warming of the northern hemisphere polar region. Somehow this regional warming is taken to be evidence of global warming, while the cooling of Europe during the LIA is taken to be evidence of regional cooling.

    It appears that all warming is global if it happens anywhere, but all cooling is regional unless it happens everywhere.

    What I find interesting is the continued belief that CO2 can heat the north pole and not the south. While at the same time we are seeing the largest change in earth’s magnetic field in recorded history. Is it co-incidence that the north pole is warming while the north magnetic pole mores northward. Is it co-incidence that the south pole is not warming, while the south magnetic pole also moves northward?

    Is it co-incidence that the IPCC and solar science in general makes no allowance for the solar wind influencing the earth’s climate? That the IPCC and solar science consider only solar radiation, while ignoring the effects of charged particles from the solar wind on the earth’s atmosphere?

    While all the while the regional warming at the north pole is screaming. It is magnetism. It is the solar wind. This is what is driving the warming at the north pole. It cannot be CO2 because if it was it would also affect the south pole. The solar wind is not warming the south pole because the south magnetic pole is not at the south pole, it is not even located in Antarctica, and it is not moving towards the south pole.

  34. MODERATOR – my apologies, I missed a closing blockquote in the post I just made. Would you please delete it, and post the following instead (Or just add the closing blockquote after “temperature data sets?”): Thanks so much, and sorry for the hassle.

    Gary Pearse says: August 12, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Rational Db8 says:August 12, 2013 at 11:13 am “And don’t those temperatures wind up going into at least one or more of the official global temperature data sets?”

    Not only that but GISS extrapolates the arctic ones over 1600km. I wonder if much of the “red hot” colour-coding in the arctic arises from this?

    Exactly my thought. I don’t know how far the Greenland ones wind up being extrapolated to cover other areas, but at one point seem to recall that one of the data sets extended some as far as 2500km.

  35. The downside, of course, is that the error was a headline. The upside is that the source for the headline was willing to take another look at it.
    Perhaps the pressure to tow the “consensus” AGW line is relenting as reality set in?

  36. [Snip. Mr Simmons, the next time you accuse our host of "lying", being a liar, etc., will be the last time you post here. — mod.]

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