Seattle’s climate instantly cools 1.5 degrees

This is interesting, and of course it goes hand-in-hand with what I have been saying for years.

Scott Sistek, of KOMO News/Weather reports:

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

For several years the thermometer at SeaTac airport has been reporting temperatures 1-3 degrees above surrounding areas.

Instead, it seems the thermometer at Sea-Tac is finally back on track, reporting temperatures more realistic with respect to other nearby thermometers. It’s been a long suspicion among some local meteorologists that the thermometer at the airport been running a bit warm over the past few years, frequently reporting temperatures 1-3 degrees warmer than surrounding sites. (Both UW professor Cliff Mass and I have done blogs on this apparent warming in the past.)

Here is just one example from July 16 last year when Sea-Tac reported a high of 88 degrees but everyone else around the Sound was closer to 83-86. (KSEA is Sea-Tac, the numbers on the far right are the preliminary highs for the day. This link will help decode the other cities listed here.)

UW research meteorologist Mark Albright has been tracking this anomaly for the past couple of years and has been among the most vocal in this apparent discrepancy. As just one example, he found for those first two weeks last July that the Sea-Tac gauge ran an average 2.3 degrees warmer than four other neighborhood thermometers placed within a couple miles of the airport.

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

Apparently, they fixed the ASOS thermometer, and the problem went away.

Read the whole story here: http://www.komonews.com/weather/blogs/scott/Did-Seattles-climate-cool-15-degrees-in-a-blink-of-an-eye-254419491.html

h/t to reader Steve Z.

And as I’ve documented before, such errors remain in the climate record. Like the malfunctioning airport sensor in Honolulu, where the skewed temperature set new high temperature records. See this interview with a NOAA/NWS meteorologist on the issue:

But, even after knowing they were caused by a malfunction, the NOAA/NWS leaves the bogus high temperature records intact. Only government could screw up data this badly.

Here is where the sensor is:

The SeaTac ASOS, according to NCDC HOMR, is located below.

SeaTac_ASOS

SeaTac_ASOS_closeup

SeaTac is part of the GHCN network used for climate. But was it surrounded on three sides by heat holding asphalt in 1948 when the weather records began there?

Doubtful.


First Sea-Tac Airport Terminal, ca. 1946

I wonder what this revelation will do to this study, which used Sea-Tac and other GHCN stations as the basis for the claim?

New study finds “nighttime heat waves” increasing in Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: more on why these sorts of failures tend to be mostly hot failures:

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113 Responses to Seattle’s climate instantly cools 1.5 degrees

  1. philjourdan says:

    If the recordings were abnormally low, the records would have been booted.

  2. DrTorch says:

    That’s called “fraud”.

  3. Ed Barbar says:

    I know this is Anthony’s big deal (kudos to the studies and work on the data integrity). However, unless thermometers tend to read higher when broken, then it makes sense to keep all the data, rather than finding only the anomalously hot ones, unless the entire record is purged for both high and low data.

  4. j ferguson says:

    Why did it read high?

  5. Anthony Watts says:

    @Ed Barbar

    In the case of the airport ASOS HO83 thermometer, the way they fail makes them almost always read higher. In fact many of the ASOS thermometers have been replaced with one less prone to failing this way.

    So no, it doesn’t make sense to keep these records. They are false and don’t “even out”.

  6. TBraunlich says:

    That study is invalidated if it depended on this temp record.

  7. edcaryl says:

    Is there a pattern? Do ASOS sensors always fail high? Are partial failures detected? Is there a range of failure from 1 degree to ?? Until we know the answers to these questions all ASOS temperature data should be viewed with skepticism.

  8. [SNIP waaayyyy waaaay WAAAAAAAY off topic, and a rant – don’t clutter up my technical thread with this junk – Anthony

  9. Anthony Watts says:

    @edcaryl ASOS sensors are aspirated (fan driven airflow) they almost always fail high from these sorts of failures:

    Fan slowdown/failure (slowdown due to dust grime most common) When the fan slows, incoming solar and nighttime LWIR have more effect on instrument

    Blockage: birds nests, wasp nests, etc impede air flow.

    more here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/10/inside-the-asos-ho83-tempdewpoint-sensor/

  10. Janice Moore says:

    Well, isn’t that precious of Mr. Albright. NOW…. that he and his fellow AGWers are desperate for temperatures to warm…… they correct the record DOWN.

    Still, a good thing, though. The TRUTH is what matters.

    Thanks for sharing, Anthony. Heh, heh, Western Washington (with its Envirostalinism) may not be so hot… but, even so, we’re stll pretty cool.

    GREAT WORK ON GETTING TH TRUTH OUT ABOUT TEMPERATURE MEASURING ACCURACY, ANTHONY!

  11. Ray Van Dune says:

    “But was it surrounded on three sides by heat holding asphalt in 1948 when the weather records began there?”

    Not to mention surrounded on all sides by 60,000 lb thrust jet engines producing massive hot air streams?

  12. JRM says:

    Always some amount of wiggle room with meteorological data,,,,, does that help getting a 97% consensus? Is there a time frame for inspection and calibration at these sites?

  13. brians356 says:

    Why is it that when one of these thermometers “goes bonkers” they only ever report higher temperatures, never lower? Hey?

  14. knr says:

    Using temperature measurements at airport to cover wider areas is only slightly less dum than using ones at steel-mills. These weather stations are designed to offer information for incoming and out going flights , that is it . They have become used for other things not because they data they offer gives information that relates well to the greater area , in fact airports can be an oddity not a norm for there area. But becasue their there and its better than nothing and cheaper than having another one.
    Anyone that has worked on the big open concrete pans of an airport can tell you its gets warming there than in other locations. In the past this did not matter has weather was so hard to predict and so verbal even quite large errors were OKish, now we seen silly claims of multi- decimal accuracy and it not OK any more.

    Would anyway think that the weather you get at the top of 20,000 foot mountain can be used to cover the valleys below at sea level becasue its within a few miles or would they accept that given that is such a big difference between the two you really should not ?

  15. Dave The Engineer says:

    The Cult saw the temperature, and it was good. So sayth the Cult.

  16. dbstealey says:

    brians356 says:

    Why is it that when one of these thermometers “goes bonkers” they only ever report higher temperatures, never lower?

    Anthony gave some technical reasons. But one reason didn’t make the list: human manipulation of the temperature record.

    As the article shows, the high T problem was the subject of repeated complaints. But no one ever fixed it, until they were forced to replace the thermometer. I suspect that someone preferred the artificially high temps.

  17. lemiere jacques says:

    on one side you have corrections based on assumptions in front of computers miles away from sites.. on the other side you have people checking each measuring site .. who do you trust?

  18. rogerknights says:

    And here I thought it was MY (Seattle) thermometers that were “off.”

    I wonder how much of a play this will get in the Seattle Times (I don’t read it anymore).

  19. Mark Albright says:

    Janice Moore, please don’t accuse me of being an AGWer. I follow the objective truth wherever it may lead.

    “Janice Moore says:
    Well, isn’t that precious of Mr. Albright. NOW…. that he and his fellow AGWers are desperate for temperatures to warm…… they correct the record DOWN.”

  20. Theo Goodwin says:

    Ed Barbar says:
    April 14, 2014 at 8:48 am

    This is one huge Red Herring. The thermometer was discovered to be reading high because it was discovered to be broken. The proper action is to lose the high readings for this thermometer. The question that you raise has to do with systematic investigation of all thermometers and, though an interesting question, bears only67 superficial resemblance to the question at hand.

  21. Theo Goodwin says:

    Pardon the “only67.” I did not type that.

  22. jauntycyclist says:

    can’t provoke the second coming if the world ain’t hot enough for satan yet

  23. Windsong says:

    The airport diagram for KSEA shows the ASOS alongside taxiway N between 16R/34L and 16C/34C. The possibility of extra dust or grime hosing down the site would be a certainty. A quick spike in temp during a winter day? Maybe a 737 holding short of 16C on the taxiway?

    Large swaths of residential areas were acquired in the 1990’s for the construction of the third (westernmost) runway at SeaTac. There is plenty of unused airport property on the west side of SeaTac that would be a much better location for instruments than adjacent to a taxiway.

  24. Windsong says:

    Mod: o/t here. @ Janice Moore. I believe you are about 15 miles NW of Oso. Do you have a rain gauge? If so, were you showing extreme precip during March? The Finney Creek RAWS had around 20″ prior to March 22.

  25. Jim G says:

    Anthony Watts says:
    “So no, it doesn’t make sense to keep these records. They are false and don’t “even out”.”

    If the erroneously high records are kept then the temperatures registered by the new more accurate instruments will indicate cooling compared to historical data. So the truth will win out in the long run, aside from the fact that they are poorly placed in the first place. If all of the UHI record temps were kept and the locations corrected to eliminate the UHI effects we would see some erroneous, but major, cooling I suspect, relative to those erroneous historical records.

  26. wws says:

    “If the recordings were abnormally low, the records would have been booted.”

    No, if the recordings were “abnormally” low, 2 degrees would have been added to the temperature records of every thermometer in the country to make up for the supposed error.

    or maybe that already happened….

  27. D. Cohen says:

    Why is there only one thermometer at each station? Five or six thermometers simultaneously recording temperatures would show up any inaccurate temperatures like a sore thumb. They cannot be that expensive — hey, the whole weather station can’t be that expensive. Why not have several many-yards-apart duplicates of them also?

  28. Resourceguy says:

    NOAA, GAO, IRS, and others are too busy lobbying for ever larger budgets and pay and benefit deals for its public sector union than to be bothered with work and thinking about original purpose and mission. That hard stuff is left to automated sensors to give the appearance of being on the job. It would be better to designate a grievously bad data site as a proxy of agency malaise than to point out each and every one.

  29. Michael Moon says:

    Last Friday here on Lake Michigan in Chicago, at noon, Midway Airport was reporting 70 degrees. This weather station 3 miles offshore at the water intake crib showed 41.6 degrees! Needless to say in a few hours it got much colder at the airport. The two sensors are about eleven miles apart, and at the same height.

    http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/metdata/chi/

  30. Resourceguy says:

    Now for the real test. Will any news agencies pick up on this data quality revelation in a city of settled science.

  31. FerdinandAkin says:

    OnMarch 15, the gauge was determined to be bonkers. Futher analysis determined that the gauge went from reading temperature to modeling it.

  32. KevinM says:

    The obvious result of prolonged up error accumulation (Airports) and down error elimination (Russia) in a time series will back them into a corner. Once the bulk of the data meters are adjusted high, the ramp becomes a “pause” in the trend. The escape part is to abandon surface temperature and adopt a more malleable time series.

  33. John Robertson says:

    KNR pointed out that airport thermometers are of interest only to pilots in figuring out the minimum ground speed they can have when approaching (or taking off from) the airport. So, yes, it is important that they are situated near the runways so the pilots can compensate for the local heat flux of the heated tarmac and exhaust. Knowing the minimum airspeed, which is partially determined by air temperature, is important!
    So, of course these thermometers are required – for pilots and aircraft, however they do not represent the local temperatures of the area and should be ignored for determining highs/lows, etc. from daily area records. A standard needs to be adopted that considers the area in question and where the best site is for an average reading, not the best site for aircraft readings.

  34. Latitude says:

    Isn’t that odd…..old temperature records were adjusted down because of thermometer creep…
    ..and new records are adjusted up…just like UHI…for the same reason

    Go back to using the old timey thermometers…as least they adjusted them down…../SNARK

  35. glen martin says:

    When the data from this site is homogenized this sudden dip from the replacement or the faulty thermometer will cause all the temperature data before it to be cooled by 1.5 degrees.

  36. Merrick says:

    @Jim G:

    That is until some government Hansen, I mean hack, suffers “institutional amnesia” and notes an “anomolous drop in temerpature record due to maintenance” and put a (or an additional) permanent “correction” in the workup algorithm for this site’s data.

    Bed data is bad data and it does NOT belong in the record.

  37. Gregory says:

    FWIW … I was sitting in the parking lot of our fav local grocery the other day. My wife had gone inside for a couple of things, and I glanced at my smartphone. I noticed the temp being 82 degrees. I’m in Florida, so not uncommon to see that temp at 3PM. I then glanced at my car temp … newer Dodge with the dash display. 86 degrees. Same town, I’m in the sun, in a parking lot, and the default town temp is +4F. They wonder why I’m skeptical.

  38. GlynnMhor says:

    With the station in among the runways, I have to wonder how much jet engine exhaust washes over the box from time to time, boosting the local daily high…

  39. Ric Werme says:

    Hey, no problem. If we just increase the error bars on the measurements, that will increase the overlap with the models and the modelers can say they’re accurate to within observational error again.

  40. Ric Werme says:

    Merrick says:
    April 14, 2014 at 10:15 am

    > Bed data is bad data and it does NOT belong in the record.

    Whether it’s good data or bad data, I don’t want the NCDC in my bedroom either.

  41. Rob says:

    Weather Service thermometer records
    are simply the worst for studying climate trends. They are always moving,
    and replacing them And with little or no regard to continuity, homogeneity
    etc. In fact, changes are often undocumented. I know. I used to work
    for them as a forecaster.

  42. tomcourt says:

    The IPCC was right. Solving global warming is affordable. A $50 replacement sensor, dash of white paint on a screen there and its gone.

  43. Ric Werme says:

    Michael Moon says:
    April 14, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Last Friday here on Lake Michigan in Chicago, at noon, Midway Airport was reporting 70 degrees. This weather station 3 miles offshore at the water intake crib showed 41.6 degrees! Needless to say in a few hours it got much colder at the airport. The two sensors are about eleven miles apart, and at the same height.

    http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/metdata/chi/

    I’m not sure what your point is. Doesn’t that happen every spring? From that link you provided (I’m too lazy to find Midway’s) similar things are happening today:

    -------- Previous 18 Hours (at top of hour) --------
    YEAR    DOY     CDT     WIND     GUST     PEAK    DIR    TEMP
    2014    104    1200    22.45    26.87    27.24    347    37.6
    2014    104    1100    22.61    27.24    30.87    343    38.0
    2014    104    1000    23.64    29.14    30.87    351    37.6
    2014    104    0900    24.14    29.53    31.24    343    37.1
    2014    104    0800    27.43    31.63    33.34    332    38.2
    2014    104    0700    19.63    23.06    34.29    341    39.0
    2014    104    0600    28.87    36.76    36.76    329    38.1
    2014    104    0500    27.31    33.34    36.20    343    38.0
    2014    104    0400    28.97    37.15    42.87    213    61.2
    2014    104    0300    31.36    40.01    42.30    192    62.2
    2014    104    0200    24.63    28.77    36.00    184    59.6
    2014    104    0100    30.64    36.76    38.49    192    61.5
    2014    104    0000    34.80    40.77    55.05    195    64.4
    2014    103    2300    31.42    38.86    50.87    189    63.5
    2014    103    2200    26.85    30.48    40.20    187    62.2
    2014    103    2100     1.98     2.66    36.20    026    40.0
    2014    103    2000     2.04     2.47     6.10    002    39.3
    2014    103    1900    10.11    11.82    14.29    010    38.3

    Note the effect of north vs south wind. If Midway cooled off, it’s just a lake breeze or cold front.

  44. Neo says:

    So who broke the thermometer ?
    How many more likewise broken thermometers are out there ?

  45. Joel O'Bryan says:

    That new SeaTac thermometer is awaiting a Mann re-calibration to bring it into line with “hide the decline” imperatives.

  46. JimS says:

    I wonder how many thermometers are replaced in Russa? That country gives very high temperature readings, if my memory serves me right.

  47. Alan Robertson says:

    jauntycyclist says:
    April 14, 2014 at 9:43 am

    can’t provoke the second coming if the world ain’t hot enough for satan yet
    ___________________
    To what purpose, do you pollute this thread?

  48. scarletmacaw says:

    glen martin says:
    April 14, 2014 at 10:12 am
    When the data from this site is homogenized this sudden dip from the replacement or the faulty thermometer will cause all the temperature data before it to be cooled by 1.5 degrees.

    That was the first thing that crossed my mind too. The way Mosher describes the BEST homogenization process is that it specifically looks for sudden changes and adjusts them out. The slow creep in warming that Anthony described will pass through the filter, but the replacement of the faulty thermometer will result in adjusting the readings so there is no discontinuity. Either the new readings are adjusted up, or the old ones are adjusted down. Either way creates a false warming.

  49. Janice Moore says:

    Dear Mr. Albright,

    I beg your pardon.

    CORRECTION (on page 1): “Well, isn’t that precious of Mr. Albright the Envirostalinists who control the temperature data. NOW…. that he and his fellow the AGWers are desperate for temperatures to warm…… they correct the record {per Mr. Albright’s measurements} DOWN,” says Janice Moore who apologizes with the above editing.

    Glad there is SOMEONE at the UW who is not a CO2 cult member!

    Hoping you can forgive me,

    Janice
    **********************************************************8

    Hi, Windsong,

    Yes, as the crow flies, I’m located about 20 miles NNW of Oso, Washington. No, I do not have a rain gauge. FWIW, having lived here most of my life (and I passed 40 quite awhile back), it was one of our more rainy March’s (and Februarys and Januarys — aaaaarrrrgh — HATE it, but, there are drawbacks to every climate zone in the country…). My “rain gauge” is the field I jog around. Slightly wetter than average is my guess.

    Re: Oso — Just another guess (okay — worth little, LOL, BUT, AT LEAST I ADMIT IT’S ONLY CONJECTURE! (unlike the CO2 speculators (pun intended)), but, given historic weather patterns around here, I don’t think excessive rainfall for this year was the CONTROLLING cause, just a contributing one. The “Northwest Weather Service” had issued a high-saturation warning about 2 days prior to that, IIRC, however, so… (shrug).

    I hope that you can find some data on rainfall.

    Take care wherever in the world YOU are!

    Janice

  50. Rob Dawg says:

    A classic example of the difference between accuracy and precision.

  51. Genghis says:

    I have a radical theory that the longer and more accurate the temperature record, the more the anomalies will regress to the mean, an anti hockey stick if you will. All the anomalies they have been measuring so far are within the error range of the system. They are measuring under the curve.

  52. Eliza says:

    Thats why NONE of the climate analysis/data done by hadcrut NOAA, BEST etc can be relied on. It most likely applies to ALL surface data worldwide. re This (AW) site’s analysis of US surface data is a prime example. Purely rural very long term data is CET and Armagh where climate is quite constant and unchanging and starts in 1700’s shows no warming….

  53. John Whitman says:

    Mark Albright,

    It is pleasant to hear of someone having respect for due diligence. Thank you for yours wrt the SeaTac thermometer discrepancy.

    How does this relate to your area of interest in research meteorology at UW?

    John

  54. john robertson says:

    So the record improves with the dying of each old sensor?
    What is the range and accuracy of these sensors?
    How are they calibrated?
    How often?
    I was trying to follow Environment Canada’s upgrade of their weather sensing stations.(last year)
    found a spec for the temperature sensor used but was unable to follow the means by which they obtain the claimed accuracy at high arctic sites.
    I remain quite unclear how the sensor package self calibrates for temperature range of -60C to +40C.

  55. Col Mosby says:

    If NOAA were not corrupt, they would have done what any sane temp measuring authority
    would do : receive the complaints from bona fide weather men, examine the data from surrounding
    temp gauge and see clearly, and at once, that their own temp gauge is providing invalid
    temp data for the area. Fix the problem, then correct their invalid data using data from the
    surrounding temp gauges that display consistency. Now, was that hard? Leaving temps on the record that are known to be fraudulent is, you know, fraudulent. The claim by a previous poster
    that one should allow all bad temp gauge records to stand is both absurd and also fraudulent –
    imagine the absurdity of allowing a temp of 168 degrees to stand. Or following the bizarre logic
    that there must be an equal number of equally wrong bad high and low temp readings,so nothing should be done. No, what you do is when you find an error , then you correct it. And you have a mechanism in place that can detect small erors, not just large ones, using the many temp readings available close to your station. NOAA has been shown incompetent before, in spades. This is
    merely additional prima facia evidence that should result in the wholesale overhauling (and probably destruction) of this most disgusting Federal agency. There is no good reason we should pay money to be lied to.

  56. dmacleo says:

    using a device needed for pilots for min rotate speeds to set global policy was either extremely stupid or purposely done so just to “show” a rising temp.
    I lean towards the latter.
    crews need the runway temps to know a/c performance parameters, using these for climate measurements should have been criminal.

  57. Steve Oregon says:

    Now that they have taken their foot off the scale will Seattle still be afraid of the hiding heat?

    Appell,
    “Lately more of the heat being trapped by our emissions is going into the oceans than was the case in the 1980s and 1990s, and less into warming the thin sliver of air on the surface. (About 93 percent of the extra heat goes into the oceans.) And the oceans are warming enormously in recent years – heat that is not guaranteed to stay there, and often comes out in El Nino years — and it now seems likely an El Nino will happen later this year.”

    http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/04/water_vapor_and_the_greenhouse.html#incart_river

  58. Rob Dawg says:

    An example of science. I am a third generation participant in the Framingham Heart Study. They take my blood pressure under the same conditions with the same double blind instrument that they used with my grandparents. The device is routinely checked by the the NIH staff which have no direct connections to the Study.

    If the warmists have similar examples I’d love to hear them. Instead they have airport thermometers that read high at higher temps and refuse to discard the erroneous data when confronted with the proof.

  59. tadchem says:

    They continue to use PRTs (platinum resistance thermometers). The most common mode of failure for these sensors is a gradual increase in resistance until the platinum wire fails to an open (infinite resistance) state, indicating infinite temperature. This failure can occur due to slow degradation (corrosion) of the platinum wire. Corrosion usually requires the combination of water, acidity, and an oxidizer on metal – such as humid air laced with exhaust fumed (NOx).

  60. Bruce Hall says:

    So in this case, GOGI… garbage out of the thermometer; garbage into the temperature record.

  61. Michael Moon says:

    Ric Werme,

    My point is two-fold: Airports are frequently the warmest place in the area, and Chicago is having absolutely bizarre weather this year…

  62. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    I’m having trouble understanding why regular calibration isn’t a standard part of managing any official climate reporting device. The pumps I use to put fuel in my car must have an annual certification; balances and scales used in laboratories (professional or university) likewise have an annual calibration certification. I understand than any instrument can fail; I don’t understand why such a failure remains uncorrected for several years.

  63. CarlF says:

    The ASOS, or automated surface observation system, is primarily to let pilots know what the conditions are at the airport runways. Using them for global climate temperature records makes no sense, unless they conform to siting requirements, which would be a rarity I would think. A jet exhaust within a couple of hundred feet should rule them all out.

  64. Steve Keohane says:

    Windsong says:April 14, 2014 at 9:49 am
    You can find daily precipitation here, by state, if you click on the desired state on the second map (the green one) on this page: http://www.cocorahs.org/
    When the state comes up, you can change the date and mouse over or click on individual stations to get its reading.

  65. John F. Hultquist says:

    at Windsong 9:43
    “There is plenty of unused airport property on the west side of SeaTac that would be a much better location for instruments than adjacent to a taxiway.

    About the bold, see the second statement:

    First, I posted links to the “west side” on a previous post but don’t have the time to find it or do it again. One can use “Street View” of Google Earth to have a look. But . . .

    Second, weather instruments have found a home next to runways because there is a need for them there. If “climate science” wants something different then other locations are available. “Better” is for the user to determine and pilots seem to like the between-the-runways location.

  66. ChristopherPL says:

    This is getting to be like in baseball where the radar gun reports a different pitch speed depending on the stadium. Some stadiums are known to run their guns ‘hot’ in order to hype their players a little more.

  67. evanmjones says:

    Hmm. That one’s a Class 3, Leroy (2010) rating, and a Class 4 for Leroy (1999).

    Definitely below par for an airport site.

    Airports are odd beasts. On the one hand, there are large paved areas in the vicinity. OTOH, they are usually (but not in this case) well away from the sensors.

    As ASOS are Min-Max sensors, I don’t think jet exhaust will affect all that much. The blast would have to hit right at Tmin or Tmax to skew the readings. However, the effect might be more pronounced with continual readings, where every bump up will affect the average.

  68. Kpar says:

    D. Cohen said at 9:56AM, “Why is there only one thermometer at each station? Five or six thermometers simultaneously recording temperatures would show up any inaccurate temperatures like a sore thumb. They cannot be that expensive — hey, the whole weather station can’t be that expensive. Why not have several many-yards-apart duplicates of them also?”

    These are the same people who pay $200,000 for an OUTHOUSE!

    Our government at work…

  69. @scarletmacaw at 10:50 am

    glen martin at 10:12 am
    When the data from this site is homogenized this sudden dip from the replacement or the faulty thermometer will cause all the temperature data before it to be cooled by 1.5 degrees.

    That was the first thing that crossed my mind too. The way Mosher describes the BEST homogenization process is that it specifically looks for sudden changes and adjusts them out. The slow creep in warming that Anthony described will pass through the filter, but the replacement of the faulty thermometer will result in adjusting the readings so there is no discontinuity.

    I agree scarletmacaw. I have called these things recalibration events” (1/23/2013)

    A property of this “recalibration class” is that there is slow buildup of instrument drift, then quick, discontinuous offset to restore calibration. At time t=A0 the sensor is set up for use at a quality satisfactory for someone who signs the log. The station operates with some degree of human oversight. At time t=A9, a human schedules some maintenance (painting, weeding, trimming, sensor replacement, whatever). The maintenance is performed and at the time tools are packed up the station is ready to take measurements again at time t=B0. A recalibration event happened between A9 and B0. …..

    At what points in the record are the temperatures most trustworthy? How can they be any other but the “tools down” points of A0, B0, C0?

    BEST will honor the A0-A9, B0-B9 trends and codify two episodes of instrument drift into real temperature trends . Not only will Instrument drift and climate signal be inseparable, we have multiplied the drift in the overall record by discarding the correcting recalibration at the discontinuities.

    There are at least two alternatives.
    2. Don’t cut it at all. A0-A9-B0-B9-C0-C9-D0… as one full-life segment. Look at the saw and not the saw-teeth……
    3. A reasonable approach is to assume the drift had growth proportional with time. Subtract an amount of drift proportional to the time distance from the previous recalibration point. Adjust, the A0-A9, B0-B9 such that A0′-A9′-B0′-B9′ no longer shows the recalibration discontinuity and maintain that one long record and it’s lowest frequency….

    Willis replied with a argument I do not feel holds water and invalidated by facts such as the SEATAC station above:

    The overwhelming majority of “recalibrations”, as you call them, will never reach statistical significance. As you point out they are things like “weeding around the enclosure, replacement of degrading sensors, trimming of nearby trees, removal of a bird’s nest”. By and large, none of those will cause a statistically significant jump in the data, including painting the screen on a regular basis. So they are a non-issue for this discussion, they just do what they do, make a very tiny “sawtooth” in the data with little effect.
    …..
    I am talking about the much larger events, events that are large enough to be statistically detectable as an anomaly in the record. These do not happen frequently resulting in a “saw-toothed” signal as you say. If they did, it wouldn’t be such a problem. Instead, they occur very occasionally and randomly, one or a few per record.

    What is not in dispute here is that there is an apparent instantaneous drop of temperatures at SEATAC due to a sensor running hot at the time of replacement (B9) and replaced with a sensor, presumably with sufficient calibration to put back on line (C0). A discontinuity has happened. Whether it is 1.5 deg C, 2.0, 1.2, 2.4 is not the issue. Whether it is a “significant” 1.5 deg C over 15 years or insignificant 0.5 deg C adjustments every 5 years is also irrelevant. Both bake in the instrument drift as climate signal and treat recalibration as noise to be discarded.

    Furthermore, breaks in the temperature records are frequent in BEST data. See my example for Stapleton Airport, Denver, CO which has 10 breakpoints (seven ! from 1980-1999) seemingly disassociated with historical events at the airport. Breaks are big and frequent. I’d love to see a scatter plot of segment length vs amount of shift at the end of the segment. It would raise eyebrows.

    Cutting the record at a discontinuity PRESERVES the instrument drift (if that is what happened prior to B9) as climate signal and ignore the B9-C0 recalibration information.
    At the very least, the amount of the discontinuity is testament to our uncertainty in the absolute temperatures.

  70. more soylent green! says:

    In what other areas of science is junk data knowingly included because “the averages will even out?” (My quote.)

    In business, this sort of record keeping lands you in jail. In medical research, you could be subject to fines and other penalties. In government, however, it will probably lead to a promotion.

  71. Duster says:

    If the excess temperature is due to a local heat island, extra thermometers would only increase the number of anomalously high readings. In this specific case the thermometer finally went off the deep end an they replaced it, but that only brought it into conformity with other nearby sensors. So, we’re still left to wonder whether the Seattle Heat Island is diddling with the data.

  72. Lawrence13 says:

    Janice More said
    “Well, isn’t that precious of Mr. Albright. NOW…. that he and his fellow AGWers are desperate for temperatures to warm…… they correct the record DOWN”

    Whoa Janice, a tad unfair on Mr Albright who I believe who seems to have a track record of de-biasing the warming slant amongst his colleagues
    http://www.moonbattery.com/archives/2007/03/a-global-warmin.html and

    http://www.zoominfo.com/s/#!search/profile/person?personId=64049541&targetid=profile

  73. Windsong says:

    @ Janice Moore 10:58 am SE of Renton, WA, near Lake Youngs.
    @ Steve Keohane 1:55 pm Thanks for the link. I looked at Snohomish County in March and the foothill locations were hammered with rain. (Even our temp impaired KSEA site logged 9.44″ in March; a new monthly record.)
    @ John F. Hultquist 2:06 pm Thanks for the info on the rationale for location. I concur, airport sites for their use, and sensibly sited locations for scientific data collection.

  74. Jeff says:

    If these stations are read/monitored remotely, why not (during routine maintenance) replace the fans with fans having speed sensors? They’ve been common in the PC and probably mainframe world for years, and even high-quality ones (with or without golfball texture :) ) are not all that expensive….just a thought….

  75. tteclod says:

    Would it be possible to correct the error, note an “*” with the original data and the error correction method?

  76. dbstealey says:

    Stephen Rasey,

    Good post. BEST has been deconstructed here on several occasions. From my perspective, the BEST paper has no credibility.

  77. Janice Moore says:

    Dear Lawrence13,

    Yes, you are correct. I was mistaken. What more could I have said than I did in my apology (not acknowledged… perhaps Albright agrees with your apparent assessment of it’s being inadequate…) at 10:58am, today?

    Good for you to provide substantiation (at 3:48pm) for Mr. Albright’s correction of my mistake about him being pro-AGW.

    I am EAGER to hear from you. What more would you have me say to make amends?

    Sincerely,

    Janice Moore

  78. Leigh says:

    We in Australia suffer similar problems with our BOM.
    Locally we have a rain gauge that has a bad habit of going off line in severe rain events.
    The BOM usually issues a statement that rainfall not recorded in the auto gauge will not be supplemented by the back up manual gauge(the one you actually look at)because, and these are their words not mine,
    “IT WOULD FUDGE THE RECORD”.
    Why have a back up gauge?
    It is affectivly giving a false and misleading historical record.
    Lower rainfall contributing to the lie that is global warming.
    I live approximately 5 klm from that gauge and have for the last five years.
    My gauge tells me that nearly 500 mm has gone unrecorded.
    Not exactly a drop in the bucket.
    So you in America dont for one instance think your on your lonesome when it comes to BOM’s manipulating data to fit their lies.

  79. Janice Moore says:

    A BLESSED PASSOVER TO ALL OUR WONDERFUL JEWISH COMMENTERS (AND SILENT READERS)!

    In celebration of that most miraculous event, the escape from Pharoah, and to celebrate something we can all rejoice in, especially at this time of year, the wonder of finding our true love,

    WOW — MOM
    “Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles” — Fiddler on the Roof

    Motl the Tailor singing to his Tzeitel

    REJOICE!

    Your Gentile Friend,

    Janice

    P.S. Sorry so late for most of you — I’m in PDT land… where it is now 5:19pm on 4/14/14.

  80. evanmjones says:

    In what other areas of science is junk data knowingly included because “the averages will even out?”

    It’s all in pursuit of a large denominator: The more data points, the more likely you are to hit that magic “95% confidence”.

  81. evanmjones says:

    Fiddler on the Roof

    Tmax, Tmin,
    Tmax, Tmin . . .

  82. Greg Rehmke says:

    I live a few miles from Seatac and I’m guessing that someone else has mentioned the construction of the third runway to the west of location shown on image. http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2008204574_thirdrunway26m.html

  83. RE: SEATAC 3rd runway. The linked news article is from 2008 and the runway was supposed to be used as a second runway operating in low visibility conditions for landings only, maybe only 20% of the time.

    This blog post from 2011 analyzes how the third runway construction project may have changed the local climate. It is worth a read.
    http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2011/07/did-sea-tacs-third-runway-change-our.html

  84. Jean Parisot says:

    An airfield thermometer should always read hot! The safety margin for the air density calculation is on the high side. If you could design an airport thermometer, you would want one that always read hot, except around freezing – then it would read low.

  85. Gregory Beasley (Prospect, NSW) says:

    Re anomalous temperature readings at Sea-Tac and Honolulu International Airports, these pale into insignificance when one examines anomalies elsewhere. For instance, I recently took the opportunity to point out to Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground that his daily summaries for most, if not all, Canadian weather stations incorporate daily averages of Tmax and Tmin that run “hot” for six months of the year and “cold” for the other six. Put simply, the raw monthly averages used to determine running daily averages appear to be anchored to the first day of the month. Therefore, calculated anomalies for specific weather stations are errant for much of the year!

    Furthermore, there is a disconcertingly high incidence of extraneous readings interspersed among the raw METAR data, which frequently get caught up in the daily figures for Tmax and Tmin. Needless to say, many of these are markedly warmer than the corresponding METAR data. For instance, according to Weather Underground, on the 19th March this year the weather station at Tuktoyakuk Airport (CYUB) in the Canadian Arctic yielded figures of -1 and -27-degrees C for Tmax and Tmin; the maximum temperature occurring at 6:00pm in the evening. However, the figure of -1 was not official METAR data drawn from CYUB. Rather, it was inserted from an external source (AAXX 20004). In spite of the fact that the METAR report for CYUB produced a figure of -23 degrees C at 6:00pm, it was the decidedly warmer figure from the external source that found its way into the summary table! A newer weather station at the same airport (CZUB) produced a METAR reading equivalent to the 6:00pm METAR reading at CYUB; thereby demonstrating that the insertion was 22 degrees high for that day. This is not a once-off instance at Tuktoyaktuk. More often than not, the figures for Tmax are significantly higher than the METAR data would allow.

    Then there are the spikes in the daily METAR data sets. For instance, the weather station on Midway Island in the Pacific Ocean occasionally incorporates sudden spikes (usually in the middle of the night), when temperatures can suddenly jump up to 50+degrees C, and then, just as quickly, drop back down to a normal night temperature. These spikes are never removed. So much for quality assurance!

    Put simply, the raw data that feeds into GISS and Hadcrut is seldom, if ever, proofed. Others might suggest fraudulent.

    By the way, I am still awaiting a response from Dr. Masters.

    Greg Beasley
    (Prospect, NSW)

  86. Geoff Sherrington says:

    Please,

    Can I suggest a useful group exercise?
    Select a familiar airport. Estimate or obtain daily fuel use. Select a volume around the airport, such as the lower 500 feet within the perimeter. Calculate a temperature change plausibly caused by the combustion of that fuel within the specified volume over a nominated time.
    We often see claims that fuel combustion can raise airport air temperatures. Combucstion, from first principles, will raise temperature, but by how much? My gut feeling is that the warming would be tiny. What say you?

  87. Mick says:

    In science , data is never discarded. A line is drawn through the data with ink, and the data is filed away for reference if required.

  88. Geoff Sherrington says:

    Stephen Rasey,
    We would all be enlightened by construction and comparison of a new temperature version – perhaps for CONUS at first – where’d the ONLY records used are those from the first ten years, perhaps alternatively the first five years, after a new weather station is emplaced, or the first ten or five years after a documented change that was designed to restore the station to ‘as new’ including resiting to move away from UHI locations.
    Such an exercise is beyond most home computer capability and would best be done by a group like BEST.
    There is compelling logic behind this proposal. It uses the best data that a new station should have been capable of producing and it has some ability to offer further insight to the difficult UHI problem.

  89. motogeek says:

    Cliff Mass is squarely in the warmist camp. He runs an otherwise excellent weather blog. So I was really shocked to see him post this on his blog:

    Thus, problematic sensors and equipment are contributing a warm bias in official temperature records. How big a problem is this? I am not sure we have any kind of handle on this.

  90. Dr. Strangelove says:

    Yes Anthony. That concrete runway is emitting more radiation than soil. On very hot day you can fry eggs on asphalt. Average 2.4 C increase in temperature is easily attainable near concrete structures.

  91. lee says:

    brians356 says:
    April 14, 2014 at 9:18 am

    ‘Why is it that when one of these thermometers “goes bonkers” they only ever report higher temperatures, ?’

    Why isn’t it recommended for a psych assessment when it goes “bonkers”? Anyone recommend a psych?

  92. Toto says:

    There should be a link to Cliff’s recent blog about this:
    http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-great-sea-tac-temperature-mystery.html

  93. David A says:

    Jim G says:
    April 14, 2014 at 9:50 am
    Anthony Watts says:
    “So no, it doesn’t make sense to keep these records. They are false and don’t “even out”.”

    If the erroneously high records are kept then the temperatures registered by the new more accurate instruments will indicate cooling compared to historical data. So the truth will win out in the long run,
    =========================================================
    With the trillion dollar harm already done by these Blackbeard rule the world CAGW nut jobs, we do not have time anymore for the long run.

    BTW, GISS is diverging from RSS at over 1.1C per century

  94. Non Nomen says:

    That ASOS failure makes me shiver: ASOS is a standalone unit that collects data without human supervision. So, it seems to me that if one instrument shows false readings, safety of air traffic might be severely endangered.
    I positively know of other automatted wx-reporting-systems, that all relevant instruments have a second circuit with a second set of instruments, thus providing mutual quality control if one instrument should fail. If ASOS does not have that feature, it ought to be retracted immediately from use for aviation purposes. Density altitude(for take-off, engine power, lift) requires correct temperature, altimeter setting requires correct atmospheric pressure for vertical separation. Humidity is another factor of influence. If just one of these data is flawed, the result might be serious trouble indeed for human lives. So I just do not understand why this masterpiece of engeneering is operated on one set of instruments only. Why did it take that long to discover? AFAIK, these instruments require official recalibration every 2-3 years. Has this been left undone? I suppose that this is a matter to submit to the FAA as well. Are there some 900 ASOS stations around where maintenance is grossly, probably deliberately, neglected?
    Good night, Irene….

  95. Non Nomen says:

    @ColMosby
    “…then correct their invalid data using data from the
    surrounding temp gauges that display consistency.”…

    That seems to me the worst method. Corrupt data remain corrupt, and it seems impossible to “readjust” them. They will then be “corrupt data of uncertain readjustment”.
    Best way is imho to mark these data ‘x’ and leave them out of any further processing. It doesnt’nt better any model if there are yet more corrupted data in its equations.
    Of course, the original dataset must remain available.

  96. chris moffatt says:

    Last year or so the temperature sensor at Richmond, VA airport (KRIC) was found to be reading high due to being clogged with grass clippings from airport mowing operations. Apparently this happened for years and readings were anything up to 4 degrees too high. The sensor housing was unclogged and now the mowers take care not to shower it with grass clippings so current readings agree with other sensors in the area. AFAIK no adjustment to temperature records was made. One wonders how often this happens at airports.

    Anoter problem is that there are really very few temperature recording stations providing input to NOAA. When I look up weather for Topping, VA (where I live) I get the NOAA staion report for Middle Peninsula regional (West Point, VA) which is about 25 miles away. There can be, and often are, considerable differences in the local conditions at these two places. I would think that NOAA data is really nothing more than a “best” guess at what an average might have been. Not a very solid basis on which to destroy the world economy.

  97. Jeff says:

    “Janice Moore says:
    April 14, 2014 at 5:19 pm ”

    I echo your sentiments (both Passover and Fiddler)
    (goodness, I’m later still…Jeff-lag…blessings just the same).

    The musical was set about 100 years ago, in times (and a place) that were extremely difficult-they needed lots of miracles. Interesting to listen to the commentary by the composers/producers on the Broadway soundtrack.

  98. Jeff says:

    “evanmjones says:
    April 14, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Fiddler on the Roof
    Tmax, Tmin,
    Tmax, Tmin . . .”

    It made me think of the scene (in the play, not sure if it was in the movie) where
    Tevye has a nightmare and changes from Lazar-Wolfe to Motl for Tzietl :

    Tevye: We haven’t got the man
    (Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov)
    We had when we began
    (Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov)
    ….

    Somehow it made me think of Steyn singing it…
    “We haven’t got the Mann, we had when we began”
    (sorry….)

  99. Michael Moon says:

    Strangelove,

    “On very hot day you can fry eggs on asphalt.” Not true. People try this all the time at the hottest place on Earth, Death Valley, and it never works. Park staff are constantly cleaning up un-fried eggs…

  100. Janice Moore says:

    Thanks, Jeff! After my apology above was dissed yesterday, it sure was nice to see a friendly comment this morning. “Jeff-lag” – lol. Are you ever, “leeeeeeavin’ on a Jeff plane?” heh.

  101. @Richard 9:29 am
    Great chart. Thanks. I would also note Norse (Viking) Greenland and Vinland at about the same interval as is labeled “Islam”

  102. Doug Hunt says:

    A very similar thing happened this winter (and perhaps longer) in Austin, TX…the Camp Mabry KATT ASOS was running 1.5 – 2 degrees warmer than surrounding locations, then on March 3rd, it was reset, presumably because MADIS had flagged it (only after it had gone a full 3 degrees warm). You can even see it had reported 34 degrees and freezing rain earlier in the winter! Yet nobody noticed…I guess there wasn’t anyone looking to closely at that one. Everyone assumes a site inside city limits should run warm…

  103. @Non Nomen at 2:02 am
    That ASOS failure makes me shiver: … So, it seems to me that if one instrument shows false readings, safety of air traffic might be severely endangered.
    I positively know of other automatted wx-reporting-systems, that all relevant instruments have a second circuit with a second set of instruments, thus providing mutual quality control if one instrument should fail. If ASOS does not have that feature, it ought to be retracted immediately from use for aviation purposes.

    There is an old saying:
    The man who has one clock always knows the time.
    The man with two clocks seldom knows the time.

    I agree, Non. If it is possible for a ASOS to “go crazy” and be off more than 5 degrees, then some additional redundancy is needed.

    From the lesson of the two clocks, you really need three stations, maintained on non-synchronized maintenance schedules.

    Argument against: There have been no accidents as a result of a bad temp sensor.
    Counter argument: Do we know about the close calls?

    As will be shown in subsequent sections, there may not be enough runway left to successfully stop the airplane if the reject is initiated after V1. Second, in order to eliminate unnecessary RTOs, the crew must differentiate between situations that are detrimental to a safe takeoff, and those that are not. [Ref 1, Sec 2.2.5]

    55% of the RTO [rejected take-off] accidents happened after V1.

    It is therefore recommended that pilots consider V1 to be a limit speed: Do not attempt an RTO once the airplane has passed V1 unless the pilot has reason to conclude the airplane is unsafe or unable to fly. This recommendation should prevail no matter what runway length appears to remain after V1. [Ref. 1 Sec 2.3.1.2]

    A temperature reading too warm will cause the real V2 [min take-off on loss of one engine] and V1 to be estimated too low which won’t be discovered until after the calculated V1. Since pilots are trained to proceed with takeoff after V1, a bad temp sensor will not cause a problem by itself, just a longer take-off roll. But in the event of engine loss, it has reduced the margin of safety.

    Roughly 15% of the [97] RTO [rejected take off] accidents of the past were the result of improper preflight planning. Some of these instances were caused by loading errors and others by incorrect preflight procedures. [Ref 1 Sec. 2.2.5]

    Considering what is at risk,
    a) a billion dollars per hour of air frames leaving the ground,
    b) thousands of passengers per hour leaving the ground,
    c) trillions of dollars of global economy dependent upon dodgy data collection,
    a little redundancy in major airport temperature recording doesn’t seem an unreasonable expenditure.

    [Ref. 1] https://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviation_industry/airline_operators/training/media/takeoff_safety.pdf

  104. Non Nomen says:

    @ Stephen Rasey
    You made my day. Your sound explanations will give others a clue of what this is all about. BTW:
    A system where implausible data are collected will call for help and shut down itself partially. Then the good old human workforce comes back into action and a) fixes it and b) in the meantime uses the emergency instruments that are stored in such a station(or ought to, at least) or vice versa. That’s the procedure I learned from a sytem called AMDA. And even if the system is running well, there is still some quality management behind the scene, where data are checked for inconsistencies etc. If this QC is ok, the data will go out. ASOS seems to be different and NOAA/FAA doesn’t seem to care.
    Many accidents in aviation happen because errors sum up: wrong altimeter setting in the a/c, wrong ground data, sudden bad visibility under vfr, loss of communication, pilot’s error etc etc. and here comes trouble. If only one source of errors can be eliminated -and, in this case at ridiculously low cost- it is well worth it.
    Therefore I heartily agree with your conclusion
    “a little redundancy in major airport temperature recording doesn’t seem an unreasonable expenditure.”
    Safety First!

  105. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    Stephen Rasey says:
    April 15, 2014 at 11:51 am

    A temperature reading too warm will cause the real V2 [min take-off on loss of one engine] and V1 to be estimated too low which won’t be discovered until after the calculated V1. Since pilots are trained to proceed with takeoff after V1, a bad temp sensor will not cause a problem by itself, just a longer take-off roll. But in the event of engine loss, it has reduced the margin of safety.

    Stephen: I don’t understand this. If a temperature reading is higher than it should be, air density, therefore lift, will be greater at any speed than what is calculated from the false temperature, am I correct? It seems to me that any RTO decision reached by the book will be slightly more conservative than absolutely necessary, so I don’t understand how a false high reading diminishes safety.

  106. @Alan Watt:
    You are right. It is an Airport thermometer reading lower than actual that would cause a longer than expected take-off roll and a potentially more dangerous takeoff under loss of one engine.

    A thermometer reading too high would be a problem near freezing conditions, but I expect the deicers to be used on other criteria.

    My mistake. Thanks for questioning it.

  107. Jim G says:

    David A says:
    April 15, 2014 at 1:33 am
    “With the trillion dollar harm already done by these Blackbeard rule the world CAGW nut jobs, we do not have time anymore for the long run.”

    You seem to think that facts or the truth would make any difference, irrespective of how quickly we make those idiots in power aware of them. In the US, at least, we have a minimum of three more years of idiots running things, with at best, morons or imbeciles waiting in the wings to take over.

  108. Jim G says:

    Note:
    Though the terms idiot, imbecile and moron were previously scientific terms used to describe IQ’s of 0-70 they have long been abandoned. The term mental retardation has also gone by the wayside as too derogatory. “On October 5, 2010, President Barack Obama signed Senate Bill 2781, known as “Rosa’s Law”, which changed references in many Federal statutes that referred to “mental retardation” to refer instead to “intellectual disability”.”[11] (Wikipedia) It would appear that those in Washington, DC were offended, perhaps due to their personal ‘intellectual disabilities’.

  109. Dr. Strangelove says:

    Michael Moon

    Eggs fry at 55 C in 20 minutes according to the experiment of The Science Guy. Peak solar insolation at noon approaches 1,000 W/m^2 equivalent to about 90 C of exposed asphalt surface.
    Cover the egg to prevent convective cooling by air. Watch this video. That egg looks yummy!

  110. Non Nomen says:

    It has something to do with the power-settings of the engine as well. Piston engines, turbocharged and jet engines require sometimes delicate settings to operate properly during take-off and landing(lean/rich/mixture, certain rpm settings etc.).
    Air speed(true/indicated) may deviate, the rate of climb calculated wrong.
    Not just take-off but landing roll distances as well may be different than expected from the tables.
    This, and much more, are all factors a good and professionally acting pilot has to take into his equations and preparations. So it is definitely a matter of SAFETY.
    There are old pilots and there are bold pilots. But there are no old, bold pilots.
    But don’t worry: what goes up must come down.

  111. Jason Calley says:

    “SeaTac is part of the GHCN network used for climate”

    WHY? Why on Earth include a site surrounded by a major airport with jets?! According to NOAA, “The Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) is an integrated database of climate summaries from land surface stations across the globe that have been subjected to a common suite of quality assurance reviews.” One wonders exactly what that “common suite of quality assurance reviews” includes.

    Even if the thermometer in question were absolutely accurate, its readings should never be included in the GHCN.

  112. philjourdan says:

    @Dr. Strangelove

    That egg looks yummy!

    YOU eat it! I’ll pass. I prefer mine over easy. ;-)

Comments are closed.