How not to measure temperature, part 5

Today I visited the City of Lodi, California, since they have a USHCN weather station that produces data used in the climate record and also in climate change computer modeling.

Wow was I surprised, not only because of how bad the weather station siting was, but because I found two.


First site is the Lodi Municipal Service Center, 38.11619N 121.29003W. FYI, Lodi runs their own municipal district, which is why they own a substation. Note the bank of fans on the big transformer. they are about 30 feet away. I wasn’t about to get close enough to the transformers to measure for sure. The fans exhaust the waste heat the transformer produces. Note that when temperatures are at their highest, so is electrical energy use for air conditioning. And of course, our thermometer will track this trend.

The picture to me is like “when worlds collide” where the solar power to offset GHG’s (charging the car) meets the reason for global warming in the first place (the waste heat from the power transformers).

Here is a Google Earth Satellite photograph of the location with my annotations:


The second site is at the Lodi Fire Station #3, 38.10586N 121.28815W.


And here is the Google Earth satellite view:


I’m not sure which one is the official climate site for Lodi yet as I will have to call NWS Sac, but they are both equally bad. To the right of the picture on north side of fire station is the fireman’s BBQ pit with 3 grills…and like many others, this weather station comes with close-by parking and trash service…there’s nothing like asphalt, concrete, gravel, hot vehicle radiators, and sweltering steel garbage dumpsters to complement your temperature readings.

The two stations are about 1/2 mile apart, so the lat/long published by NWS, which is only accurate to .01 degree, is useless to tell which is the official climate site for Lodi.

Here is the temperature plot for Lodi, population 52,000 according to the US Census


Now compare this to Sacramento, a city of 1.5 million, about 40 miles North


Somethings not right for sure. I wonder what it could be?

BTW, these plots are from NASA’s GISTEMP database, which you can look at yourself here. The curator of this database of stations is Dr. James Hansen, considered by many to be the major scientist driving climate change policy.

It gets curiouser and curiouser.

You know after seeing so many pathetically bad temperature measurement stations around Northern California, and seeing how they are relegated to the back lots with the trash and other unsightly things, it becomes clear that nobody in a position of power, like Dr. Hansen, has been visiting these stations to ensure that basic quality control is carried out. Temperature measurement seems to be the back lot bastard child of operational science today.

And yet, we are about to undertake policy changes that will cost billions, based on some really badly gathered temperature data. It appears more and more that the surface temperature is a Red Herring for climate change.

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June 1, 2007 9:27 pm

Wow…just wow…the first picture is priceless, as is the commentary. Great find.

June 1, 2007 9:31 pm

Could you create a category for these posts? It would really useful for linking to all of them at once.
Thanks for all the hard work!

June 2, 2007 11:48 pm

I don’t understand what the problem is? You seem to have made a conclusion without presenting all the facts – are they measuring humidity or temperature or co2 ppm? If it is humidity then why is there a problem with location? Are you implying the measuring station was built before the power stations, and carpark, or after? If they are measuring temp how do you not know whether the data has been adjusted to accommodate for the UHI effect?
I write a blog tracking global warming news – if you can provide me with a layman’s explanation of what your issue is here – I would be happy to publish. If there is something in what you say, I’ll sus out the BoM sites in Australia to see whether similar conditions exist.
Check out Global Warming Watch

Anthony Watts
June 3, 2007 11:33 am

If you can’t see how the local conditions at these sites could possibly affect temperature readings in these standard National Weather Service shelters, then there’s nothing that I could say to you, in “laymans terms” or otherwise that would shed any additional light on the subject for you.

June 4, 2007 3:16 am

It’s important to establish whether they measure temperature, or humidity?
I’d check if I knew how, but I am only familiar with the Australian BoM weather stations. From here they look like hygrometers.

June 4, 2007 7:27 am

Your information about the deplorable way temperature is being measured went way over his head or else he chose to pretend to not notice just how meaningless the data from these stations is. Note how he is so ready to accept data that has been “adjusted”, something that the alarmists like to do as it is how they can dramatize the story.
How is it said, “there are none so blind as those who will not see”? I think that Stalin referred to them as “useful idiots”.
Keep up the good work.

Mike Nee
June 8, 2007 12:25 pm

Wadard, the graphs are of temperature, the pictures show thermometer shields, and at least one of those stations is the USHCN station. So it’s temperature.
I’ll take it for granted nobody’s making anything up. 🙂
Seriously, we want to make all the stations have good data, I think that’s the bottom line. And the scientific answer. What’s the point of using unreliable data?
We shouldn’t have to get a derived figure. Even if we knew there had been an accomodation for UHI (which we don’t) in most cases there shouldn’t have to be one in the first place.
The measurements need to be direct as possible. That makes them accurate. Once you have to start making changes, you never know if your calculations are accurate or your model(s) valid.

June 19, 2007 3:28 pm

Nice info on things but why try to fool people with that lame graph comparision. It clear shows Sac hotter then lodi but your tinkering of the range of temp on the left creates a image that fits your ideas
***REPLY That graph is from NASA GISS, not me.

Count Iblis
July 19, 2007 4:17 pm

Unless most of the weather stations are affected this is irrelevant. It isn’t even clear that the transformer would have a significant effect at all for this particular weather station.
Ten meters is pretty far away. Even if the wind were to blow the hot air in the direction of the weather station, it would still be a small effect.
Besides data from weather stations tere are other independent ways to measure global temperatures. There are satellites that can measure temperature. Also there are satellites that can measure sea levels. As the temperature of the oceans increase then, due to thermal expansion, the seal levels will rise.

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