How not to measure temperature, part 17

The picture below comes to me via the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Monterey from their website. You can see the unannotated version here:

It is the Cooperative Observer Station ID# 041967 for Concord, California in Contra Costa County. It, like many temperature monitoring stations nationwide, is located at the Waste Water Treatment Plant there. The MMTS display console is inside the guard hut where the daily high/low is recorded and then sent of on a B44 form once a month to the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC


Fortunately, this station is not part of the USHCN climate data set, as it appears it may be compromised by micro-site effects. Note the air conditioning unit just about 6 feet away, and the nearby parking lot. Then there is the varying shade from the tree.

One could argue that all these effects could cancel each other out: Parking lot- positive, A/C unit exhaust – positive, Shade – negative and I’m sure that can be true at certain times, but at other times, they may not be. Since you can’t for example calculate when the a/c turns out and compare that to when the tree’s shade may not be falling on the sensor, or know where all that is in context to a partly cloudy day when sun beams through, heating up the parking lot and surrounding air.

All of these cyclic factors can combine together, like a rogue wave in the ocean, to make a “temperature peak” which would be higher than if these factors didn’t exist. Similarly, a trough or minimum can also be created at other times. The point is, without having monitored these things through time, its impossible to tell when or to know the magnitude be it positive or negative.

In the next couple of days, I’ll start showing some well sited stations for comparison.

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July 3, 2007 12:23 am

Did you forget to do part 16 cause its not there. Anyway this is some awesome stuff here man. You ought to get this officially published in some newspapers/news stations or something if you have not already.

July 3, 2007 12:07 pm

I see you continually post about how to not measure temperature, but what about all the weather stations that properly installed and maintained? Are you telling us that every single weather station has an air conditioner adjacent to it? Or abandoned cars? Or concrete underneath it? I find it hard to believe that every single weather installation that you’ve encountered is fatally flawed and contributing bogus data to further “junk science”. So, how about running a few “How to measure weather, part XXX” just to show that there isn’t a bias.

Anthony Watts
July 3, 2007 12:49 pm

Sean maybe you missed this at the bottom of the entry:
“In the next couple of days, I’ll start showing some well sited stations for comparison.”
In the meantime, all stations surveyed, both properly and problematically sited are available for review on the online photo database.
The goal is to get all 1221 stations in the USHCN data set, then move on to the larger GISS/GHCN set of stations.

July 3, 2007 2:05 pm

You’re right, I must have missed it. I do see that you have a new post regarding siting of weather stations…very interesting read. I’ll check some of the other links when I have more time. In the meantime, thanks for the response and thanks for the work you’re doing to foster debate. Keep it up!

July 9, 2007 3:37 am

You guys are really amusing, trying to push forward pseudoscience of yours. How come you can not produce a single pre-reviewed paper out of this “research” you have been carrying out for years and years? Well, obviously denying reality is great hobby for you.
***REPLY FROM MODERATOR Well, this project only started on June 4th, not “years and years”…so the paper is not complete yet.

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