How not to measure temperature, part 20

Pictures have been coming in to from many places. This one is from Fort Morgan, Colorado’s USHCN climate station of record. Fort Morgan is in the eastern plains of Colorado, about 100 miles northeast of Denver.

In such a place, with all that open space, you’d think it would be an easy matter to place something as important as an official NOAA temperature sensor used to contribute measurements to the national climatic database in some of that open space.

No such luck. In fact, the sensor recording the wide open plains has four air conditioners near it!


But lets not forget, in keeping with current observed trends, that any weather station with air conditioning also needs close-by parking.


It’s not like there’s no other open space to put the sensor in Fort Morgan.


The pictures above, courtesy of the Pielke Research Group shows an electronic Min/Max Temperature Sensor placed near a grain elevator office. Cable length limitations on this sensor have caused hundreds of similar placements in the USHCN network where Stevenson Screens used before could be placed a good distance away from such influences.

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July 11, 2007 6:14 am

Every time one of these is posted I’m just more amazed that the results from these stations can be classified as science.

July 11, 2007 6:47 am

What the heck are they using for a cable, bailing wire? Even good old RS232 cable could do 50 ft!

July 11, 2007 7:32 am

If you think those are bad, just imagine if you could see some of the ways that temperature data is collected in developing countries or countries with unstable/corrupt governments. How reliable do you think that data is?

Jeff C.
July 11, 2007 10:26 am

Good post, as usual, that leaves us shaking our heads in disbelief. One quick point, I believe this site is no longer the official NOAA station for Fort Morgan. It certainly was through 2001 after which NOAA records indicate the station went dormant and was later reactivated at a sight West of this location. One can only guess at the reason as it’s not part of the record available to the public. We can hope it was for quality control issues. Following the link to the photo source seems to show the photos are from a few years back.
However, that certainly doesn’t invalidate the central point of the post; this is a terrible site and its data is part of the historical record.

July 11, 2007 10:26 am

I would be more concerned with the sheer mass of brick wall radiating heat back out at the air surrounding the senor.

July 11, 2007 12:16 pm

It’s simple, as long as the collected data supports the results they want, it doesn’t matter how questionable the data collection process is.

Sean Greer
July 12, 2007 12:06 pm

What about the correlation of the NOAA data with the Australian data? They both show upward and to the right trends? Even Anthony had good things to say about the collection methodology of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
A couple of questions for Anthony:
Can you tell me which direction is east in the photos?
What is the impact of the building on the temperature profile collected by the sensor?
At what rate does the building absorb and emit thermal radiation?
Without more information it doesn’t seem possible to know the effect of the environment on the sensor.

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