How not to measure temperature, part 38

In our last episode, we looked at a COOP station on a roof of a fire station operated by the NWS in San Diego. Moving north, we have another COOP station operated by the San Francisco/Monterey Weather Service office that is also on a rooftop. You can see the MMTS sensor in the photo provided.

This station, COOP number 04-1838 is in Cloverdale, CA is just a few feet away from a chimney flue and an exhaust stack of a diesel generator. Note also the rain gauge placement. This station, while not a USHCN station, is part of the “A” network, which does report climate for NCDC.

Photo from NWS SFO/Monterey

For those unfamiliar at spotting NOAA issued MMTS temperature sensors, its the post on the leftmost portion of the lower roof, directly beneath the satellite dish.

To see other stations, try my blogs “weather_stations” link under the categories at right. To see stations in your state see and click on the online image gallery link. You may even wish to signup to help survey a station in your area.

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November 28, 2007 10:08 am

Actually, I am more concerned with “wind chill factor” and where does it disappear to during warmer months.

November 28, 2007 11:01 am

We have a remote sensor outdoor thermometer at my home, which is four miles west of the local airport, surrounded by farms. Our morning low temperature is consistently 5 degrees F cooler than the one reported by the airport on the TV news and the internet services. The land around the airport has been getting filled in with houses over the 7 years we have lived here, enough so that our church built another meetinghouse in that neighborhood to accommodate the growth. So how does that change in land use factor into the temperature reports?

Douglas Schulek-Miller
November 28, 2007 11:32 am

At this level of scientific sophistication, I’m excitedly awaiting the return of the “Phlogiston” theory.
Don’t laugh. they think Galileo was prosecuted for heresy, too.

November 28, 2007 1:03 pm

There are 3 mandatory scriptural, biblical laws of measurement, which prohibit the use of false measures, and require the use of only accurate ones.
To make errors in measurement is equal to theft.
Thanks for pointing out about the location of measuring devices.
Of course, nearer to cities and more pavement will “increase” temperature, but as a local effect, which should not be generalized. Further, such an increase is due to the activity of, for example, building, not gas use.
Elisheva in Ohio

November 28, 2007 1:05 pm

Oh yes.
Towards which direction is that building above facing?
This should be standardized in taking measures.

November 28, 2007 1:16 pm

I don’t see how this is possible. I used to work for the FAA and we interacted well with the weather bureau most of the time. We often cooperated with co-location of weather stations. How can the rain gauge be in the shade? How can a temperature gauge be anywhere near a building?
The weather bureau was our consultant for automated weather observation stations. Their criteria was very strict but the problem usually came with the budgets. I worked on an experimental wind shear detection program and helped to site and install a system of 27 systems to detect dangerous wind shears for aircraft on final approach. When there was not enough money to put in the ideal station, compromises were often tolerated to stay within budget. Even though the stations were not ideal, they were salvaged with software modifications to take into consideration the lack of discipline in siting. The weather bureau has had a lot of problems with funding and they have had to move some stations. Maybe this is the best they could do with what they had?
It is my experience that airport detectors seem to be colder than surrounding measurements. The way I remember it , the airport temperature detectors noticed the icing conditions at the airport in Washington even though private temperature reports were showing no change. It seems like that was Dec 1980 when a jet iced up and went into the river. I remember a man jumping into the water to save a flight attendant. Bad temperature detection can kill you as well as drain your wallet.

Andrew MacIsaac
November 28, 2007 1:47 pm

Are you trying to tell me that Al Gore is using skewed data? I find that hard to believe.

Evan Jones
November 28, 2007 7:15 pm

It factors in when they publish peer-reviewed papers saying that the UHI is falling. (See, Chicken-Little, Goosey-Loosey, Ducky-Lucky, Piggy-Wiggy, Henny Penny, et al., 2001.)
Little, Loosey, Lucky, Wiggy, Penny have arrived at a consensus. That sort of study requires a lot of time, trouble, and treasure. Therefore they see no need to waste their valuable resources by releasing their data or methods to that blowhard Big Bad Wolf or that interfering upstart, Baba Yaga. They just get in the way of the plot (and they are indirectly funded by Big Publishing.) Besides, a recent paper (Boyhu, Kried, Volf, et multa al. 2006) has confirmed the study.
And why are you wasting our time with this-here airport? That airport is undoubtedly a rural sight, so what’s yer problem? We adjust that one UP. ( Just add TOBS to taste.)
And you measure temp in F? Really! How gauche! (Obviously a right wing-nut; to be ignored.)

Evan Jones
November 28, 2007 7:28 pm

“How can the rain gauge be in the shade? How can a temperature gauge be anywhere near a building?”
I think I can answer that.
There’s an old legend … (as the audience discretely edges towards the exits).
Like all old legends it’s better if it isn’t true. I certainly don’t vouch for it’s authenticity, which would undoubtedly detract.
Author John Dos Pasos (or Arthur Miller or Dorothy Parker or Gore Vidal or Tennessee Williams or Truman Capote or whatever) once asked beastly John Birch, “Why do you right-wing radicals see a communist behind every bush?” Beastly B. is said to have replied, “Why do you liberals always plant bushes in front of communists?”
(Sometimes the mountain comes to Mohhammed.)

Evan Jones
November 28, 2007 7:29 pm

P.S., A thousand curses upon the lack of spellcheck!

ernie holden
November 28, 2007 7:32 pm

RE: Cloverdale. California temperature measurements. Cloverdale is located a the North end of a long valley in Sonoma County. Heat tends to collect in Cloverdale, especially during the summer. Cloverdale is frequently much hotter than near by communities/areas. A similarly located area is Redding, California.
Redding is located at the North end of the Sacramento Valley and collects heat from the South. Both locations are naturally very hot during the summer. NOTE: Just a few miles North of Redding is Mt. Shasta, which has five (5) growing glaciers!
I have casually observed and passed through Cloverdale since the late 1940’s!

November 28, 2007 8:41 pm

Excellent observation as I have observed the same thing.

Evan Jones
November 29, 2007 9:39 am

“Grammar though, is another story.”
And usage. And punctuation.
(I’m spoiled. On CSW I can edit my posts.)

Conrad vonBlankenburg
December 6, 2007 1:27 pm

Over the past several years that “Global Warming” has been in the news I have asked several learned people, with PHD”s, and other concerned people this question. “How is the idea that the earth is warming up quantified? ” Mostly I get the deer in the head lights, Blank, Stare. I then ask is the sensor located at sea level? 1 foot above sea level? 1 foot below sea level? Or just how high in the air or below the ocean is the temp taken. Also is it taken every day, week, month, hour or all the time every second? I then finish off the conversation with the questions ” Is it taken in a grid every 10 feet, every mile, every 10 miles or every 100 miles? Or just where are the sensors placed? In my business, building construction, we measure everything with a scale or tape measure. Otherwise we sould have absolutely no idea what to build, how much material to order, how many workers we need and how much money to charge for our work.
I expect nothing less of the people who try to tell us about the climate and weather and all the rest of the earth we live on. Up to this point, from what I have seen, the job of measuring global warming or cooling falls far short of anything I would rely on. Sounds like mostly B.S. to me.

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