NOAA Dichotomy in Action

I was looking for something else, and stumbled across this USA Today report from 2006:

Record wind won’t be grandfathered in

Winds atop Grandfather Mountain, near Linville, N.C., will not be certified by the National Weather Service. Late on Tuesday or early Wednesday, the anemometer that measures the wind speed at the visitors center topped out at 200 mph. However, because the wind gauge is located on the building’s roof, it is not sited according to National Weather Service standards, and its records will not be certified by the NWS or state climatologist’s office. See the full story

But, but…

NOAA USHCN climate station on the roof of the Baltimore Customs House

How not to measure temperature part 49

Baltimore Customs House USHCN

Baltimore USHCN climate station of record, circa 1990’s photo courtesy NOAA, click photo for more images


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February 11, 2008 4:49 pm

Giss JAN 2008 hits the tape at .12C anomaly!!!
Looking at the past, and betting the
stats, The smart money would bet that 2008 will have an ANNUAL anomaly
at below .12C.

Bill in Vigo
February 11, 2008 5:37 pm

I just wonder how many records of temp max and min they will have to decertify because the station is not installed to standard.
Of course we are talking here about the NWS and not NASA GISS, or NOAA Also the wind speed would not have much relation to (it sure is getting hot) AGW propensity.
It is a real shocker that they would through our some data because the weather station was not installed to standards. I haven’t seen where this has made a lot of difference before. I wonder if the temps for that date were disqualified for lack of standards .
REPLY: Bill did you see the message I posted for you about surveying in your area?

February 11, 2008 5:40 pm

Hey, somewhere I’ve heard of! I’ve actually been to my Dad’s boss’ summer home in Linville, N.C., and we got to stay in it and we climbed Grandfather Mountain. Nice area. Good pancakes in town and surprisingly cheap gas. 😉
Now why would they deliberately exclude record winds for this reason, but include temperatures from a similarly problematic station in their records? Hmmm…somethings fishy!

February 11, 2008 5:47 pm

The smart money would be on an annual average greater than 0.12 If you limit your comparison to past La Nina years.

Evan Jones
February 11, 2008 7:29 pm

Over on tamino I am hearing a lot of “potential bias” to describe the CRN ratings.
What they mean by this is that >=2C doesn’t mean:
It actually means:
“UP TO >=2C maximum but usually 0C, you ignorant person, you; go read a book.” (Followed by a bunch of citations for UHI, none more recent than 2003. “Lights=0”, my dear boy, hadn’t you heard?)
But the CRN handboook doesn’t say anything about “potential” for their estimated violation effects. They just say “>=2C”. I searched the entire document for “potential” and they never apply that word anywhere near violation effects.
And besides, when is a heat sink supposed to have its greatest effect? At T-Max and (especially) T-Min, right? THAT’S when the bias would apply–and that’s exactly what they use to measure the temperatures, right?
So what am I missing that the folks at tamino are not? They seem VERY averse to the notion of actually plugging in the CRN violations and seeing how they average out for the observed sites. (Shock! Horror! What an ignorant notion!) Yet it would seem that even if they were correct, this would seem a vital first step in the larger equation (which they do not specify).
You’ve done some work on this, Mosh. What do you have to say about it?

Evan Jones
February 12, 2008 7:36 am

Thanks, Rev. I notice that others have gone to the open thread there and are carrying on the debate.
I read through the CRN document (again) and searched it for the word “maximum”. It only appears once and only to note that T-Max is an observation time. Nowhere does it say the CRN siting errors are maximums. It would seem contradictory. They would be saying a CRN4 error “>= 2C” would be “equal to or greater than OR less tha 2C”, a somewhat meaningless phrase.
Besides, if the error turned out to be a delta of a mere sixth of that, it is highly significant to the overall record–that would be fully half of the 20-Century recorded warming.

February 12, 2008 8:54 am

Steven says, “Giss JAN 2008 hits the tape at .12C anomaly!!!
Looking at the past, and betting the
stats, The smart money would bet that 2008 will have an ANNUAL anomaly
at below .12C.”
Well, first off, that +0.12C anomaly is arbitrarily defined versus the mid 20th century average not the period of record. So, before anybody starts declaring global warming over based on one month, perhaps we should look at the longer term trends.
REPLY: There was no mention whatsoever of “global warming over”, (other than your comment) only that the anomaly was large.

February 12, 2008 12:42 pm

OK concerning Grand father mountain, it looks like it’s more than just placement.
“the weather service has no information about the anemometer — or wind gauge — on Grandfather.

Sounds like they have no idea what anemometer is up there, how it’s calibrated, or even if its ever calibrated. In addition to it being in a bad place. No info what-so-ever is how I read that.
Rabbet: I thought Rabbet was outed as Josh Halpern? Where did I read that?
In any event, you’d think the NWS would offer to help Grandfather Mountain with their wind guage, both placement and certification. But Grandfather Mountain is actually privately owned and maybe the owners are not interested….

Bill in Vigo
February 12, 2008 4:34 pm

I saw your comment and am working on some logistics. ie soninlaw has digital camera and highspeed connection. Hoping to get a couple for you.

February 13, 2008 10:54 am

My guess is that there is some sentimental attachment to records from Mt. Washington, NH and before those records have any chance of falling, they want to make sure the gear measuring the record breaking winds are as least as good as the gear that measured the original records.

February 17, 2008 2:52 am

What is the point to have any weather station for GISS data in cities?!
Can’t we start a movement to exclude city weather stations from GISS data? 🙂
REPLY: It is doubtful GISS will do that, as they are entrenched. But a separate analysis can be done once the best stations are identified.

Evan Jones
February 17, 2008 7:28 am

As 3% of the US land surface is urbanized, 3% of the stations should be urban, and no UHI adjustment be applied. And so on and so forth for other land use (or nonuse).
Station moves should be in proportion to changing land use. In that case there would be no reason to adjust data other than to eliminate outliers. And if temperatures should be measured automatically there should be few if any gaps in the data, and few if any outliers.
Why, oh, why is the new CRN to use wired MMTS without automatic data transmission? It makes no sense to me whatever.

February 18, 2008 7:21 pm

Re: crosspatch’s note about the Mt. Washington wind.
It’s more than a sentimental favorite, it’s the centerpiece of the whole “World’s Worst Weather” claim. They will defend both the record and the slogan mightily. I don’t really criticize them for that stand either. Once you take all the context in, it’s a pretty impressive record. They will defend the record fairly. Well, they will likely insist that the post calibration be done, and in one case, the anemometer in a challenging report blew away. The conclusion of the review board was that its high reading came after a guy wire broke and the tower began whipping back and forth before another guy wire broke. Fair enough….
The record is 231 mph (see so it would be safe from the Grandfather Mtn report of 200 mph. The Mt Washington anemometer was well calibrated before (and after!) the record, so the confidence in its performance is very high.
Even so, a meteorologist there told me that the observatory’s current building has the effect to reduce wind readings somewhat, so placement issues affect even that station!

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