How not to measure temperature, part 51.

While we’ve taken some detours looking at some of the amazing things that have happened globally for temperature in January, with another detour to the sun, our volunteers continue their mission.

This NOAA USHCN climate station of record #415018 in Lampasas, TX was found to be tucked between a building, and two parking lots, one with nearby vehicles. According to the surveyor, it is right next to the ACE Hardware store on the main street of town. While likely representative of the temperature for downtown Lampasas, one wonders how well it measures the climate of the region.


View looking NE

In her survey, volunteer surveyor Julie K. Stacy noted the proximity to the building and parking, which will certainly affect Tmin at night due to IR radiance. Daytime Tmax is likely affected by the large amount of asphalt and concrete in the area around the sensor. The main street of the town (28 ft from US 183) and the ACE Hardware parking lot are visible in this photo below:


View looking south

Google Earth shows just how much asphalt and buildings there are around the sensor.

According to NCDC’s MMS database, the Lampasas climate station has been at this location since 10-01-2000.Previous location was an observer residence, which appears to have been a park-like location according to MMS location map. The sensor was apparently converted to the MMTS style seen in the photo in 1986, so the move did not include an equipment change. See the complete survey album here.

But the big surprise of just how bad this location is came from the NASA GISS plot of temperature. It clearly showed the results of the move to this location, causing a jump in temperature almost off the current graph scale. Note that before the move, the temperature trend of Lampasas was nearly flat from 1980-2000.


Click to see the full sized GISS record

Given the entropy of the measurement environment, I have sincere doubts that anyone can create an adjustment that will ascertain an accurate trend from temperature data as badly polluted as this. In my opinion, this station’s post 2000 data needs to be removed from the climate record. 


Since there has been some discussion about how well “adjustments” take care of such problems, I thought I’d show you just how well the GISS homogeneity adjustment works with this station.

Here is the GISS plot for Lampasas, TX with the GISS homogeneity applied, I’ve changed the color to red and labeled it to keep them visually separate from the raw data shown in the plot above.


click the plot to see the original plot from GISS

Now here is the GISS raw data plot with the homogeneity plot overlaid on it:


The effect is quite clear. The recent “spurious” measurement remains unchanged, and the past gets colder.

The result? An artificial warming trend for this station that is created by GISS adjustments.



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Jeff in Seattle

ROTFL! We should compare temp fluctutations with Ace special sales events.

Unfortunately, station histories are often incomplete so artificial discontinuities in a data series may occur on dates with no associated record in the metadata archive. Undocumented station changes obviously limit the effectiveness of SHAP. To remedy the problem of incomplete station histories, the Version 2 homogenization algorithm addresses both documented and undocumented discontinuities.

As a software engineer… yeah, right.

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Why should Hansen and Schmidt care about such trivialities? As the latter has explained, ad nauseam, temperature readings from individual stations are not used in climate models. Why is this difficult to understand?
REPLY: Au Contraire, Hansen and Schmidt created GISTEMP to use as a way to tune the model. Otherwise, they wouldn’t need to keep a surface database at all, and simply rely on NOAA. The fact that they expend so much effort to maintain GISTEMP is an indication of the importance of their own brand of surface data.


So this is the data that is supposed to be adujusted, huh?
So let’s compare it with our tempest in a teapot over CRN violation bias.
Now this has got to be at least a CRN-4 violation. We know when the violation ococcurred.
If we presume the previous location was a CRN-1 or 2 with no bias ( which is itself an assumption), from the looks of it, it is clearly showing a =>2C trend that sharply increases since 2000, thus showing how heat sink dramatizes a slight increase into a large one. Note that we don’t have a one-year offset, then a flat reading, rather we have a series of upsteps that exggerate the slight warming trend since 2000.
This would seem to illustrate very nicely the acuracy of the CRN effect estimates from their handbook. It’s only one example, but it’s a “hot” one.


Rev, somethng has got to be done about this. Think about what I proposed earlier. (I am quite serious about it and we should discuss the possibility.)


“To remedy the problem of incomplete station histories, the Version 2 homogenization algorithm addresses both documented and undocumented discontinuities.”
(As a former software engineer who worked on military systems that had to do things like that in realtime when infra-red data momentarily stopped): Hmmm, so their algorithm can detect jumps in temperature caused by jumps in CO2, and magically removes any jumps (up or down) from discontinuities that they are not even aware of?
Or are they talking about actual breaks in data where data is missing for a year (for example)?
REPLY: The graph above is their output, so I’d say it’s effectiveness speaks for itself.


“…do Dr.’s Schmidt and Hansen of GISS know just how bad some of the stations in their database are?”
I’m sure they do. And they were probably quite proud of themselves – until people like you and McIntyre showed up.
What rough correction factor should we apply to state the temperature increase over the last 100 years? 0.5°C instead of 0.7°C? Maybe 0.4°C?


Beyond the scope of the study, I expect, but has anyone wondered if there is method to the madness of station moves like this. Already, I’m sorry I’ve asked.


on the plus side – no barbeque pit!

I’m beginning to be rather concerned about the rest of the world. If this is how bad things can be with US measurements – after all a country rich and prosperous, dedicating more money to science and monitoring than any other country. So how do things look in Mali, Azerbaijan and Tuvalu? In Poland, Turkey and Saudi Arabia?
It is definitely time to switch the basis of diagnostics of the climate system to satellites in the atmosphere and ARGO in the sea.
And by all means, GISS and HAD should encourage global monitoring such as done by to weed out the poor sited stations and discontinued series.

Stefan, Western Australia

I’ve followed this series with great interest, but have yet to have read any account of a faulty measurement station being relocated to conform with the required standards. Is remedial action being taken or are these valuable revelations simply being ignored in the interests of continuing to mislead the public ?


Nice touch with the little bench and coffee table under the satellite dish. The MMTS maintenance crew can relax for a moment after cleaning the unit.


“So how do things look in Mali, Azerbaijan and Tuvalu? In Poland, Turkey and Saudi Arabia?”
The US system is far superior. Only Australia is comparable.
And yes, witness all the problems with the US system. Violations with a demonstrable margin of error far in excess of the increases they purport to measure.
The RoW is reported to be–much–worse. Including Western Europe.
REPLY: “The US system is far superior.” I don’t know that we know that, not having much in the way of weather station photos in the RoW. This may simply be a cultural bias on our part.


“What rough correction factor should we apply to state the temperature increase over the last 100 years? 0.5°C instead of 0.7°C? Maybe 0.4°C?”
That looks like a reasonable ballpark estimate.
About half the recorded warming (at a complete guess). One would have to consider only the changes in violation (most occurring since the 80’s with Stevenson Station-to-MMTS switchover, which created massive CRN4 violations.)
We then have to consider that while waste heat or a heat sink creates a direct offset, what a heat sink does is exaggerate a small warming trend. So one would presume that there was SOME warming in order for it to have been exaggerated in the first place.
But the only way to find this out is to, well, find this out. Empirically.


Boy, does your updated graph smoke!


How about this for an experiment?
If someone can get ahold of one of these MMTS thermometers why not set it up next to a Stevenson screen located in a CRN 1 location for a period of, say, 2 weeks and record the variances between the MMTS and Stevenson Screen.
After that, move the MMTS to a nearby CRN 4 style environment (with or without a barbecue pit) and then record the variances between the MMTS and Stevenson screen.
Might this give a rough estimate of how much moving the thermometer from a “good” area to a “bad” area affects the variance?
The Stevenson screen would provide the control and moving the MMTS around might create variances.

Jim McFarland

I grew up in Lampasas. This on the main street through town. Highways 183, 190, and 281 all converge on this road and it sees a lot of traffic. There are no trees nearby, just concrete and asphalt, so its no wonder that the temperatures have spiked. The building also houses the local radio station. I guess they relocated the station for maximum convenience.


Andrew…What about this: Llano some 35 miles SW of Lampasas 1999: 19.27C
2001 17.65………….Lampasas 1999 18.61C , 2001 18.68C Let’s see …makes
a difference of 2 global warmings in 2 years…Texas not being completely
flat in this region I also checked Blanco, 55 miles SSE of Llano and 70 miles
SSW of Lampasas…Guess what: 1999: 19.47C … 2001: 18.18C…As this is
Wacko-science…I also checked Waco (pop. 120.000): 1999: 20.39C … 2001:
19.09C Lampasas pop. 5-6000, Llano some 3000, Blanco some 1500…
Any more witnesses needed??


Looks like the corrections reduced the temperatures long ago (when the area was less urbanized), but not at all recently (when the area is the most urbanized). The correction versus time seems pretty linear. The net result is to increase the amount of reported global warming since the records began.
Not jumping to a conclusion. Just making an observation.


“Now here is the GISS raw data plot with the homogeneity plot overlaid on it:”
This is too funny. This is a regular riot.
And we were ALL upset about how GISS wouldn’t release its adjustment methods. Well, we needn’t have been, need we have?
Here is the GISS homogeniety adjustment method:
PRESENTING: Without the requirement of a single line of Fortran. (Pulling back sleeves.)
Lights, please.
1.) Take NOAA adjusted data.
2.) Apply the following benchmarks and smooooooothe in.
3.) Conclude.
1880: -0.8C
1910: -0.7C
1930: -0.6C
1940: -0.5C
1950: -0.4C
1960: -0.3C
1970: -0.2C
1980: -0.1C
1990: -0.05C
2000+: -0.0C
The above should prove conclusively that the US temperatures have indeed risen 0.7C.
Thank you, thank you for attending our consensus. It has been our pleasure.
This Tradgedy (The King’s Camelopard), after its successful engagement of fully 1221 performances will be embarking upon its Grand European tour, forthwith. Thank you again for your kind cooperation.
Kindly shut up as you follow the sign to the Egress.

Harold Vance

Hey, at least there is a Toyota Prius (hybrid) sitting next to it!
Maybe that explains the small adjustments. I mean, lots of hybrids in the area are surely going to be correlated with lower temperatures.

Burch Seymour

1 – Is the room A/C in the photo close enough and a large enough heat source to influence this station?
2 – Can the solar heat collected and released by the big black satellite dish influence this station?
3 – Evan Jones – in your comment above with the non-Fortran version of the algorithm… Are you serious, or just having a joke? It’s sad that I have to ask this question.
Thanks for the great work.
1. Not likely, it is 8-10 feet above the sensor, waste heat would rise.
2. Maybe a small amount, but the mass of the dish is low (for mounting and wind loading) and has mesh. It would likely dissipate IR quickly and most of it upwards…when winds occur, it might have an effect, but I think the greater urban enviornment swamps it.
3. He’s having a joke…nobody (that I know of) has been able to get the FORTRAN code released by GISS last year to run.


Let the people say duh!
Great job!
Perhaps we need a daily meter to gauge ‘”the feelings”
about global warming. I guess we could post the government
grant money handed out daily and correlate it to the daily opinions
about temperature change.
Don’t let up brother!

Thomas Mills

Finally, this photo shows clear proof that the Toyota Prius contributes to Global Warming.


“Evan Jones – in your comment above with the non-Fortran version of the algorithm… Are you serious, or just having a joke? It’s sad that I have to ask this question.”
In fact the tears are still rolling down my face as i type this. But seriously, folks . . .
As was pointed out before I posted, in this case, that is exactly what seems to be happening. Or at least the bottom-line result of what is happening. To see if this is what is actually going on, per se, we’d have to see a bunch of other samples to compare.
Now that I think of it, I seem to recall a post over on CA commenting that this was at least part of the equation (pushing down the left end of the graph).
There could be more going on. I guess.
But it certainly looks very much as if they are sticking a thumbtack on the right-hand side of the graph to hold the ends in place and then pushing down the left-hand side by the better part of a degree C.
(Do you have any more samples, Unca Rev?)

Jim McFarland

I wasn’t too worried about the dish or the air conditioner, but the building would reflect most of the Texas summer afternoon sun back to the sensor. That can’t be good.

I don’t see the problem. According to the Warmists the entire planet and several portions of the neighboring planets have been paved over by the rapacious human animal. Why not measure those places?
Seriously, at what point do Hansen, et al acknowledge the unreliability of their data sources? I think it is time to shift gears. Can anyone find a site that has “gone exurban” and still shown an increase?

With this number of seriously problematic sites, any ‘science’ based on these readings is ludicrously flawed.
Al Gore; care to comment? How about allocating your Nobel winnings to relocate some of these sites to proper locations?


I don’t have the specific numbers for GISS. But here’s a link to the adjustments used by NCDC:
Of particular interest is the final graph, titled “Difference Between Raw and Final USHCN Data Sets.”
Incontrovertible proof that global warming IS man made. It kind of makes you long for the good old days of 1906, when you could just read the thermometer to get the temperature. It also shows why the 30’s are no longer as warm as they used to be, (comparatively) and the 70’s aren’t as cold. Give them another 10 years to “correct” the older data sets, and we’ll see a dead steady global average of 14+-.05C for the last 6,000 years, until 1980.

Richard Wright

Adjusted data is no longer data. Adjusted data is the product of the data and an hypothesis of what was wrong with the original measurement. You can never prove that the adjustment, i.e., the hypothesis, is accurate and therefore you can never prove that adjusted data means anything. To then use the adjusted data as the input of another hypothesis only makes it worse.
Let’s say you use a thermometer to measure temperature for 5 years. Then, you decide to calibrate it and discover that it’s off by +0.5 degrees. Should you just go back and adjust the last 5 years of data by -0.5 degrees? You can do that and say that the data are now adjusted. But that is based on the untested assumption that the thermometer has always been off by the same amount for the whole 5 years. But how do you know what the accuracy of the thermometer was 5 years ago? You don’t. You can assume but you don’t know. “Adjusted” data is the output of an adjustment model. It is no longer data. That’s why good scientists calibrate their equipment before and after they take measurements. Anything else is a crap shoot by a blind man.

Julie KS

Wow, thanks for featuring my survey, Anthony.
I just want to be clear on one minor detail, that it was the MMS reported coordinates that were in the ACE parking lot, right next door and to the north of the radio station. The MMTS unit is actually located right outside the radio station. I did think the red Prius was a nice touch. It must belong to the staffer on duty; the other vehicle in the picture is mine.

Paul Penrose

You are so right! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself)


That’s an interesting point about the Prius owner. It makes me wonder if the natural progress of AGW was moving along too slowly for our station volunteer.
Could he or she be quickening it’s pace a bit?
REPLY: No more speculation of this kind, please.

steven mosher

I post some examples of sites in Turkey a while back,, Maybe on CA


Anthony, it looks like your California legislature may mandate teaching about climate change ( Make sure they get SurfaceStations into the curriculum

The spike in temperatures in 2004 – 2006 had nothing to do with siting and everything to do with the winning entries at the International Chili Championship.


“He’s having a joke…”
Just callin’ it like I sees it. (Is it MY fault if it’s also a joke?)
“nobody (that I know of) has been able to get the FORTRAN code released by GISS last year to run.”
It can hide, but it can’t run.
“Adjusted data is no longer data.”
Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the technology . . .We can make it better than it was. Better. . . Faster . . . Stronger . . . THE METADATA, MAN


Robert: Yeah, right, I have that link (thanks for reminding me).
Let’s all take a deep breath while we consider the enormity of all this.
I have a bad feeling this is going to be one of those posts where each sentence is its own paragraph . . .
First the NOAA adjustment. THEN, on top of THAT, the GISS adjustment!
GOOD Lord, what a pair of bookends!
First the NOAA adjustment, the one where you stick the thumbtack on the left side of the graph and drag the right side up.
THEN the NASA Adjustment where you stick the tumbtack into the right side of the graph and drag the left side down!
Dr. Right, meet Dr. Left!
Okay, okay, now comes the Final Joke!
Well, the Final Adjustment (it’s the same thing, really).
The previous one was Bisquik, mere Bisquik, folks–farina posing as grits.
Here is the GISS adjustment Recipe from scratch.
1.) Empty Raw data into processor.
2.) Convert NOAA adjustments from F to C.
3.) Grid vigorously, stir.
4.) Lard heavily with GISS adjustment.
5.) Homogenize.
1900: +0.05C + (-0.8C) = -0.75C
1920: -0.01C + (-0.6C) = -0.61C
1940: +0.00C + (-0.5C) = -0.50C
1950: +0.02C + (-0.4C) = -0.38C
1960: +0.01C + (-0.3C) = -0.29C
1970: +0.07C + (-0.2C) = -0.13C
1980: +0.15C + (-0.1C) = +0.05C
1990: +0.28C + (-0.05C) = +0.23C
2000: +0.29C + (-0.0C) = +0.29C
20 Century Totals: +1.04C
(Okay! Okay! So it’s really only accurate to 2 significant digits. So sue me.)
6.) Cook thoroughly.
7.) Serve Warm.
8.) Swallow whole.

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This appears to be the ‘smoking gun’ that demonstrates that GISS UHI algorithm can introduce a warming bias at some sites. However, is this site an isolated incident or have you found others where the inadequacies of the UHI correction algorithm can be so clearly demonstrated? I realize that you don’t want to draw any conclusions until the survey is complete – I am just looking for a little more context.
REPLY: A couple of other examples have been found at Climate Audit, and discussed last year, so it is not unique, but I don’t know the frequency of such occurances yet.

steven mosher

Atmoz is covering your post and looking at Miles City MT. He notes that you have not rated it yet. I posted this there. Since guys like rabbett ban me,
and since I’m not sure about his policy I will cross post here
“Atmoz, Good find!
A couple points and then a bet
You highlighted the Miles City site. A fine RURAL site. You wonder why Anthony Watts has not “rated it.” Well, let me speculate and later on I’ll call him and confirm if you like. The Survey was completed on 1/9/08. Typically Anthony will wait until he has a fair number of sites before rating them. Simply, he doesnt rate them as they come in. He does periodic updates, not real time updates. However, you were able to see from the pictures that it was a WELL SITED SITE. So you recognize the value of verifying the noaa
description of the site.
AND, its rural. according to NOAA and according to HANSEN.
One other thing we know. Hansen says that URBAN SITES
are adjusted to match RURAL SITES. The code is posted you
can go see this.
Since this site is rural, The we have a GOOD TEST of GISS Urban adjustments. Correct?
Its simple. We start with this file:
GISS Stage 1: GHCN + USCHCN adjustments:
That is Miles city data as NASA inputs it from GHCN and USHCN. They INGEST the USHCN adjustments for TOBS, Station moves, and
Filnet. Again, you can go read the source code and see this.
THEN, GISS adjust the data for HOMOGENIETY. Essentially, Urban adjustments. Now, the code for this is available. And papers have described it. URBAN SITES are adjusted to match rural sites within 1000km.
Miles city is Rural as you note. So, do you think it would OK to
adjust its temperature UPWARD based on comparions with nearby
sites? It’s class 1. Its Rural. What would you bet? It’s rural. It meets
standards, you would think that other sites adjust to it. You wouldnt adjust this site one way or the other. You’d adjust the
bad sites.. right?
The next data file to look at is the GISS ADJUSTED. What does nasa do to a class 1 site? Guess?
I dont know. I havent looked at it. It’s a good blind test.
If GISS adjustments for UHI correct errors in URBAN sites, Then
It would be a good bet that this site, since it is RURAL, would undergo no adjustments. After all, What would the sense be in adjusting a Class 1 site.
So, Take the annual temperature averages for Miles City AFTER adjustment and then subtract the Raw+USCHN data. Tell me what you see. I’m curious.
lastly, funny that the site ENDS in 2006.
It’s a good site. Looks like it’s been dropped from the network
REPLY: Normally I do a group of sites about once every month, since it is more efficient to do it that way since I have to have a number of resources simultaneously available to use. I didn’t know Miles City was missing a rating. So its just a simple oversight. I’ll get it with the next batch which I plan to do shortly.

Sorry your post got lost in the moderation queue. It’s visible now. Thanks for the comment, and I’ll be doing a post later today as you suggest.

steven mosher

Thanks for being a good sport. There are all sorts of quirky issues between
GHCN, USHCN, and GISS. So have some fun comparing the data. I thought it would be a fun test of sorts. Let the chips fall where they may.
Other thing I wanted to ask was whether you used USHCNv2 or v1?
Also, note that since Anthony Posts his data in an open forum people can check it and find mistakes.
I also posted on post on Lucia ( google “lucia rank exploits)
Watch her tear the fur off the bunnyman eli rabbet.
Here is a challenge for atmoz or others. see if Eli will allow a
link to lucia schooling him in physics.
She has an interesting piece ATMOZ . She’s wicked smart so you might enjoy the conversation, Eli will not.
anthony, have you thought of putting Lucia blog roll.

Gary Gulrud

Since this seems to be a bellwether post on the SurfaceStation project could you be induced to begin planning another–to examine CDIAC and their seeming monopoly on CO2 measurement? Beginning with their Siemen’s black box and monitoring station placements they appear to have issues as well.
REPLY: I’m one man doing this part time with volunteers, while I have a this blog, business to run, a daily radio forecast, a wife and two young children that need my attention. I appreciate the faith in my ability, but I’m not a superhero.


I would be very interested to see a survey of the “showcase” NCDC station at Asheville, NC, since it is being used as a benchmark to calculate UHI.

Stan Needham

I thoroughly enjoyed Professor Kaufman’s essay that you linked to. Thanks.

I think your mother would be proud.

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George M

After following this discussion for days, it finally struck me, Julie KS, where is the rain gauge? Aren’t all these stations supposed to include a rain gauge? I’ve forgotten what you said in the original post, but did you speak to someone at the radio station about the siting of the instruments?