I know, this sounds like “save the whales”.
Amazing as this sounds, weather stations used to monitor near surface temperature for the global climate record are disappearing worldwide at and alarming rate. There are two things going on here: 1) Stations are actually being closed down, particularly in Canada and in Russia in the early 1990’s. 2) Some stations while open, have disappeared off the reporting radar for global temperature metrics such as GISS.
Watch the video here prepared by our www.surfacestations.org super volunteer and unofficial historian John W. Goetz. It outlines how the worldwide network has grown since the 1890’s, and then dwindled in modern times.
If you wish to play the video at full resolution in Windows Media Player, here is a link to the WMV file.
The USA remains the world leader not only in the number of weather stations but also in the quality of the network. Given what problems I’ve found thus far in the USHCN network in the USA, this does not bode well for the quality of GHCN stations in the rest of the world.
John recently did a writeup on this on Climate Audit called: Historical Station Distribution
In response to that, Steve McIntyre recently found that a number of stations that went missing from the NASA GISTEMP dataset are still actually in operation, and producing data, are not being updated into the GISTEMP dataset for some reason. Irregardless of the reason, the problem of dwindling data for the ROW as demonstrated by the video above is real.
What is strange though is that some obviously easy to locate data, (link to data) such as Bern, Switzerland, where the headquarters of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) are located, are missing from NASA GISTEMP. Nearby stations such as Zurich, Switzerland are included in the GISTEMP database.
Other stations, such as Crater Lake, OR, are removed from the GISS source code released last year, with a citation saying they are excluded (but exist online in GISTEMP), but no reason is given. yet other stations like this terrible rooftop station cum heat anomaly (and closed by NWS for that reason) in Baltimore, MD are included.
I find this odd since GISS has been working hard to include and apply as many station corrections as possible. Why would they include Crater Lake in the online database, but not in the Model E Global Circulation Model code they run and released last year?
It begs the question: what could be the explanation for such randomness in whether or not stations are used? Why are some stations with known current data excluded from the NASA GISS online database and climate modeling?