Day 2 at NCDC and Press Release: NOAA to modernize USHCN

Click image for a live interactive view of the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC

Today started off terrible. I slipped in the bathtub last night at the hotel, and strained a back muscle and was so sore that just getting dressed and into the car was a chore. As a result, I was late getting to NCDC this morning. I’ve been popping Aleves today. Fortunately, they had slack built in so the day got started cheerfully with a review of the new Climate Reference Network with the principal scientists. It was a super meeting and I took many notes, I’ll have much to share later.

Next came a briefing on “Climate Science” from Tom Peterson, but I’m afraid I stole his thunder a little bit when I announced that I had already seen his presentation, which included an analysis of the Marysville USHCN Station. See the powerpoint he presented here:aapg-san-antonio-peterson

Then came a personal tour of the Asheville CRN station by Dr. Bruce Baker. In addition to taking visible light photos, I also took matching IR photos from many angles. Bruce and his team were quite impressed with the IR camera I use, and he says he plans to buy a couple in use for siting surveys. He also plans to post the IR photos I took today on the CRN site to show how well the design and siting is free of IR influences.

I’ll have much more on all of this but I still have 8 more stations to survey plus an unexpected customer detour service call Friday to WDNN-TV in Dalton, GA which has some trouble with our weather display system there. So stay tuned for more details on the visit and questions that were asked and answered.

But the big news came with Dr. Baker providing me with a press release (new today) to post here for you all to see. CRN is getting completed and USHCN modernization is starting:

NOAA today announced it will install the last nine of the 114 stations as part of its new, high-tech climate monitoring network. The stations track national average changes in temperature and precipitation trends. The U.S. Climate Reference Network (CRN) is on schedule to activate these final stations by the end of the summer.

NOAA also is modernizing 1,000 stations in the Historical Climatology Network (HCN), a regional system of ground-based observing sites that collect climate, weather and water measurements. NOAA’s goal is to have both networks work in tandem to feed consistently accurate, high-quality data to scientists studying climate trends.

See the full press release here:


What this means: No more adjusted data, the raw data from CRN and from HCN-M is the real data and will be pristine, assuming the network is maintained. No more torturous gyrations of FILNET, SHAP, and TOBS. The downside is that a track record needs to be built up, the older data is also going to be revised with USHCN2 algorithms soon, and I’ll touch on that later.

One thing that Debra Braun said to me today in the meeting hit home: “our funding had been cut for the last two years, and we were unable to move forward until this year”. This made me think that perhaps some of the focus the project brought to illuminating the deplorable condition of the network may have helped a little bit in convincing some legislators that it was time to get serious about allocating funding to complete the CRN and fix the USHCN. A little public embarrassment of the USHCN provided by all of us that have contributed to may have helped. I’d sure like to think so.

I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to Dr. Baker, Debra Braun, Grant Goodge, and the entire CRN science team, plus Jeff Arnfield, and Steven Del Greco for answering all my questions and taking such careful time with me. Additionally I wish to thank Dr. Karl, and Assistant Director Sharon LeDuc for hearing my concerns and offering ideas.

Everyone there at NCDC made me feel welcome and appreciated.

Most importantly, I want to thank you, my loyal readers and volunteers, because without your help, the trip and presentation I made would not be possible.

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April 24, 2008 8:36 pm

Great report. glad all went well, other than NCDC planting sinister soap bars in your hotel shower 🙂 Look forward to further reports on your trip and meetings.
Be safe
REPLY: I know that’s meant to be a joke, but NCDC treated me with respect, full access, and a warm welcome, so please quash such puns.

Alan S. Blue
April 24, 2008 8:41 pm

Will there be some overlap between the ‘old station’ and the ‘new station’? Because the discontinuities are the actual problems, yes?

Larry Sheldon
April 24, 2008 8:41 pm

First, my remarks about being held captive were meant to be funny. There mis nothing funny about wrenching your back.
Do what ever it takes to get better.
And it sure sounds like we are getting our money’s worth!

George M
April 24, 2008 8:48 pm

Keep up the good work, Anthony. I think this means YOU are making a worthwhile difference.

April 24, 2008 9:51 pm

Wow! Victory! Amazing!
And to think that *ahem* certain others were convinced you were going to be “educated” by the NOAA and castigated for your evil ways.
It seems as if they have cleaned house and are proudly showing you their handiwork.
You have struck a blow that has resonated. I am overwhelmed by the response.
No more insane adjustment procedures! This is a wonderful day! An astounding vindication! And they run them in tandem so as to create a seamless conversion. PLUS new USHCN2 algorithms to convert old records! (I’ll be very damned interested in THAT.)
C’mon dudes (so far)! You’re praise is too faint. Can you not see the decisive victory here? Another round of congratulations, then. And this time get your backs into it!
I’m sorry to hear you hurt yourself, Rev. Take it easy and try soaking in a nice, hot tub–with lots of epsom salts if you can get ahold of any.
REPLY: Well I was “educated” but it wasn’t forced on me. USHCN2 will solve a lot of problems, but it will still miss some types of biases, even so it is a step forward. I plan to do a detailed post about it. The most valuable thing is that NCDC was supportive of the work, they see the photography as valuable. We have some new ideas about creating complete station histories. Some brainstorming went on.
Also, note that these projects had been planned before I and all you volunteers came along, but I think we helped grease the wheels of a stuck bureacracy with the project. It’s preyty hard for anyone who’s in charge of allocatijng funds for a project not to look at pictures like Marysville, Tucson, Detroit Lakes, Miami, Lampasas, and the parade of moldy sensors at sewage treatment plants and not see that the network is in trouble.

April 24, 2008 10:12 pm

Wow! This is great news. But now what will Hansen do with his spare time?

Mike from Canmore
April 24, 2008 11:07 pm

NCDC’s attitude is supporting a conviction I’ve suspected all along; the bulk of the scientists out there, while may have some convictions, ultimately want to know the truth of what is happening. More than likely, the message delivery has been hijacked by the alarmist few and the media, knowing catastrophe sells, is picking up those who will give them the quips they want.
Fine work. Who says one person can’t change anything.

Joe S
April 24, 2008 11:51 pm

Congratulations on your nice meeting with the NCDC.
I wish you a speedy recovery from the wrenched back. My most recent occurance was from a wild (surfer style) gyration to keep from falling off a boat trailer and into some cold water. The healing was slow and, at times, the pain was breathtaking.
Sometime when you think of it, would you comment on your FLIR camera? I did my best search of the archives and didn’t find anything.
REPLY: Breathtaking is right, putting on pants feels like death

April 25, 2008 12:05 am

I saw that rooftop view of the National Climatic Data Center and my first instinct was to look for temperature measuring gear up there!

April 25, 2008 12:26 am

..Good news,! They will also move some HCN stations that are closer to ideal!
.. interesting to see what will happen there !

April 25, 2008 1:09 am

what is shows that most organizations/people are eventually well meaning and do not mean harm if you approach them in the right way. So we can now start to trust NCDC temp data. I would be interested thougn in the baseline used for anomalies. is it going to change again? Well done Anthony you do the science of meteorology proud!
REPLY: As the new data accumulates, baselines should start becoming closer to the present, though GISS may still stick with the older baseline…but it will become harder to defend.

Pierre Gosselin
April 25, 2008 4:04 am

This is certainly great news. Finally getting to the business of serious measurement and data evaluation.
Is this going to effect in any way how GISS will handle global climate data in the future? Good national data is all well and good, but climate policy decisions will still be made on global trends. For this we also need good data and methodology.
REPLY: As I mentioned, this should put an end to adjustments, so the data won’t be tortured (hopefully) and if it is, it will be tough to defend.

Tom in Florida
April 25, 2008 4:28 am

Anthony, you are proof positive that one person can make a difference with dedication and hard work. You and everyone else who has participated in the surveys, contributed $$ or helps in getting the word out shows that “we the people” is still a meaningful slogan in this Country.
Thank you so very much for your efforts.

April 25, 2008 5:27 am

First of all, you might want to visit a local Chiropractor to adjust your back before you move on to the next stop… You deserve the best.
Secondly, many have already alluded to “one man can make a difference” and they are quite right. And even though you might try to downplay this assertion because of all the others gathering data for you, YOU took the leadership position in getting it all started! I personally believe you’ll be more than a simple footnote in climate history.
Finally , you said: “The downside is that a track record needs to be built up, the older data is also going to be revised with USHCN2 algorithms soon, and I’ll touch on that later.”
And this is where I think most will be concerned. As long as we have guys like Hansen running around, everything that done should be viewed with a great deal of skepticism.
Get well, Anthony and God speed!
Jack Koenig, Editor
The Mysterious Climate Project

April 25, 2008 5:51 am

With we are witnessing the “self-correcting” feedback process of science in action. Notice what it takes: curiosity, awareness, experience, willingness to challenge the paradigm, honesty (wherever that may lead), perseverence, graciousness in the face of attack, confidence, evidence, ability to communicate, and seriousness mixed with enough good humor to keep it interesting. Many thanks to you, Anthony, for showing how it’s done.
Interestingly, these are the same qualities we seek in friends.

April 25, 2008 6:16 am

Just a quick comment on the use of Thermal imaging cameras.
Be careful when interpreting the data from the image. The cameras are very good at showing differences of temperature with materials of the same emmisivity Dissimilar materials can appear to have a different temperature on the camera image but the actual temperature can be the same! It depends on what wavelength the camera uses to determine the temperature. Obviously some materials emit better at a specific wavelength than others. Reflective materials are even more difficult to measure precisely.

Jeff Alberts
April 25, 2008 6:21 am

Bravo, Anthony. I’m glad that my meager contribution via purchase of your software has helped this noble cause.
I have to agree with that which was mentioned above, that there is far from a consensus, and even government scientists want to get the science right (No slant towards government employees intended, I’ve been one myself, more than once).
I think it is important to note that you were invited, and not the likes of Tamino or Rabbett, this says a lot for you, I think.
REPLY: Thanks, and I’d point out you can’t invite people with no names.

Brent Buckner
April 25, 2008 6:42 am

Thank you for your work and report. Best wishes for speedy and complete back recovery!

April 25, 2008 6:43 am

Stretch as often as possible. A simple bend of the knees, and lean forward, can stretch the relevant muscles. A squat on or toward the haunches can be miraculous. It’s not fun having back pain on a road trip, and feel every bump in the road. Stay hydrated.

Bill in Vigo
April 25, 2008 6:45 am

This is one of the most proud posts I have ever made! I get to brag on someone that I believe has made a profound difference in how we will live in the future. I once posted that we had barely scratched the surface of climate study and that we hadn’t even learned how to properly measure temperature. I believe that through your diligence, dedication, and refusal to take short cuts you have single handedly with the help of good, serious and diligent volunteers taught us the first true lessons of proper measurement of temperature and the need for proper storage of original data for future use. Most of the record thus far has been destroyed due to destruction of original data by manipulation.
Anthony this is a great victory over the sloppiness of the current bureaucracy against the inertia of an established system. You have my greatest admiration and I do believe that one day you will be addressed as Dr. Watts.
I thank you for your dedication to the needs of the nation and the world to produce proper data for study so that we might adapt to future climate changes whether warmer or cooler.
Bill Derryberry

April 25, 2008 8:11 am

Bureaucracies often have programs that never get finished due to “Death by Meetings”. From my own experience, outside efforts like Anthony’s can give a push that restarts them. We’ve been conditioned to expect government to do things to us for us and we forget that in this country we are part of the government. It is gratifying to know that NCDC has people that are interested in the science and are willing to listen to responsible voices outside of their own shop.

April 25, 2008 8:15 am

I clicked through petersons presentation.
let me explain this obsfucatory tactic for you guys. Mainly cause I named it.
When you challenge the warmists about the flawed data record, about the quality control of their data, about making it open, about this problem and that that problem, they will at some point… RUN FOR THE ICE. look the ice is melting. Dont look at the surface station! LOOK OVER HERE. see the ice MELTING?
Yes, the ice is melting. Yes the plants and animals are migrating. yes the world is getting warmer.
How much warmer??
I dont know, let’s measure that.
Opps, our measurement system is a bit sketchy and doesnt meet it’s own standards.
So first things first. Fix the stations

April 25, 2008 8:18 am

This is excellent news. Undoubtedly the project created a sense of urgency for them to get the funding they needed in order to make the necessary improvements. I imagine that they’re just as happy as you are to see the CRN completed in the next few months. Good to hear how professionally they treated you during your visit.
And on a side note, ThermaCare heatwraps for lower back pain work wonders. I couldn’t have driven yesterday (much less walked) without one after I hurled myself into oncoming traffic to save my dog from getting steamrolled. I feel your pain.

April 25, 2008 8:37 am

It’s excellent news to read they have secured funding and can revamp.
I think one of the things many of your critics don’t realize is that public agencies have trouble getting sufficient funds and public attention to the poor condition of facilities is often the only way for them to get it. NCDC personnel have probably been requesting money for years, but as long as down stream users think they can “fix up” the data problems using fancy math, those in charge of measuring had trouble convincing those making funding decisions to give them more money to make better measurements.
The best way to achieve good data quality, and avoid arguments about the adequacy of the process for “fixing up” the data is to take good data in the first place.

April 25, 2008 9:28 am

Over a year ago I was on an Alaska cruise ship and having dinner with a climate scientist from NCDC in Asheville. I asked him the $64K question as to AGW and if he was a believer. He sheepishly looked around us before answering and when confident no one could hear him he told me it was all a bunch of G** D**mn nonsense. He had been in meterology for 60 years and believed this is all a trumped up scheme to get grant money. Everyone at the center kept their views to themselves and didn’t rock the boat.
How amazingly sad and pathetic for a scientific institution to operate like this in a state of fear and silence.

Retired Engineer
April 25, 2008 9:39 am

A step in the right direction. One potential gotcha: if the new siting and system shows lower temps (as might be expected by eliminating local influence) and we have entered a cooling period, the alarmists will claim it is all due to the system change, The world is still melting and we need massive government action to fix it. Better data will show what is really going on, but the people in power have to believe it.
Still, better off than before.

Bill P
April 25, 2008 9:44 am

Well done, Anthony.
I wonder what kinds of physical changes they are proposing / guaranteeing?
Some transparency equal to that which you’ve modelled would be nice.

April 25, 2008 10:24 am

You deserve a lot of credit for taking on the issue of bias in the network, and your science seems to have convinced the right people that garbage-in garbage-out is a real issue with some of these measurements.

Pierre Gosselin
April 25, 2008 10:43 am

Nothing convinces like sound, precise data. Looks to me like NCDC has made a commitment to and is serious about setting up a system that’s second to none.
I think many Americans will feel they are now getting their tax dollars worth at the NCDC. Hats off! Those are the vibes I’m getting from the results of this trip.
Maybe Anthony can acknowledge this.
I feel them inviting Anthony was truly a sign they are genuinely open to positive criticism with the aim of mutually moving forward technically and scientifically. Two heads are always better than one.
Indeed it’s refreshing to see there are still agencies which are not stuck in the mindset of stubbornness, narrow-mindedness and combativeness. My faith in US climate data is beginning to make a comeback.

April 25, 2008 11:41 am

Great work, Anthony and all volunteers and contributors of $ (and all other currencies).
I see the present situation relative to the near-surface temperature measurements and data as follows.
A model is being applied to the raw measured data to obtain modified variations of that data. The data-modification model has some heuristic aspects and one part, the TOBS modification, is an empirical correlation that is about two decades old (IIRC). Like all models the data-modification model is required to be Independently Validated before being put into production use. One objective of the CRN might be to provide data that will allow Validation of the model presently in use. If the data-modification model fails Validation, CRN data might be useful for replacing the previous approach.
And the software tools into which the data-modification model has been implemented are required to be Independently Verified prior to production applications. All the pieces that form the complete implementation tools require Verification. Specific calculations and applications additionally require Verification.
It looks like the work of Anthony and all the volunteers and contributors has resulted in an excellent start toward Independent Verification and Validation of these important models, methods, and software, and their applications.

April 25, 2008 12:53 pm

Anthony- I am glad you had a good trip. I have always been treated courteously when I have visited NCDC.
With respect to their news release, however, they perpetuate the myth that they can correct “less-than-ideal” sites. The news release writes
“Data gathered by those existing HCN stations that were located in less-than-ideal areas have been statistically corrected in the analysis of climate trends routinely reported by NOAA. Though some individual stations were placed in less-than-ideal areas, these data anomalies did not significantly alter overall climate measurements. The modernization will relocate these
stations in areas that are closer to ideal.”
This ignores the evidence to the contrary that we have published in the peer reviewed papers:
Pielke Sr., R.A. J. Nielsen-Gammon, C. Davey, J. Angel, O. Bliss, N. Doesken, M. Cai., S. Fall, D. Niyogi, K. Gallo, R. Hale, K.G. Hubbard, X. Lin, H. Li, and S. Raman, 2007: Documentation of uncertainties and biases associated with surface temperature measurement sites for climate change assessment. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 88:6, 913-928.
Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229.
NCDC continues to have blinders on in terms of the seriousness of their errors in assessing long temperature near-surface air temperature trends and anomalies. There is a warm bias in their assessments which we have documented in the literature but they have chosen to ignore instead of seeking to refute in the literature or accept.

April 25, 2008 12:56 pm

Anthony, great job all the way around! Some of this I agree with, some I don’t

As I mentioned, this should put an end to adjustments, so the data won’t be tortured (hopefully) and if it is, it will be tough to defend.

Mostly disagree with the adjustments statement. We know how hard it is to collect valid and “identical quality” data. So some adjustments will certainly be needed to standardize, but these should be transparent and relatively small. Otherwise a huge improvement over the 5 degrees C in today’s stations.
CoRev, editor

David S
April 25, 2008 1:44 pm

This is good news although it still leaves the question of; what did the earth’s temperature really do over the last 100 years? Hopefully Anthony’s work will eventually answer that question.

April 25, 2008 4:12 pm

Great work, Anthony! And an excellent result. Does this signal a “tipping point” in the way climate data is handled? Hope so!
Also hoping your back recovers swiftly.

Larry Sheldon
April 25, 2008 4:49 pm

When I was a little kid, one of my favorite stories (I confess that I had a bunch) was “The Little Engine That Could”. Another was “Seven With One Blow” (hmmm…not sure if that was the title or not.
And “Pigs is Pigs”.
One of the few movies I have ever really enjoyed was “The Mouse That Roared”.
I like this blog.

P Richard
April 25, 2008 5:41 pm

Great Work, Anthony!
The real problem from here forward (as indicated by some prior posters) will be how they construct the seam between the old and new data streams. Back when the MMTS system was installed, NCDC couldn’t be bothered with keeping the Stevenson screens running in tandem at their intial locations. In fact, some of their papers on the subject appeared to give the impression (by a crude method of photo-shopping some images, a technique which didn’t exist electronically at that time) that the two instrument systems were running side-by-side at the same time.
Find the AMS BAMS article here and click on the pdf option, and check out the doctored photograph.
A more appropriate technique for doing a comparison of the various instruments under nearly identical exposures can be found in this paper from the Netherlands.

P Richard
April 25, 2008 5:55 pm

Trying again with a corrected(?) link to the Netherlands paper; this may do it. If that doesn’t work, here is the url:

Paul S
April 25, 2008 5:56 pm

Andrew, sorry to hear about your back but glad to hear your meetings went so successfully. And give yourself more credit, I’m sure your efforts prodded the NOAA to act more quickly then they likely would have. Good news all around, except for your back. 🙁

April 25, 2008 6:01 pm

I’ve found that the extreme pain from pulled back muscles can be somewhat alleviated by a back support pulled tight.

old construction worker
April 25, 2008 8:19 pm

I’m glad you received a warm welcome at NCDC. Please thank them for me. Sorry to hear about your back. I hope it will heal quickly.
I can’t tell you how important the weather and climate is to the building industry. It could mean the differnece between a just breaking even or making a profit.

April 25, 2008 8:32 pm

You have my greatest admiration and I do believe that one day you will be addressed as Dr. Watts.
“Doc Rev”. (Has a ring, doesn’t it?)
AEG: Take it easy (glad you saved your dog).

April 25, 2008 8:49 pm

Well, it looks like progress will be made! Sorry about the accident, Anthony. You know, I think that NCDC has always been the least suspicious of the surface data sets to me, since unlike Jones or Hansen, the creators of that data aren’t heavily involved in the politics of AGW. And I can see that I was right to think they are interested in getting the best data they can! Bravo NCDC! Oh, sure, I know that many of them passionately believe in their adjusting ability to, but I think that this is a tremendous show of good faith on their part.
Mosher-I never understand the running to the ice thing. It is so full of holes! Basically he wants to say, looking, warming isn’t going to go away, no matter what you find is wrong with the record. Well, duh, but he could have just used the satellites or balloons to tell us that (but then we get speculation as to what satellites would show if they were around back then) so why not? Maybe he doesn’t like them very much?

April 25, 2008 10:03 pm

[…] Day 2 at NCDC and Press Release: NOAA to modernize USHCN Watts Up With That? Quote: […]

Pierre Gosselin
April 26, 2008 2:05 am

R.A. Pielke Sr.
I agree 100% with your concern.
I also found this: “…have been statistically corrected in the analysis…” claim completely premature. Methodology may improve in the FUTURE, but the data from the PAST still need to be dealt with. With this data, we’re still talking about a lot of rubbish, which must not be simply swept away under the rug.
Hopefully people surveying the sites will not stop doing so because they think the site problems have been solved by Anthony’s single visit. The site surveys have to continue. Many in this forum are hoping to see temperature anomalies calculated using only the CRN1 and CRN2 sites. As Anthony has already mentioned, not enough sites have been surveyed till now to allow this.

April 26, 2008 2:44 am

Dr. Pielke, that clause about statistically corrected sites jumped out at me too, but I think you misinterpret the point.
This is simply bureaucratic ass covering. They know there are problems and are now working to correct them. To admit publicly how horrendous the actual state of the problems are is too much. There are too many careers on the line to say: “The state of our network is so bad, we haven’t a clue as to what’s been happening for the last 30 years”. They want to say it, but they just can’t.

April 26, 2008 3:05 am

Is there a need / plan for other surface station monitoring / auditing (volunteer) programs for other counties.
(Apologies if that’s already been covered before, I do not visit here as often as I should.)
I imagine the UK’s surface station network (if we have one large enough to bother with ?)
would be very interesting,
or should that be “predictable”..
(Small island, high population, Green fashionable politics…)
REPLY: yes we’ll expand at some point but still have our hands full here, Canada and Britain are likely next

Pierre Gosselin
April 26, 2008 3:24 am

Found at the site of Marohasy:,25197,23597729-7583,00.html
Yes, we’re making great progress.

April 26, 2008 5:51 am

Retired Engineer said: “A step in the right direction. One potential gotcha: if the new siting and system shows lower temps (as might be expected by eliminating local influence) and we have entered a cooling period, the alarmists will claim it is all due to the system change, The world is still melting and we need massive government action to fix it. Better data will show what is really going on, but the people in power have to believe it.”
That’s exactly what they are doing. In spite of research by NOAA (and others) showing the Arctic melt waters are doing little if anything to increase sea level rise (Greenland Ice May Not Be Headed Down Too Slippery A Slope – Science Daily 4-20-08), Reuters (the biggest Poggie of all) published an article on 4-24-08 entitled “Arctic ice seen melting faster than anticipated.” Their source: the “experts” at the WWF.
Their are tens of thousands of reputations, billions (if not trillions) of dollars, and power empires throughout the world resting on the Poggie’s ability to keep the AGW ball in play.
Even though I agree with Joe Bast at the Heartland institute that the tide has begun to turn in our favor, the battle is far from over!
Jack Koenig, Editor
The Mysterious Climate Project

James Bailey
April 26, 2008 6:36 am

I just want to say thanks. Thanks to you, your volunteers, the NCDC and even NOAA. It is about time we got something like the CRN up and going. Next is to do the same internationally.
Fear of AGW has been hawked since the 80’s. Billions have been spent on AGW research. This should have been a major priority. I am glad someone is finally doing it.
We banned CFCs in the 80’s and only recently has someone measured a key reaction, and found it was an order of magnitude too small to have caused such a large hole. At the same time other researchers showed the Ozone Hole wasn’t healing as fast as the old theories predicted it should have, having banned CFCs. (Note: all research can be overturned, but those two are self consistant, and not having done the measurement at all is inexcusable.)
No one has yet proven that DDT caused thinning of eagle egg shells, but that is why we banned it so long ago. Eagles were protected, so they force fed DDT to other birds to no ill effect. We cleaned up a lot of messes back then, so we also haven’t proved that banning DDT helped the Eagles to recover. Some other pollution could easily have been the culprit. And only recently have we moved towards a sensible plan of banning it in the rich countries who can afford other ways of insect contol, but letting the poor countries use it indoors. Such unreason cost millions of lives.
These bans may yet prove themselves to be right, but it is clear that when we made the bans, we had not yet done the science needed to justify them. Again and again, we face serious accusations that have enough logic behind them to justify testing them, but not enough science behind them to prove them true. And we rush to make corrections before the science is really in.
These things should not be about what the majority of experts think, they should be about what the majority of experts can prove. And nothing makes more sense in proving AGW than setting up a network designed specifically to measure GW and the effects A has on it. Getting the GW measurement part nailed should have been the first thing done.
Maybe I should blame scientific ego. No sexy papers are going to come out of such a project. But politics are heavily involved, even in the science community. And arguing that the present system isn’t good enough to make proper conclusions greatly undermines the political goals. So instead of doing it right, we get inundated with science arguments justifying the old system and the horrendous manipulations that have to be done on it just to knit it into a cohesive whole.
So once again,
Thank you Anthony and volunteers for taking the effort to show that those arguments weren’t based on reality.
And thank you NCDC and NOAA for sticking with it until you finally got approval to set up and maintain a network designed to do the measurement, and fixing some of the old network to make proper measurements.
And since you are sticking your head in, thanks too to Roger Pielke Sr. for sticking to your guns about the incompleteness of the present effort. It should be obvious that increased CO2 is just one thing man is doing that can effect our environment, and it should also be obvious that we don’t know enough about the interactions to be able to make models that can show the effects of increasing CO2 on the water cycle, which is where most of the feared warming is said to come from.

Ron McCarley
April 26, 2008 7:09 am

I am happy that you were treated well, but am I missing something? The presentation by Peterson seems to minimize problems with the USHCN, so why the planned upgrade? Aside from the obvious reduction of world data requiring more interpolation and apparent cherry-picking of databases, the presentation dwelled on effects of warming and fell back on modeling as the answer to all of it. I just cannot believe that the corrected USHCN info has been accounted for in their work. Also, 7 of 10 of the references cited were works of Peterson.
REPLY: No you aren’t missing anything, you got it.

April 26, 2008 7:41 am

I also found this: “…have been statistically corrected in the analysis…” claim completely premature. Methodology may improve in the FUTURE, but the data from the PAST still need to be dealt with. With this data, we’re still talking about a lot of rubbish, which must not be simply swept away under the rug.
Well, it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it. After all, SHAP adjustments are UPWARD (if you can believe that). In other words, according to the NOAA, what has been happening to the stations is that they have been undergoing an artificial cooling trend effect of around 0.15C. [Pause to let the laughter die down.]
This is simply bureaucratic ass covering.
I agree with this interpretation.
And “Pigs is Pigs”.
I thought there was no one left in the world who remembered that one. Have you ever read “All Yankees Are Liars”?

P Richard
April 26, 2008 8:10 am

At least some of the posters above got it! The guys at NCDC allowed this data disaster to happen, although some of them could justifiably blame the priorities that were nestablished at the top of NOAA in allocating funding for forecasting and modeling at the expense of insuring that a solid climate base was being maintained as well. Of course, this was before doomsday climatology became fashionable, borne on the reliance of a data record so imprecise that any outlandish projection of future climate could be rationalized with just a little fudging and cherry-picking.
I would be less expansive in letting the stewards of the data off the hook, at least not until their suddenly enlightened attitude toward what was really their job in the first place can be supported by their actions.
Money, as it confers power, corrupts. And the entire field of climate science from academia to industry has been corrupted. Gorebots won’t submit to reality easily, if at all. Anthony’s success in establishing a beach-head is outstanding, but just as I am a skeptic on the threat posed by AGW, I am also a skeptic on the sincerity of NCDC’s epiphany. Where is the confession…the mea culpa…that is usually a requisite for redemption?

April 26, 2008 9:39 am

I would have no problem in believing NCDC data from now on. I hope GISS temp follows and it should tie up nicely with RSS and UAH. I hope from now on they report their data with more gusto instead of 100th warmest month etc, LOL

Ron McCarley
April 26, 2008 10:23 am

Can’t help myself, but I had to comment a 2nd time. Saw the photo of the NCDC building on Patton, and it’s right beside the Fletcher’s dance studio where I took my daughter for 2 years for classical ballet training! I never even knew it was there! This studio is where the former Miss America from the early 60’s came from. If you’d come over I-26 into Tenn., we would have fixed you a big rib-eye, and homemade potato salad/baked beans. Good for that aching back. BTW, you’re my favorite website. Keep up the good work.
REPLY: Thanks for the offer Ron, I just spent the last two days in TN surveying stations along the way, flying out of BNA tomorrow. Sorry we couldn’t meet up.
They do the Anomaly Dance at Fletcher’s now.

Bill P
April 26, 2008 12:25 pm

Best folk remedy for bad back: resist temptation to rest; remain physically active and skeptical of quick cures.
Best folk remedy for error-prone climate monitoring network: (See above)

Roger Dueck
April 26, 2008 4:19 pm

Anthony, this is a good move by the NCDC and I think a response to your measured approach to documenting and publishing the perceived problems. I think the most exciting thing about it is that there will be an un- “corrected” data set which I believe will put to rest the NH soaring temperature anomaly. Excellent job!

April 26, 2008 4:49 pm

Clearly a step in the right direction. How about a certification program so that the relative handful of existing good stations can be added into the mix?

April 26, 2008 4:59 pm

Reply – “Canada and Britain are likely next”
(factory workers can be useful..) Hint, hint.
I’ll drink to that.
Obviously not before a bath…Sorry couldn’t resist.
Best wishes on a complete recovery, as one who has suffered they can be really painful.
Backs that is, not future funding CONcerned “scientists”.
Hold on, is that a simily, or a pun, or the truth…

April 26, 2008 8:00 pm

but just as I am a skeptic on the threat posed by AGW, I am also a skeptic on the sincerity of NCDC’s epiphany. Where is the confession…the mea culpa…that is usually a requisite for redemption?
I think in this case we’ll have to be satisfied with:
“I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so anyway…”

April 27, 2008 3:02 am

Anthony, press for the sensors to be read at eye level to avoid stooping.
Was anything said about Surface Sea temperature improvement?
Congrats geoff.
REPLY: Nothing on SST, whole different division.

Ron McCarley
April 27, 2008 4:11 am

Thanx for the gracious comment, but isn’t it the Song and Dance anomaly? I keep up with where you’re going, so I knew you were busy here. I surveyed Rogersville,Tn for you last year, and I knew that TN was a big void for you. BTW, that Miss America from 1962, Maria Beale Fletcher, lives out your way, in Tahoe, where you surveyed. Her father had a good back well into his 90’s, he could do a back hand-spring in his 90’s.

April 27, 2008 8:30 am

Will NOAA make the data from this new network directly accessible to the public and open source the code used to process it?
REPLY: The data will be public and I believe the source will be available on request. My experience with the CRN team is that they will provide most anything on request.

April 28, 2008 5:00 am

[…] has released the following press release [see Watts Up With That for more information on NCDC’s plans and NOAA Employing New Tools to Accurately Measure Climate […]

April 28, 2008 6:43 am

Peterson’s presentation argues that stations like Marysville are not a problem, since their anomalous warming is removed by the “homogenization” procedure that makes them look more like neighboring stations.
But doesn’t the same procedure mean that neighboring stations will have their “anomalous” non-warming trends equally adjusted by the warming trends of stations like Marysville? Doesn’t Marysville’s measured temperature end up having exactly the same weight it would have without the homogenization procedure?
Marysville probably does an adequate job of telling whether today is hotter than yesterday, or even the same day last year, all of which is worth knowing. But for climate trend purposes, such stations should just be identified and discarded, not made to look artificially homogeneous.
Anyway, congratulations, Anthony, for your success at getting NCDC to at least recognize that there might be a problem here! Does this mean that NCDC will now encourage local meteorologists to get out of their air conditioned offices and help complete the SurfaceStations project? Anthony’s volunteers have done a terrific job, but perhaps now it’s time to start shaming the pros into doing what they’re paid to do.

Sam Urbinto
April 28, 2008 10:42 am

I’ve been of the opinion that the people involved in all this have wanted to do accurate meaningful work, had plans to improve things but were simply constrained by rules and policies, the “corporate culture” in place, funding and the like. When I first heard of this project, the complaints about the worth of photos and the mistaken impression that it was a bunch of “anti-warmers” trying to discredit things, rather than what I took to be a good-faith effort to find the truth, to improve things.
It has certainly been going as I would have expected; bringing more awareness and impelling positive action. To better know where we are so as to better know how to get to where we’re going. What I see is some people that are so convinced that regardless of the truth (anti-truthers?) immediate action to prevent some expected short-term catastrophe must be taken regardless of the means by which that goal is accomplished.
We know obviously there has been an understanding of the USHCN and its issues, because the CRN project is here to prove it. Now issues have been broght to the forefront, hardly surprising that the efforts of volunteers is having a positive effect, especially given some of the hearings on the subject, and the actions and reactions of the participants in them, etc.

May 6, 2008 2:11 pm

Good Job, glad to see some reason on the part of the .gov
Now to see WHERE they put the new stations and HOW the use both sets of data.

May 7, 2008 2:09 am

this is very good news. a single set of measuring devices all working in different areas that have been selected and mapped to make a real instrument.
Anthony, you deserve a lot of credit

May 14, 2008 12:05 pm

I apologize on behalf of the insensitive clods who, upon the news that you hurt yourself in a bathtub, promptly suggested that you go to a bathtub. 🙂

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