1828 Miles, 20 stations surveyed, out of 21 attempted.

The week was productive, 21 USHCN stations visited, 20 surveyed, one dropped due to access problems (Southport, NC which turned out to be at an Army Depot). My trip odometer said 1828 miles when I turned in the car in Nashville tonight.

Here is the map of my travels this week:

Click for an interactive map

The highlight of the week was of course my 2 day visit to NCDC and the survey of the new CRN station west of Asheville. Another fun moment in the trip came when I visited the Lewisburg, TN Agricultural Experiment Station. It was quite a pretty setting for a station:

While I was doing the survey, and looking for the MMTS which wasn’t near the Stevenson Screen but was indicated by the NCDC equipment log, a farm cat came by to say hello. He was quite the talker. He gave me the grand tour and followed me while I was looking around.

I asked him: “hey Kitty, have ya seen Hansen’s Bulldog around” ? He answered simply “meow” and then took off to the cattle barn. I kid you not.

Interesting thing about this trip, I identified two stations that have undergone undocumented station moves in the last year, which look like good test cases for detecting undocumented changes points via the new USHCN2 methodology. More on that later.

Footnote: While this is a lot of miles, it’s nothing compared to the mileage that Don Kostuch, Eric Gamberg, Russ Steele, and others have put in over the life of this project. I wish to thank them too.

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Evan Jones
April 26, 2008 8:49 pm

I once knew a Siamese named Josephina (Spanish pronunciation) that I used to speak with over the phone. (Literally.) “Yeeeow”. “Rrrrow”. “Yaaaow.” Waaraoow”. I could keep it going for minutes at a time. Siamese have great vocabularies and can be very talky. (Tamino wouldn’t be a bad name for a cat–if you’re into operetta.)
So how did the sites check out?
Is your back coming around okay?

Jeff Alberts
April 26, 2008 8:52 pm

Hehe, cats are so cool.

April 26, 2008 9:25 pm

Hmph. My Goreacle III Carbon Footprint Calculator just short-circuited. But I suppose it could have been the Vista platform.
Tullahoma has some pretty settings as well. Nice state park nearby perfect for kicking back on a boat with a few cold ones. Shame you only got to visit the Sewage Plant.

April 27, 2008 12:18 am

1828 miles is such a small distance in America. I never ceases to amaze me that people traveled months to go from the East Coast to the West only 150 years ago.
We only get a small feel for that today when we travel by car rather than plane.
Great feat Anthony.

Pierre Gosselin
April 27, 2008 1:02 am

You’ve got to be exhausted!
How about a couple of days off?

Eric Gamberg
April 27, 2008 5:58 am

Based on the 4/18/2008 xls USHCN station list (using an average of the state rankings for remaining # of stations and fraction of stations surveyed), I’d suggest the states in greatest need of surveying (in decreasing order) are:
Oklahoma, followed by,
It’s interesting that some of these states have a large population (NY, IL), but a dearth of local volunteers.
While schools are still in session, perhaps some methods of attracting science teachers to answer the call to examine a local station as part of the cirriculum could be devised.
REPLY: Thanks for the analysis, I’ll make use of it.

April 27, 2008 6:03 am

Nice work all around, Anthony. Hope the back is healing up okay. Chronic back problems are no fun (he says, speaking from personal experience).
REPLY: Getting better, thanks

Eric Gamberg
April 27, 2008 6:15 am


April 27, 2008 8:03 am

I vacation near Southport, NC every summer. Was the station at the Sunny Point Terminal, or actually in Southport? If at Sunny Point, I don’t see how one would ever get access. This is the main terminal for the Army where they load heavy equipment (i.e., tanks) onto ships. It was used heavily in the build-up to the 1st gulf war.
REPLY: It’s the fire station at Sunny Point. Any ideas?

David S
April 27, 2008 8:24 am

I’m beginning to question the wisdom of taking the earth’s temperature via land based weather stations. Not only are there the siting issues Anthony has identified, but also the heat island effect of any station located in a city. Even a station in a rural area could be affected by growing trees, or agriculture changes in nearby lands. Just plowing a nearby field could have an influence. Besides that, land only constitutes about 30% of earth’s surface.
Maybe ocean based weather bouys would provide a more meaningful result. They are immune to UHI effects. Citing issues should not be a problem. There are no A/C condensers nearby. And the oceans cover 70% of the earth’s surface.
Well it’s just a thought.

April 27, 2008 5:02 pm

[…] 1828 Miles, 20 stations surveyed, out of 21 attempted. The week was productive, 21 USHCN stations visited, 20 surveyed, one dropped due to access problems (Southport, NC […] […]

April 27, 2008 5:48 pm

Hi Anthony,
Until I got into the comments I had know idea what you were talking about. So these stations track the earth’s temperature? Is it the atmospheric temp? or the crust temp? Sounds like interesting work anyway, best of luck always.
A few years ago after I retired from the Navy I managed to travel 17,844 miles around the U.S. on a Harley Sportster. We follow the road and the miles add up.
REPLY: This is the NOAA surface temperture (air temp) network used for climate monitoring. At 17K+ you have us all beat for road trips.

April 27, 2008 7:20 pm

deadwood (00:18:53) :
“We only get a small feel for that today [distance] when we travel by car rather than plane.”
IMHO, the best way to get a real feel for distance, terrain, and topography is to do it by bicycle. It’s faster than walking, so you can cover a reasonable distance in a day, but boy, you know just how high each hill or mountain is. There are also some interesting effects, like air seems to flow up mountains, not a big surprise on otherwise calm sunny days, but even on windy days I think air will flow up the mountain and keep going up after it passes the ridge and triggers a rolling eddy current that brings air up the other side.
One thing I found bicycling over the Cascades along the Skagit River in Washington was that streams fed by melting snow included chilled air that flowed down with the water. I’d often slow down to let the cool air wash over me. 100 mile uphill but not very steep except by the power dams and when leaving the river to cross Rainy Pass. One of the best legs of the 1974 trip. Much better than the crossing in Oregon in 2003.

Bob B
April 28, 2008 9:44 am


April 28, 2008 10:36 am

You have given a lot to this project, but there’s one who doesn’t get a lot of credit. That would be your wife (not to mention the kids). Is there a way we can toss a few dedicated bucks into the pot so you can take your wife out to a nice dinner so that she can see how much we appreciate the time that she allows you to spend with us?
REPLY: Thats a fine idea, you can use the dontae button at the right and put a note in appropriately int he form, and I’ll be sure to report back. My wife and kids have indeed lots some quality time due to this project, my wife gets the worts of it since she gets my ups and downs related to some of the issues. Thank you for recognizing this.

April 28, 2008 11:58 am

I tried the “Donate” button route, but did not get a chance to make a comment with the donation. When you see a donation from Longmont CO, that’s for taking your wife to dinner. That might get you two to Chili’s, I hope that others can chip in a little.

Harold K McCard
April 28, 2008 3:29 pm

I posted the following message on CA (Unthreaded #33) before Steve set up the thread for your NCDC trip. I am posting it here fyi:
HMcCard says:
April 26th, 2008 at 1:51 pm
Re: 528 and 529 (Mine)
I think my transmission was interupted because I inadvertently used a “less than sign”. Permit me to start over:
I realize that adjustment of USHCN data has received much attention by CA. However, I am still confused. I told Anthony Watts earlier this week during his visit to NCDC that I echoed Bob Tisdale’s appeal for a simple explanation of NCDC’s adjustments of station temperature data and their significance.
I also told Anthony that a while ago, I became curious about the temporal and spatial variations in surface temperature and chose to examine the average monthly data for the last century (1987 – 2005) from several stations. I became perplexed by the significant differences between the monthly and annual temperature trends for a specific station. The differences in temperature trends between nearby stations was equally perplexing. I lost interest in my project when I realized that NCDC’s adjustment may have confounded the data.
Recently, I revisited the data from one station that I had previously selected (Fort Morgan, CO – 053038). This time, I elected to examine TMAX and TMIN compared to TAVG. I defined TMED=(TMAX+TMIN)/2 and delT=TAVG-TMED. I was surprised to observe a series of nearly noise-free, step-wise changes in delT for both monthly and annual data. It showed the following: 1) 1897-1912: annual delT~+1deg F, 2) 1913-1965: annual delT~-0.4 deg F, 3) 1965-2001: annual delT ~0.0 deg F, and 4) apparently NCDC has not adjusted the data for 2002-2005 yet.
The effect of the 1912 step-wise change varied month-to-month but was significant for all twelve months. The effect of the 1965 step-wise change primarily affected winter months, i.e., DJF. Lesser adjustment in 1987 and 1996 were apparent. I used Excell for analysis and graphical display purposes. I haven’t learned yet how to upload Excel data or graphs to this post.
Yesterday, I examined the Fort Morgan monthly data more closely and observed that step-wise changes in delT occured on a quarterly basis, i.e., DJF, MAM, JJA AND SON. It’s not apparent to me whether TAVG, TMAX, TMIN or all of the above were adjusted. However, it appears to me that NCDC’s adjustment algorithm seeks to drive delT=0. (I can’t think of any reason for that being an end-objective!) In some quarters, detT=0 is achieved earlier with fewer steps. For example, prior to 1913, delT~1.00, 1.16 and 1.40 degF for MAM, respectively; from 1913 to 1987, delT~0.05, 0.09 and 0.02 degF; from 1987 to 2002, delT~0.00.
As I said, it’s not apparent to me whether TAVG, TMAX, TMIN or all of the above were adjusted
Having surmised that NCDC’s adjustment strategy seeks to achieve delT=0, I re-visited five other stations that I examined previously: Boulder, Fort Collins and Wray, CO, as well as, Imperial, NB and Cheyenne, WY. The delT patterns were similar to the patterns for Fort Morgan. In each instance, delT=0 was achieved in three to seven step-wise increments.
As I said, it is not apparent to me whether TAVG, TMAX, TMIN or all of the above were adjusted by NCDC but I suspect that TAVG is the target. If so, TMED may be a better choice for climate trend analysis.
I appologize for the length of this post. If this matter has been discussed previously, will you please direct me to the pertinent archives?
Anthony, If this matter has been discussed previously on your blog, will you please direct me to the pertinent archives?
REPLY: I’ll revisit this a bit later, but I have an appointment tonight thanks to a nice fellow from Longmont Colorado.

April 28, 2008 4:03 pm

16 comments and nobody has made a joke about the title of this post.
What a serious group.

Harold K McCard
April 29, 2008 3:45 pm

Re: Your reply to my 04/28 post
Thanks. Since you were in Ashville, NC last week during your “grand tour”, I decided today to examine one of the staions in that area. I selected Waynesville, NC (319147). The step-wise pattern of NCDC’s quarterly adjustments of temperature data for that station was quite apparent. The quarterly patterns are more interesting than the annual pattern. If NCDC”s adjustment philosophy is to drive delT=0, it was achieved in 1985.
I look forward to your review

May 1, 2008 8:25 am

Fantastic result Anthony for all the hard work. As far as theh back goes, try and move every twenty minutes. When you’re on the road quick stops will help even if you just get out of the car, walk round it and get back in. This will slow your average speed but a few extra stops like this will help. Twisting can be painful so put a magazine or plastic bag on the seat so you can twizle! so to speak. In short, keep moving and avoid long periods of inactivity. cheers and good luck

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