From South Dakota: two more of NCDC's "high quality" surface stations today

A Guest Post by: Russ Steele

As one of Anthony Watts’ Surfaces Station Survey volunteers, I visited the stations at Hot Springs, SD and New Castle, WY today and was not impressed with the quality of these stations. And one was recently upgraded by the National Weather Service in January.


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The Hot Springs station is located at the Vets Medical Center. According to Google Earth near the edge of the Administration parking lot. Here is the rain gage, but I could not find the MMTS. The police soon swooped down and wanted to know if I had come for treatment. I explained my mission and he suggest I contact the Firemen in a building nearby. The firemen showed me the temperature readout, but they did not have clue where the MTTS sensor was. One of the firemen helped we search for a sensor around the building. No joy. Maybe it is on the roof they suggested. I was climbing the hill behind the fire station to see if the MMTS was on the roof, when I stumbled across the MMTS sensor here. Do you see it in the middle/lower third of the photo, the white drum shape.

Find the MMTS in this picture:


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Now in the shade of the two Russian olive trees, just how accurate do you expect the temperatures to be? I will be posting the full results of the survey at Anthony Watts Station Survey in the next couple of days. I’ll post a notice when it is completed. When I left, the firemen were organizing a work party with axes and chain saws. It will be interesting to see if the temperature profile changes in the coming months.


Click for a larger image. 

We moved on to New Castle and contacted Rogers family, as the station is in their back yard garden. Mrs Rogers is the station agent, and was quite helpful, noting this last winter an NWS Tech visited the site to automate the data collection. This new equipment is in the stainless steel box, on the crooked post, which is about to fall over. It does not say much for quality work.


Click for a larger image. 

Here is another view. Did you spot the AC unit on the wall?  Now we have two heat sources in the garden. The stainless steel box, with a battery and solar charging control module and the AC Unit. Again, I will be posting a full report on the Surface Station Database in a few days.

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Leon Brozyna
July 8, 2008 10:13 pm

You have got to be s%&^$)(@! me!
As I was looking at yet another mess shown here an image came to mind of Anthony Watts appearing before a Congressional subcommittee with a slide show presentation that would go on and on, demonstrating how deplorable are the data collection points for the historical record. How can we truly know what the real temperature record is with such equipment, Congressman?
AGW proponents always seem to give great photo demonstrations to support their alarmist position. How about a dose of reality demonstration with real photos of real stations? It’s always said that a picture is worth a thousand words.
I was explaining to my 82 year old mother about how the data is gathered and how temperature records are adjusted and she said about the changes being made to the temperature record, “You mean, they’re making it all up?”

Evan Jones
July 8, 2008 11:20 pm

I see it. Right near the suspicious-looking plant.

Evan Jones
July 8, 2008 11:22 pm

“You mean, they’re making it all up?”
Well, to be fair, they have excellent imaginations.

Frederick Davies
July 9, 2008 12:39 am

/irony on
Oh, come on; look on the bright side of things: since the Hot Springs sensor clearly measures tree temperature rather than the ambient one, dendrochronologists are going to find it very useful.
/irony off

July 9, 2008 1:36 am

Unbelievable. I assume the second site is Newcastle, WY, a “coop” site.
There are interesting pictures of a Stevenson screen (?) in nearby Rapid City NWS in the 1930s, set on what looks like about a 15 foot stand above the ground at one point in time and on the roof of a two story building at another:
main page: (then look through the “local information” links.
Wouldn’t temp be lower at higher elevations?

July 9, 2008 2:49 am

[…] The popular sceptic blog (written by former TV meteorologist Anthony Watt) had a huge 582,000 page views last month (June […]

July 9, 2008 6:27 am

Glenn, “Wouldn’t temp be lower at higher elevations?
It depends on the surface material and color of the roof. You also get better ventilation on roofs which impact temperature as well.
However, it’s a null point; in meteorology 101, when discussing basic data collection, biases such as these that are well known are addressed. Because a temperature station moved from it’s 1930’s home on a rooftop is not much to get upset over; I’d stay focused on the two new sites that were posted today.

July 9, 2008 6:43 am

More excellent work by your volunteers, Anthony. Your surface station project is a service to the world.

Jim Arndt
July 9, 2008 6:59 am

Looks like they have a SCUD warhead next to the screen also.

July 9, 2008 8:36 am

For the New Castle site, is the giant white cone supposed to be inches away from the temp sensor?
Reply from John Goetz: The giant white cone is the rain gauge, and no, they should not be anywhere near that close.

John Galt
July 9, 2008 8:50 am

What’s the problem with the way it’s mounted on the pole? Looks real good, at least ways fer guv’ment work.

July 9, 2008 12:46 pm

I loved the station nestled in the trees – kind of like playing ‘find Waldo’…
Dendrochronologists!!! What a cool word! For the next week or two, I’ll probably find myself twisting sentences in order to slip that word in…

John G. Bell
July 9, 2008 5:26 pm

Both the police and the firefighters you dealt with in Hot Springs were employees of the VA not Hot Springs. The towns Fire Department is located below and by the spring. The whole Hot Spring area is unusual in that it is in a bowl shaped depression and is warmer, by as much as 10F degrees, than the surrounding plain. That can be useful when it is -35F outside. Actually, the VA is located on a quite tall hill in that bowl so it is an exception to an exception. It doesn’t surprise me that the VA Fire Department started to improve the weather station site so quickly. My recollection was that they were pretty sharp and I’m glad to hear the VA Police talked with you and helped you out.
I used to hike all around up there. It is thick with deer which are almost tame and in very good shape. Down in the Hot Spring below, my wife and I watched a game warden and a policeman shoot a beaver that was destroying trees. Nice place to spend a vacation and a fine place to live.

Jeff Alberts
July 9, 2008 7:06 pm

A beaver destroying trees! What’s this world coming to???

Evan Jones
July 10, 2008 7:12 pm

Who is John Galt?

July 10, 2008 7:16 pm

You owe me another five dollars.

Evan Jones
July 11, 2008 10:25 am

No fair. It was a quote.
Is it my fault that a scientific readership is illiterate? (Or unappreciative?)
[We’ll settle up with 1 drink per $5, someday.]

July 11, 2008 11:26 am

Hmm…after your showboating over on CA, I may have to call it even. But I’m overdue for a trip to New York–maybe later this year.
~Mike the Merry Temperature Sensor.

July 11, 2008 3:28 pm

So are these sensors in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, or was that the Neighborhood of Make-Believe?

John G. Bell
July 11, 2008 4:32 pm

Jeff, I think it was the first beaver in the park that anyone could remember. In the few days it was there it killed a dozen large trees. As they were intended for use of the public, not beavers, destroy was the right word. I’m glad to see these animals come back in such large numbers.
Russ, thanks for the survey work!

Jeff Alberts
July 11, 2008 8:46 pm

Well, I’m sure the beaver didn’t see it that way. They don’t chew on trees for the fun of it. Intended for use of the public and not beavers?? Wha? I guess nature didn’t get the memo. ROTFL!!!

Evan Jones
July 11, 2008 9:52 pm

~Mike the Merry Temperature Sensor.
The answer to the riddle of the censored sensor:
“Is that a MMTS you is got there?”
“Why, no, thass Dr. Jim Hansen!”
(Unfortunately jeez is the only one who is going to get this, so unless he will relent and permit the posting of the original riddle, I lose another fin.)
I did not censor at CA, I do not mod there, only here. Feel free to post~Mike the Merry Temperature Sensor

Evan Jones
July 12, 2008 11:58 am

Well, the riddle is again gone. (So it must have been another hand at work!)

Evan Jones
July 12, 2008 11:59 am

But whoever it is no doubt has my best interests at heart!

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