How not to measure temperature, part 69

Two weeks ago I posted about a story from the Orange County Register titled Urbanization Raises The Heat in Orange County. It was front page news that day, on Friday, August 8th.

The article was fairly well written, citing JPL climatologist Dr. Bill Patzert who also was the source on a  previous story we examined looking at the problems associated with the move of Los Angeles official weather station.

The focus of the OC Register article was the temperature record from the Santa Ana Fire Station, which has a COOP-A station # 047888 located there. The record extends back to 1916:

Warming trend

Examining the upwards trend in the Santa Ana record, the article touched on one of the most common reasons for temperature increase in large cities, the Urban Heat Island effect, or “UHI”. Curiously, some scientists, such as Parker in 2006, have gone to great lengths to discredit UHI as being “negligible”, even though it clearly is not. The National Weather Service recognizes it as real as evidenced by this quote in the OC Register article:

“Santa Ana now has a lot more buildings, parking lots and streets, which absorb and hold heat, some of it through the night,” says Ivory Small, science officer at the San Diego office of the National Weather Service.

In fact, the National Weather Service includes the UHI factor in one of it’s training course ( NOAA Professional Competency Unit 6 ) using Reno, NV and Baltimore, MD as examples. The Reno station had to be moved because it was producing an erroneous record, and the Baltimore station has so much bias (because it existed on a rooftop of a downtown building) that they simply closed it in 1999.

Since nothing was mentioned in the OC Register article, apparently Bill Patzert at JPL, Ivory Small at the San Diego NWS office, and reporter Gary Robbins of the Orange County Register simply don’t know how much the Baltimore USHCN station, seen below, has in common with the Santa Ana Fire Station.

Baltimore Customs House USHCN

Baltimore USHCN station circa 1990’s photo courtesy NOAA, click for more images

Like the now closed Baltimore weather station, the Santa Ana Fire Department weather station also sits on a  rooftop downtown. But there’s more to it than just that. Read on.

As luck would have it, the day after the article came out in the OC Register, I was scheduled to fly to Orange County to attend my sister’s birthday party. The Santa Ana Fire Station was only a couple of miles out of my way, not far from UC Irvine, so I made a detour to survey the station.  Ahead of my visit, I had checked the NCDC MMS Station database to determine what type of equipment was present, and it indicated the old style Stevenson Screen. Some early investigations using Google Earth and Microsoft Live Maps suggested the station might be on the roof of the fire station, and there was a box that could be the screen, but we couldn’t actually tell from the photography. The only way to be sure was to go there.

When I arrived at the fire station Saturday afternoon August 9th, there was no sign of a weather station from ground level:

I rang the buzzer at the front door, once, then several times. No response.

So I started looking around to see if I could get a different vantage point. I walked north to the end of the municipal parking lot across the street, and stood on a low wall, and I saw it:

The Stevenson Screen was visible just above the roofline of the lower roof. I looked around to see if I could get a better vantage point, and saw a stairway to an outdoor restaurant balcony about 50 yards to the east. So I made for that.

To my surprise, when I reached the balcony and focused my camera, I saw someone taking a reading at the Stevenson Screen. This was at 4:15 PM, which is close the the Time of Observation listed for this station at NCDC MSS of 1600 hours (4PM)

Face blurred to protect identity – note the York A/C unit nearby.

So I was in luck. Somebody was at the fire station. I went back to the front door and rang the buzzer again. And waited, and rang, and waited. I knocked on the door and shouted “hello!”. No response. I found this really odd. The front door was locked, and nobody responded to the buzzer. Finally, out of options, I picked up the red phone next to the door buzzer which said “for emergencies”, grimacing as I did so.

The operator answered, and I explained who I was and what I was there for. I asked to speak to the person in charge of the weather station, mentioning that I had just seen the person on the roof at the station. I got put on hold, and after about 5 minutes the operator came back. Another 5 minutes passes, and finally somebody comes to the door. I explained again, and he said “I’m low on the totem pole, and I can’t help you, we’ll have to ask the Captain.”

So he leads me into the equipment bay, where the engines are parked. This is the garage behind the roll up doors in the picture. It’s easily 100 degrees F in there, and I’m working up a sweat just standing there. The Captain comes out of his office and I give him my card, and explain why I’m here yet again. Chain of command requires an explanation at each level.

I mentioned the OC Register article and the Captain noted that he’d heard about it but hadn’t read it. I explained that all I wanted to do was get 4-5 photos on the roof, and it would take 5 minutes or less. He said, “I’ll have to check with the Chief”. So he goes to his office off the equipment bay, and makes a phone call to HQ. Meanwhile me and the “probie” that let me in are standing in the equipment bay outside his office door, sweating like pigs in the heat.

The Captain returns 5 minutes later and says “Chief says the roof is a restricted area, I can’t let you up there”. I understood, since 9/11, lots of fire stations and other government centers are off limits to the public now. But I had an idea, and said “Ok I understand that I’m not allowed up there, how about if you send the “probie” up to get pictures for me?

He hesitated, and then I said “This is a public facility, and aerial photographs already exist of the roof, you can see them on Google Earth. How can this be any different?” He relented and said, “I’ll call the Chief again and ask.” So me and the “probie” are standing again in the equipment bay. I’m sweating profusely, so is he. He apologizes about the heat and says, “only the office and barracks have a/c”. Meanwhile I start humming the Jeopardy 10 second tune in my head, hoping the Chief down at HQ isn’t too irritated by now.

The Captain comes out of the office and says, good news, “Chief says I can have one of my men take the photos… ” and just at the moment, the alarm rings. Guys start sliding down the pole, and the Captain yells, “I’ve got to go on this run, come back later!” and points at the door.


I walk out the roll-up garage door, the trucks roll, and I’m left standing on the sidewalk back where I was 30 minutes ago. I figured my chances were shot now. Time was running short, I had a surprise birthday party to attend in about an hour. So I got in my car, and prepared to leave. I drove to the rear (south side) of the fire station, hoping that I could get another angle of the rooftop station at least, and I was lucky to find a gap between buildings where I took this picture below:

See a corresponding aerial view from the South here

I got the photo, packed up my camera gear, and got in the car heading South on Main Street towards my destination. As I was driving, two fire trucks passed me headed north, with no lights or siren. I thought to myself “maybe it was a false alarm, could I be lucky?”

So I headed back to the station, and sure enough the engines were backing in. The Captain was on the sidewalk looking around for me. I waved, parked the car and headed in. He produced the “probie” again, and I showed him how to work the camera explaining the kind of shots I needed. He headed off up the stairs, and I spent some time explaining the project to the Captain. When I asked about the station history, he mentioned that “nothing much has changed up there since the station was built in early 1950’s”.

“Probie” came back with the camera, I checked out the photos, thanked them both profusely, and headed off to the surprise party.

Here is one of the photos taken on the rooftop. This is looking North towards downtown Santa Ana:

Click for a larger image

For seasoned readers of this blog, it is immediately obvious that the station is surrounded by at least 3 air conditioner units, all of which produce warm exhaust air. So adding those potential effects to the rooftop effect, it hardly seems like an ideal environment for measuring temperature accurately.

But there is something else, and this is something that is clearly out of specifications for Stevenson Screen placement at NOAA Weather Stations: The screen access door is pointed west, instead of north. Which is the specification that has been in place since the Stevenson Screen has been put into use by the U. S. Weather bureau in the 1890s. The orientation of the screen, north to south, is important so as to prevent direct sunlight entering when the door is opened while the observer takes a reading or does maintenance.

And as we see from this photo, direct sunlight does indeed enter the screen when the door is opened:

Click for a larger image

Depending on the time of the day, and the time of the year, sunlight may in fact hit the thermometers themselves. We have no way of knowing how much positive bias to the Tmax thermometer this orientation error may introduce for several reasons:

  • We don’t know how long the door stays open, this may change with observer
  • We don’t know how long the screen orientation has been wrong or when it started
  • We don’t know the magnitude of sunlight on given days at this location. They don’t have a sunlight recorder nor do they make records of cloud cover.

So add these uncertainties in the measurement, to the rooftop location, the air conditioner units, changes to the roofing surface or building over time, and it becomes clear that we have an uncertain temperature record that is not only affected by nearby land use change, such as the addition/removal of buildings, streets, and nearby parking lots, but we also have all these microsite effects which are unaccounted for.

Clearly the land around the station has changed. Here is a photo of the original Santa Ana Fire Station around the turn of the Century. I snapped this photo in the lobby of the current fire station on my way out:

Click for a larger image

See all images from the Santa Ana Fire Station here

Notice the orange trees behind the station then.

I wonder if any of the people involved in the original OC Register article know of the issues surrounding this station? Surely if the NWS knew, they’d change the screen orientation to be compliant. It appears that the current equipment has been here for a long time, because the placard on the top of the Stevenson Screen says “U.S. Weather Bureau” and it has last been called that in 1967. So clearly the screen predates that.

Click for the source image

Or maybe they just don’t care there at the NWS San Diego office, after all they have other temperature measurement stations on the rooftops of fire stations. Like this one in Coronado:

Photo Image

Photo from NWS San Diego, showing MMTS sensor click photo for larger image – full story here

Sure there will be those that argue that these sorts of nuances in thermometer exposure “don’t matter” or can be adjusted for. But as we’ve seen time and again the adjustments, such as those done by NASA GISS use a broad brush, and don’t take these sorts of microsite exposure issues into account on any level.

To get an idea of the potential problems involved, here is a paper that goes into minute details about exposure biases in the Australian BoM surface station network

Clearly, Santa Ana is warming. But how much does the record reflect all of the various problems highlighted above and how much of it is the true climate signal?. The answer is by no means certain.

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S Karlstedt
August 23, 2008 9:55 pm

Looks like standing water from the A/C condensate drain- just to the side and below the weather station. That can’t be good.

John S
August 23, 2008 10:37 pm

Team PTM has a good article on this fiasco.

Leon Brozyna
August 23, 2008 11:09 pm

I can’t resist this – I don’t live at the airport nor on the roof of a fire station. So, what’s the purpose of the station? To let the people of Santa Ana know how hot it is on the roof of a building in their fair city? Is this really the best they can do?
It doesn’t appear to be listed as one of their stations of record at USHCN or GISS, unless I’ve missed something. Of course, if it were, it would be amusing to figure out how they guess at the “real” temperature. Which is how my simple mind sees such adjustments; stripped of the computers and algorithms, all it is is a guess.
REPLY: It is not a GISS or USHCN station, but simply a COOP-A station, which means that it does do climate reports sent to NCDC. There are other stations in the region with longer period of records that were picked for USHCN and GISS datasets.
In the past, when the city was less built up, I’m betting the station was at ground level. But as the city grew, available space near the fire station shrank, which may have been the impetus to move the station to the roof. The current fire station was built in 1948 I believe, so the move to the rooftop may have occured then. Unfortunately I am not able to locate the dataset for this station yet. I only have the graph from the OC Register, which is somewhat stylized and lo-res. If I do, I’m betting we’ll see a step change then. -Anthony

Mike C
August 23, 2008 11:48 pm

This station is one of the stations used to adjust the USHCN stations in the area.

Leon Brozyna
August 24, 2008 12:09 am

Details, details. Found the station history at NCDC.
01 Oct 1997 Present 33°45’N / 117°52’W 41.1m / 135′ 047888
22 Apr 1987 01 Oct 1997 33°45’N / 117°52’W 41.1m / 135′ 047888
01 Jan 1982 22 Apr 1987 33°45’N / 117°52’W 41.1m / 135′ 047888
01 Mar 1979 01 Jan 1982 33°45’N / 117°52’W 43.0m / 141′ 047888
22 Jun 1953 01 Mar 1979 33°45’N / 117°52’W 36.9m / 121′ 047888
01 Jun 1953 22 Jun 1953 33°45’N / 117°52’W 36.9m / 121′ 047888
01 Jan 1931 01 Jun 1953 33°46’N / 117°51’W 39.9m / 131′ 047888
Looks like it might have been on the ground from ’53 to ’79 – 121′ above sea level? Present location at 135′ above sea level – 14′ above the ground perhaps?

Steve W.
August 24, 2008 12:59 am

Clearly, Santa Ana is warming.


August 24, 2008 7:54 am

[…] You guys really should check out Anthony Watts’ blog. He is a meteorologist and is currently doing a tour of across the United States, evaluating temperature measuring facilities. What he’s found is that these devices are found in some of the worst places: On top of hot blacktop, gravel roofs, etc. Here’s the most recent edition: How not to measure temperature, part 69 « Watts Up With That? […]

Chris D.
August 24, 2008 7:57 am

Excellent post, Anthony. It really helps show us how even the seemingly insignificant issue of out of compliance siting of the door can potentially introduce a strong bias. I do wonder if the editor and readership of the OC Register would take interest in your survey.

Bill Illis
August 24, 2008 9:53 am

One can understand the security aspect in that equipment on the roof is much less likely to get damaged/vandalized but it almost seems like all of our weather records are now rooftop/parking lot records.
I think we need some new method of weather measuring so we can get back to normal siting conditions and still protect the equipment. Are there other options?
REPLY: The new Climate Reference Network is begin created to deal with the issue,
and the USHCN network is also being modernized

Bill Marsh
August 24, 2008 2:20 pm

I have a question. It appears from looking at the temp graphic that there was a step increase in 76-78 of about 4 degrees. Did something happen on the roof (when were the air conditioners installed/upgraded perhaps?).

Mike C
August 24, 2008 6:25 pm

Bill Marsh, Pacific climate shift.

August 24, 2008 6:40 pm

I have been measuring temperatures at home for 42 years. During that time I have used a variety of instruments and enclosures and have conducted numerous experiments to determine the accuracy of the measurements. Some brief conclusions: a Stevenson Screen enclosure, or for that matter any enclosure, traps heat and gives inaccurate readings that can be up to 3 degrees F too high, particularly during daytime hours. Aspiration of the instruments improves the situation. The placement of the instruments in the box does make a difference. The closer they are to the top of the box, the higher the readings.
The surface under and around the shelter is a CRITICAL
REPLY: Tom, good to hear from you! – Anthony

August 24, 2008 7:00 pm

is a CRITICAL component of this process. Heat from the surface radiated upward into the box or enclosure effects the readings. When the wind is light and the surface is NOT grass, any readings obtained in the box will be inaccurate. Heat from the surface directly under and near the box will rise into the box and ruin any attempt at an accurate reading. Measuring temperatures correctly is EXTREMELY difficult.
Anyone who is interested in this topic should purchase a spot reading IR thermometer to measure the temperature of surfaces near the instruments. If you have not done this you will be AMAZED at what you find out.
I just went outside (6:15pm) and here is what I measured:
My instruments: 96.8 degrees F
Concrete driveway in front of the house in the sun: 120.0
Garden brown bark in sun: 113.5
Sidewalk in the sun: 118.5
Street in front of the house in the sun: 122.5
Grass in the sun: 90.0
Grass in the shade: 86.5
I have repeated this experiment on numerous occasions and the readings are even more dramatic when the sun is directly overhead.
On a hot July day two years ago, with my instruments reading 111, the street
in front of my house was 150-155 degrees F!
The Santa Ana readings are obviously being effected by the surface under the instrument shelter and the readings are essentially useless.
Any shelter over dirt, bark, concrete, a roof, a wooden platform, etc. is not going to be measuring anything useful, except when compared with itself over time.
I urge you all to drive to any location where you suspect the “official” temperatures are being measured incorrectly, and use an aspirated thermometer, or sling psychrometer, and attempt to get the best reading possible, then go back to your computer and find out what the “official” temperature was at that time. I have personally measured differences of as much as 7 degrees on hot, windless days.
All rooftop temperature stations should be shut down immediately, and the instruments relocated to a proper location away from concrete, runways
and other questinable environments.
All temperature measuring locations should be CERTIFIED by the NWS or WMO or AMS or some other organization, and ONLY certified stations should be used in any database being evaluated to assess the current state of our climate.
REPLY: I like certified. Industry has ISO9000, why can’t we have something similar in meteorology? – Anthony

Bill Marsh
August 24, 2008 7:08 pm

Mike C,
Funny, but doubtful. It looks to be a step function increase that occurred in a VERY short period of time. From observing Anthony’s other station info this usually is associated with some kind of change at the site, move, added pavement, etc. I was just curious if there was some kind of record.

Evan Jones
August 24, 2008 7:35 pm

That is one beautiful black tar rooftop.

Mike C
August 24, 2008 7:41 pm

Bill Marsh,
We’ve already looked this issue over. There were no changes at the station at the time. All of the other stations in the area show the same step change. The only condition that the change in 77 correlates with is the Pacific Climate Shift. Additionally, you can see other Pacific shifts in other parts of the record, once again, not only Santa Ana but in all of the stations in the area.

Evan Jones
August 24, 2008 7:44 pm

TL: That seems to coincide fairly well with Yilmaz et al (2008).

Bill Marsh
August 24, 2008 7:52 pm

Mike c,
Interesting. Then I wonder, since the PDO shifted again last year, if the stations will show another shift downward?

August 24, 2008 8:23 pm

1st, has anybody ever taken the temperature data from all of the recording stations that aren’t in a city and graphed the long term trend? I’d be interested in seeing how much the temperature increased in this way.
2nd, I didn’t know that the data is written down and then sent to where ever. I thought these temperature recording stations were all connected electronically to a huge database. What’s to stop the person writing down the data to fudge it on way or another?

Mike C
August 24, 2008 11:28 pm

Bill, look at the PDO numbers:
2007 was down a bit, 2008 is way down.

August 25, 2008 5:05 am

Bill Illis, “I think we need some new method of weather measuring so we can get back to normal siting conditions and still protect the equipment. Are there other options?”
Yes. They are called satellites.

August 25, 2008 10:46 am

“Measuring temperatures correctly is EXTREMELY difficult.” Yes; I spent decades doing it in the lab, and my reaction to the proposition that the world spend trillions of dollars based on juvenile interpretations of weather station temperature measurements is a snort of derision.

August 25, 2008 12:27 pm

“ reaction to the proposition that the world spend trillions of dollars based on juvenile interpretations of weather station temperature measurements is a snort of derision.”
Are you saying that all the efforts that Anthony Watts and others are and have been doing to improve the accuracy of weather station temperature measurements are “juvenile interpretations of weather station temperature measurements”?
Requiring certain standards wouldn’t cost “trillions of dollars”. The NWS, in recent years, has been improving and upgrading it’s “official” reporting site instrumentation and locations. It has expanded it’s cooperative reporting network. NWS personnel do field checks at the various locations and, in effect, certify the stations.
The work that Anthony Watts is doing and reporting here indicates that a great deal of additional work remains to be done.
And what’s the point of all of this? The point is that there is a huge debate currently going on about what should be done, if anything, about Climate Change (Global Warming). The stakes are high. The various “solutions” to Global Warming will cost trillions of dollars (see:
We need accurate measurements of temperature and other meteorological parameters from current weather stations worldwide so that public policy decisions aren’t based on false information.

August 25, 2008 12:37 pm

Tom L, I think you misinterpreted dearieme.

August 25, 2008 12:55 pm

“ reaction to the proposition that the world spend trillions of dollars based on juvenile interpretations of weather station temperature measurements is a snort of derision.”
“Tom L, I think you misinterpreted dearieme.”
If “ spend trillions of dollars..” refers to the money proposed to be spent to stop “Global Warming”, and if “..juvenile interpretations of weather station temperature measurements..” refers to the current state of weather reporting stations, then we are in agreement.

August 25, 2008 1:32 pm


August 25, 2008 1:37 pm

Current temperature readings:
Instruments 90.1 (wireless), 89.2 (wired sensor)
Grass in sun: 91.5 F
Grass in shade: 76.5
Bark in sun: 132.5
Bark in shade: 85.0
Sidewalk in sun: 119.5
Driveway in sun: 121.0
Driveway in shade: 87.0
Light brown wall near instrument shelter in shade: 90.5
Light brown wall near shelter in sun: 124.5
Dark brown wall near shelter in sun: 139.0
Concrete near shelter in sun: 116.0
Concrete near shelter in shade: 86.0
Gardening soil in sun: 113.0
Gardening soil under plants: 83.5
Road surface in sun: 132.5
REPLY: at 12:45 Mather AFB in Sacramento reports 88F, A weather Underground Station in South Natomas reports 91F and Arden Arcade at 91F

August 25, 2008 1:47 pm

Interestingly, I don’t think that being part of the USHCN is required to be part of the GHCN. The map linked to here purports to list all of the 7280 WMO stations in the GHCN. I can verify that at least two stations listed on the map for the United States are not included in the database for the USHCN. I cannot verify the age of the map, but it does cast doubt upon the accuracy and standards of those who use GHCN numbers.

August 25, 2008 2:44 pm

L, by “juvenile interpretations of weather station temperature measurements” I mean the Global Warmmongers routine figure-fiddling. I am a fan of Anthony and His Merry Men, of Climate Audit, and of anyone trying to elevate the dismal intellectual standards of what’s passed off as “Climate Science”.

August 25, 2008 3:24 pm

Applause to dearieme..I did, indeed, misread your comments.

Bern Bray
August 26, 2008 10:00 am

Tom Loffman (19:00:43)
Amen. Based upon my electronics experience, I would like to add: Including a regular calibration schedule for all stations against a Federal standard.
At GTE we had to send our resistance and capacitance standards out every year to a lab to have them checked against Federal standards, and we were not doing anything as important as this (determining the future lifestyles of the world).

Gerald Ingle
August 28, 2008 9:34 am

Once again, man-made global warming is proven…… puts a thermometer on a rooftop filled with air conditioners in a growing population center and warming occurs…..

September 2, 2008 4:22 am

Is it possible to see all of the posts in the “How Not to Measure Temperature Series”? I have really enjoyed reading the entries in your blog — Thanks for doing this.

September 5, 2008 4:42 pm

Hi. This is Gary Robbins, science writer for the Orange County Register. I wrote the article about the increase in Santa Ana’s average temperature.
Anthony and I swapped emails not long after my story came out. He said that it might be possible that the weather station at Santa Ana Fire Station might not be taking accurate readings. Anthony emailed me an image that didn’t really show the guts of the station. So I had little to follow up on. However, I did call the NWS in San Diego and asked if they’d had any numbers issue with the Santa Ana Fire Station data. I was told that they had not.
But …
Anthony posted more photos and pressed the issue. So I called Ivory Small, the chief science officer at NWS-San Diego. Ivory — who lives in OC — said that forecaster Noel Isla had examined Anthony’s concerns and decided that the weather station was fine. But it’s worth one more look. So I emailed Anthony’s web pages to Noel Isla and asked him to explain how he concluded that the station is operating correctly. Noel’s next work shift doesn’t begin until Saturday afternoon. So I don’t expect to get a response until Saturday or Sunday. But we are looking into the matter.
I’ve got to say, I’m totally impressed by Anthony’s persistence in getting images by having a firefighter go up on the roof with a camera. I like Anthony’s website, too, and I’ll be referring to it off my own blog (
I’ve been writing about the weather for 25 years. It’s a touchy business. Readers are quick to point out information that they believe is in error. When we’re wrong, we admit it. Most recently, we ran an update from Bill Patzert at JPL, who admitted that he’d overstated the impact of climate change on the average high temperature in Santa Ana. But we hold fast when we think we’re right. I’ve been getting roughed up by readers by reporting that the average high temperature has been higher than normal for the past six months. Many readers have said that the last three months in particular — summer, in other words — was cooler than normal. But the weather readings taken at John Wayne Airport and Fullerton Airport say otherwise.
Either way, this is all fascinating stuff. And I wanted to tip my hat to Anthony for his persistence and for his wonderful blog.

September 5, 2008 6:51 pm

Gary, thank you for sticking with the story.
25 years writing about the weather? And you haven’t seen it all yet, it appears!

September 8, 2008 5:38 am

I am very definitely an AGW skeptic. All science depends on the free exchange of ideas represented by skeptics. Any idea without skepticism is just dogma (like the Emperor’s new clothes).
I’m going to try my hand at doing a blog ( I’m starting with some of the more obvious arguments using the Vostok ice-core charts.
I bought one of the data-loggers advertised on your site and have used it to compare the difference between Maximum/Minimum (MMTS) temperatures with an average of five-minute readings. I’ll include the results and raw data as I develop enough data to be meaningful. So far, one month’s data shows that the daily average of the maximum and minimum temperatures is ~2 deg. F higher than the daily average of the five-minute readings (ranging from -0.7 to ~4.5, with only one below 0)

October 30, 2008 10:07 am

That weather station is probably of great value if they were trying to measure the roof top temperature impact of an A/C upgrade or the temperature impact caused by reroofing the fire station.
It is easy to speculate that the improper orientation of the screen could have caused by some past maintenance activity that resulted in a worker that removed and inproperly replaced the weather station as part of some roof top work. One has to wonder how many times this sort of thing has happened.

Justin Solar Architect
December 23, 2008 5:58 pm

Tom L.,
You are taking this very seriously… so
while Anthony and his merry men are out and about please everyone consider the colors, mass and reflectivity of everything in the microclimate around the instruments… Black or dark Masses absorb… then re-radiate the heat… lighter colors reflect… but still absorb some heat… mirror glass on buildings may reflect the sun onto the instruments depending upon time of day, year, etc.
Watch out for refracted energy…
You have correctly indentified exhaust heat from AC units, Heaters, Boilers etc. – irrigaton, ponds, waterways and pools all usually reduce the local temperature.
I need to understand what is happening as I try to best serve my clients in Passive Solar Architecture, but clearly – much work remains and AGW will at best remain a hypothesis for a long time, at least.
I seriously question all of the “weather” data collected… it would seem that we need to develop a sealed package with built in wireless telemetry to report to an independant 3rd party as well as giss… Dr. Hansen requires observation.
I appreciate all of your work…

Steven Rossy
December 26, 2008 7:57 am

Unbelievable. I was a lead meteorolog Lab Instructor for Five years and have always been trying to persuade my friends who were on the Global Warming Band Wago to get off. Your Articles and findins on inaccurately placed Weaher Stations is spot on. Thanks for the Article.

Annie Frokjer
January 11, 2009 7:08 pm

In my youth as a forestry specialist I observed the reorientation of a Stevenson Screen opening to the south from the north because the shadow made the instruments difficult to read. A pathologist noticed the change and insisted that it be put back in compliance. He was upset the the last winters data was worthless. Thereafter a flashlight was attached to the record clipboard, though it wasn’t needed till winter. I wonder if readings from new sophisticated instruments would be comparable to the old or would new bench marks need to be set? How can the changing micro-niche of each instrument and other errors get accounted for, statistically? Climate change happens in micro, do all these micro climates affect larger climate areas? I do not have any science training but the idea that changing large areas to black top and asphalt topped buildings from orange trees or native plants causing warming temps in that area makes sense to me. Do air conditioners create heat or do they just remove it from a building with no real effect? Can anyone recommend a basic website for an adult such as myself to learn more about temperature and meteorology?

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