As we get more of the private observers in USHCN surveyed, we start hearing about stories like this one from Dufur Oregon, where the observers seem to have been pretty much “left on their own” for about many, many, years. The lack of guidance and QC on the part of NOAA is stunning. The station itself is even more troubling. I don’t blame the observer, but NOAA clearly failed this observer and the science mission to collect climate data.
Find the Stevenson Screen in this picture
Anthony, I wanted to share experience regarding Dufur with you because the station is on a private residence and the survey form does not allow for the frustration that one feels regarding the lack of oversight on the part of administering agency. The particulars are these:An 80+ year old gentleman, [we’ll call him Bob for privacy], has been curator of the Dufur station since 1968, having inherited these duties from his father-in-law as a death bed request. The father-in-law, had maintained the station since about 1908. However, it is very apparent that there has been little guidance or assistance, and almost no recognition for the efforts of these volunteers: In this instance, for about one century of effort.It is very disheartening to see the amount of effort that this family put into a project that is so badly out of compliance with the guidelines. Some of the problems with the station include:1. The Stevenson Box is 6 feet from the house and 6 feet from the exhaust unit of a heat pump.2. The box is dwarfed and almost swallowed up by a large yew tree on one side and a juniper on the other. Both trees tower over the box and access to the door on the box is now quite restricted.3. There are numerous other trees, shrubs and fences in this very small area that influence the air flow near the thermometers.4. Several decades ago, apparently concern about the top of the box weathering prompted either the curator or his father-in-law before him to sheath the top in what appeared to be aluminum sheeting. ( I know you’ve been experimenting with the effects of latex vs whitewash; what about metal sheathing?)5. The reported coordinates of the station are off by .14 miles, and have been out-of-date for 40 years. The lat/lon cited by NOAA also marks the precise location of his father-in-law’s house, where the station was located 40 years ago; coincidence? As I understand it, [Bob] moved the box 40 years ago, but NOAA was not aware of the change and did not physically check out the station during the 40 year period.6. Firewood, tools and bikes have been and are currently stored around and under the box.7. The curator indicated that in the past when he was away from home, a friend of his who lived a ways out of town, would simply record the temperatures at his (the friend’s home), and the curator would plug this data into his records.It would appear, that in 40 years no one has been by to check this installation and I wonder what communications are maintained between the curators and NOAA to encourage that the stations and procedures are kept in compliance.
To add insult to injury, when [Bob] was given a certificate for his efforts, NOAA shortened the number of years of service.
Here is the “metalized” roof of the Stevenson Screen:
Note also the condition of the wood and paint.
As you can see from this photo, the screen is in proximity to trees, bushes, and the house:
See the complete photo gallery here.
Yes, this is an active, official climate station of record for the US Historical Climatological Network. Data from this station and many like it are used in climate studies.
Every time I see something like this it angers me. In private industry we have demands for quality control. There are protocols like ISO-9000 put into place by industry voluntarily, to ensure quality products and services, yet it appears we have not even a hint of similar quality control in the measurement and collection system of the USHCN data set.
Which makes this statement from the home page of NOAA’s USHCN particularly laughable:
The United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) is a high quality, moderate-sized data set of daily and monthly records of basic meteorological variables from over 1000 observing stations across the 48 contiguous United States.