Update on the Verhojansk Russia Meteo station and data

There’s been a lot of interest in this station from my post on “pipes”. Finding it from Google Earth has been a challenge since the lat/lon provided by meteorological agencies is rather coarse.

A number of commenters, especially Jeff C. and George M. have zeroed in with the help of land photos they’d discovered, such as this one from a travel company that offers trips to the “pole of cold”:

Stevenson Screen at Verhojansk Meteo Station looking ENE

Another image of the brown wood slat covered building which houses the office is here:

Click for larger image

Note the two pole barns in the distance from the Stevenson Screen photo and the field of view. It seems that we have located the station in the far northeast side of town at 67.565°N 133.413°E Here is the corresponding Google Earth image with my addition of the field of view lines:


Click for a larger image

A live Google Earth for this image is here

It appears that the original meteo station office, seen below with the quad Yagi satellite antenna on it, has been replaced with the newer one above that has a dish antenna. The new office can be seen in the background left of this photo:

Direct URL to the photo above here

What is curious is the plume in the left of the frame. It appears to be steam but could be smoke, we’ll never know for sure.

I’ve also been able to obtain the raw daily data for Verhojansk.

Which has four readings per day at six hour intervals, plus the Tmax and Tmin Temperature. I’ve placed the text file on my surfacestations.org server for anyone that wishes to do an analysis and compare it to the same period for HadCRUT or GISS.

Here is the GISTEMP plot, there does appear to be a  positive trend since about 1980:


Fighting a massive cold and work duties preclude me from doing any decent analysis now, but given the interest level, I’m making it available to anyone that wants to give it a go. Even though the data set is only 8 years long, there may be something interesting to discover. This short raw data set has not been processed by GHCN whereas the GISTEMP data has been.

Link: VerhojanskDaily Data (ASCII text file 1.1 MB) to save to a file, do a right click and “save target as”

Link: Verhojansk GISTEMP Monthly Data (ASCII text file 17KB)


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Rod Smith

I think you mean 133.413E — not west!
REPLY: Fixed Thanks – Anthony

Richard deSousa

What a bloody shame… NASA GISS has billions of dollars to spend on computer generated climate garbage and can’t spend a few hundred thousand bucks to do some due diligence to insure their data is accurate.

[snip] Note: no postings posing as somebody else, no matter how relevant or interesting the comment – Anthony


Yakutia stations were of interest for dendros, like this often cited paper:
A 538-Year Record of Climate and Treeline Dynamics from the Lower Lena River Region of Northern Siberia, Russia, by G. M. MacDonald, R. A. Case and J. M. Szeicz, Arctic and Alpine Research, Vol. 30, No. 4 (Nov., 1998), pp. 334-339
and this pdf about the vegetation period in Siberia in German,
with Figs showing yearly average temperatures of 13 stations in the Siberian region up to 2001. The authors obtained their data until 1972 (Min, Max, Mean) from the Research Institute of Hydrometeorological Information, Obninsk, Russland and from that date from National Climate Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina, so probably not GISS-muddled. Interestingly, many of the stations show a temperature decline since the the early to middle 90’s…


I wonder what year they added that convenient incandescent bulb to the screen box, and if they leave it on all the time?

B Kerr

The Stevenson Screen photo may explain Russian “hotspots”.
What type of light is shining out from inside the Stevenson Screen?
Could it be an oil lamp?
An electric light bulb?
(Does Russia have low energy light bulbs?)
A laser?
Does the light go off when the door is closed?
I remember having a torch – flash light – in my mouth when I took earlier morning readings in the 1960’s. (Late 1960’s, very late.)

I imagine that the guy in the first photo, just breathing in front of the station, has raised the local temperature! No doubt about AGW! Shouldn’t an important station be kept isolated, or are they special Hansen friends?

Chris D.

Anthony, I think you’re right to assume that there are more than one Stevenson Screen. The unit the fellow is peering into in the top image is different from the one in the arcticphoto.co.uk image, which has some sort of device under it. The former appears to be located nearer the eastern edge of the fenced enclosure. It looks like yet another unit is just to the east of that one but is concealed by the open door in the top image, though you can easily make out the stand.
So more questions: Which of two (and possibly three or even more) Stevenson Screens is used for the official temp record? Are the extras for back up when one is broken? Does the light get left on from time to time? And then there’s that river…


Is the “newer” station not the one towards the left/rear of the bottom photo (below the plume)? Looks very similar to me. So in fact both buildings could still be standing.

Steven Hill

WOW, sure looks warm in those images, there is no doubt that heating is a serious problem there.
38 at Tampa Fl in the morning…more data on Global Warming.

Leon Brozyna

As usual, excellent work all round.
And a good choice of words in describing the GISTEMP plot as having a positive trend (rather than a warming one) since about 1980. Just in eyeballing that graph it looks to have been fairly steady from 1900 to approx 1987 at around -15°C and since then seems to have moved up to roughly -14°C. At that gawd awful temperature, my subjective reaction is that cold is cold; one degree less cold brings little comfort.
With all that imagery above as well as the snow outside my window, I need a warm drink about now.

Bern Bray

It’s a sad, sad morning when I come to work and there are no WUWT updates. I hope you feel better soon.
As for work duties, I’ve found that they are highly overrated 🙂

Pierre Gosselin

In the photo titled “Stevenson Screen at Verhojansk Meteo Station looking ENE” there is a lovely warm glow coming out of the box. Is that an incandescent bulb?
If so, is there any mechanism to make sure it is turned off after a reading?
And just what is that guy in the picture doing anyway? It looks a bit like he’s taking a picture of the inside of the box, but why?


Sorry to add this randomly to a post – Good to see your work getting a wider audience. The Telegraph is the largest circulation broadsheet in the UK.


Yes, me too I saw that incandescent bulb! Maybe it’s there since the 80’s ! If it is left on for a day, there’s your AGW !


I bet there’s a candle inside the box – and each year they get a bigger one… 😉


Well president elect Barak Obama is getting it started on climate change.He told scientist in California today we must take on climate change once and for all and wants our emmision level to be where it was in 1990.Iwrk at a smal town Ford dealership and Ican rember in 1996 every vehicle had to be ordered with Calfornia emissions which by the way an chargeable option.I just don’t understand .California has the most strict emissions and yet they have the warmest temps.Of course we know from the site, whats up with that Thanks Anthony, that most of their temps are from equipment that has been moved from original location,who knows why, or is beside an air condition exhaust fan.I guess that hot exhaust could have an effect on a thermostat .Today in North Caolina , surry county we have been in the 30 ‘s all day ,no clouds,which is about a month early than normal.Our mountains are having snow and there is snow in the eastern part of the state as well only flurries butthis is early none the less.I know natural variences.How much longer can the global warming crowd keep saying this before we say NO ENOUGH LIES something really is going on ??There is something going on .Despite the fact that we are being lied to by Noaa and the AGW crowd the earth is in fact cooling.What Obama Mccain,and the liberal media are trying to do is nothing more that the goverment controling the american people.It’s no different than Hitller.

Adam Soereg

Like some previous commenters, I can see several ‘strange objects’ on the Google Earth satellite imagery, all of them can be stevenson screens or other instruments. Which is the operating one? If the thermometer is located in the temperature sehlter seen above with that nice lightbulb, it could be an explanation for the recent rise in measured monthly and annual mean temperatures.
According to Mojgorod.ru, Verhoyansk (Верхоянск) has a population of about 1300, and it had only 400 inhabitants in 1897.

B Kerr

We had a few weeks in SW Florida at the end of August his year; needed to get away from our wet windy Scottish summer.
OK OK no one told us it was hurricane season. Faye came ashore a couple of miles south and Gustav cooled down the gulf and Hannah……
But apart from all this I got a real education watching US TV.
Newscaster says…
“If Obama wants Hilarys support, she will not come for free. She comes with a big bill”.
I said to my wife, “But worse she comes with a big Gore, and he will be even more expensive!”
Looks like it has started already.

Adam Soereg

Perhaps we should try to find a person in Siberia who can find out what is going on there… the growing Siberian internet penetration rate (now about 30%) can be a great advantage.


About Stevenson screens and Yakutia tourism: I made some web reading in Russian and English.
It seems that there are actually two Poles of Cold rivalling: Verkhoyansk (which at the time already had a proper meteorologic station founded at the end of 19. century by a Siberian prisoner, I think in 1892) and Oymyakon, where the temp was lower, but not measured in an official station, which was built afterwards. Both places are frost basins (translation?). Both places are trying to woo tourists by taking them to the stations, letting them to observe the temperature and then issuing “Pole of Cold” certificates.
The “old” Verkhoyansk building on the arcticphoto is probably the one from the end of 19th century. I’m not sure if the photo of people peering inside the Stevenson screen is not taken in Oymyakon – I”ve seen a photo from there, which I can’t find now again and their Stevenson didn’t have anything under the booth.
REPLY: “I’m not sure if the photo of people peering inside the Stevenson screen is not taken in Oymyakon”
The photo is from Verkhojansk, of that I have little doubt. Look at the buildings (pole barn) in the background of the camera field of view. – Anthony

Adam Soereg

The biggest problem is the remoteness of this station. Verhoyansk is a very small settlement, and located far away from big Siberian cities. Yakutsk, the closest city with a population above 200-250 thousand is more than 700 kilometers away.


The pipes thread identified the light switch (box upper right). The guy’s probably taking a picture of the thermometer. That’d be the best reason to travel to the pole of cold that I could think of.


OT, but this is incredible and there’s no “general purpose” comment thread.
Schwarzenegger has just issued an executive order directing CA State agencies to plan for sea level rise and climate Impacts.

“We have to adapt the way we work and plan in order to manage the impacts and challenges that California and our entire planet face from climate change,” Governor Schwarzenegger said. “Given the serious threat of sea level rise to California’s water supply, population and our economy, it’s critically important that we make sure the state is prepared when heavy rains cause flooding and the potential for sea level rise increases in future years.”

I guess these idiots won’t stop until the glaciers return to Chicago.


The light bulb is an error term, unless they keep on increasing the wattage then it can influence the trend. The issue is what has changed during the last 20 to 30 years that impacts the temperature reading besides the temperature.

David L. Hagen

Might a commercially focused effort tied in with another agency provide the opportunity for some quality temperature data? See:
NREL Hunts for Solar-Thermal Hot Spots

The national lab is working with Iberdrola Renewables and other companies on measuring solar energy resources for developing solar-thermal power plants in Arizona.
. . . With better instruments and software however, the scientists can gather higher resolution data and produce more sophisticated modeling and forecasting. The SOLRMAP project aims to do just that.
NREL researchers will supervise the instrument installation and data collection while participating companies will provide the funding and maintenance, Wilcox said. Each one of Irradiance’s instruments costs between $10,000 and $12,000, Wilcox said.

Do they already include temperature sensing?
OR could they be persuaded to add it?

Ed Scott

Robert M. Carter in his article, The Futile Quest for Climate Control, http://www.quadrant.org.au/magazine/issue/2008/451/the-futile-quest-for-climate-control, denoted three realities in regard to AGW – science reality, virtual reality and public (political) reality.
While the pros and cons of AGW are being discussed by the science realists and the virtual realists, the decision has been made by the public (political) realists and that decision can only be reversed by our elected representatives, which at this time, seems futile.
In making the situation more dire, the Supreme Court, in Massachusetts v. EPA, decided that the EPA should consider CO2 a pollutant, without consulting Nature.
Do you feel that you are losing control of your life, losing your sovereignty and losing your freedom? If not, fret not. The feeling will soon be upon you.

Tom in freakin chilly Florida

Steven Hill “38 at Tampa Fl in the morning…”
44 at my house in Venice (about 1 hr south). The average temperature being 41for those two sites although neither site was actually 41but hey, averages are averages.
I’ll take warming any time!


You might enjoy this quotation from the website of an outfit called Institutional Risk Analytics (IRA), interviewing a Dr Janeway. The analogy leaps off the page.
“Janeway: That’s my point. It was a kind of religious movement, a willed suspension of disbelief. If we say that the assumptions necessary to produce the mathematical models hold in the real world, namely that markets are efficient and complete, that agents are rational, that agents have access to all of the available data, and that they all share the same model for transforming that data into actionable information, and finally that this entire model is true, then at the end of the day, leverage should be infinite. Market efficiency should rise to the point where there isn’t any spread left to be captured. The fact that a half a percent unhedged swing in your balance sheet can render you insolvent, well it doesn’t fit with this entire constructed intellectual universe that goes back 50 years.
The IRA: But doesn’t this certainty about the ability of science and mathematics to reveal truth go back to WWII and the Whiz Kids of McNamara’s Pentagon? Then we see the emergence of physics as the real leader of 20th Century scientific research. Finally, in the latter decades of the century physics is applied to finance.
Janeway: Yes, but here is the problem. Real scientists tend to be much more skeptical about their data and their models, and thus tend to be critical empiricists. We can blame the crisis on failed physicists; they had all of the math but none of the instincts of good scientists that would enable them to be good physicists.
The IRA: And none of the discipline. So you combine the commission-driven sales culture of Wall Street with quack science and you end up with structured finance and OTC derivatives.”


For those not in the know, manbearpig is very funny.
Hint #1: My 16 year old son showed me manbearpig on TV!
Hint#2: Snipped comment at (11:42:27) :

Steven Hill

Hey Tom, I’ll be there on Friday…my brother lives in Sarasota. We are travling down from Ky to vist for Thanksgiving. It’s already in the 20’s here this evening. 7:45pm
I wonder if Al Gore has the heated pool cranked up in Nashville?
Wow, this global cooling, I mean global heating is making me sweat.

George M

OK, Anthony:
First, thanks for the credit for locating the buildings. Someday I’ll tell you how.
Now, about the lead photo in this post. There are two specific problems. Look at the three pole power support which appears just behuind the photographer’s back pack in the photo. You can just make out the shadow of this structure under your left sight line. However, it appears to align with the right side of the building, and your sight line aligns it with the left edge. The shelter seems too close to the fence, there may be one object between, and that really doesn’t fit well either. I can’t tell if it is a bad pixel or a real object, but there seems to be a tiny object in about the right location if you draw the sight line from the right side of the building through the apparent base of the triangular shadow. Ain’t photointerpretation great?
Second, what the heck do those two guy wires go up to? There is nothing in any other photograph or in the satellite photo which suggests anything that tall in that location. More questions than answers.
My suspicion is that yet another screen for tourists to take photographs inside was installed since the satellite photo, and there is another new pole of some kind with guy wires there also.

Where’s the linear regression line? Looks like a 1 degree C rise in annual mean temperature from -16 to -15 over the last 100 years. And this is in the super-sensitive boreal lats.
Look at the sad face, utterly miserable about soaring global warming. It’s only -15. Not like the good old days. I’m in a panic about it; how about you?

Fernando (in Brazil)

I swear, only went to the bathroom

Richard M

“And a good choice of words in describing the GISTEMP plot as having a positive trend (rather than a warming one) since about 1980. Just in eyeballing that graph it looks to have been fairly steady from 1900 to approx 1987 at around -15°C and since then seems to have moved up to roughly -14°C. At that gawd awful temperature, my subjective reaction is that cold is cold; one degree less cold brings little comfort”
This made me wonder. As a complete novice … does it take the same energy to raise the temp from -15 to -14 (in a given space) as it does from 14 to 15?


“Schwarzenegger has just issued an executive order directing CA State agencies to plan for sea level rise and climate Impacts.”
I guess he hasn’t seen the latest data showing sea levels have recently been dropping or that global temperatures haven’t shown a rising trend in 10 years.
Hook. Line. Sinker.

robert gregg

Why is the instrument shelter so high off the ground? I believe the official height of the thermometers is five feet. That could in effect make the temperatures warmer just being that much higher. In a dry climate like that I don’t think the shelter is high due to the depth of the snow.


Maybe Arnold should have a look at this.

According to this really cool weather site, (which, by the way, gives massive kudos to Anthony) it’s a balmy -44F in Verhojansk at the moment!
Surf’s up!

old construction worker

I like the exspression on the young lady’s face. I can imagine what she is thinking.

Jeff C

Chris D – I’m certain you are correct, there are multiple Stevenson screens. Probably three, the one in the photo from the earlier post, the one the guy is photographing (looks slightly different from the first one), and one immediatelly behind the second one where you can only see the legs. They are arranged from West to East.
The one with the lightbulb may be there for tourists. The first one looked more modern and has a heavy cable going back to the station.
Anyone else notice the large half of a tank just to the left of the woman’s head in the Stevenson screen photo? I think it is the dark spot in the middle of the upper line in Anthony’s Google Earth field of view image. Some sort of a fuel storage tank? For what?
Anthony – like you, I’ve got a cold, a job, and small kids. The first should be gone in a couple of days. Once I can figure out what to do with the others, it should be fun to play with the data!

Ron de Haan

Nov 18, 2008
NOAA GHCN has Global Temperatures for October 2nd Warmest (Don’t Believe It)
The Earth’s temperature for the month of October was the second-warmest since records began in 1880, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The month’s average temperature of 58.2 degrees was 1.1 degrees above the 20th century average of 57.1 degrees, trailing only October 2003. For the Earth’s land areas, it was the warmest October on record.
And this NOAA data does include the correct October temperature data for Russia…unlike NASA’s October data released last week, which caused the agency to end up with egg on its face. After NASA announced that October was the warmest ever recorded, eagle-eyed bloggers at skeptic blogs Climate Audit and Watts up with that pointed out that the data from Russia was for September, not October. Of course, this skewed the global temperature higher than it would have been.
Even if you don’t agree with all (or any) of the points or claims posited by the warming skeptics, I think they are doing a needed service by keeping the climate change adherents, such as authors of the RealClimate blog, on their toes. RealClimate’s Gavin Schmidt addressed this in this post: “the extra attention has led to improvements in many products. Nothing of any consequence has changed in terms of our understanding of climate change, but a few more it’s have been dotted and tt’s crossed.”
Indeed, as noted above, even with the correct October data from Russia, temperatures across Australia, Asia (including Russia), the western USA, eastern Europe, northern Canada, eastern Brazil, and the southern countries of South America were all warmer-than-average in October. And so far this year, 2008 is the ninth-warmest year on record for the planet, with all nine of the Earth’s warmest years occurring since the mid-1990s. See post here.
This is not surprising as NOAA has become the biggest outlier in recent months. They have thanks to Tom Peterson and Tom Karl a global data base that is worth nothing. There is little or no adjustment for urbanization, land use changes, no adjustment for bad station siting (69% of the 560 US climate stations surveyed by Anthony Watts team of volunteers were poor or very poorly sited), 2/3rds of the stations globally dropped out in 1990, the number of missing months increased tenfold in the FSU and Africa, and changes in instrumentation like here in the US that Tom Karl himself found produced a warm bias of 0.5F. All these introduce a warm bias, none of whoch are corrected for. Not less than 6 peer review studies have shown these issues may account for up to 50% of the warming since 1900. Trust only the satellite. In fact, this October was the 10th warmest of the 30 years of data for the MSU satellite according to UAH with only a 0.167C (0.3F) anomaly instead of the 1.1F. Unfortunately satellite data extends only back to 1979.

Oh, and those pole barns in the background couldn’t possibly be there as shelters for the single most important resource in the town, namely “reindeer”, could they?
Looking at the hi-res Google Maps images, I counted what could possibly be THIRTEEN large barns that could each hold at hundreds, if not thousands, of the critters within a few hundred feet of the Stevenson screens. I’m beginning to think it might not be the pipes that are causing the slight bump in the temps around Verkhoyansk (Google’s spelling), after all… It’s, quite possibly, all of those methane-passing, four-legged heat pumps snuggling down against each other within flatulating distance of the thermometers.
Just my two rubles worth…

Jeff C

OT – but take a look at the second floor deck and the rooftop deck at the new station in the second photo. They must be out of parallel by 2 to 3 feet. The fruits of a centralized, planned economy on display.

Just want truth...

Heat travels up. In buildings it goes up through the ceiling and up out of the roof. This is why icicles form on the edge of rooftops in wintertime. Heat from inside the building warms the roof and melts the underlying snow that’s in contact with the roof. It runs’ down the roof to the eves that have no heat source underneath since the underside of eves is open air. The melted snow freezes into icicles on the egde of the eves as it’s running off. I don’t see icicles around the bottom edge of the roof where the “newer one (station) above that has a dish antenna”. But still if there is any heat in that building at any time during the year it will change the temp readings on the roof.
The plume from the other building does look like a heat source. Any wind pushing that plume toward the station will change the temp reading. It is more likely that that plume pushed by wind would effect the newer station high on the roof than the older station much lower to the ground.
What I am very curious to know is when the newer station was installed. I am curious to know was it ~1995 when you can see a clear jump in temps on the graph.


Not less than 6 peer review studies have shown these issues may account for up to 50% of the warming since 1900.
I know of two of those studies: McKitrick/Michaels nd LaDochy (both Dec. 2007). But what are the other four?
Anyone? I’d really like to get them.

David Jay

Richard M –
Most materials have a specific heat (energy required to raise the material’s temperature 1 degree) that is NOT constant, that is to say it varies as the temperature changes. So theoretically, I am confident that the atmosphere has some slight difference between the energy required it these two cases.
From a practical standpoint, the difference will be minimal.

D. Quist

Quick observation/question about temperature and low basin type places. If there is no wind you get an inversion, right?
Temperature above the inversion is warmer. Now if there are heat sources in this basin the slightly warmer air will rise until it hits the inversion. It will not go any further but circulate around inside the inversion. Basically you would fill this area with air that is slighly warmer but unable to rise above the inversion. Either way you will warm up the place.
So, if you have a bunch of buildings, reindeer by the thousands you will warm up the basin, slightly, along with making it smell like reindeer and hazy from smoke.