How not to measure temperature, part 75

Like tornados and trailer parks, USHCN temperature sensors and barbecues seem to have mutual attraction.

This is the official NOAA USHCN climate station of record in Fairbury Nebraska.


Click for a larger image

Photo taken by volunteer Eric Gamberg

Here is the station temperature plot from GISS. Care to guess when the station was located here?


Click for source image

According to the NCDC MMS database the station was placed here in 1998.

[1998-12-07]   2004-10-01  40.135560 (40°08’08″N)  -97.171390 (97°10’17″W)



The step change seen in the temperature record is quite pronounced and continues today.


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Phillip Bratby

Why did I guess 1998?

D. Quist

Weather Station Surprise:
Find an official NOAA USHCN climate station of record!
Win one of the following:
Fire Station!
Sewage plant!
Hamburger, hot off the BBQ!!!
Parking Lot!
Hot tar roof!
So, many choices, so much AGW. Be a warming winner!


With such a large jump it is not going to take too many like this to have a real impact on the overall figures. Have there been a list released yet of the stations that are so obviously wrong and by how much? I guess wht I am really asking is, is there hard evidence out in the public domain that could definitively prove that the global temparature is being over estimated?


Wow, that’s the worst weather station I have ever seen. Even with barbecues, roads, tree canopies, cars and nearby homes, it will be hard to pretend the world is still warming (now that the sun is no longer unusually active) when the headlines start to look like this:

Mike McMillan

Wonder how many days had a high of 160 °F ?

Mike Bryant

On CA, Steve Mc found problems with a temperature data file. As the issue was being discussed, NOAA began deleting files.
So I guess the coverup is afoot, or will NOAA do the right thing?
Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion.

B Kerr

How not to measure Temperatures.
In an earlier posting I asked if anyone new the locations of UK weather stations.
Unlike the States, the locations of UK weather stations are not readily available.
I came across a Met office web page.
The web page links to maps showing the towns which have weather stations.
(I was surprised to find my home town on the list. I’m going down to the harbour this afternoon and try and find it.)
No locations lat/long are given.
I also found the “Eastbourne’s official Met Office standard weather station”.
They are rightfully proud of their weather station.
“(I)n 1912 the Meteorological Office decided to encourage local authorities to set up climatological stations which would be inspected annually to ensure that common high standards of observing were maintained.”
Clearly the weather station is of a very high standard, as it is annually inspected by the Met Office. That is reassuring.
The picture of the Stevenson Screen is also very reassuring being surrounded by grass and a row of flowers.
The linked presentation: “Presentation – The History of Eastbourne’s Meteorological Service – [2.81 MB]” at the foot of the web page is even more interesting. It is worth a look.
The picture on page 7 shows the weather station in its true glory.
Yes that’s it next to the “Small Tours” building.
You cannot miss the “Small Tours” building at it has a safety cage over the chimney or gas flue.
The weather station is easy to get to as you can park right next to it. That must be handy when its raining.
The picture on page 9 shows the thermometers themselves.
How accurately can temperatures be measured with standard thermometers?
Two or three decimal places?
Averages are usually given to one decimal place.
IPCC always give two decimal places, but then again they are more accurate than everyone else.
I wish the people on page 10 would hurry up and get over to the “Park View Hotel” do they not realise that they could be affecting max/min temperatures by leaving the doors open for that length of time!!!
So where is the weather station in Eastbourne?
This isn’t a Siberian weather station it can be located in Google Earth.
“Our Met Office approved station is part of the UK Climatological Observing Network and is situated Latitude 50º,46’N : Longitude 0º,17’E.”
This is not much help.
The web page says that the weather station is in the “Enclosure opposite Congress Theatre, Carlisle Road”. I hope the people going to the Park View Hotel are not too disappointed looking onto an enclosure!!
Quick Google Earth search and guess what, success.
Position 50.762274°, 0.283856°
The weather station is on an island.
Yes a traffic island! It looks more like a race track.
Hang on, hang on, this weather station is annually inspected to ensure common high standards. I fell depressed.
Is this the high standards that the Met office expect and demands?
Heaven help us!
Clearly UK weather stations need to be examined along the lines of “how not to measure temperatures”.
Any takers?
Can anyone help?
Please help!
I should be down in the South of England sometime next year.
I’ll pop into Enviro-Fact and check it out.
No I think I’ll miss that out, look at the picture on page 22!

Martin Audley

Oh when will this nightmare end? This fiasco just gets worse.
Re out sites in the UK: For the benefit of the keen North American readers – you are all going to get a nasty shock if this site’s focus ever moves to England.
Many, many sites are on air fields. These are usually Royal Air Force bases which have had wind and temp stations since they opened, for obvious air safety reasons.
This is going to raise eyebrows because of the previous absurd numbers coming out of places like Reno, but the situation is not quite as awful because these bases are generally small and have extremely few flights per day compared to a civilian airport.
On the up side these sites are mostly “rural” and maintained to military standards (grass cut with nail clippers by servicemen on report, if it moves salute it, if it doesn’t, paint it – you know the sort of thing).
On the down side of course there will be a big strip of tarmac nearby, and a big big difficulty in being allowed to take photographs anywhere nearby.

B Kerr,
I have set up a thread to discuss UK sites at
(you need to register).
What matters is which stations are used by GISS.
As far as I can make out, GISS only uses 9 UK stations.
GISS does give lat and long, and it looks like 7 of these are at airports!
4 commercial airports and 3 RAF bases. So be careful if you go and photograph those.
It seems this is not unusual – in Canada and Australia also, most of the stations GISS currently uses are at airports. So if you are interested in the average temperature at airports around the world, maybe GISTEMP gives quite an accurate picture.
Well spotted Eric Gamberg. Another spectacular example. Is that black thing really a barbecue?

Patrick Henry

OT, NASA discovers that the sun does affect planetary weather after all, just not on earth.
Nov. 21, 2008: Researchers have found new evidence that the atmosphere of Mars is being stripped away by solar wind. It’s not a gently continuous erosion, but rather a ripping process in which chunks of Martian air detach themselves from the planet and tumble into deep space. This surprising mechanism could help solve a longstanding mystery about the Red Planet.

Mike C

That MMTS looks a little more than 2 m in elevation and is also quite close to the car and driveway… it’s like drive through global warming with a fresh braut to go.

Oh, and I guessed “1996”, or thereabouts, for the placement of the instrument(s).


There should be vigorous legal action under FOIA to stop this Orwellian rewrite of history.
These AGW fear mongers are serious bout imposing their vision on the world. Facts, integrity, civil rights, law, and justice are mere road bumps. The failure of their models to actually work is not important.
Skeptics need to wake up and realize the AGW community is completely serious about this. They will destroy what exists to pursue what likely cannot exist in the name of incorrect predictions, no matter what. Their beliefs cannot be falsified, which means they are not amenable to reason.


Hmm, how about the weather station at Aberdeen/Dyce airport.
Looking on Google Earth it seems like it may be here?
57°12’18.00″N 2°12’19.00″W.,-4.064941&sspn=21.297675,48.735352&ie=UTF8&ll=57.205108,-2.205326&spn=0.001187,0.002975&t=h&z=19&iwloc=addr
Not so sure about all those planes hanging around it, no doubt with engines on, waiting on the tower…


The black car beneath the sensor, the overhanging trees, and the surrounding buildings are nice touches. At least the little red wagon isn’t too much of biasing factor.


I’m missing something here. I don’t see how 1998 means anything. The dot for it is in the middle of the rising temperatures that started in 1996.
REPLY: it was relocated in December 1998, and thus the impact on that year was negligible. 1999 and beyond to 2008, if you average those years your find that the average has a “step” higher than an average of 1988-1998 fpr example. Basically there’s an offset in the signal, which increases the trend.

Paul C

When relocating a weather station, no one in their right mind would remove the old one without an overlap of several years to compare readings and establish a correction to preserve the long term integrity of the record. I guess that is too much to expect from NOAA USHCN.

Ed Scott

Messrs. Watts and McIntyre recognized by the Washington Times’ Wesley Pruden.
PRUDEN: The killer frost for global warming
Man’s notion that his science can realign the stars, adjust the orbit of planets and reorganize the universe leads him to say silly things and assert goofy claims. Saying silly things and asserting goofy claims is usually harmless as entertainment, so long as the claims are subjected to rigorous analysis and debate. But contrarian arguments about global warming, climate change and freezing heat are not tolerated by the scientists with an uneasy grip on the research money.
It’s clear now that the earth has been cooling for the past decade, to the sorrow of the special pleaders and despite everything Al can do about it. The solar cycle peaked, the sun is quieter, the sunspots have faded and everybody but Al is cooling off.
Even the United Nations says so. The director of the U.N.’s panel on climate change concedes that nature has overwhelmed everything man can do and it might even be another decade before man can rally and the warming resumes. Until then, like it or not, nature rules the cosmos.
REPLY: Thanks but…I’ll repeat again that commenter “Chris” here first brought attention to this data flaw and regular contributor John Goetz confirmed the problem. My contribution was solely as proprietor of this blog, and thus minimal. – Anthony


I see it now.

Leon Brozyna

I noticed a similar step at about the same time for Hebron, NE, located just to the west of Fairbury:
The plot I got from USHCN for Hebron also shows this after a rather long cooling trend:
As can be seen at the surfacestations photo, Hebron also has an MMTS. While it is on an area of grass, it’s located between concrete pavement and a concrete(?) patio and there is that requisite air conditioning unit nearby.
In comparing the two, I was struck by their differences. Fairbury shows quite a rollercoaster with its temps while Hebron seems to show a steady cooling trend. Perhaps there were siting issues at Fairbury before the MMTS installation.
REPLY: You have a point, perhaps the step is natural. But I discovered the Hebron station also went through a move about the same time, here its the data from NCDC’ MMS database on the location:
[2001-11-30] 2002-05-20 40.175560 (40°10’32″N) -97.590000 (97°35’24″W) GROUND: 1480 FEET — THAYER 09 – SOUTHEAST CENTRAL (+6)
Topographic Details: ROLLING TO HILLY
[1998-12-08] 2001-11-30 40.175560 (40°10’32″N) -97.590000 (97°35’24″W) GROUND: 1480 FEET — THAYER 09 – SOUTHEAST CENTRAL (+6)
[1997-04-22] 1998-12-08 40.165280 (40°09’55″N) -97.581940 (97°34’54″W) GROUND: 1480 FEET NW/1/MILES THAYER 09 – SOUTHEAST CENTRAL (+6)
When the sensors keep getting moved around into different environments, it really becomes difficult to pick out what is the true signal and what is location bias. – Anthony

Somewhat off topic: As the AGW myth starts to unwind along with the economy, the first things getting axed are climate initiatives. eg. The automakers, if they get a bailout, will be given money intended to help them develop fuel efficient cars.
This is a good sign. If the feds were sticking to their AGW guns like the Euros, we could be in more trouble than we needed to be.

Pamela Gray

Meacham continues to record record daytime highs this month. On the 19th it was 60 degrees. Meacham, in the Blue Mountains, has been the low leader nearly every year. A high there is unusual. I think November will be quite warm, maybe as warm as it has ever been, for the NW part of the US.
Record Report
SXUS76 KPDT 191259
411 PM PST TUE NOV 18 2008
MEACHAM, OR 57 / 1949 60 1948 :SINCE MID
REDMOND, OR 65 / 2003 69 1949 :SINCE MID

Ray Reynolds

Hell, thats not a weather station, its a meat thermometer.

Pamela Gray

I meant as warm as its been since 1949.


the change in 1952 looks pretty similar. as does 1905.
Averages are usually given to one decimal place.
IPCC always give two decimal places, but then again they are more accurate than everyone else.

some basic information about statistics might bring the explanation to this “problem”….
REPLY: The difference is that there are no reported station moves that coincide with those dates at NCDC’s database, plus if you’ll notice, post 1998 has all been with a positive offset, where the other dates you cite have both positive and negative excursions of the signal.
– Anthony

Paul C

The global list of stations from the met office appears to give locations to a reasonably fine level. However, the locations don’t seem to be too accurate, but feed the lat/long into google maps and you should see the general area. See if you can spot a likely candidate on the satellite image.


I wonder if we can divide the data into two sets. One that has all good station locations and record keeping,and the rest of the crap? That may give the clearest picture we can hope for.

Charles Wadsack

I am new to this site. Has there been data-gathering station among the 75 examples that, due to whatever reason, might have a tendency to underreport temperatures?


REPLY: The difference is that there are no reported station moves that coincide with those dates at NCDC’s database, plus if you’ll notice, post 1998 has all been with a positive offset, where the other dates you cite have both positive and negative excursions of the signal.
Anthony, i do respect some parts of your work.
but each of these posts leaves similar crucial gaps in the explanation of the phenomenon:
for example, why would temperature rise for 3 years after the location change?
now, a mid-year change in location explains the jump being spread over 2 years. and some part of the change could be a real temperature rise.
but do you have any explanation for the change spreading 4 years? (and that is the actual center of this topic!)

Bob B

For those interested. Hound dog Steve McIntyre is sniffing the trail of something:
It looks like NOAA is busy deleting public files perhaps to cover up bad data from Finland surface stations showing a warm October:

Ed Scott

“REPLY: Thanks but…I’ll repeat again that commenter “Chris” here first brought attention to this data flaw and regular contributor John Goetz confirmed the problem. My contribution was solely as proprietor of this blog, and thus minimal. – Anthony”
In fairness, you give credit to “Chris” and John Goetz for the original discovery. The credit, which you and Steve McIntyre have earned, is in disseminating the information through your individual blogs to an international audience. Publication in the MSM, although limited, is important in informing the public. Publication in the Washington Times indicates that the information has penetrated the Belt-Way, where the outcome of the AGW hoax will be decided.

Bern Bray

I’m smoking a pork shoulder for Thanksgiving to make pulled pork BBQ. Does anyone have an official MMTS unit I can borrow to monitor the temp of my smoker? I get kind of tired walking outside to check it.

B Kerr

Thanks I have registered.
I take your point about GISS UK stations. I came across this list and dismissed it only contained 9 locations. I found an answer to parliamentary questions which stated that there are 72 official MET office weather stations.
I think I have just about tracked them down with lat/longs.
I have been trying to find the weather station in Lerwick, Shetland.
One of the GISS stations.
Even with ordinates correct to 3 decimal places it is difficult to track down on Google Earth.
The weather station turns out to be at Baila House.
Position 60.146090, -1.175576
I hope not!
The weather station at Dyce Airport is certainly worth a look.
Surprised that it has not been knocked over.

Old Coach

Somewhat OT:
The US National Intelligence Council just released its public report to prepare Obama for the upcoming term. Among other alarming things this report claims:
“global warming will aggravate the scarcity of water, food and energy resources. Citing a British study, it said that climate change could force up to 200 million people to migrate to more temperate zones. “Widening gaps in birth rates and wealth-to-poverty ratios, and the impact of climate change, could further exacerbate tensions,” it said.
The report says the warming earth will extend Russia and Canada’s growing season and ease their access to northern oil fields, strengthening their economies. But Russia’s potential emergence as a world power may be clouded by lagging investment in its energy sector, persistent crime and government corruption, the report says.”
National Intelligence Council, indeed (sigh).

OLympus Mons

For year and years and years (since early 90’s), probe after probe have been reporting Polar “Ice” shrinkage on MARS. – For last couple years, I’ve not read a single word about it!
If that has stopped in a time of a quieter sun, it would be a huge indicator for the sun’s role on climate change. If Mars polar “ICE” start’s to increase in the next couple years, it would say a lot about the influence of the sun on planets.
Anyone knows where that can be researched?


Pitsford Hall in the centre of England is proud of its weather station. They have a website with historical data for Northamptonshire, some of which is downloadable.
The sensors all used to be at ground level but unfortunately vandalism forced a move to a more secure location.
<a href=””
Note the useful photos.


Meanwhile, the earth continues to warm……
Food for the MSM.

I’ll take my steak Medium Rare!! 🙂
….love the series!

Cold Englishman

The UK RAF Valley site also looks poor. Acres of tarmac, buildings and aircraft parking areas. This site is also immediately adjacent to the Irish Sea.
Check out 53 15′ 09.5″ N 4 32′ 11.5″ W
Clearly as others have observed, the UK needs a serious study, but as the sites are all located in security areas, the task seems to be impossible.

Mike Smith

No wonder I couldn’t find it!!
I went to Fairbury in May on a surfacestations quest and couldn’t find the sensor. Now, I know why.


Well, you guys are not giving the GWA’s (global warming alarmists) enough credit. After all, they’ve been saying for years that barbecues are contributing to global warming. 🙂


for example, why would temperature rise for 3 years after the location change?

sod: We can’t know with certainty why the temperatures are higher, but the nearby parked car and cooking grille (the black rectangle on a post to the right of the sensor) suggest the placement is not quite up to standards. From this viewpoint it is not obvious how far from the building the sensor is.

Bill P

Is that black thing really a barbecue?

If anyone writes a book on this, you couldn’t go far wrong with this title.
Everyman is appalled.

The cause of the anomalous temp rise is of course…..
… the 1985 Pontiac Sunbird sitting in the driveway.

Jerry Alexander

Suspected NOAA temperature readings were not all they’re cracked up to be!
“Anthony Watts set out to do what big-time armchair-climate modelers like James Hansen and no one else has ever done – physically quality-check each weather station to see if it’s being operated properly.” (surveyed in Oregon and California)
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, By Bill Steigerwald
What he found: temperature instruments on top of concrete base, some standing 10 feet from an air conditioner exhaust vent, one on the rooftop near an AC unit and another next to a trash drum for burning.
And we should place our faith in the NOAA temperature readings? Hadley Centre in London has done a survey and founduch the same problems in temperature measurements around the world – lacking true readings!

Jerry Alexander

If the amount of CO2 being produced man-made and recorded by Keeling Towers at 385ppmv, why are’nt the temperatures constantly higher?
Keeling Towers have indicated a decline of CO2 in the past two years. Eddy Covariance instruments have indicated a concentration of CO2 along the 40th parallel Lat. with only traces in the southern hempisphere. Strange!
Could it be that CO2 is not the greenhouse gas it has been made out to be heating up the Earth?

Leon Brozyna

Regarding my earlier post @Leon Brozyna (06:32:25) with Anthony’s reply. I wasn’t really trying to suggest that the step was natural {although it might be possible}. When I looked for another site to compare to Fairbury and found Hebron, I was struck by the fact that both had a similar step. I then guessed that the step at Hebron was also a result of the installation of an MMTS. This really was my main point — that at both locations it appeared that they had a similar step function not because of any change in the weather but because of the installation of the MMTS, which seems to invariably be located close to structures and other things that might affect the device’s readings.
The other thing that stood out was the huge difference between the temperature record of these two locations. Hebron’s temperatures show a slow and steady negative trend before becoming rather level before jumping with the the installation of the MMTS {and the appearance of the step}. Fairbury, on the other hand, has quite a history where the temps rise till the 1930’s then fall till around 1970 before rising again, especially with the introduction of the MMTS. This makes the Fairbury record suspect in my mind.
In comparing these two sites and their different temperature histories as well as site moves and equipment changes, I wonder what real use there is in these records. In this era of satellites, use ground stations to inform local residents and use the satellite records for the serious study of climate.


From JonT (23:33:04) :
With such a large jump it is not going to take too many like this to have a real impact on the overall figures.
end quote.
And remember that they re-write history and fill-in-the-blanks with a fictional number made from a long term average. One has to wonder how a step function high changes the fictional past / missing numbers on an ongoing basis as the average is drifted higher… Anthropogenic Climate Data Change anyone? AC/DC …
And Lord help you if this is counted as a “rural” thermometer for adjusting the UHI effect for the nearby (1000 mile away) site… and ITS mythical past…

George E. Smith

Don’t forget the Black Body radiation off the Bonnet of that Poniac; aimed straight up the skirts of that there Barn Owl box; or is that car sitting up on cinder blocks we can’t see.
Some people’s yards are mighty untidy; like mine I guess.
Let us in on the secret Anthony; it’s really you carrying that Owl box around from one hilarious place to another just to keep us amused; well hell; it’s working!