What is the red dot?

A simple question; what is that red dot on the map? I was looking at the CONUS map browser depicting the 2008 temperature departure from normal provided by NOAA’s High Plains Regional Climate Center and noticed something odd:


Click for a larger image

Note the red dot in Arizona, which is the only one in the USA. Truly an anomaly. At first I thought it might be University of Arizona Tucson and its famous parking lot station, but that is further southeast.

The other map depiction HPRCC offers also shows it, and narrows it to a single data point:


Click for a larger image

HPRCC allows us to zoom in to the regional level to get a better handle on the location:


Unfortunately, I have not found any tools on the HPRCC website that will identify this station ID. I can narrow down the location to Pinal County Arizona, and using some crude graphical tools I can approximate the lat/lon of the red dot to be : 32.9, -111.4. This puts it near the town of Florence, AZ.

Doing a search in NCDC’s MMS database for all stations in Pinal county, I find that there is indeed a COOP station #23027  in Florence, and more importantly, it is part of the “A” sub-network, which makes it a climate reporting station.

According the NCDC MMS database the lat lon for Florence COOP station is 33.0363,-111.388 so it is not very far away from my crude lat/lon estimate as seen in this Google Earth view:


Further searching the NCDC MMS database tells me that the station is “current” and that the station has an MMTS temperature unit equipped with a newer NIMBUS LCD display, and a standard rain gauge.

Using the Location tab of the NCDC MMS database I find the station is located at:


Prior to that it was located at: 1707 S WILLOW ST, WITHIN AND 0.4 MI SW OF PO AT FLORENCE, AZ

So, I put that address into Google Web Search and found this in the FCC database for a tower registration:

1206 Main St (Lat: 33.020056 Lon: -111.384000), Call Sign: WRA544

Assigned Frequencies : 155.475 MHz

Grant Date: 04/19/1999, Expiration Date: 07/05/2004, Cancelation Date: 09/26/2004

Registrant: Florence, Town Of, 130 Main St, Florence, AZ 85232, Phone: (602) 868-5873

So it appears the location is some city owned property, which makes sense, since COOP stations are often located at places that are staffed 24/7 (so somebody can take a reading once a day) and many city offices are. The lat/lon is fairly close to what the COOP coordinates are, but not quite close enough.  The street address is about a half mile south of the lat/lon listed in the NCDC database:


The new location is at about 500 Main Street, rather than the 1206 Main Street listed in the NCDC MMS database. Perhaps it has been moved to a new location and NCDC has not caught up with the street address change.  Perhaps the lat/lon is off. Anything is possible as I and the surfacestation volunteers constantly find discrepancies and errors in the database.

So I decided to use the new Google Street Level View feature to snoop around a bit at the two locations. I found nothing at 1206 S. Main Street except a lot of grass and buildings. It looks like perhaps a community college:


Click for an interactive view from Google Maps

But when I went looking around 500 Main Street – BINGO! I can spot both the MMTS sensor unit and the standard rain gauge to the west of the street:


Click for an interactive view from Google Maps

Looking at an aerial view using NCDC’s most current coordinates of 33.0363,-111.388 and Microsoft Live Search Maps, we can see what surrounds the sensor:


Click for a larger image

Click for an MS Live Maps interactive view

You can just barely make out the MMTS in the aerial view. In the street level view, it looks as if some crushed rock has been laid down near the sensor and it is fairly fresh. But more importantly, look at what surrounds the sensor:

  • Main Street with it’s traffic.

  • Buildings North, South, and West within about 10-30 yards

  • Parking lots West and East. The one East has quite an albedo. In the Arizona sun I’m sure it gets quite toasty in full sun.

It is possible this station was recently moved from the south Main Street location to the North Main Street location, which may be a warmer location, I don’t know for certain because I can’t locate any imagery of the sensor at 1206 South Main Street. Further research is needed to pin that down.

This is neither a USHCN station nor a GISS station. It is also not the only possibility for the station that produced the red dot in the HPRCC map

There is another nearby COOP “A” sub-network station at the Casa Grande National Monument run by the US Park Service, COOP station #21314:


Its lat/lon of 32.9947,-111.5367 is also close to my original crude estimate of 32.9, -111.4

You can see the red dot is question and it’s nearest neighbor here in this closeup of the HPRCC southwest US dot map:


When I plot both stations in Google Earth and compare to the HPRCC map above, it appears that the yellow dot lines up with Casa Grande, AZ and the red dot lines up with Florence, AZ. My original lat/lon estimate is the white marker:


Click for a larger image

The Casa Grande COOP station also has some interesting issues that could be responsible for a temperature rise there. Comparing aerial images on the Google Earth and Microsoft Live Search maps, which are taken at different times by different vendors, show us that it appears the parking lot for the visitor center has recently been resurfaced:


Above: Casa Grande National Monument via Microsoft Live Search Maps – Click for a larger image


Above: Casa Grande National Monument via Google Earth – Click for a larger image

Since I have no time reference for the photos, it is also entirely possible that I have the sequence reversed and the parking lot has faded with time. But since I don’t see any significant vegetation changes nor other changes in the landscape between the two photos, and since fading usually takes a couple of years, I’m betting that we are seeing a resurface job, which can appear in a couple of days. I would expect more differences in vegetation or other changes if the pictures were taken years apart.

I think I can make out the Cotton region Shelter on the Google Earth image, just south of the visitor center. There is a street level view of the visitor center parking lot, which you can examine for yourself, but there are no weather instruments visible.

But there is another twist, according to the NCDC database, the station has recently been converted from a Cotton Region Shelter with max-min thermometers to the MMTS system, with the CRS maintained as backup instrument, So the MMTS may be closer to the building and/or the parking lot:


Click for a larger image

But on 10-18-2007 it appears the CRS was removed as a backup instrument. The picture above may be the only photographic record of it’s placement. As we have seen time and time again, the MMTS often gets closer to buildings due to trenching issues and cabling, so it may have introduced a bias in this station due to the placement change. It may not, I don’t know for certain since I can’t spot the MMTS at Casa Grande.

I also thought perhaps there may be a large amount of missing data in the observer B91 forms that could account for the anomaly. I checked both Florence and Casa Grande B91 observer forms at NCDC and they both appear current and well populated with data in the last year, you can search for B91 forms yourself here:


I did note though that the Florence form changed in appearance from May of this year to November. It went from  hand written to typed, which suggests an observer/location change:

Casa Grande B91 11-2008 Florence B91 Form 05-2008 Florence B91 Form 11-2008 (PDF files)

So we have two possible candidates for the station that made the red dot. Both have potential placement issues. It makes you wonder how many more of the dots in the HPRCC map have issue like this. I only spotted this one because it was such a large singular anomaly. I’ll check with HPRCC on Monday to see if they can identify the dot’s data origin for me. In the meantime I need help from our readers and volunteers.

Can anyone living in Arizona get photographs of these stations for me?

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Al Pratt
January 10, 2009 12:40 pm

I live in Tempe and can easily get to both Casa Grande and Florence. Be glad to do that, unless somebody else has already volunteered.
Al Pratt
REPLY: You are the first, thank you! – Anthony

Dave Andrews
January 10, 2009 12:40 pm

As a UK citizen I can’t help with photos but I am very struck by the visual representation given by the two HPRCC maps. ( I have noted on previous threads the distortions introduced by the projections used by the reporting Agencies)
To my mind the first, colour, map presents a totally different picture ( especially to someone who may only be browsing ) to the second map. For example, the red area in the first map appears to cover a large area whereas the second map shows it originates in a single station.
What is the justification for publishing the first map?
REPLY: I think it is the perception that since we are plotting the atmosphere, which is a fluid, dots don’t do the job but gradients appear more “atmosphere” like. Other than that, I have no idea. – Anthony

January 10, 2009 12:45 pm

It would seem prudent to hold off on immediately pulling the plug on an old station when a new replacement station is fired up. Comparing the old/new readings for a month or so would reveal problems like this.

Bill Illis
January 10, 2009 12:49 pm

Man, the CIA or one of the Centcoms could certainly use you Anthony.
Ever consider trying to get the $50M reward for Bin Laden?

January 10, 2009 12:52 pm

What strikes me is the magnitude of the anomaly for that one station. It appears that all of nearest stations around that one have a 0-2 degree anomaly and that one has a 6-8 degree anomaly. That is a huge difference. A real 6 degree difference in annual temperature average at that one location should make for a fairly strong “heat low” in that location with all winds spiraling in to Florence. In other words, for that much of a heat anomaly, if it is real, there should also be a wind anomaly to go with it.
Elevation and surrounding topology could also make a difference too because if there is a lower lying area nearby, heat could rise up the hill as the lower area cools off. From what desert camping I have done, I know that it is generally more comfortable at night if you are not in a low area (besides not having to worry about getting drowned in a flash flood). The desert is sort of counter-intuitive in that respect as a little more elevation gives you a warmer night.
I also wonder about those two air conditioning units and from which direction the prevailing breeze comes in that area.
REPLY: Those appear to be A/C ground level transformers or power interconnects for underground cable. – Anthony

January 10, 2009 1:05 pm

Keep on keepin on Watts. Hard for me to suggest you do anything because you do a great job of this whole station monitoring thing but I really believe you need to print you out a copy and send it certified mail reciept to Hansen and Gore. This way they gonna know they’re had. To me this is the most important piece of information you’ve posted.
Hat’s off to ya.

Keith J
January 10, 2009 1:17 pm

You may not be surprised that the 2-4C anomalies in Texas correspond to urban heat islands. DFW can be seen in the north central, Austin in the south central and San Antonia just southwest of Austin. Even Duluth shows up well at the tip of Lake Superior. And to think the IPCC says this is a 0.05C effect.

January 10, 2009 1:43 pm

So you find one red dot in the whole USA. Just shows how good the data really are. Those who read the literature know that urban heat island affects are on the whole slight.
BTW any comments on the blue dots in Colorado and Arkansas?

January 10, 2009 1:45 pm

Keith J,
UHI are only significant when they need to be…like when it is on the ‘data in’ side instead of the ‘data out’. Here’s an example re another catastrophe that strikes fear into the hearts of AGWists, that is, melting permafrost and rising (what methane?).

Mike Bryant
January 10, 2009 2:00 pm

It still seems odd to call this product “Departure from Normal Temperature”. Why the word “departure” and why the word “normal”? Departure means “a deviation from normal”. A few degrees one way or the other is certainly not a deviation or a departure from any normal. Every day has a greater change in temperatures from sunup to sundown. This is just more political correctness disguised as science.
Why not call it what it is, 2008 Average Temperatures Compared to XXXX-XXXX?
By their definition of this graphic, every single year is abnormal.

Leon Brozyna
January 10, 2009 2:04 pm

This is a most impressive piece of investigative science. Not everything done in science is mathematically or statistically based. Made for quite compelling reading. Almost like a murder mystery.
I trust everyone will notice that you didn’t grab at the first easy to pick station.

January 10, 2009 2:08 pm

it is absolutely amazing what satellite technology can do! Brilliant, Keep up the good work!

Ellie in Belfast
January 10, 2009 2:12 pm

Mmm…….nice work.
Here’s a naive question that drifted into my mind last night (and please bear in mind that I live in a region where air conditioning is not that common – might be needed only a few days in summer if we are lucky). All those badly sited stations…are the biases always going to be up (warming)? Aren’t some only seasonal? Would some be cooling also in some seasons?
OK, a non-pristine station/record is a problem, I accept that. I’m just curious. For example in Ireland recent temperatures have been less extreme than historically, but the average temperature is going up. Is that happening in other places? I would not expect it naturally in more continental climates, but it might happen due to anthropogenic influences.
– AirCon – warming in summer – more likely to be used in daytime (?) Warm temperatures => higher. Off in winter? What about if it is an HVAC – will that have heat output all year?
– BBQs – Heat, but perhaps not always at hotest part of day, although could exceed day’s Tmax if siting is very poor. In Ireland we’re crazy enough to BBQ all year (“hey – it’s not raining – let’s have a BBQ”)
– Asphalt – warmer day and warmer night depending on strength of sun, wind etc. Cooler in winter (? – depending on sun)
– Building – distance, angle, paint or other materials (a la Anthony’s test)
I could go on, but thoughts anyone else?
Is this type of information available anywhere in one place? It might be useful to anyone starting to investigate station siting – knowing what to look for and get the right information and photos.

Don Keiller
January 10, 2009 2:14 pm

Even the BBC admits it on a regular basis (UHI that is) in their weather forecasts-
Quote “These are temperatures in towns and cities, rural temperatures will be 1-2 degrees colder”

January 10, 2009 2:18 pm

Go to the map http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/summary/Climsmaz.html which has pop-up stations. There are two stations nuzzling each other in about the right spot. I think that your station might be PICACHO RESERVOIR, ARIZONA (026506) . Worth looking at its history. But just a guess.

January 10, 2009 2:18 pm

Maybe the data of the surrounding stations just needs to be homogenized.

Mike Young
January 10, 2009 2:44 pm

I notice another possible oddity. Look at the brown dot in the southwestern corner of New Mexico. The two nearest dots are both green, which would suggest quite a large gradient. There are some sizable mountain ranges in the area, which could account for large differences, but it might be interesting to take a look nonetheless.
Perhaps there are other paired dots with implicitly large gradients that could give clues to errors or distortions in the reported data. Just a thought.

January 10, 2009 3:04 pm

All that heat must be migrating into Arizona from somewhere. My guess is that it’s coming from new sea ice.

January 10, 2009 3:43 pm

It would appear the observer doesn’t believe the instuments either. There are several comments in the record about the “Actual PM Max” being different from the recorded temperature. For example, in Florence on 11/04/08, the observer points out that the PM Max was 76°F, even though they recorded 84°F in the temperature column. There are several entries like that, though the 8°F difference is the largest recorded in comments. It would be interesting to know why and what the total impact is…

January 10, 2009 3:47 pm

DJ (13:43:31) said: “So you find one red dot in the whole USA. Just shows how good the data really are. Those who read the literature know that urban heat island affects are on the whole slight.”
No, DJ, only those who read the “literature” and are naive enough to believe it think that “UHI affects (sic) are…slight.” And the data are obviously NOT validated by a low number of red dots: with a little thought you’d realize that half of the orange dots might be off, too. Maybe they should be blue.

January 10, 2009 3:51 pm

Search Results for pinal county
Station ID Network Name Lat Lon Begin End Data Available
021314 coop CASA GRANDE NM 32.99 -111.54 2000/1/1 Current
023027 coop FLORENCE 33.04 -111.39 2008/11/8 Current
026513 coop PICACHO 8 SE 32.65 -111.40 2000/1/1 Current
This all from:
When I click on the station ID, I get this:
Shows last years temp data, up to current.
REPLY: Great find, thanks! Oddly one agency (WRCC) shows it closed, with data up to 1983 and another shows current. I’ll look into this more. – Anthony
REPLY2: figured it out, the station “was” closed but apparently reopened. I found this in the popup balloon for the station:
Begin: 2000/1/1
End: Current

Brian D
January 10, 2009 4:00 pm

This seems to happen from time to time. I remember Erie,PA area having one of these hot spots for a couple months last summer (Jul-Aug). I remember it being brought up in a weather forum.
This area shows this hot spot problem in Mar-Jun last year.
Also seems to be one for SW MN this month in a rural area to the east of Marshall. We’ll see if it continues after this arctic outbreak.
Missing data problems?

January 10, 2009 4:03 pm

Those coordinates (32.65 -111.40) put it in Picacho Peak State Park…

January 10, 2009 4:30 pm

In the entire northern U.S., there appears to be only 2 light orange spots:
1 in ND and 1 in upstate NY (Albany?).
In fact, other than CA, TX, and NM, there are very few orange spots.

January 10, 2009 4:36 pm

Bryant (14:00:52) :
“It still seems odd to call this product “Departure from Normal Temperature”. Why the word “departure” and why the word “normal”?…
By their definition of this graphic, every single year is abnormal.”
Well said! WHO is it that decides what “NORMAL’ is?
Anybody? Anybody? Class? Class?

Gary A.
January 10, 2009 4:38 pm

“Picacho Peak State Park is open. Please note that our new Visitor Center is still under construction, but the park is open for public use. The new Visitor Center is scheduled to be completed by the end of February 2009. Thank you for your understanding.”

Alan Wilkinson
January 10, 2009 4:39 pm

You have to wonder if NOAA’s team of data auditors are all occupied investigating and recalibrating the anomalous green dots covering the map and therefore have no spare capacity to check out that single red dot.

Paul Penrose
January 10, 2009 5:16 pm

Just because there is only one red dot on this particular map does not say anything about the quality of the entire network. Since this is a map of differences, if there were stations out there that were way off, but consistently off, then there would be no differences to see.

Wyatt A
January 10, 2009 5:21 pm

I really hate that graphic scale. Why not put one of the buckets centered on zero? In other words, make the center ±1, the adjacent bins -3 to -1 and 1 to 3, and so on and so on.

John W.
January 10, 2009 5:29 pm

The thread title is: “What is the red dot?” To answer the question, it’s evidence of global warming. All the green stuff on the map is just weather.

Mike Bryant
January 10, 2009 5:58 pm

If they want to keep calling it “Departure from Normal”, perhaps the center bucket should be designated + or – 5.

David Smith
January 10, 2009 6:01 pm

Anthony, while perusing the co-op reports for Florence I noted some odd observer comments on the form
(I inserted the comments from the left side of the B-91 form onto the right side, for viewing.)
Why wouldn’t the recorded max for the day also be what the observer considered the “true” max (Watts up with that?0
The “PM max” notes are also a bit of a mystery.

Alan S. Blue
January 10, 2009 6:04 pm

A fair number of us have, indeed, read the relevant publications. The interesting thing is how the IPCC relies upon the studies by Jones et al. – which have made some odd choices for defining ‘urban’ and ‘rural.’ The main thrust is “Big cities and small cities both see roughly equivalent temperature growth from development.” That’s great. But that’s not really a study of how large a heat bloom individual cities have. You’d want data gathered from outside -any- city for that. And there are very few such sites. But the vast majority of land in the US is outside of any city.
Fields other than climatology use direct satellite data – where the heat bloom for even small cities is evident. These are “rural” under Jones. It isn’t shocking that small cities and large cities both see development issues.
Additionally, microsite issues compound the unsuitability of a long list of sites. Putting a “rural site’s” temperature monitor within mere yards a the one whole-building heat pump isn’t sane. But it means that it isn’t shocking that it gets a similar reading to one put on a fire station’s roof in a big city – next to their own heat pump.

January 10, 2009 6:09 pm

Have you ever seen as I have, also, small red spots on the sea, in NOAA maps?

January 10, 2009 6:55 pm

I love that there is a “normal” temperature, as if the climate were something that we could adjust like a thermostat.
Next time one of you is talking to global climate change promoter, ask them this question;
“Assume that we could create a bug that ate CO2 and could set the CO2 at an optimum level. What would that level be? What should we set the global thermostat to, to prevent catastrophic storms that have happened throughout Earth’s history?”

January 10, 2009 7:10 pm

OT: Wanted to post this and didn’t really know how or where. But I found this interesting, as it is suggesting that:

Decline Of Carbon-dioxide-gobbling Plankton Coincided With Ancient Global Cooling
link to article

To this I say, what the hell? I thought AGW was based upon the premise that CO2 drives temperature higher! According to this research, the lack of CO2 gobbling Plankton lead to a rise in CO2 and thus created global cooling.
Can anyone explain this one to me? Am I reading this wrong, mis-interpreting, or just plain nuts?
: Looks to me like WUWT will win the 2008 Blog Awards! To that I say, AWESOME! and, great work people of the best blog on the planet!

January 10, 2009 7:36 pm

Squidly, don’t count Anthony’s chickens…
A deluge from an unfriendly place could alter the standings.

January 10, 2009 7:38 pm

Since that “red dot” MAY be at the state park, maybe it’s near the ranger station or residence. Whas there any other data showing better location than the [8 SE]?
In the past hasn’t that meant a distance and direction from the last placement, or from the post office? I think there was a standard used for the measurement…

ken the weather guy
January 10, 2009 7:43 pm

Are you guys serious? This is weather. Meteorology is a science, but it aint an exact science. Anomalies will pervade logic. sh*t happens.
On the other hand, it’s nice to know that the geeks are watching. Keep up the good paranoia.

January 10, 2009 7:51 pm

Also, it’s too bad that we can’t do a “month-by-month” diagram. That red spot is for the entire year – 1/08 to 12/08 (an average, right?)
The whole year had to run hot in just that one spot.
A few months of missed data?

January 10, 2009 8:02 pm

Super sleuthing!!! Sherlock would be proud. Can’t wait to hear from the local Baker Street irregulars.
And five stars to Google Earth. Wonderful tool for wildfire tracking, too.

January 10, 2009 8:03 pm

Arizona has a zit? Or a cancerous mole… caused by Global Warming!

January 10, 2009 8:03 pm

Someone made a comment regarding the graphic scale where there is no bucket centered on 0. I have a similar concern. In the first graphic, where does zero belong, 0 to 2 or -2 to 0?

Larry T
January 10, 2009 8:13 pm

I think it is definitely missing data problem from fill of the august thru november data from FLORENCE.

January 10, 2009 8:19 pm

Just wanted to get on the skeptic train…
Love the site, one of my daily stops….

Scott Gibson
January 10, 2009 8:23 pm

Smith and others:
I suspect the notations about true daily maximum temperature are because they end their “max-min temperature day” at 5:00 PM. Hence, the max of 90 on day 2 was actually recorded on day 1 after 5:00 PM and the 88 was the highest actual high on day 2. It’s possible also that it is the other way around, and that they report the 88 because it is the highest temperature recorded before 5:00 but report an actual high of 90 that happened after 5:00. Perhaps someone could post a report on how these things are determined and whether there is a standard way to report this data throughout the world.

Joel Shore
January 10, 2009 8:26 pm

Keith J says:

You may not be surprised that the 2-4C anomalies in Texas correspond to urban heat islands. DFW can be seen in the north central, Austin in the south central and San Antonia just southwest of Austin. Even Duluth shows up well at the tip of Lake Superior. And to think the IPCC says this is a 0.05C effect.

First of all, the temperature anomalies plot is degrees fahrenheit, not degrees celsius, so to compare apples to apples, you would compare 2-4 F to 0.09 F. Second of all, you have to compare to 2-4 F you see to the 0-2 F of the background in the region to get a good measure of what is likely due to any urban heat island effect. Third of all, the IPCC doesn’t claim that the effect of UHI is only 0.05 C at the places that it occurs…What that number would be is the amount by which it contaminates the (global?) surface temperature record. And, indeed, note that these regions that you pointed out represent a very tiny fraction of the total area of the U.S. so they would affect the nationwide average a lot less.
Mind you, what I have done here is not any sort of careful analysis but just pointing out to you that your simple logic by which you are trying to discredit the IPCC’s estimate doesn’t really stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny.

January 10, 2009 8:43 pm

Friend works at Casa Grande. Will send him message!

Mike Bryant
January 10, 2009 8:44 pm

Wondering if the Mauna Loa CO2 annual mean growth rates correspond to Pacific Ocean temperatures. Maybe someone better at plotting graphs has some idea…
Mike Bryant

January 10, 2009 8:53 pm

Another Picacho in the area is Picacho Reservoir. With a canal system. Google Streetview doesn’t reach the reservoir, but a nearby view further west shows water-filled canals. Irrigation changes can also be affecting the region. Annual figures for 2008 aren’t listed yet at for the canal system.

John Egan
January 10, 2009 9:04 pm

About the two Casa Grande photos – –
The “I” median in the two photos shows ornamental plants in the top one and none in the bottom. In addition, the ornamentals are of different heights – suggesting varying levels of success in getting them to grow. Now, the ornamentals could have been cut down, but I suspect that they were planted and have grown. Thus the top picture with the lighter pavement is more recent.

January 10, 2009 9:20 pm

Many thanks to Squidly, I almost forgot to post my vote for RC today.
But seriously, what a wonderful piece of detective work. It gives us some idea of what it takes for the police to track down the baddies. It’s not like on the television, it requires time and a lot of going from A to B to C then back to B before finding F and G and then discounting the red herrings at H-M before finding the truth at E.
Several months ago I posted a link to the site of Professor John Brignell, a retired Professor at the University of Southampton. I know many from here accessed his site and found his observations helpful and entertaining. Although he is not in the best of health Professor Brignell has posted a new essay which I am sure you will enjoy:

January 10, 2009 9:22 pm

BTW, has someone made a temp trend graph using only temp data from stations rated No.1 (accuracy being +/- 1 deg. C) , totally neglecting those from rating 2-5 stations ?
I eagerly would like to see one.

January 10, 2009 9:30 pm

“Florence is growing in population and in square miles. From 2000 to 2008, Florence has increased in population by approximately 40% and has grown from about ten square miles to more than fifty today. Depending on market conditions, Florence could be home to 50,000 residents in the next ten to fifteen years.” Florence’s web site

January 10, 2009 9:32 pm

Oh.. I think the huge population growth of Florence does not include the residents of the many prisons. Zoom out and east a bit. That’s not all industrial park.

January 10, 2009 10:14 pm
January 10, 2009 10:54 pm

This dot proves global warming!!

Daryl M
January 10, 2009 11:25 pm

Anthony, You deserve a medal for your efforts. It’s a travesty that Jim Hansen and his croneys are attempting to influence policy based quite literally on garbage data. It’s shocking and disgusting that they are allowed to get away with this. Its nothing short of fraud.

January 10, 2009 11:55 pm

I live in Phoenix, AZ, and all I have to do in the summer to cool off a good bit is to drive until I am out of Phoenix, and upwind. To think that some sort of an “average” temperature could be determined by these stations surrounded by built-up areas is completely insane. How about how many thermometers can fit on the head of a pin? It would be of as much sense.

January 11, 2009 1:55 am

The shoddy metrology in climate ‘science’ never ceases to amaze me. Why oh why don’t they spend some money on a properly sited network that measures temperature every few minutes and dials in once a day via the mobile phone network? They can use solar or a wind generator to power remote sensors.

January 11, 2009 2:03 am

You’re kidding right? You’re actually going to base your argument on 1 point of information from an indirect source? Children please grow.
REPLY: You are making gigantic a leap of illogic. I’m interested as to why this one station is showing an odd anomaly. For you to claim that I’m making a global leap from one data point is disingenuous and incorrect. Aren’t you the least bit curious? – Anthony

January 11, 2009 3:41 am


Looks to me like WUWT will win the 2008 Blog Awards! To that I say, AWESOME! and, great work people of the best blog on the planet!

Please don’t get complacent! Remember what happened last year: Climate Audit was comfortably ahead, and then at the last minute the shenanigans started. CA had to settle for a tie.
The voting ends Tuesday. Until then, please vote every day: click
Then we can relax and have a beer.

January 11, 2009 6:12 am

I believe the decline in CO2 consuming plankton coinciding with cooling periods suggests that cooling periods have less CO2, so anything that relies on CO2 is [snip-find better word for has a problem] This is incredibly supportive of the theory that CO2 causes heat, provided no other possibilities occur to you.

Bill Illis
January 11, 2009 6:32 am

CO2 measurements at Mauna Loa dropped by 1 ppm in December 2008 (seasonally adjusted) so it seems there was just some monthly variation happening (related to ocean conditions or not).
This leave Mauna Loa’s CO2 increase over the past year (December to December) at just 0.24 ppm
The global CO2 numbers, however, increased by 1.84 ppm over the past year so there was probably just some monthly variation or error happening at Mauna Loa.

January 11, 2009 7:03 am

I think it is your Maricopa County Sheriff playing with your minds. What depository do you think is there?

January 11, 2009 7:31 am

thats really cool

Philip McDaniel
January 11, 2009 7:42 am

Very interesting, Anthony, and good comments by all. As an aside, I am no longer holding to my initial assumption that this was a downed UFO site.

January 11, 2009 8:02 am

I have lived in Phoenix most of my life and, as you know, in the summer temperature is greatly influence by the asphalt, concrete and irrigation. I don’t know how they correct for the sprinklers being turned on (evaporative cooling works well out here). It is true that driving out of town in the summer is a good way to get cool, whether it be by leaving the asphalt or getting into farm land.

Retired Engineer
January 11, 2009 8:20 am

CSI can’t hold a candle to WUWT. As many have said, this is great work. My question is: how late did Anthony stay up tracking down this red dot? See something odd and investigate. That’s science (and detective work) at it’s best.
Maybe the red dot is from the alien spaceship that smacked the windmill in the UK (or the lightning bolt, but that doesn’t sell tabloid rags)

January 11, 2009 8:29 am

The blue dots in Colorado appear to be in the Monte Vista area. If you zoom in using Google Maps you’ll see mountains to the west of town and also a large number of irrigated fields surrounding town. My guess is that the station has recently been moved to a cooler location.

January 11, 2009 8:55 am

The Florence DOT disappears from July to November, even though the data sheets are there. April and May were very hot compared to average, which is probably the weighting that drove the red dot high. Comparing April and May to the nearby Casa Grande, something was going on. While the highs track together, and were hotter than normal at Florence, the lows were much higher at Florence. A wild guess would be that there is a sprinkler system that was on at night, or some other mechanism to keep the lower lows from happening. You can see something obvious going on here:
Florence: http://www.hprcc.unl.edu/stations/index.php?action=metadata&network_station_id=023027
Casa Grande: http://www.hprcc.unl.edu/stations/index.php?action=metadata&network_station_id=021314
Looks like a combination of missing data and maybe a moisture issue or some other heat influence at the Florence site at night. Humidity records might show something…

January 11, 2009 9:21 am

peter_ga (06:12:43) :
I believe the decline in CO2 consuming plankton coinciding with cooling periods suggests that cooling periods have less CO2, so anything that relies on CO2 is [snip-find better word for has a problem] This is incredibly supportive of the theory that CO2 causes heat, provided no other possibilities occur to you.

I believe what they are trying to say is, oceanic plankton removes billions of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere and that around 33 million years ago, a very sharp decline of the population of this plankton resulted in much higher CO2 concentration, and further that this coincided with a significant global cooling. Hence, the CO2 rose sharply during that period of time but the planet cooled.
Coincidently, I happened to catch a science channel program last night where they were talking about increasing the amount of plankton in the ocean to help scrub CO2 (same hypothesis as in the article cited), which also coincides with the more recent attempts seed the oceans with iron filings to boost the growth of various algae and plankton.
What puzzled me most, was that this article was presented on a typically AGW alarmist website and that most importantly, the hypothesis was that the lack of this “CO2 gobbling Plankton” would lead to cooler temperatures. This hypothesis is in direct contradiction to the hypothesis that CO2 drives global warming.
This says to me that they obviously have no clue as to the effect that CO2 has on global temperature, which further diminishes credibility of the AGW hypothesis in general. This “chasing the CO2 tail” is getting past the point of ridiculous, and for me beginning to pass the point of humorous.
Seems to me that CO2 causes everything and therefore we must remove this terribly destructive pollutant from our world [sarcasm].
I also read the article “Scientists Refute Argument Of Climate Skeptics” (link posted on same web site and cited by someone else on this blog as well) and found it equally disturbing in that they seem to distort the record to bias their sensational title.
Perhaps it is better to be uninformed than misinformed?

January 11, 2009 9:33 am

What is the political or hidden purpose behind all the AGW propaganda?
Some say it is a malthusian cause seeking the selected survival of some dominant specimens like the fat one we all know.

January 11, 2009 9:34 am

Re: Heat Islands
I thought you’d be interested in the prospective of a glider pilot and student of micrometeorology.
The Phoenix heat dome is often clearly visible from an airplane. Since I began observing it in the early 1970s it has grown significantly larger and more intense. The dome is a stagnate air mass made visible by the pollution and dust it traps near the surface. It also traps hot air.
Daytime thermals drive a vertical circulation of the air mass, or “mixing” in weather-speak.. Arizona thermals usually reach 9,000 to16,000 feet msl during the spring and summer. This pushes cold, upper level air downward, which in turn moderates surface temperatures.
Most people know that urban areas retain heat at night. Urban areas also produce strong stagnant air masses which delay the onset and intensity of thermal mixing during the day. This in turn raises day time temperatures.
From decades of experience, glider pilots know that thermal activity is suppressed over urban areas. Since gliders rely upon thermals to stay airborne, they avoid large urban areas whenever possible. The larger the urban area the larger the effect.
The Phoenix record high of 122 F was set on a very stagnant day in June 1990. Gliders just 10 miles south of the Sky Harbor weather station could not find usable thermals .. an almost unheard of event.
From my prospective the heat island effect is under estimated by most warmists.

January 11, 2009 10:14 am

I think I found it… The “higher lows” phenomenon has been going on for quite a while at Florence, with a big shift in 1985 (instrumentation change then also), and a huge increase lately. The High-Low temps have fallen off a cliff lately. See the “DeltaChart” tab here:
Now look at the highs (no change), and the lows (much higher). Normal difference was 35°F decades ago, it is now down to a 21°F delta from max to min. This is pretty common with irrigation as Anthony has pointed out before. I suppose with the growth of Florence, irrigation might include people watering their lawns at night also? Whatever the cause, the effect is HUGE. While this might be a localized phenomenon, the average temperature is up A LOT, even though the highs have not budged…
No wonder it shows up as a red dot! Looks like this station needs an audit…
What does GISS say about this station?

January 11, 2009 12:13 pm

It seems the ANN column uses the average of whatever is present, missing months or not… This throws lots of years off (and I think makes red dots). I added a column to correct for that, so that any year with complete data will have a pink line overlaying the black. Any with incomplete will not match (the pink line throws out any years with missing months) This throws out 2008 since it is missing 4 cold months. Still, there is a huge step in min temps around 1985/86.
I think this practice (throwing out years with missing data), if used on all stations would produce a much clearer picture of temps, and is a better practice than trying to fill it in, and certainly much better than trying to just take an average, even if you only have a few months of data (big DUH).

January 11, 2009 3:49 pm

Ever consider trying to get the $50M reward for Bin Laden?
Would bin Laden show up as a hot spot or a cold spot?

January 11, 2009 5:18 pm

Gary A
Picacho State Park is indeed open, but they want six bucks to get in. All the same, I’ll be driving by there Tuesday, and I think I’ll try to talk my way in to get a picture.

January 11, 2009 5:27 pm

Anthony, I was curious about the couple of orange dots in the northern US, so I checked out the one in ND.
A couple of points:
(1) The Station ID (and data) is available on the HPRCC web site, but only for the 10 High Plains states. I think the orange dot is Watford City and the temperature data is complete to Aug. 2008, but is only sporadic thereafter.
(2) On the regional maps there are many interesting / puzzling dots, e.g.,
(a) In TX there are 2 red dots that do not show up on the national map.
One appears to be Dallas, the other is east of Dallas somewhere out in the boonies.
(b) In southern OK, near the TX border is a red dot sandwiched between 3
green dots – a delta T of 4 degrees (or maybe 5, since one dot appears to be dark green).

Ron de Haan
January 11, 2009 7:00 pm

This article is linked by Alan Sullivan, Fresh Bilge: http://www.seablogger.com/?p=12594

January 11, 2009 7:43 pm

juan (17:18:16) :
“Gary A
Picacho State Park is indeed open, but they want six bucks to get in. All the same, I’ll be driving by there Tuesday, and I think I’ll try to talk my way in to get a picture.
I don’t think we have proven that there IS a station there. It’s just that the “8 SE” notation of Picacho appears to place it there.
Has anyone tried calling the ranger station to see if there is a station there?

January 11, 2009 8:26 pm

The location they show is just off the freeway at exit 219. I can probably go look faster than trying to reach them by phone.

Jeff Alberts
January 11, 2009 9:45 pm

MarkW (15:49:52) :
Ever consider trying to get the $50M reward for Bin Laden?
Would bin Laden show up as a hot spot or a cold spot?

Cold before cruise missile, hot after..

Tom Davidson
January 13, 2009 10:42 am

I contacted my brother Bill (in Tuscon) regarding this post, and he had some interesting input:
“One surprising thing here is the cool air that pours down the arroyos at night from nearby hills and mountains. A station on one side of a wash can measure a significantly different temperature than one on the other side, especially at night. Where I live at the base of the mountains (Tanque Verde – Tom), for instance, there is a sort of a thermal wall formed by washes that keeps the temp here a degree or two cooler than the rest of the city. If there is any topography then if the station got moved it would throw it off considerably.”

January 13, 2009 8:53 pm

I checked in at Picacho Peak St. Park this afternoon, spoke to the park employee at the entrance and was referred to a ranger who I presume is in charge of the park. He says they are provided with instruments which they read daily and phone in the results. The instrument(s) are currently sited in a temporary location which I couldn’t photograph because it is in a private area of the park. He thinks it was last moved in July. I described the fenced in station in Tucson; he is not aware of anything similar in the park. He thinks there might be some wind measuring device along the road farther north toward Eloy.
Henry, perhaps you are right to question whether there is really a ‘station’ there.

January 14, 2009 9:26 pm

The only reason I suggested the park was because of the “8 SE” reference given. Normally that’s a distance and direction from a given point, usually the main Post Office. A very quick look at the map put the park within that point. Since there is a ranger there (year-round, I suppose), I thought that as probable.
It could easily be a private residence close-by. Still looking…

January 15, 2009 4:30 am

I think I just heard TWC say it was -38F in Bismarck N.D. right now… Is that normal?

January 15, 2009 7:10 am

The red dot kind of flies in the face of this map, eh?

Mike Bryant
January 15, 2009 8:16 am

Of course, -38F is normal… Global warming is the proximate cause of every “extreme” weather event.

Mike Bryant
January 15, 2009 9:10 pm

Anthony, I don’t think I told you how impressive this bit of detective work was. Thanks again,

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