SurfaceStations.org: A tour of Italy

Guest post by Paolo Mezzasalma – meteorologist

Anthony Watts’ surface station survey project inspired my attempt for a similar task devoted to the Italian network. Weather observations in Italy are carried out by essentially three institutions, each with different purposes.

A national synoptic network was established in its current fashion after the second world war by the Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare – thereafter AM), devoted to aeronautic assistance and routine meteorological measurements. Many of these stations are located in airports but some are scattered through the Italian territory, even on remote mount tops. At the end of the Eighties the national agency for flight assistance (Ente Nazionale Assistenza al Volo – ENAV) took the duty for weather observations at the main civil airports. Currently 81 stations are managed by AM and 24 by ENAV.

Another widely scattered network of stations was established in the first decades of the 20th century by Ufficio Idrografico, whose main goal was the precipitation measurement and the river monitoring. These stations (a few thousands) were sited mainly in cities and villages and not in unpopulated areas; some of them were also provided with temperature sensors. This network is currently in charge of the 20 regional administrations in which the Italian territory is divided. Stations were upgraded and integrated with the local networks.

A third and historical network for weather readings was developed in the 18th and 19th century by many astronomical observatories in the main cities (about three dozen).

For this first report, the web provided me most of the close satellite imagery imagery (Google Earth, Pagine Gialle), 3D vision pictures (Microsoft Live Maps) and photographs (Google Earth, several sites) of almost all the stations of the synoptic network, without a real need to go and take personally a photo. Furthermore, AM has been reporting very informative description of a few of its observatories at its own Internet site http://www.meteoam.it/modules.php?name=rivistaPrecedenti .

The use of all these pieces of information collected from the web allowed me to do a satisfactory job for 88 out of the 105 stations of the synoptic network, whose readings are promptly available in the Global Telecommunication System, see the map in figure 1 for their location.

paolo-figure1

Figure 1: Italian network of synoptic stations located at military airports (green circles), other air force facilities (cyan circles) and civil airports (red circles). Original figure from AM, changed to add ENAV stations and point out the surveyed ones.

This report in particular deals with the 6 stations that are found in the GHCN and GISS data base with values updated in 2008 (1 Messina; 2 Trapani/Birgi; 3 Marina di Ginosa; 4 Termoli; 5 Pisa/S.Giusto; 6 Trieste). Following reports will eventually deal with stations of the GSN project or which are included in the ECA&D data set.

Starting from Sicily, Messina (station #1) is the city on the shore of the sea strait that separates the island from the Italian mainland. The local observatory is in a now fully developed urban area, as you can see in figure 2; the Stevenson Screen is over a small tower, also visible in the photograph in figure 3. Figure 4 shows the observatory before the catastrophic earthquake of the year 1908.

paolo-figure2

Figure 2: a close view (from Microsoft) to the area in which the observatory of Messina is located.

paolo-figure3

Figure 3: the Stevenson Screen at Messina. Photo posted by Matteo Pillitteri in 2004 on a weather forum.

paolo-figure4

Figure 4: the observatory before the earthquake of 1908 (www.casealbergo.it).

The area has surely seen a lot of urbanization in the 60s through the 80s while some pinus halepensis trees have been growing immediately to the north of the station, so not to cast any shadow on the shelter but acting as a barrier to the free flow of air and IR scattering.

Figure 5 plots the yearly temperature data and the remarkable adjustment applied by GISS.

paolo-figure5

Figure 5: yearly temperature before (top) and after (bottom) GISS adjustment.

At the western tip of Sicily it is located the airport of Trapani/Birgi (#2), a military facility hosting also some civil air traffic. Figure 6 (top) shows that the area around the airport is quite rural, while Giss consider it as being urban; the civil air station is in the building in the south-eastern part. The Stevenson Screen is in the middle of the air field, to the north of the runway (figure 6, bottom).

paolo-figure6

Figure 6: Trapani/Birgi from Google maps. Due to the high elevation of the Sun, the screen and the rain gauge are not very clear but still visible.

Someone could contest the attribution of that white spot as to be a Stevenson shelter, but I’m quite confident I have acquired a certain ability to detect the correct sites; my ability was also tested in a few cases. Giss adjustment to raw data is shown in figure 7.

yearly temperature before (top) and after (bottom) GISS adjustment for Trapani/Birgi.

Figure 7: yearly temperature before (top) and after (bottom) GISS adjustment for Trapani/Birgi.

Marina di Ginosa (#3) is marked as being rural and no correction is apparent in GISS plots. Figure 8 (top) shows, anyway, that the area suffered from an extensive urbanization as many coastal areas in Italy did. Zooming in at the area in which I was told the sensors are located doesn’t allow, in my opinion, a very clear detection of the Stevenson Screen: a closer inspection is required. The plot of GISS temperature data is in figure 9.

paolo-figure8

Figure 8: Marina di Ginosa from Google (top) and Pagine Gialle (bottom).

paolo-figure9

Figure 9: yearly temperature at Marina di Ginosa: no relevant adjustment has been computed by GISS.

The meteorological station in Termoli (#4) is located, since the year 1946, on the top of an ancient 50 metre high tower in the old part of the city, see figure 10. The old city is in front of the Adriatic Sea and is surrounded by the sea and the harbour for three quarters of its sides, as figure 11 shows. I think that the urban texture immediately around the tower has not changed a lot in the last decades. Data in GISS dataset have large lacunae (figure 12).

paolo-figure10

Figure 10: photographs (from Google) of the ancient tower of Termoli.

a Google satellite vision of Termoli.

Figure 11: a Google satellite vision of Termoli.

no relevant adjustment has been computed by Giss.

Figure 12: yearly temperature at Termoli: no relevant adjustment has been computed by Giss.

Of course there is a weather station close to the Leaning Tower of Pisa (#5), sited at the local airport which shares military and extensive civil traffic. This is the first station I found in Google maps after I spotted it during a takeoff from Pisa runway, see figure 13. The Stevenson Screen is not very clear in the bird eye vision from live Microsoft (figure 14), probably because of a deep cloud cover over it. As you can see in figure 13, even if the airport is very close to the city, the sensors are between the runway and some cultivated fields. Giss adjustment (figure 15) makes Pisa much colder in the past (a negative urban influence).

paolo-figure13

Figure 13: Pisa airport from Google.

a closer view (from Microsoft) to the Stevenson Screen at Pisa airport.

Figure 14: a closer view (from Microsoft) to the Stevenson Screen at Pisa airport.

paolo-figure14

Figure 15: yearly temperature before (top) and after (bottom) GISS adjustment for Pisa S. Giusto.

Trieste (#6) is in the northern shores of the Adriatic Sea, at the border with Slovenia. The meteorological observatory is at its present location (figure 16) since the middle of 2001 . It was previously located closer to the city centre, as figure 17 shows. Giss adjustment (figure 18) is positive but does not change data of the very first years. As a result, the temperature increase is more monotonic.

a close view (from Microsoft) to the area in which the station of Trieste is located.

Figure 16: a close view (from Microsoft) to the area in which the station of Trieste is located.

a close view (from Microsoft) to the area in which the old station of Trieste was located (bottom); the red oval in Pagine Gialle map (top) places the current site.

Figure 17: a close view (from Microsoft) to the area in which the old station of Trieste was located (bottom); the red oval in Pagine Gialle map (top) places the current site.

yearly temperature before (top) and after (bottom) GISS adjustment for Trieste.

Figure 18: yearly temperature before (top) and after (bottom) GISS adjustment for Trieste.

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36 thoughts on “SurfaceStations.org: A tour of Italy

  1. Paolo
    Very interesting article. I distrust global temperatures so am currently collecting national and regional temperature data sets-the older the better.
    Bearing in mind the huge diversity of climate even within Italy it is difficult to choose a single figure that represents Italy and amply illustrates the nonsense of Global temperatures!
    You have posted various links and made reference to various weather authorities. Which one or two links should I capture to try to represent historic Italian temperature data as far as this is possible?
    Thanks
    TonyB

  2. Computer models are not reality, Nature is reality.
    ——————————————————-
    How the world was bullied into silence
    By Dr. Tim Ball
    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/7710
    “Advocates of human caused global warming to take increasingly ridiculous positions to defend the indefensible.”
    ” Undoubtedly, there are positions and times when people are muzzled; national security is a good example. I sympathize with young people starting out on careers. I understand the pressure of maintaining a family and paying mortgages. But none of this should apply to science. It’s a measure of the degree to which climate change has become political. It’s also a measure of the degree of bullying that has occurred. Why would a scientist in an organization directly involved in climate science not feel free to speak out? But they are not the only ones who have kept quiet. Entire segments of society have either remained silent or taken evasive action. Few had the courage to even ask for a full and open debate. Now everything is changing as the claims of warming are offset by the realities of cooling.”
    ” Cold weather is doing more to raise questions about the scam of global warming than all the appeals to scientific reason. Even people who don’t understand the science recognize the illogic of arguing that colder temperatures are due to warming.”
    “Decades ago Tolstoi provided another explanation for failing to acknowledge the growing evidence. “I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”
    “It was a child who said the Emperor had no clothes because the adults were afraid to speak up. Now scientists of all political persuasions are speaking out. Consider the views of Dr Martin Herzberger. In a letter to USA Today he wrote; “As a scientist and life-long liberal Democrat, I find the constant regurgitation of the anecdotal, fear mongering clap-trap about human-caused global warming (the Levi, Borgerson article of 9/24/08) to be a disservice to science, to your readers, and to the quality of the political dialogue leading up to the election. The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence shows that the Gore-IPCC theory that human activity is causing global warming is false.”

  3. The Leaning Tower of Pisa: The acoustics in the lower tower are such, that our tour guide was able to sing a solo four-part chord during a visit in 1953.

  4. Computer models are not reality, Nature is reality.
    ———————————————————-
    Facts debunk global warming alarmism
    Bob Carter
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24934655-5017272,00.html
    “There are two fundamentally different ways in which computers can be used to project climate. The first is used by the modelling groups that provide climate projections to the IPCC. These groups deploy general circulation models, which use complex partial differential equations to describe the ocean-atmosphere climate system mathematically. When fed with appropriate initial data, these models can calculate possible future climate states. The models presume (wrongly) that we have a complete understanding of the climate system.”
    “GCMs are subject to the well-known computer phenomenon of GIGO, which translates as “garbage in, God’s-truth out”.”
    “Alternative computer projections of climate can be constructed using data on past climate change, by identifying mathematical (often rhythmic) patterns within them and projecting these patterns into the future. Such models are statistical and empirical, and make no presumptions about complete understanding; instead, they seek to recognise and project into the future the climate patterns that exist in real world data.”
    “In 2001, Russian geologist Sergey Kotov used the mathematics of CHAOS to analyse the atmospheric temperature record of the past 4000 years from a Greenland ice core. Based on the pattern he recognised in the data, Kotov extrapolated cooling from 2000 to about 2030, followed by warming to the end of the century and 300 years of cooling thereafter.”

  5. Wow! Great report, Paolo. If this is indicative of the state of surface temperature gathering stations in Italy, I’d hate to see what they look like in Africa!! Or India and the rest of Asia. As it is, the US has only 3% meeting NCDC specifications, 9% just outside the specifications and the rest garbage.

  6. Is it just me, or does the GISS adjustment method seem to pick a point (in this case ~ 1988) and raise older temperatures and lower newer ones? It seems to me that older temps should never be raised. But then, I’m just a stupid database administrator, and have no standing to comment since I’m not a climate scientist.

  7. Well we need someone from GISS to explain the logic of the adjustments they are making here. Some of them are obviously rediculous unless they have some really amazing special information (which should be public) their adjustments are going to cause people to assume fraud is happening. It is more likely a lousy decision process but the longer they pretend these adjustments are good the more any rational person is going to suspect funny business.
    Since that paragraph was so depressing I am now going to change the subject.
    I am so delighted, temperature may reach 0C here today for the first time in a month and only the 2nd time in almost 3 months. So I am now going outside to play.

  8. Ed Scott,
    Tim Ball’s article is hooked onto Dr. Joanne Simpson’s statement ” Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly…”. However, if you read the whole of her letter from which this quotation is taken, you will see that she is being frankly critical of those on both sides of the debate –
    “…a vocal minority of scientists so mistrusts the models and the complex fragmentary data, that some claim that global warming is a hoax. They have made public statements accusing other scientists of deliberate fraud in aid of their research funding. Both sides are now hurling personal epithets at each other, a very bad development in Earth sciences.”
    http://climatesci.org/2008/02/27/trmm-tropical-rainfall-measuring-mission-data-set-potential-in-climate-controversy-by-joanne-simpson-private-citizen/
    – and you will see that she is evidently not ‘speaking out’ against AGW concerns in the way that Ball implies –
    What should we as a nation do? Decisions have to be made on incomplete information. In this case, we must act on the recommendations of Gore and the IPCC because if we do not reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and the climate models are right, the planet as we know it will in this century become unsustainable.
    Dr Simpson’s proper scepticism (she is a scientist, after all) is a long, long way from the sort of polemical assertions being advanced in Ball’s article. I rather suspect that she would be displeased to have her words quoted with such an intent, since Ball is clearly doing exactly what she has criticised in the first quotation I have given above.

    REPLY:
    We covered that article on Simpson last year here on WUWT. – Anthony

  9. G.R. Mead,
    actually Umbria has a station in the airport of its main city, Perugia. I have got the satellite picture of it.
    This station currently reports only METAR messages (ICAO LIRZ) and not SYNOP since many years, so it is of little use.
    AM doesn’t list Perugia as a station of them but they have got an automatic stations very close to the first one.
    TonyB,
    thank you. You ask for a single representative station for all Italy.
    A not scientific answer is “in medio stat virtus”, so try with Rome that is the middle of the peninsula.
    You can find daily temperature data in the ECAD database as long as data from other 5 stations. Two series (Bologna and Milan) come from two historical observatory with data from the 19th century. I don’t remember if Rome has also data from the old observatory or only from one of its airport (Roma/Ciampino) since 1951.
    I’d like to add a comment.
    It has been said a lot of time that cities and airports are not suitable location to decect a climate signal in the temperature data.
    I agree but you have to face the facts.
    And facts tell you that almost all the stations in Italy are in airports or cities. Some are on high mountains but, being manned stations, are over buildings (I will show eventually with another report). I’m not aware of a single station in the countryside far from any relevant human interference.
    The Italian Air Force did a very good job in the last 60 years, but then they didn’t think of the use we now do with those data.
    Anyway, I think that a close survey of stations could allow us to discriminate error-prone stations from the better ones

  10. This doesn’t even surprise me. The US has the best dedicated mission-oriented weather service in the world and our station network is in a horrible state of disrepair in it siting. This condition skews temperatures horribly. Italy does not look like it is doing much better in its own siting. But as I have said, so I maintain. The science, the mathematics, the proofs, and the principles of it all don’t matter. They don’t matter. The only thing that matters is the political agenda. Science only gets in where it fits in with the agenda. Period.

  11. Paolo,
    Very nifty! As you said, the stations installed by the airforce are located at airports and remote mountain tops. So the data from those stations have not been affected over time. Mountain tops don’t get hotter due to urbanisation nor do airports. The second network consists of stations that are sited in cities and villages from the start. The third more historical network are positioned in the cities also from the start. So no subsequent urbanisation appears to have affected the Italian network
    Our concern is the warming bias over time due to encroachment by urban infrastructure. Since in Italy the situation around the stations has not changed, would you conclude that there is no gradual warming bias due to the UHI effect since the temperatures measured were already too high from the very beginning?

    REPLY:
    Airports are hardly static places, increased air traffic means increased infrastructure. Runways, tarmac, buildings, terminals, hangers etc. all increase with time. The encroachments are similar to UHI. IMHO an airport is the wrong place for climate measurement. – Anthony

  12. Whether the Italian airports Paolo has identified have indeed developed as you suggest is the first thing that had to be investigated. An airport normally starts with a tarmac runway, hangers and terminals etc. More infrastructure may well have been added but how much additional warming that causes remains to be seen. I suppose that depends also on where the station was located initially.
    REPLY:I beg to differ on your view of airport evolution. Many airports, especially the older ones, started as grass fields in the biplane era. Have you ever wondered why the aviation ID ORD for Chicago O’Hare airport doesn’t quite match the name? It is becuase ORD stands not for O’Hare, but for ORchaRD Field. Which literally is what it was. A grass field in the midst of orchards. – Anthony

  13. Very interesting insights. Perhaps the Continent’s UHI effect should be renamed the EHI effect — European Heat Island effect, if these photos are indicative of the level of data quality coming from Europe.

  14. Being a propellor-head myself, I’d go with Mr Watt on this.
    Many major airports started off as grass fields, with a few wooden sheds as hangers.
    For instance..
    “London Heathrow is the UK’s largest airport and the world’s busiest international airport, carrying over 68 million passengers and 1.3 million tons of cargo each year.
    However, the airport started life in 1946 as an army surplus tent small grass airfield.”
    http://www.heathrow-airport-guide.co.uk/history.html
    Quite a number of military airfields would be in a similar situation, especially those of pre- WW2 vintage.
    WW2 bomber fields, in the UK, usually were built as concrete runways & taxiways from the off, more modern fields would be concrete too, unless they’re purely for light aircraft.
    Also, wouldn’t the change from prop to jet influence the temperature? A good blast from the rear end of a B1 must send temperature readings skywards, even on a well-screened Stevenson’s.
    A pilot landing at an airfield would want to know local conditions, but their value as part of even local weather forecasting must be questionable.
    It would be interesting to know what the criteria are that GISS apply to their corrections.

  15. I agree when you consider the main airports in the US, but I assume that Italy has many, many small airports, like we have here in France. The big ones are only in Paris (Bourget, Orly and Charles de Gaulle). Even the Marseille airport (Marseille is the second biggest city in France) is moderate in size and for US standards very tiny.

  16. @Chris Schoneveld (15:47:41)
    In France, ALL GHCN stations are at airports, accept Mont-Aigoual (a Meteo France reference rural station) whose data haven’t been updated in the GHCN database since 1990 !
    So even if airports are small, the warm biais from increased traffic is not negligible (count in the build up of huge car parks).
    I see in Paolo’s station a pattern very common to Europe and particularly to France or Switzerland : a temperature jump around 1986 (“Tchernobyl effect” ?). A trend consistent with the regular increase in GHG effect.

  17. Paolo,
    Nice work!
    You wrote in part in a reply:
    “The Italian Air Force did a very good job in the last 60 years, but then they didn’t think of the use we now do with those data.”
    I think you are exactly right and that applies to probably all old weather stations. That is exactly what they were set up for; weather, not climate. As was discussed in the “Illiinois Record Low” post a few days ago, aviators are interested in what the temperature is on the runway right now and general weather conditions around the airport.
    IMO, climate scientists jumped the gun by going with the data they had (historical records and proxy reconstructions) rather than thinking about what data they need and arranging for appropriate data collection equipment, methods, and siting suitable for climate analysis. Some good climate data collection has been started (relatively) recently and Anthony’s, and your surveys (others too!) help the effort to provide good data for analysis.
    Thanks for your contribution.
    A little joke now, please? In the lead picture for this post, that’s the strangest looking Stevenson Screen I’ve ever seen, there’s no barbeque grill, and it looks like it needs to be straightened up ;o)

  18. Wonderful work. The ‘before and after GISSing’ are a Godsend!
    Eyeball inspection of the before and after leaves me with one major impression. Very careful and very subtile data doctoring.
    Either Mr. Hansen has deluded himself with code so complex he doesn’t realize what he has created, or it is a deliberate attempt to hide the doctoring in such a way that it can not be spotted by traditional statistical means. Something like a ‘spread spectrum’ signal hidden in all the true data points.
    Examples: Marina di Ginosa gets no changes, yet Pisa gets a full on slope shift and some individual data point juicing. The 1955 or so data point at the local bottom is down about 1.2 degrees by my eye while 1951? is down about 1.5 degrees 2004 is lifted about a degree, while 2008 is left alone. A stitch here, a tuck there, we make it fit real nice!
    Triest gets a more subtile lift. About 1980-1990 several data points are raised about 0.25 to .5 degree, nothing much, just a little baggy in the middle, we tighten it right up. Then in about 1994? we take the peak and pull it up about .7 of a degree, but leave the start and end alone, they fit fine. Oh, and 1961, she’s a little flat, just a tweak, about .25 degree more. Can’t say we don’t raise the early temps some times, if only a smidge.
    Just Beautiful! No?
    So sometimes it’s the middle, sometimes the beginning gets adjusted down, or the end up, sometimes just a data point or two, and sometimes the whole treatment. All you are left with in the averages is an added slope fudge. Any look at the start, the end, or the middle shows ‘not much’ adjustment. Fit’s from first to last data point show no change. Masterful.
    I would class this as a variation on the “Salami technique” with a statistical twist. (A small enough slice here and there, no one notices; do it with a statistical cleaning step so it doesn’t show in statistical searches, Ta Da!)
    It would take an anal retentive compulsive to look at individual data points on individual charts for each location to spot it… but then how to prove it?

  19. One thing I’m curious about is whether or not we’ll see many air conditioners cluttering up the micro-environment of the European stations in general. I have been told that air conditioning isn’t nearly as popular in Europe as it is in the U.S. Is that a myth?

  20. Hope someone will graph the climate change during the Bush Administration.
    Might the world have undergone Global Cooling during his 8 years?

  21. The more I closely inspect the individual GISS vs non-GISS temperature charts the more I am convinced that (if this is representative of GISS transformations) the GISS data set is useless. It is nothing more than a computer generated fantasy.
    Just look at Pisa (it’s the most blatant). Give me a rational explanation for changes of over 1.5 degrees down at the start and up .25 at the end. That’s about 1.75 C of ‘fudge’. From this a 0.1 C change in the average is to be taken as deadly?
    UHI compensation pushes the other direction. It’s not compensation. Could they have the sign backwards on their UHI compensator? It IS NASA and they have had, um, issues, with sign and feet vs meters before…
    [snip – none of that here]

  22. As a general rule I tend to consider airports as a “living” infrastructure and data contamination comes from not only new buildings or runways but also from usually increasing energy consumption and waste heat.
    Nevertheless, I think that a few airports can be choosen as a good candidate because of small changes through the decades. We have just to look for that.
    I think that to avoid many problems with urbanisation and waste energy, a radical choise would be to use, for climate purpouses, only maximum temperatures, that are more representative of the real heat content of the planetary boundary layer. Siting and maintenance of the shelter could affect Tmax (also the seasons in the northern lands), but Tmin is more error-prone.
    Of course, isolated stations sited on mountain tops or small islands would be my first guess choise.
    That European temperatures in the last decades have increased is an undisputed fact. Data, anyway, must be cleaned up from all those non weather related, contaminating perturbations.
    If, at the end, the data still show a jump around the seconf half of the 80s, as Demesure pointed out, and someone tell you that the jump is GHG induced, be sure…that guy hasn’t understand how weather and climate work.

  23. Regarding air conditioning, in Italy is very popular.
    Office buldings and other working places are conditioned since many years.
    Private house conditioning is now very extensive and the heat wave of 2003 has made it much more popular.

  24. Chris D. (19:45:57) :
    One thing I’m curious about is whether or not we’ll see many air conditioners cluttering up the micro-environment of the European stations in general. I have been told that air conditioning isn’t nearly as popular in Europe as it is in the U.S. Is that a myth?

    Oh it’s popular, but a lot of folk can’t afford it.

  25. E.M.Smith (19:09:18) :
    “Oh, and 1961, she’s a little flat, just a tweak, about .25 degree more. Can’t say we don’t raise the early temps some times, if only a smidge.”
    That’s to smooth out the mid 20th cooling 😛
    DaveE.

  26. Yes, I too would like to understand the logic of the GISS adjustments. If we assume that the adjustments are biased in favor of AGW, would we not expect to see the older records depressed in value, to accentuate the later rise? (I’m not saying that’s what they would do – just exploring the logic.)
    On the other hand, for some of the stations that have become surrounded by urbanization, you would expect later records to be adjusted downward to correct for heat island effects.
    Am I careless for not noticing either of these patterns? It seems in the ones I looked at closely that the older records were adjusted upwards, and the later ones left largely alone.

  27. The Pisa & Trieste temps have lost the mid century cooling.
    Someone correct me if I’m reading that wrongly please.
    DaveE.

  28. E.M.Smith (21:25:05) :

    [snip – none of that here]


    My first snip! Sorry to have offended. It did get under my skin that the data look to be so cooked… I’ll try to restrain my ‘enthusiasm’ in future…

  29. I see that Paolo surveyed a lot of italian weather stations, Milano Linate included. GISS database for this site ends in 1987, and I must say this is good.
    Just to contribute, I have some photos taken on 2004/05 showing the Stevenson’s Screen surrounded by vegetation (Click here to see a gallery). In that period (and probably since many years before) that station was obviously highly overestimating temperatures, so me and my fiends at http://www.centrometeolombardo.com (it’s a weather association) started complaining about this with AM and ENAV, documenting the situation you can see. Within a few months that vegetation was removed. After this, readings became more reliable (we verified this through our regional amatorial network – see http://www.centrometeolombardo.com/temporeale.php for our network realtime readings), but later we verified a new degrade, probably related to some works (a construction site with building materials just around the screen).
    At the moment the area , previously surroundend by open grass fields, is interested by a permanent transformation. They are building some big parks for automotives just a few hundreds of meters aside. I can collect photos about this too, if someone is interested in.

  30. Fabio,
    thank you for your contribution.
    Right now I can’t look from my office at the photo gallery of Milano station, but I think they are the same pictures posted in a weather forum in 2004.
    If you look at satellite maps from Microsoft live, Google and Pagine Gialle (links above) you can appreciate the ongoing transformation of the site.
    Could you, please, write me at @arpa.emr.it, just add a “p” followed by my surname?
    To whom are concerned about GISS adjustments, the real, original data from the real source regarding Pisa/SGiusto show a linear trend of:
    0.093 °C/dec for 1952-2007 (dic-nov)
    Excluding 1992, as in GISS data, the linear trend is:
    0.089 °C/dec
    When GISS combines the several data sources from GHCN, the linear trend they find would be:
    0.046 °C/dec
    GISS adjusted linear trend is an astonishing:
    0.241 °C/dec
    Caveat: in 1973 there was a change in the observation time. I haven’t still computed the ToBS for Pisa, but for other stations is not negligible but not relevant, surely far from 0.241….

  31. I can’t address European airport expansion in general, but I can comment on the Madrid-Barajas field from 1988 to 2000, and to the present. When I first landed there in 1988, it had just expanded the main runway, and added a perpendicular secondary. The terminal building was small, you could walk from one end to the other in about 5 minutes. By 2000, my last visit, the terminal had quadrupled in size, the perpendicular secondary runway was now the location of a large parking garage (later bombed by Basque separatists), and several additional runways had been added. By last year or maybe ’07, when they had that terrible crash, there is now a secondary terminal about twice as big as the original terminal, and I no longer could pick out the outline of either the original terminal or runways from the overhead photographs. Of course, Spain is atypical, growing quickly out of the Franco era, but the growth of that airport amazed me when I went through, usually twice a year, as it was significantly larger each time.

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