Looking at thermometer placement and heat in the infrared

Google can be a great aid to serendipity. Doing some Googling the other day I was surprised to find a couple of my images from How not to measure temperature, Part 42 being used by a company that sells thermal imaging equipment. The company, Thermographix, wrote quite a long essay claiming that the IPCC missed a component of global warming in their reports by not addressing the heat from buildings and land use change on surface temperatures.

While I don’t agree with some of the claims in the article, I thought it was worth reproducing here because I’ve been saying for some time that the MMTS electronic thermometer phased in by NOAA since the mid 1980’s has been picking up heat from buildings due to cable trenching issues placing them closer to buildings. For example this visible and IR photo set I snapped at the USHCN station in Perry, Oklahoma:


Perry OK, USHCN station of record. Downtown at the fire station. Visible and IR

In the photo above, taken looking SE, the wall of the fire station appears to have been warmed by the afternoon sun, because as you can see the shaded area on the left side of the IR photo, it is cooler. The issue is: how much will this heat the air in the vicinity of the thermometer?

Thermographix has lots of similar IR photos to illustrate how buildings and building materials display their heat. The report below is from their website at:



Buildings on the surface of the entire planet and in every country are designed with temperature considerations. We want to use as little energy as possible, not waste non-renewable resources, create as few GHG emissions as possible and not generate any heat atmospherically.

The emissions from burning fossil fuels are toxic, contain mercury and end up in our water, food and bodies. Emissions can promote acid rain and affect the ability to sustain life. We don’t want to waste fossil fuels because they can’t be renewed. We don’t want to create heat on the surface of the planet because that changes the weather formula. Weather is the interaction of cold air, warm air and water vapor. Creating heat on the surface of the planet will affect weather, climate, agriculture, pollinators(food source) employment, economy, health, etc.

All the laws are in place to achieve the above but the bottom line is the entire global process is signed off as compliant because every university, tech school and academia in the world teaches temperature considerations in a calculator. Hard to imagine all the sciences are blind to temperature except it is a reality. Our visible spectrum can’t see temperature until it is glowing red hot. The United Nations and their membership are discussing climate change but in fact are blind and missing critical data.


The next 2 pictures are going to show you the tools used to collect weather information. Take a look at the advanced technologies used in weather stations.

Here is a close up of the weather station

This page is important information for you on buildings that is not available to you. Your home or commercial property is signed off as compliant and insured. Your realtor, inspector, builder, developer and government do not verify your building compliance. This is free information you need to consider if you are buying, building or renovating. If you are building “green” this will open your eyes as to what that really means. It will shock you to see how California & other areas are knocked off the electrical grid treating heat symptoms. Hard to believe all of the electricity generated is wasted on a symptom and being blamed on economy.

Buildings use energy differently in the winter than it does in the summer. This page is related to heat gain associated with building design and energy use. Heat loss and images showing energy waste related to heat loss can be seen at HEAT LOSS FROM BUILDINGS

The information on this page isn’t controversial, it is simply the evolution of temperature measurement out of the calculator so objectives can be seen instead of assumed. This information is the result of thousands of hours of the most advanced temperature research in the world and is being lectured internationally in educational programs for medical professionals.

Buildings are designed to fluctuate with atmospheric temperature so there isn’t a heat gain atmospherically and so there isn’t more heat generated than the building is designed, insulated or insured for. You can see the weather station above isn’t providing us with UV and solar radiation impact. This page is to see the impact of solar interaction with development.

This first image was taken at 5:20 AM and the temperature outside was 59 degrees F. The thermal image should show the building fluctuating with the atmospheric temperatures.

Spot temperatures have been placed on the thermal image for comparison to the 59 degree F outdoor temperature.



The house is fairly consistent with atmospheric temperatures before sunrise. You can see the concrete steps holding heat from the day before.


The next image was taken 2 hours after sunrise. It is 7:30 AM and the temperature is 63 degrees F. In theory the building should be fluctuating with atmospheric temperature. Put your mouse over the picture to see the thermal image. Is the building heating the atmosphere?


Solar exposure on absorbent finishes has caused the building to generate extreme heat as high as 149 degrees F when it is 63 degrees F. Surface materials are all hotter than atmospheric temperature very early in the morning. That generated heat is heating the atmosphere as well as exceeding the design temperature of the building.


When the first set of images were shown to building professionals they assumed that it was isolated to a few buildings. The previous images verified solar impact so we wanted to highlight the solar impact on new construction. The next picture shows roofs with and without shingles on buildings designed for a maximum of 92 degrees F or 33 degrees C.

Spot temperatures have been placed on the thermal image.


The shingles are generating extreme heat the building isn’t designed, insulated or insured for very early in the morning.


The building below is new fire reconstruction after a forest fire interfaced with this city. The building is designed for a maximum of 92 degrees F and it is a 59 degree F day. Is the building fluctuating with atmospheric temperature or exceeding design temperature?

Spot temperatures have been placed on the thermal image.


The same UV that burns our skin has caused excitation of solar exposed finishes causing the building to generate heat. This is at 11:00 AM and you can see the shaded areas performance versus solar exposure. The building isn’t designed for the temperatures it is generating and it is heating the atmosphere.


Kelowna lost over 240 homes in the Firestorm 2003 where a forest fire interfaced with Kelowna. The reconstruction was the newest construction standards. The next image will show if the building exterior is absorbing the sun’s rays or generating heat that was then absorbed.

Spot temperatures have been placed on the thermal image.


The reconstruction above shows the solar performance of different materials including shaded areas. All of the construction materials are exceeding the atmospheric temperature of 70 degrees F and the roof is close to 100 degrees F over atmospheric temperatures. This is warming the atmosphere and contributing to weather changes.


The next image was taken on a July day in 2002, 4 PM PST. The temperature is 95° F and the building is designed for 92° F. This 3 degree margin would be acceptable to accommodate those times of the year when it is marginally warmer. Observe the dark color of the siding, the lighter shingles, the tree and the fact there is foil over the windows. Covering the windows on the inside or outside is an attempt to stop the sun from coming through the windows and causing heat indoors.

Hold your mouse over the picture and the thermal image will appear. Spot temperatures have been placed on the thermal image.


The wall is designed, insulated and insured for a maximum of 92 degrees F and in some areas it is 100 degrees over design temperature. The foil over the windows isn’t addressing the problem, the heat is coming through the walls that aren’t designed for the extreme temperatures. In 2005, this home added a window air conditioner and in 2007 they added 2 more window air conditioners to treat the indoor heat. The air conditioners requires the electrical generation of 1000s of watts per hour to treat the indoor heat symptom and the heat generated outside isn’t discussed. In areas where coal is used to generate the electricity there are mercury emissions as well as acid rain contributions.


The next building is new development where they have used dark absorbent finishes on the solar exposed sides of the building. It is 91 degrees F outside, is the building generating heat that exceeds the maximum temperature of 92 degrees F?

Spot temperatures have been placed on the thermal image.


The new construction is generating heat 100 degrees F over design temperature. The building isn’t insulated for these temperatures and the generated heat is heating the atmosphere.


The next image is of a church on an 86 degree F Day. There are several types of finishes on the solar exposed side of the building. Observe the tree, grass, brick, shingles and the brown ducting on the roof. Put your mouse over the image and see if the building is functioning close to the atmospheric temperature of 86 degrees F or if the building is exceeding its maximum design temperature of 92 degrees F.

Spot temperatures have been placed on the thermal image.


The building is generating extreme heat. Note the tree or grass is functioning within atmospheric temperatures and not imposing on the atmosphere. The building is designed for a maximum of 92 degrees F and the heat generated grossly exceeds 92 F so the heat transfers inside. The duct on the roof is the air conditioning treating the indoor heat symptoms. The air conditioning requires 1000s of watts per hour of wasted electrical generation.


The next image is row housing, put your mouse over the picture and see the impact of solar radiation.

Spot temperatures have been placed on the thermal image.


The trees and green space is much cooler than the absorbent building finishes. Landscaping and responsible paint finishes could deal with this heat problem, taller trees would provide shade cover with zero emissions. Eliminating the heat would eliminate atmospheric heat.


We have observed several different types of construction and the rule has been solar radiation is causing heat generation on buildings. The next image will show you a new development surrounded by trees. To make room for development, trees were cut down and the ground was scraped of everything living.

This image is significant in that it was taken to see a temperature image of development against the natural green space. Bigger cities would be performing the same except on a bigger scale. This upscale neighborhood employs the latest in environmentally friendly technologies. The homes use geo thermal ground source energy for the heating and cooling except energy consumption depends on the building design temperatures. This development is designed, insulated and insured for a maximum temperature of 92 degrees F. The temperature outside is 71 degrees F, is the development fluctuating with atmospheric temperature?

Spot temperatures have been placed on the thermal image.


The development is twice atmospheric temperature and exceeding design temperatures in the morning. Due the indoor heat gain, portable air conditioning and other energy use is employed trying to cool the indoor temperature. Geo thermal isn’t being represented well.


The next images were taken in May on a 70 degree F day. The picture shows an orchard beside a development. The orchard is considered a green space and would be our temperature objective for development. Put your mouse over the picture to see the temperatures associated with the area. Is the development generating heat atmospherically as well as heat the buildings aren’t designed, insulated or insured for?

Spot temperatures have been placed on the thermal image.


The heat generated by the development is twice the temperature of the orchard. The orchard has since been removed and there is a new development with an environmental name being built right now. The new construction finishes will generate more heat.


This new development is designed for a maximum of 92 degrees C and codes acknowledge there may be a few days where the temperature is slightly warmer. The temperature today is 94 degrees F and the development should be fluctuating with atmospheric temperatures. Look at the trees, grass, shade and green space compared to pavement and absorbent building finishes.

Spot temperatures have been placed on the thermal image.


Solar radiation with absorbent exterior finishes is generating extreme heat that exceeds the buildings design temperature. The building isn’t designed, insulated or insured for those extreme temperatures. We use air conditioning to react to a symptom. The heat generation atmospherically contributes to lower air pressure and changes the weather formula.


The cut block is an example of tree harvesting. You can see they have removed all of the trees and ground cover. Put your mouse over the next picture and see if there is solar impact by exposing the ground cover?

Spot temperatures have been placed on the thermal image.


Removing complete ground cover is generating heat in the cutblock. The heat is over twice atmospheric temperature and a heat gain atmospherically. Pine Beetles have devastated 50,000 sq. miles of BC Forests and the response has been clear cutting. Look at the heat of the cut block and imagine the heat generation of 50,000 sq. miles of dead forested area. The extreme heat generation will contribute to lower air pressure and changes the weather formula for the globe.


Solar exposure is year round and we wanted to see the effect of solar impact in the colder seasons. The next image was taken in October on a 44 degree day at 10:30 A.M. You can see different building finishes and the shade of the tree on the building in the front. Put your mouse over the picture and see the effect of shade as well as the thermal performance of different building finishes.

Spot temperatures have been placed on the thermal image.


You can clearly see the effect and importance of shade if you are going to finish your building in absorbent paints or material. The part of the building that is shaded is still cooler than atmospheric temperature. Exposed absorbent finishes are generating heat that is warming the atmosphere.


To complete the seasonal impact of solar exposure required imaging building exteriors in the winter. Building exteriors should be fluctuating with atmospheric temperatures so there isn’t a heat gain atmospherically. Radiated heat would contribute to low air pressure and change weather.

Pine Beetles have devastated 50,000 acres of BC forests costing billions of dollars in BC alone. Scientists say it is the loss of freeze thaw cycles that is leading to more beetle infestation. Our imaging in the winter was to see the impact of solar expose. Canada is further away from the sun and the angle is lower so the UV index is lower.

Spot temperatures have been placed on the thermal image.


The UV index is lower and this generated heat won’t require an air conditioning response. You can see the heat generated over the solar exposed side of the building versus the shaded side of the building. The building is generating over 140 degree F heat on a 48 degree day and contributes to low pressure changing weather.


The next image is to show the thermal performance of brand new multi-family dwellings. Observe the solar exposed and shaded side temperatures.

Spot temperatures have been placed on the thermal image.


The siding and shingles are generating heat over 100 degrees F on a 48 degree day while the shaded side of the building shows the temperature without solar exposure. This is a heat gain atmospherically in the winter.


The next images show 2 buildings on June 27, 2006. The one in the front is older and the one behind isn’t finished and has plywood on the exterior that will be covered with brown stucco. Observe the shade temperature and the piece of insulation that has been placed on the roof to see solar performance. The temperature at 10 AM is 84 degrees F; is the building fluctuating with atmospheric temperatures?

Spot temperatures have been placed on the thermal image.


The insulation and shade are cooler than atmospheric temperature while the solar exposed building material is generating 70 degrees F hotter than atmospheric temperature.


Solar exposure is causing absorbent building exteriors to generate extreme heat the building isn’t designed, insulated or insured for. We are treating the symptoms with air conditioning, gigawatts of electricity waste, excessive GHG emissions including mercury, wasting non renewable resources and generating atmospheric heat close to boiling temperature.

Air conditioning is in fact refrigeration which is reported to deplete the ozone allowing more UV. We are using it in 100% of building applications in response to solar exposure.

California as well as other states and provinces are creating massive GHG emissions reacting to the symptoms while we blame the emissions on economy. During our information gathering, it was ironic to hear of the Governor of California meeting Branson, Tony Blair, environment groups, etc to discuss reducing emissions without losing economy. At the same time, California and other areas are producing massive GHG emissions as well as ozone depletion generating electricity to treat the symptoms of heat waves.

Canada and the world are calling for emission reduction immediately and the reality is we are installing air conditioning in every new building. It is impossible to develop effective policy when the science is lacking.

Environment Canada code for the reduction of refrigerants Environmental Code of Practice for Elimination of Fluorocarbon Emissions from Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems

Canadian Environment Minister Press Release in September, 2007. Canada Contributes to Major International Agreement to Protect the Ozone Layer and Tackle Climate Change

Heat impacts weather and we are generating extreme heat that in some cases reaches close to boiling temperature. That massive heat dump by every building in every city, state, province and country is unnaturally contributing to lowering air pressure which will change weather. Why are we worried about heat trapping gases in the atmosphere when we are generating heat close to boiling temperature on the surface of the planet?


It is assumed that buildings and development do not generate heat. Here is a link to information on urban heat islands from the EPA EPA on Urban Heat Islands!

Here is a link to a video clip from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Heat Island Effect EPA Video on Heat Island Effect.

We are reporting solar exposure as an unprecedented environmental emergency to authorities because we are treating the symptoms with ozone depletion, massive GHG emissions, electrical waste, acid rain, mercury emissions, etc. We are not discussing the extreme heat generated by buildings

Every state and city is looking for this information, they just couldn’t see it in a calculator. Here is a letter sent to the Western States & Provinces WESTERN CLIMATE INITIATIVE PARTNERS which include California, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Arizona, British Columbia and Manitoba telling them their buildings are exceeding their design temperature while they react to the symptoms with ozone depletion and massive GHG emissions. There has been no response to date while taxpayers are funding policy missing the required science.

The UN Meeting in Bali in 2007 missed critical data on climate change and building performance. Here is our press release.Press Release – UN MEETING IN BALI MISSING CRITICAL DATA ON CLIMATE CHANGE

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March 4, 2009 11:01 pm

That close up of the weather station showing a rain gauge made me wonder if, when they put in grass, whether they plan to make provision for watering the lawn.
It would be consistent with their lack of concern for the location of the thermometers.

March 4, 2009 11:09 pm

Seems more like badly-written hype than science. I don’t see any calibration targets in any of their photos. I suspect they used a radiometer and just took readings and believed them. Color me ultra-skeptical.
REPLY: As I mentioned in the article introduction, I don’t agree with some of the things said. However, my own experience with IR imaging parallels many of the visible and IR photographs seen here. While the commentary may not be the best, and there is if course error in any measurement made, the point I’m trying to illustrate, that we often see elevated temperatures near man-made structures and clearings that don’t happen in natural landscape seems to be well shown by the photography. – Anthony

March 4, 2009 11:31 pm

“The UN Meeting in Bali in 2007 missed critical data on climate change and building performance. ”
Well, naturally. It’s not as if facts were on their agenda.
Also, this is very interesting, but what is the alternative? Are building materials and construction techniques available to deal with this? This is the only suggestion I saw of that in the article… “Landscaping and responsible paint finishes could deal with this heat problem, taller trees would provide shade cover with zero emissions.”
…looks like I might need to apologize to Dr.Chu for making fun of his “paint the roofs white” idea.

March 4, 2009 11:43 pm

This seems odd…
Why are the building walls so hot, when the road asphalt is barely warm?

Mike Bryant
March 5, 2009 12:39 am

It’s probably early in the morning. Those photos should probably be time stamped.

March 5, 2009 12:50 am

This seems odd…
Why are the building walls so hot, when the road asphalt is barely warm?

Look at the original. There are long shadows, which means the sun is setting or rising. The ground probably is not getting much radiation, but the vertical wall is catching direct sun.

Lindsay H
March 5, 2009 1:13 am

Whats the area of the planet covered by roads and buildings? 1%
The heat island effect from this is not going to have a measurable effect on climate.
De afforestation is another matter we are cutting down 7 million hectares a year nett. and in the last 200 years or so have lost 20% of the worlds forest cover reducing it to 4 billion hectares today.
There will be consequences from that.

Mike McMillan
March 5, 2009 1:13 am

“after a forest fire interfaced with this city.” (Translated from the original Farsi by Korean immigrants living on Taiwan. )
Now that is truly an original way to look at it.
The grammar nazi in me is grimacing, wondering what became of all those dollars I contributed to the nation’s educational system.
Good thing Anthony’s images aren’t like, you know, copyrighted or anything, huh?

Robert Wood
March 5, 2009 1:17 am

So, houses are causing global warming! They’re right, we should all live in caves 🙂

March 5, 2009 1:19 am

HasItBeen4YearsYet? (23:43:40) :
This seems odd…
Why are the building walls so hot, when the road asphalt is barely warm?

The series of pictures indicates in some places a demonstration of warmth shortly after sunrise. If you look at the non-IR picture you will see long shadows from the buildings near to the camera. Given the implication of “near sunrise” I would project that this is an East facing building that has had a few hours of sun on the walls, but the shadows have just retreated about 1/3 of the way across the street. Given the higher mass of the road (not a thin skin over insulation, but tons of mass) I would expect it to be heated less than the shell of the building in this context. The walls are also nearly flat on to the sun while the road is more oblique.
Painting buildings and roofs white works. Prior to massive A/C installations, many parts of the LA basin had white houses with white, red tile or light blue roofs. I have seen a historical picture of this era. Very pretty too! This is an example of the ‘classic’ Spanish style:
and this is a church with a bluish roof:
Since I have a family member who has issues with headaches when the A/C is on, I’ve developed a ‘defense in depth’ approach to heat. One of the most effective things was a roof sprinkler system (pvc pipe near peak, sprinkler heads to cover 80% of roof, duty cycle about 2 min on, 28 off or 58 off on cooler days). When first turned on during a hot day, very significant steam immediately rises…
Second most effective thing? “Drapes” of plastic tarp hung from the eaves from “cup hooks” turned into the rafter stubs. All the radiant heat stops at the tarp and just rises past the edge of the house.
Between these two, most of the time things are just dandy even without an AC running even on very hot days. (I also had “misters” under the eaves that worked very very well, hung from the same cup hooks that hold the christmas lights in winter and now hold the tarps. After adding the tarps, the misters were largely superfluous. ) Controlling radiant heat gain is far more important than anything else in keeping interior temperatures down.
BTW, the tarps are only on the parts that face east (about 1/2, the other half has a tree shading it) and south. North doesn’t matter and the garage covers much of the West. I planted fruit trees to shade the rest of the west face most of the time. B.T. (Before Tarps) I planted Jerusalem Artichokes near the East wall. Worked perfectly and took no maintenance to speak of. Up on time, down at end of season, mow, re-grows from roots next season, nearly indestructible and about 7 feet tall. Lasted 3 or 4 years. Then I got “free range bunnies”. MUNCH! Thus the tarps…
And I can testify due to walking on the roof barefoot to instal antennas and sprinklers that the temps this guy is reporting are not out of line. (His hype is, but not the data). Shingles get hot. Very hot. This may be “by design”.
The backside of composite shingles have a ‘tar band’. This softens / melts on a hot day and glues the top shingle to the one under it. This is to prevent wind lift from removing the shingles later… The directions that come with the shingles tell you not to install in cold / wind, but rather at a time when the sun can assure this ‘gluing’ happens. A call to a shingle maker would like give a melt temperature spec.

March 5, 2009 1:29 am

It would be interesting to get differential IR photos of the side facing away from the hot wall, as in the first picture up top and the side facing the hot wall. The delta Temp ought to be visible / measurable and would give a clear indication of the order of magnitude of any problem.

March 5, 2009 1:33 am

The problem with looking at land usage impact is that if you do, it accounts for a fairly large portion of the last century’s change. That reduces how much CO2 could be resposible for. Can’t be having that.

anna v
March 5, 2009 1:57 am

Lindsay H (01:13:10) :
Whats the area of the planet covered by roads and buildings? 1%
The heat island effect from this is not going to have a measurable effect on climate.

True for satellite averages. For surface measures the majority of detectors are in heat island regions as Anthony painstakingly records. So the effect is large.

March 5, 2009 2:18 am

Quote Lindsay H : “Whats the area of the planet covered by roads and buildings? 1%
The heat island effect from this is not going to have a measurable effect on climate.”
Yes, but IF the majority of temperature measurements come from that 1% then the politicians can cause a major amount of destruction in response to the false data gained therefrom.
Quote Lindsay H : “De afforestation is another matter we are cutting down 7 million hectares a year nett. and in the last 200 years or so have lost 20% of the worlds forest cover reducing it to 4 billion hectares today.
There will be consequences from that.”
I agree Lindsay. I know it is not scientific, but as an experiment I used google earth and span the planet, closed my eyes and randomly stopping the planet I zoomed in on whichever location I had stopped the spin on. Finding somewhere with signs of human life was very very rare. Most of the time it was the ocean, occasionally I would land on desert or forest or mountains, but almost never on a city.
People who spend all their time in cities and travelling from one city to another by plane, can easily be fooled into believing that the earth has been massively effected by mankind. It has not as yet. Yes there are massive areas where there is massive pollution locally, but it is not a global issue, yet. As population grows, then the chemical waste we produce and the natural resources we consume are going to have an increasingly negative effect on our biosphere. We will eventually get to the point where the biosphere is incapable of adapting and recycling our damage to it fast enough to remain a viable biosphere for human inhabitation.
Before that happens we need to urgently establish the genuine threats to our biosphere and work tirelessly to eliminate those human based threats, in terms of ending and preventing chemical and genetic pollution of the biosphere. By genetic pollution, I refer to genetically modifications of organisms that are grown without sufficient safeguards to prevent artificial genetic alterations from “leaking” or “escaping” into nature. For example, there is some compelling evidence that genetically modified crops *might* be partially responsible for colony collapse disorder in bees.
We need to address the massive destruction of ancient forests and the massive chemical and genetic pollution before we start trying to create an artificial stasis of natural gasses in the atmosphere. (a stasis that has never occurred naturally at any time in the past). The whole unproven AGW distraction could be catastrophic for life on our planet over the coming centuries if it is allowed to take precedents over the REAL destruction happening in our biosphere…

Allan M
March 5, 2009 2:41 am

So this is news?
I also have a black car and the AC doesn’t work at the moment.
Here in the UK we WANT this to happen for 10 months of the year.
What seems crazy is that the building design spec. is for 92ºF. This seems to show amazing ignorance on the part of the architects (or regualtors)(maybe they use computer models and don’t get out much). Then again maybe it’s just a case of doing it on the cheap.
Reinforces what the Anthony has been saying for ages now about UHI., though.
How much bailout/research grant money are these guys touting for, I wonder?
Houses keeping us warm! Whatever next?

March 5, 2009 3:14 am

I really think heat island effect could explain a large part of the global temperature anomaly.
Asphalt and houses represent 1% of the earth surface. This is not much but this tiny surface is radiating so much more than “natural” surfaces, that it could cause a temperature anomaly of less than a degree.
That’s not a large anomaly, but after all, that’s the anomaly we have now isn’t it?
IMO “global warming” is caused by natural change in climate (mostly from sun), and heat island effect (first it influences the measures, and it really causes an anomaly too)
And the best part… solutions exist!
IR reflecting coating, transparent, is already produced and can be added to asphalt and all coatings used in housings. Alternative pavement for pedestrians which store rain water like foam and keep cool under the sun exist too. etc…

March 5, 2009 4:00 am

I have an infrared thermometer — point it at something (a few inches or many feet away) and it tells the temperature (C or F). I spent some money for an accurate one. I use it around our rather large house (you don’t want to know our monthly heating bill) to check insulation, heating, cooling, etc.
I get similar results on outside surfaces in both winter and summer.
On a snowy, cloudless cold winter day, for example, the roof where sun hits it measures 35 to 40F hotter than the air and the shaded roof.
During the summer, the grass in the sun is cool. Nearby sidewalks, wooden decks are 30 to 40F hotter in the sun. Fun to watch the effect of a fast moving cloud shadow — the temperature drops substantially. Didn’t try the summer roof yet.
Disclaimer: Though the instrument is accurate, the measurements were random and infrequent — so, its unscientific.
Anyhow, its obvious that Urban Heat Island effect exists and can potentially have a huge effect — certainly enough to account for a degree or so of air temperature and maybe much more.

March 5, 2009 5:14 am

#1 – Quote Lindsay H : “De afforestation is another matter we are cutting down 7 million hectares a year nett. and in the last 200 years or so have lost 20% of the worlds forest cover reducing it to 4 billion hectares today.
There will be consequences from that.”
You mistakenly (sp?) assume when they (forrestry/lumber companies) cut down a tree, they just leave the plot & go find another area to cut. That is as correct as farmers harvesting a single field of grain then going to find another field to havest.
No, the companies own that land and they understand they have to re-plant the trees for them to re-grow to re-havest at a later date. Trees, like wheat, corn and other farm products, are a renewable resource when they are re-planted after harvesting, which they are. So, here in the US at least, the only ‘consequences from that’ will be more trees to soak up CO2, cool the atmosphere through evaprotranspiration, and provide jobs for lumber companies and products for people.
#2 – “Pine Beetles have devastated 50,000 sq. miles of BC Forests and the response has been clear cutting. Look at the heat of the cut block…”
If the Pine Beetles are killing the forrests in BC, the forrested area of the dead trees is going to be hot whether or not the trees are there. The trees only provide the cooling effect if they are alive and the evaprotranspiration is in progress. Once the tree dies and stays in place, the green is gone and the tree surface becomes hot with the shining of the sun. So, whether the tree is there or not, that plot of land will be warmer than the surrounding ‘live’ area of forrest. Harvest the trees, make them into a usefull product & re-plant new trees in that area…duhhh.

March 5, 2009 5:21 am

Some quick comments
1. Themography relies on receiving IR over a band of frequencies. The emissivity of the object therefore affects the temperature (set by the surface finish/coating). Note the MMTS case is 6C cooler than its post. Corrections for emissivity can be incorporated into the thermal camera, but for a complex picture this is infeasible for all surfaces
2. Reflective objects can reflect the temperature of the heat source or surrounding air/sky and therefore may have no correspondance to the bodies temperature
3. MMTS is at same temperature as shaded wall (noting 1 above)
4. MMTS screen prevents radiation from hot wall (and direct solar radiation) affecting internal air temp.
5 houses – (noting 1 and 2 above) radiation hitting house will be radiated/convected back if it is white or black – radiation in must equal radiation out)
6 A flat surface will receive the same radiation as a same xsectional area plant. The plant will use some energy for growth but will have a much greater surface area than the flat surface. i.e. there will be less watts/sq and therefore less temperature rise. A plant will transpire to cool also.
REPLY: Yes the idea of the shield is in fact to shield it from the IR coming from the wall. But the problem is not the IR itself, but the air heated by the IR emission from the wall, which I cannot photograph. The shield is designed to block IR and direct sunlight but allow free air passage. – Anthony

March 5, 2009 5:23 am

The photos feature many properties around Kelowna, in the Okanagan valley region of British Columbia Canada. This is a warm, dry region in a narrow north-south valley, approximately 50 degrees north latitude. Prevailing winds are light and from the west.
I think some commenters miss the point about the effect of nearby structures on temperature and measurement. Whether or not man-made surfaces affect the global heat balance is debatable and largely irrelevant. What matters is that the surfaces affect temperature MEASUREMENTS, which are limited in number and which purport to describe the state of the planet as a whole. If you measure temperatures only beside an anomalous source of heat, you will conclude that the world is heating up anomalously.
Roger Pielke Sr. diligently reminds us that land use change drives local climate climate change. Replacing a low albedo forest with higher albedo crops contributes to local cooling, not warming.
Save the planet? If you think you have to, CO2 should be the least of your worries.

March 5, 2009 5:31 am

“We are reporting solar exposure as an unprecedented environmental emergency to authorities because we are treating the symptoms with ozone depletion, massive GHG emissions, electrical waste, acid rain, mercury emissions, etc. We are not discussing the extreme heat generated by buildings”
Was it written on 1st April? This has to be a joke surely!!

March 5, 2009 5:40 am

The most interesting image to me is
http://www.thermoguy.com/images/before_sunrise_thermal.jpg . The morning air temp is 59.4F, the roof temp is 39.8F.
I’ve long thought it would be fun to take a different tack from the solar heating crowd and look into radiational cooling. I envision something like an aluminum spherical basin using about a third of the sphere’s surface pointing upwards. The surface would be painted with a high emissivity paint, e.g. a black that is black at infrared wavelengths, and everything mounted so that the cool surface would cool air underneath and store the cool in water or rocks for use during the next day. (Pedantically, the goal would be to radiate the heat stored in the thermal mass over night.)
I’m not sure what sort of practical covers might be useful to keep any wind out and allow IR out, perhaps a cylindrical wall with low mass and high reflectance surface would be adequate.
A conical basin would be easier to construct and probably work just as well.
It would have to deal with a little dew (add it to the thermal mass!). Alternative designs might emphasize collecting dew or use channels on a hillside to let cool air drain down to the thermal mass. My wife and I bought some south facing land on a New Hampshire mountainside last year, so it’s a tempting thing to play with.
I can’t resist these comments on the article’s text:
“The heat is over twice atmospheric temperature….” 41F to 92.7F. Grr. It’s a good thing he doesn’t use Celcius.
“The air conditioners requires the electrical generation of 1000s of watts per hour….” Arrghh! This engineer would rather hear Vogon poetry!

March 5, 2009 5:58 am

This post reminds me of how much energy could be conserved by using passive cooling and heating techniques that have been in the architectural knowlege base for decades. Aggressive conservation measures I believe would be the least disruptive first step toward curbing emissions and I don’t know why this isn’t being pushed hard. During the oil embargo of the ’70s lights were turned off at night at car dealerships, etc.

John Silver
March 5, 2009 6:05 am

thefordprefect (05:21:55) :
3. MMTS is at same temperature as shaded wall (noting 1 above)
4. MMTS screen prevents radiation from hot wall (and direct solar radiation) affecting internal air temp.
The wall is radiating the MMTS on the other side from the photos view point.
Anthony should have photographed the MMTS from the radiating wall. Better luck next time?
REPLY: Yes the idea of the shield is in fact to shield it from the IR coming from the wall. But the problem is not the IR itself, but the air heated by the IR emission from the wall, which I cannot photograph. The shield is designed to block IR and direct sunlight but allow free air passage. – Anthony

March 5, 2009 6:26 am

Ric Werme (05:40:30) :
worth a read:
Evaporative cooling has been around for generations!

March 5, 2009 7:07 am

I’m not sure what the point of all this is (other than making a case for better insulation of buildings). Regardless of whether the target area is covered with buildings or forests, it all receives the same amount of solar energy as insolation. That energy is either absorbed and re-radiated at a later time, rate and frequency, or its reflected to be absorbed and re-radiated elsewhere at a later time, rate and frequency.
I find it difficult to believe that the net gain or loss to the planet is impacted at all by the character of the surfaces. What does change is the nature of re-radiation and its consequence to local weather. But that’s not climate change, only weather change, and its a boundary effect, more than anything. The so-called “climate changes” are really just spatial re-distributions of the same heat energy.
As a biologist, I find most of the “climate-change” rhetoric amusing, most especially from physical scientists, since most the life on this planet evolved in an environment of change greater than anything we are currently seeing, and the resultant product of that evolution is an extremely high degree of adaptiveness to environmental diversity. The threat to the biosphere has much more to do with interspecific competition than it does with environmental adaptibility. I’m reminded of that every spring when my daffodils poke their heads up in Feb in deep sub-freezing temps, yet still manage to bloom gracefully a month or two later.

March 5, 2009 7:15 am

I substantially cut the summer heat impact on my house with two inexpensive measures:
1. A thermostat-controlled attic fan that vents out a small attic window covered by a set of weighted louvers. The cost of all three components from Home Depot was under $100 a dozen years ago.
2. A wide (16-foot), deep (12-foot) “Sunsetter” brand (inexpensive) retractable awning on the south side of the house.
A third item was expensive–a rooftop deck–but it had the unintended side-effect of lowering the temperature in the dormer bedroom beneath it to the bearable level.

March 5, 2009 7:29 am

PS: If the gov’t wants to cut the use of energy, provide jobs, and stimulate the economy, why not offer homeowners zero-interest loans and free installation of attic fans and south-facing awnings?
Here’s a high-school science-fair project for the child of a reader here. Set up two identical temperature monitoring stations alongside each other and near to a building and/or roadways. (Similar to many of the official weather stations used by the gov’the, as documented on WUWT.)
Mount a topless and bottomless cardboard carton about 18 inches square on four spikes about four feet high and stick it in the ground so it insulates one of the monitors from radiant heat. Also install four spikes around the other monitor. Every day, switch the box from one stand to the other.
Plot the temperature records of the two sites for a month or two. Compute how much lower the monitors’ temperature is when insulated. Extrapolate to GIStemp. Collect gold medal from the NAS for Best Science-Fair Project of the Year. [/sarc]

March 5, 2009 7:43 am

I took the images on the website and completed the studies related to solar radiation. Those images are a very basic reflection of the years of seasonal imaging we did of buildings to see both functions of buildings. If buildings didn’t use fossil fuels for heating and cooling, we wouldn’t care about their function. The buildings functions of fossil fuel use, natural resources, GHG emissions, energy consumption, electrical generation, mold, health, investment, ozone depletion, acid rain, autism, fire integrity, all countries and all policy depends on the function of the building envelope(insulated design specs)
As a building professional we just couldn’t see it before. The images you see on the website are there for information, the reporting process the images were taken from included temperature scales, calibration certification and an incredible amount of information not seen on the website. The equipment used for the applications is very high end technology and temperature software.
Employing infrared technology without the application to complete objectives is what has kept thermography from mainstream education. Flir and other equipment manufacturers didn’t produce one image related to SARS in a year. They failed miserably because you can work for Boeing, it doesn’t mean you can fly a plane. They took high end equipment into an application they knew nothing about and the end result was the Canadian Government issued a press release calling “Thermal Imaging Next to Useless”
The principal of this company is the only person in the world that actually did 2 educations to compliment their background in thermography from 1979. Having a background in engineering, electron flow and spending 20,000 hours to interpret it has produced a massive library that makes your jaw drop. If any of the readers are associated with objective education, email us and we will show you more in a pdf file.
For those of you with a science background, you know how significant seeing temperature is and academia is blind to it. It is important for education and to hold every process accountable to the taxpayer. If we don’t we are in serious trouble as a species. The toxicity ramifications of all we do is nuking our babies before they take their first breath.

March 5, 2009 7:51 am

I am a degreed electrical engineer and I run a failure analysis laboratory for a major U.S. Federal Government aerospace organization. Our work is strictly in the failure analysis of electronic and mechanical things that go bad during design, test or in the field. We are NOT involved with climate research in any form or fashion, basic engineering only.
I have personal experience with thermal cameras of the type discussed in this article and the employees in my lab make use of thermal cameras on a daily basis. One of the things you have to do before using of these devices to measure temperature in a meaningful manner is to have a basic understanding of how the materials you point the camera at handle long wave Infrared Radiation (IR).
Many materials will simply reflect any IR that is incident upon them, very much like taking a picture of a mirror you will actually get a temperature reading that represents something that is emitting IR and being reflected by the surface in the camera’s field of view, the sun for example. These cameras have varying temperature ranges and they are typically within a few hundred degree C range so it is possible that some readings of very hot surfaces are actually readings that have saturated the range of the IR camera (an IR reflector reflecting solar radiation for example will show a temperature that is much lower than the temperature of the sun). I’m not saying it is so in these pictures but it is a distinct possibility.
Another perhaps more insidious nature of the IR camera is that it will usually read the temperature of the very first layer of material in its field of view no matter how thin. If for example there is a very thin piece of black paper exposed to sunlight in front of an ice cube you will get a very high temperature reading which is representative of the temperature of the paper only, the ice cube is covered by the paper and unless it is in direct contact with the paper it will not influence the temperature by a noticeable amount. In summary this type of image will accurately measure the temperature of the paper but does not accurately measure the amount of heat in the system.
Effective insulation will become very hot on its outer surface while being cool on the other side (this would apply to an air conditioned home or an ice cooler). The creates the apparent paradox that a cooler full of ice in a well insulated container can display a very high temperature depending on the type and quality of its insulation and on the surrounding air temperature and the surrounding long wave IR radiation environment.
These thermal cameras are excellent tools but these and other fundamental properties have to be taken into consideration prior to data interpretation.

March 5, 2009 7:52 am

Asphalt and houses represent 1% of the earth surface.

I rather doubt that. Has there been enough crude oil pumped to cover 1% to a depth of several inches? (I don’t know how much crude is needed to produce several inches of asphalt) There’s a lot of unpaved area between cities. And with most of the surface covered with water, several percent of land area would have to be covered with asphalt and buildings.

De afforestation is another matter we are cutting down 7 million hectares a year nett. and in the last 200 years or so have lost 20% of the worlds forest cover reducing it to 4 billion hectares today.

Spin the dial back to 1492. Much of what is now forest was burned regularly, so the typical woodland was like modern park land – scattered trees with grasses and small bushes. In the last 200 years we’ve gained a lot of forest. And as far as tree population is concerned, urban forest is also counted. How many trees are around your house, and was your home built on former prairie or farmland?

March 5, 2009 7:52 am

To add to JeffK’s (05:14:49) comment, clearcutting beetle kill is a very efficient method of renewing a renewable resource. Timber is a crop and thrives with proper management. Erosion control, replanting, the protection of watersheds — these things and more are standard knowledge for the modern logger. They are farmers on a magnificent scale.
If there’s a different species of tree still alive and standing, the loggers leave it. When they’ve cleared the dead trees and debris, the planting team comes through and plants new trees. They’re small, young, viable, and planted on center in a close grid. The new trees grow quickly and within five years it’s an impenetrable thicket of glorious green saplings. In remote areas the strongest trees take over, and on managed acreage a logger will walk through and thin lightly to give the best of the batch an advantage.
Logging is something man can do well. Leaving huge expanses of beetle killed timber out there to rot is a waste. The wood can be used, the land restored (you do not want to see the erosion that occurs in dying forests), and the resource renewed. Where do we go bird-watching? Up by the re-planted clearcuts!
Anthony, very interesting to see the images. Thank you.

March 5, 2009 8:03 am

To the other professionals looking at my information on the website, please don’t qualify it as a biologist and I won’t attempt to be qualify biology. With all due respect use your education before you respond like that. Weather and climate change are associated with a source of atmospheric heat. We couldn’t see the source so the argument exists as to whether it is manmade.
Last week it was 32 degrees F and solar exposed building exteriors were as high as 175 degrees F. While the building is using fossil fuels and producing toxins to heat the inside of the building, the exterior of the building is GENERATING heat 140 degrees F atmospherically. Based on heat rising, is that heating the atmosphere? Once you generate that heat, can we get rid of it? I want professionals to see millions of buildings superheating the atmosphere while we use cheaper energy systems to reduce emissions. If a building is 175 degrees on a 32 degree day why are we taxing them for their emissions for global warming while we warm the globe with their building?
How much does temperature have to do with biology? We flew several river systems and the biologists, hydrologists, forestry, etc were ultimately concerned about temperature of stream temperatures, riparian areas and location of groundwater upwellings. http://www.thermoguy.com/groundwater.html
Seeing temperature contradicted and added to my education but the science is the science.

March 5, 2009 8:09 am

thefordprefect (06:26:20) :
> Evaporative cooling has been around for generations!
I know that! My interest in radiational cooling comes from my weather records, like last night – see http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wx/current.htm and from not stumbling across others’ radiational cooling experiments. Evaporative cooling at night is limited by the dewpoint. Radiational cooling runs into trouble at the dewpoint but if if there’s no air flow you can still get cooler temps.
Why waste chilled water on an evaporator, at least not until waste heat gets it above the wet bulb temp? Typical hot and muggy summer afternoons in New Hampshire have dew point 70F and air temp 90F, http://www.srh.noaa.gov/epz/wxcalc/dewpoint.shtml says that the wet bulb temperature is 76F, and 76F at 70F dew point is a sticky 82% RH.
Our mountainside has some ground loop and low volume, high head hydro possibilities too. Given the state of my 401k and IRAs, I may never get a chance to play with all that. (Need to build a house, too!)

March 5, 2009 8:14 am

Lindsay H (01:13:10) :
“The heat island effect from this is not going to have a measurable effect on climate.”
I think the point is that most of us live in a heat island and are using fossil fuels to cool our local environments (houses). This supposedly exacerbates the problem.
While I am not convinced of the AGW theory, I’m all for improving my comfort and reducing my cost of ownership.
Like I always say to my greeny friends: Give me a cost effective and convenient alternative and I’ll go for it. However, I have to point out that it’s not really cost effective if you make the alternative cheaper by artificially raising the price of everything else (think cap and trade, taxation, etc…)

March 5, 2009 8:32 am

Somebody with a business using infrared imaging to help home owners and businesses save money by eliminating heat loss has recognized a way to jump on board the AGW money train. It’s hard to tell sometimes if these people really believe what they are peddling or just a few bricks short.
What a circus. This global warming fiasco will only get more bizarre. This idea and all that will follow will bring in countless new laws and regulations to be added to the carbon tax.

March 5, 2009 8:32 am

It strikes me now that there is a reason plants are green – self protection. Green stuff reflects the “meat” of the solar spectrum. You’d think plants would be better off absorbing more of the spectrum, as they’d get more energy, but clearly, they’d overheat if they absorbed as much of the spectrum as your average roof shingle.

Bob Shapiro
March 5, 2009 8:40 am

I remember (many years ago) seeing a diagram of a house in Israel which had a second “false roof.”
During the summer, the air space between the first & second roof warmed and rose; a vent was in the open position at the top, allowing the air to exit to the atmosphere, and a vent at the bottom was open, allowing cooler air to be sucked in from outside.
During the winter, the exhaust vent at the top was set to allow the warmed air to enter the attic (fans forced that hot air down into the living space). The vent at the bottom was set so that air from the living space could be drawn into the twin roof heating space.
While this set-up won’t prevent the exposed roof surface from getting hot from the sun’s radiation, at least it can focus the heat – outside in summer & inside in winter – to somewhat reduce the need for power driven HVAC use.

March 5, 2009 8:59 am

>>Regardless of whether the target area is covered with buildings or forests, it all receives the same amount of solar energy as insolation. That energy is either absorbed and re-radiated at a later time, rate and frequency, or its reflected to be absorbed and re-radiated elsewhere at a later time, rate and frequency.
Yes It does not change the amount of energy received. As you say it changes the way the energy is radiated…later, at a different rate, using different wavelength.
And if energy is re-emitted to space at a slower rate there should be a temperature change.
For example the part of sun energy which used to be directly reflected by soil/forest/grass is absorbed and IR radiated by buildings/asphalt and it will take significantly longer before it is re-emitted to space.
Another part of energy used to be absorbed in water evaporation, and this happens far less in built areas. Because of that the cycle of water is affected. We have replaced evaporation by IR radiation. No idea what it can do, but this is a change.

Leon Brozyna
March 5, 2009 9:04 am

Interesting how it seems that everyone’s incorporating the green gospel as a part of their spiel, lending further credence to the silliness.

Mike Bryant
March 5, 2009 9:05 am

You said:
“The toxicity ramifications of all we do is nuking our babies before they take their first breath.”
The science is the science, but that comment isn’t particularly scientific or helpful. My grandchildren are doing just fine, thanks.
This, ladies and gentlemen is what passes for scientific discourse in our brave new world. It’s not about truth anymore… Do it for the children…
Mike Bryant

Retired Engineer
March 5, 2009 9:21 am

Bob Shapiro (08:40:50) :
I remember (many years ago) seeing a diagram of a house in Israel which had a second “false roof.”
Don’t know if it originated in Israel, but that is similar to the ‘envelope’ design. Very good thermal efficiency. And illegal in most places due to the increased fire hazard, the space between the roofs.
My house is passive solar, with 2×8 walls. Lots of thermal mass. Stays a bit warmer in winter, cooler in summer.
Using an infrared thermometer shows similar results to the photos, exterior wall temperature on the order of 80F in the dead of winter. (on the sunlit side) I’m a bit better off, no where near super efficient. Still, my heating bill is half my neighbor’s, and far less in summer. Using 2×8’s instead of 2×4 or 2×6 cost a bit more, paid for itself in a few years. We can do a lot of simple things to save energy (and money!)

David Segesta
March 5, 2009 9:25 am

I think Anthony’s point is just that all that heat from buildings can produce an upward bias on nearby temperature sensors.
Beyond that though maybe there are some lessons for designing homes for energy efficiency. Maybe planting large deciduous trees on the south, east and west sides of a building would help to keep it cool in the summer but allow sunlight through in the winter to help keep it warm. Is this the reason why people used to grow ivy on building walls?

March 5, 2009 9:30 am

By God now you are hitting close to my area of expertise where I can speak with some authority. I worked as a real-estate inspector and thermal image consultant in construction for several years… until the housing market crash of 2007…(bummer) These IR photos are very consistent with my observation of construction down in Abilene Texas. I would often see asphalt shingle temps hit the 180F to 195F range in the summer sun even when ambient air temps was in the 80s at mid morning. So, when you have those roof mounted temp stations, you are getting a massive heat overdose under those temp stations.
Often I would do night roof scans when I needed to “see” water leaks under roofing material. Water and asphalt shingles have different thermal mass, and heat and cool at slightly different rates. I would look at IR of a suspected leaking roof under various heating and cooling conditions and when contrasted against each other, the water or area of saturation will stand out. Also, keep in mind that water exposed to air will evaporate and show as a cold spot on an IR image during the latent heat of vaporization energy transfer process.
Incidentally the best roofing you can place on your home is white or silver metal roofing. This type of roofing is good for four main reasons. #1, the reflective color will allow it to run close to ambient temps (less energy uptake into your home that you have to remove with the AC units). #2 it’s hail proof, which is an important consideration in much of the US. #3, it is wind resistant. #4, it offers lower surface coefficient, which allows snow to slide off, so as not to over load the roofing structure in northern climates. As a bonus side note, termites don’t eat metal.
The best roof decking plywood is radiant barrier (foil backed) plywood available at Home Depot and Lowe’s.
The best insulation in an attic is approximately 4” to 6” of professionally applied closed cell polyurethane foam installed in a close attic system, which is now gaining popularity in green building concepts camp. This insulation is applied to the back side of the roof decking in the attic. If all the above are designed into a new building, it can reduce thermal uptake of the building by many, many, many hundreds of thousands of BTUs over the home’s lifecycle.
The most efficient heating and cooling system? A geothermal heat pump!
PS new construction material is not really designed to mitigate heat buildup from the sun. It was my observation that less than 2% of new homes had properly designed attic ventilation and heat mitigation systems installed. In fact, it was my observation that many new homes had higher roofing temps than older homes. Summary, Building generate a whole lot of heat, kind of like an air-cooled lawnmower engine… but larger.
Keep up the great efforts at WUWT…

D. Gallagher
March 5, 2009 9:31 am

The writer seems rather uninformed about building construction. Can anyone pull out their homeowners policy and find the temperature that their house is insured for?
Buildings are designed with a specific amount of insulation (R rating) based on the climate of the building site. The recommendations are based on cost effectiveness, and projected energy costs. It doesn’t make sense to insulate to the nth-degree if it takes 20 years of energy savings to pay for the insulation. A standard 4″ wall can only be insulated with conventional materials to a certain (R-factor), if you want more insulation you need to build thicker walls. Over time, the recommendations have crept upward, this is not due to any climate change. It is simply due to the fact that energy has gotten more expensive, which makes more insulation a good investment.
Much of this misses the point, because most energy loss isn’t though the walls, it’s due to air leakage from a surprising number of locations. It is much more effective to find the leaks than add insulation to the walls.
When we built our house 6 years ago, I ignored the recommendations because I felt that energy prices were going to go up for reasons all out of kilter with normal market forces (just a strange feeling I had). The walls are 6″ thick, with 2″ of urethane foam sprayed on first, then normal 4″ fiberglass bats. The foam not only insulates, it seals air leakage. The roof has twice the amount of blown cellulose as the recommmendation, but it wasn’t that much more expensive at the time of construction, the workers and equipment were already there. Then comes the energy star treatment, they seal all the doors and windows and blow air into the house to reach a specific pressure diff between inside and out. The volume of air required to maintain pressure tells you how much leakage there is. The leaks can be located with a “smoke pencil”, fix the leaks and you’re ready to go. It’s actually easy to get carried away and seal the house too much, you need to have some air exchange to maintain air quality and prevent mold, etc.
Theorically, I spent too much insulating our house, I would have been smarter to invest the extra money elsewhere, but given what’s happened to investments lately….and I still have that funny feeling about energy prices.

March 5, 2009 9:42 am

John Silver (06:05:11) :
The wall is radiating the MMTS on the other side from the photos view point.
Anthony should have photographed the MMTS from the radiating wall. Better luck next time?
REPLY: Yes the idea of the shield is in fact to shield it from the IR coming from the wall. But the problem is not the IR itself, but the air heated by the IR emission from the wall, which I cannot photograph. The shield is designed to block IR and direct sunlight but allow free air passage. – Anthony.

The radiation from ther sun is much more intense than that from the wall. The MMTS shows no sign of solar heating (although this could be due to its emissivity). Note that the pole is cool and may possibly be shiny – if it is reflective it will be reflecting heat from the envirnment not it own temperature.
Anthony If you try taking IR photograph in environmental chamber at elevated temperature the whole picture gets fogged by the air temperature. Hot air should show up on a thermograph.
Hot air rises (of course!) There seems to be about 3metres of space between the wall and the MMTS. The rising heat from the wall will not extend far towards the MMTS. There could even be a convection current set up which drags in other air from away from the wall
REPLY: Ah but Mike you forget the wind and mixing. – Anthony

March 5, 2009 9:53 am

Side bar academic thought for the day… What would be the effect of taking seven identical earth sized objects located the same distance form the sun as our earth, and painting them the following colors,
Blue Indigo
What earth would be hottest and what one would be coldest? Would they all be the same temp because they all obsessively received the same level of solar radiation from the sun?

March 5, 2009 10:07 am

The mesaage it is easy to understand: Why all those houses, which by the way created all that financial and credit crisis, return to old indians “tipis”( is this its name?) those were more energy efficient. 🙂

Scott Finegan
March 5, 2009 10:14 am

IR isn’t mentioned in the article at all, even though that is what is probably intended, and what is being measured.
Whomever wrote this is selling services. Due to the errors I won’t be buying from them.
Anthony, has anyone asked for permission to use the photos from the surface stations project???

March 5, 2009 10:36 am

To add to JeffK and Sylvia: Net deforestation ended in the US in 1930 +/-. Since then the total forested area has increased. Wildfire prevention, natural reclamation of unused farm lands, and various government and commercially sponsored programs and management prescriptions are major causes of our reforestation.

March 5, 2009 10:47 am

I was looking at some similar infrared imagery recently, but from US tanks. Looking at footage from their infrared night sight cameras you can see towns in the distance, some over the horizon, glowing just as towns do due to streeplamps etc…at night. For me this is pretty conclusive evidence of a urban heat island effect that would create a localised warming effect regardless of sensor placement, and these were towns with limited power use, most the heat I imagine was simply what had been stored in buildings over the day being released.

March 5, 2009 11:03 am

There’s an important fifth reason for replacing your asphalt roof with a metal one (as I did): It reduces an earthquake’s impact on the structure, because of the large plywood plates that back it up and tie the rafters together (and which the roofing material strips additionally tie together). This prevents the house from getting out of square and pulling loose nails from the rafters, etc., which can lead to a falling dominoes situation. In California, houses with metal roofs get a 10% discount on earthquake insurance. (I noticed the reduced shaking in my house during the most recent earthquake it endured.)
Also, metal roofing reduces vulnerability to wildfires (where burning brands land on the roof).

March 5, 2009 11:44 am

I’ve long thought it would be fun to take a different tack from the solar heating crowd and look into radiational cooling.

This is already in use today. In desert areas you can freeze water in shallow open pans due to radiant cooling when the air temperature is above freezing. As a rule of thumb surfaces exposed to the open sky radiate enough heat to cool about 18-20 deg F below air temperature if they are shielded from radiant heat gain from other sources (like at night time) or in open shade like the north side of a building, and winds that warm the surface due to advection are minimal.
The apparent sky temperature is determined mostly by the local dew point.
This is one of the reasons that survival experts tell campers and hikers that are lost to shield themselves from the night sky if caught out over night. It can make a 10 deg F night feel like a -10 deg F night just by moving so out from under a sheltered over hang that blocks most of your view of the night sky.
A friend of mine who is a thermal control engineer for an aerospace company, told me that they use the following empirical formula to estimate the effective radiant temperature of the open sky to figure out heat loads for the payload while on the pad.
Tsky = 0.04114 x ( Tair deg R) ^1.5

March 5, 2009 12:03 pm

Bob Shapiro (08:40:50) :
I remember (many years ago) seeing a diagram of a house in Israel which had a second “false roof.”
During the summer, the air space between the first & second roof warmed and rose; a vent was in the open position at the top, allowing the air to exit to the atmosphere, and a vent at the bottom was open, allowing cooler air to be sucked in from outside.

The Navy SeaBees used that style of construction in the tropics in the late 1960’s. They would space a galvanized iron roof up off the main roof with 2×4’s standing on edge to create a 3 5/8 inch air space below the outer tin roof. The would leave the eve ends open and a gap at the roof peak creating a continuous convection flow between the exterior tin roof and the main roof, keeping the shaded roof essentially at ambient air temp.

March 5, 2009 12:04 pm

Strikes me that if anybody has the wherewithall to develope a paint that absorbs energy/radiation at below, say 65F, and reflects energy/radiation at above, say 75F, they should make a fortune.
If you are successful make my cut 1% of sales please:-)

March 5, 2009 12:10 pm

SpecialEd (00:50:18)
“The ground probably is not getting much radiation, but the vertical wall is catching direct sun.”
“Fun to watch the effect of a fast moving cloud shadow — the temperature drops substantially.”
That probably means you aren’t seeing the real temperature of an object, especially something like rocks or cement or asphalt, because they retain internal heat.
This looks mildly informative…

George E. Smith
March 5, 2009 12:15 pm

Well the UHI effect manifests itself in climate reporting in different ways.
Indeed some of those unaccounted for heaters can change the recorded temperature; but the flony is compounded if those ersatz temperatures are then extended to other places remote form the hokey setup.
Asphalt may heat like crazy under direct sun; but at the same time that lovely black asphalt is radiating like crazy;a dn the hotter it gets the shorter the peak thermal spectrum wavelength gets, which means the less effective CO2 is in intercepting that radiation, and it gets better because water has a big absorption hole around 10 microns, so more of the surface emitted IR moves into that atmospheric window.
The only thing that is correctly modelling the climate effects of UHIs is that king of all climate modellers; Planet Earth; which exactly models all the pertinent physical effects,a dn always comes up with the correct answer.

March 5, 2009 12:16 pm

It’s not surprising that trees and grass are much cooler than artificial building materials. They’ve evolved to make efficient use of solar energy, and waste heat is lost energy to them.

Chris D.
March 5, 2009 12:30 pm

Thanks for the fascinating post. I wonder if it would be useful sometime to affix sensors all around the outside and inside of a MMTS enclosure at the level of the vents and take hourly readings for a 24-hour period and determine the directions of various heat/cooling sources at a site and their effects throughout the day. I think that would be telling. Perhaps this has been done before.

March 5, 2009 12:40 pm

SpecialEd (00:50:18)
“The ground probably is not getting much radiation, but the vertical wall is catching direct sun.”
On closer examination, comparing it with a few other photos, the asphalt is about the same in all, and it is clearly hotter than the side of the house, except in the shade. But still, what do those temps tell us? If they only reflect the surface temp, and internal is lower, then they aren’t very informative. If there’s adequate insulation between the outside and in, the surface temp doesn’t give the whole picture. But for what AW is concerned about, it is very relevant.
@Allen63 (04:00:57) :
“Fun to watch the effect of a fast moving cloud shadow — the temperature drops substantially.”
So, does that mean you are only looking at the surface temp? If the inside were hot, the outside wouldn’t drop very fast unless heat transfer were slow, which would mean the material is a good insulator, and the inside probably didn’t get all that hot, even though the surface did? Look at the photo above that shows the pre-dawn view in which the concrete steps are still pretty hot from heat retained all night. Lower left, here…
This looks mildly informative…?
I see some other people were bothered by the term “generate heat” which a material that only radiates the energy it absorbs isn’t doing. Although since IronCowboy used the term “Summary, Building generate a whole lot of heat, kind of like an air-cooled lawnmower engine… but larger.”, I’m wondering if he’s talking about things like electric lighting and other real generators of heat, or if the term is also applied to radiating what’s been absorbed by the sun, as the author or the above paper seems to be using it?

March 5, 2009 12:58 pm

[snip way off topic]

March 5, 2009 1:02 pm

@D. Gallagher (09:31:54)
oops, this is the main one I wanted to draw attention to…

March 5, 2009 2:14 pm

It is amazing to see the dialog here and some of the skeptics over seeing temperature. This isn’t voodoo and I am not peddling thermography or materials. This is accurate temperature information and we have been tested and proven. It is accurate to +-2% and verifiable as well as traceable to specific pieces of equipment.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans used our pilot study as the standard in their RFP for groundwater imaging. In normal thermal images or any reporting, there are scales to the side, the representation on the website is limiting.
The only reason this information hasn’t been brought to you sooner is because of an edited public inquiry into forest fire intensity when a forest fire raged through BC in 2003. Here is a link and a dumping superheated air atmospherically contributes to droughts and fire severity. http://www.thermoguy.com/forestfires.html
[snip waaayyyy off topic]

Reply to  Thermoguy
March 5, 2009 2:23 pm

Well at least thermoguy didn’t come up with a new theory of evolution as well. I wonder what he’s like ordering a pizza?

George E. Smith
March 5, 2009 2:25 pm

“”” “generate heat” “””
Heat is a verb; NOT a noun, so you don’t generate it. It is a process of turning forms of energy into the kinetic energy of mechanical motion; usually at the atomic or molecular level.

March 5, 2009 2:45 pm

[snip – way off topic]

March 5, 2009 2:50 pm


March 5, 2009 2:50 pm

I do not sell thermal imaging equipment, that is a separate area of expertise that I have to work with in each new imaging application. Be careful purchasing equipment from people not knowing how to use it themselves.
If the equipment manufacturers were doing a good job, this technology would be mainstream but it is the applications that exceed their expertise.

Mike Bryant
March 5, 2009 3:39 pm

Please make the thermoman go away. He is scaring me…

March 5, 2009 3:53 pm

(14:14:50) :
The pictures illustrate some aspects of the urban heat island very nicely.
I don’t mean to be attacking you, but there are some things I would change, if no one could convince me they weren’t wrong. For example, unless you are using the term “generate” by a convention I’m not familiar with, then the term is used incorrectly. Since Energy emitted is equal to, not greater than, energy absorbed, there is no “generation” of heat: solar energy “retained” locally as heat would seem to me to be more correct.
“This is accurate temperature information and we have been tested and proven. It is accurate to +-2% and verifiable as well as traceable to specific pieces of equipment.”
A lot of material at a low temperature can contain a lot more heat than a very small amount at a much higher temperature. Do you then try to quantify the heat as well, because temperature by itself isn’t enough information?
Hey, just look at this as practice for your presentation.

March 5, 2009 4:51 pm

It would improve your IR photos if you included a small area of temporary shadow (cardboard on a stick) in sunlit areas to differentiate emissivity from reflectivity.

March 5, 2009 5:01 pm

[snip way off topic]

Pamela Gray
March 5, 2009 8:05 pm

If my memory serves, this kind of thing was done in a Bond movie. Back at the Central British Secret Service Office, their sensors were picking up generated heat………never mind.

Mike Bryant
March 5, 2009 8:18 pm

It seems that these instruments can be wonderful in the correct application. But because of the limitations of the technology, it would be very easy for someone to get the wrong idea from these FLIR cameras.
The reflection of the sun from the building onto the sensor’s housing at different angles and at different times of day could also cause problems. This reflectivity seems apparent in the first photo above, at the bottom left of the wall nearest the sensor.
It’s safer to just move the thermometers away from buildings as they should be.

Mike Bryant
March 5, 2009 8:26 pm

Was it in Die Another Day?
For one of the very few times in a Bond film, Zao’s Jaguar XKR is on par with James Bonds Aston Martin V12 Vanquish. While Bonds Aston Martin contains a variety of gadgetry, Zao takes the lead in his Jaguar that is fitted with a host of different weaponry.
In an exiting chase across the frozen wastes of Iceland, Bond and Zao battle it out in perhaps one of the best car chases seen in a Bond film.
Zao does battle with Bond using a THERMAL IMAGING SYSTEM allowing him to track the Aston Martin when its using its Adaptive Camouflage; this quickly malfunctions after Zao pumps rounds into the Aston using the Gattling Gun that pops up in the back of the car underneath a Jaguar seal. Armed with mini-missiles hidden under the front grille, rockets hidden in the doors and high explosive mortar bombs launched from the boot, Bond meets his match with the Jaguar XKR. The chase continues into Gustav Graves’ flooding ice palace, where it appears Bond is beaten when he is trapped high above in the palace. Using another feature of the Jaguar, Zao activates a metal ramming device, in a hope to send Bond’s Aston Martin flying into the lake below. However, Bond manages to activate the now restored Adaptive Camouflage, engage spikes in the Aston’s tyres for more traction and drives up the wall, sending Zao driving straight into the lake below.

March 5, 2009 9:08 pm

Mr. Giurfa (10:07:07). Yes, some of the tribes live(d) in tipis. Tipis have the advantages of being portable, easy to construct in a variety of sizes (some are huge), cost-efficient, and excellent on the windy plains. A fire can be built in the center, the door is a low flap, bedrolls and packs are placed around the sides, and insulation is achieved through layers of blankets, hides and pelts. It’s not ideal — I prefer logs or adobe — but portability was essential for a nomadic society. Oh, and they’re fun to decorate, though the tops get rather black from smoke.
I have a friend who built a lovely straw bale cottage up near St. Ig. in Montana. It was snug and warm in the winter and cool and comfy in the summer. I also have friends with yurts, but the straw bale cottage is the best non-western-frame construction I’ve seen, especially when evaluated in terms of energy efficiency.
I built a super-insulated log house on my farm (with a metal roof to reduce the snow load). Not as efficient as the straw bale cottage, but logs were actually cheaper that year than good straw, and I can always lift the trusses and add another story above the logs.

March 5, 2009 9:49 pm

An example of IR problems:
This is an area of Electronics on a PCB. It is from outside the area of interest and consequently when the PCB was spray painted with grey acrilic primer ( found to give an excellent standardisation of emissivity!) it was insufficiently covered.
Note that the end caps of the surface mount components shows as cooler than the component. Note also that the hot component has heated the PCB at the soldered joint but that the end cap is still cooler than all surroundings – obviously incorrect.
This is caused by the reflective metalisation of the endcaps reflecting ambient/nearby cooler sources.

John McL
March 5, 2009 11:42 pm

I think some caution is warranted for situations with transient high temperatures (or is it just reflectance?) but sustained warming is another matter.
There’s little doubt in my mind that the UHI is poorly named. The effect is really a combination of locally generated heat and the thermal characteristics of the built environment. Hell, if I touch the brick wall of my house 3 hours after summer sunset it can still be very warm.

March 5, 2009 11:52 pm

Hi Anthony,
I wanted you to know that someone gave me the pictures of weather stations without any reference material supporting where they came from. I wouldn’t have represented anything that was part of an online report such as part 42 and I have changed the content of my website and included a link to your reporting on part 42. Please take a look and let me know if it is acceptable as I have it now or I will remove it if required.
I like your objective information and would like to offer you some information except in a pdf format with scales, emissivities, etc. I have an extensive library of solar radiation impact morning, noon or night over several seasons of several years. What is your interest? Different colors of finishes, shade effect, riparian areas, different development, before and after rainfall, UV on people, generating heat in winter or below freezing days?
Send me an email address where I can attach pdfs and tell me what you want to see. Thanks

March 7, 2009 10:39 am

Hi Anthony,
This post is to you, whether you post it on your site is up to you. I need to clarify a few things and please understand that I am a very qualified first response consultant. I provide science for professionals, I don’t work and look for any corporate angles. How else could I lecture in academia?
I like your Part 42 and respect your professionalism for educating your own industry on errors they are making in temperature measurement. I saw your thermal image at the top of the page showing solar exposure on buildings. While weather is your area of expertise, building engineering and their energy consumption is mine. Why is one side of your building image colder than the solar exposed side? By your image, it was an 8 to 10 degree C time of day but the solar exposed side is close to 30 C. The building is generating heat before the building absorbs it.
Your weather thermometer for measuring temperature is white for reflecting solar radiation? What if it was dark absorbent colors?
The building industry is signed off as compliant, not verified. Because we have changed it into an economy, people can go and paint their building exteriors any pretty color they want. All solar radiation interaction with materials is different because of their wavelength and absorbent material polarizing at that speed generates heat. That heat transfers and we are treating the indoor symptoms. California is being knocked off the electrical grid treating symptoms and generating toxins detrimental to health.
When I referenced Obama missing critical data, it isn’t political. Myself and health associates have faxed the Whitehouse asking for an audience based on urgent environmental/health concerns.
Seeing the way weather is monitored isn’t reflecting urban interaction and we are generating extreme heat on the surface of the planet. Why are we talking about heat trapping gases while each building can be generating heat close to boiling temperature on the surface of the planet? Every new building is a heatsink and we are professionally responding to the symptoms with toxin, superheated air, ozone depletion(refrigeration called A/C)
Last year I imaged buildings in 6 provinces and 23 states, solar radiation is beating the hell out of the surface of the planet and when we expose the surface by removing ground cover, it generates heat all year.
I have information you need and looking forward to sharing it for science. I am lecturing medical professionals on the domino effect of all of this into our bodies where it is causing them problems neurologically.

May 1, 2009 3:44 am

Temperature of an object can be measured by means of thermal radiation when naturally emanated electromagnetic (thermal) radiation in the mid- and far-infrared (IR) spectral ranges is detected by an appropriate sensor. The IR sensor output signal is indicative of the surface temperature of an object. A sensor is an integral part of a measurement and/or data acquisition system.

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