How not to measure temperature, part 84: "Pristine" Mohonk Lake USHCN station revisited

Mohonk Mountain Resort - the USHCN station is off-camera to right. Click for large image.

As WUWT readers may recall back in September of 2008, the New York Times ran an extensive first hand account of the Mohonk Lake, NY USHCN climate station of record. The Mohonk article was covered by WUWT guest contributors Dee Norris here and John Goetz here. Goetz shows that even the “pristine” station data gets adjusted by NASA GISS in their GISTEMP program.

NYT’s Anthony DePalma gave a very laudable account of the work done by the observers at the Mohonk Lake station:

Every day for the last 112 years, people have trekked up the same gray outcropping to dutifully record temperatures and weather conditions. In the process, they have compiled a remarkable data collection that has become a climatological treasure chest.

The problems that often haunt other weather records — the station is moved, buildings are constructed nearby or observers record data inconsistently — have not arisen here because so much of this place has been frozen in time. The weather has been taken in exactly the same place, in precisely the same way, by just a handful of the same dedicated people since Grover Cleveland was president.

DePalma also writes:

The record shows that on this ridge in the Shawangunk Mountains, about 20 miles south of the better-known Catskills, the average annual temperature has risen 2.7 degrees in 112 years. Of the top 10 warmest years in that time, 7 have come since 1990.

WUWT contributor Denise Norris looked into the temperature record at Mohonk and writes:

Here is what I found:

Since I live in the general area, I have previously used the data from a site in nearby Maryland, NY (42.52N, 74.97W; 363m) in a local lecture.  I was sure I remembered that the station in Maryland had not exhibited a trend like this.  Double checking the ol’grey matter, I got this graph:

Both sites are at the same altitude and in the same general vicinity.  I know that climate change can’t be that localized, so it has to be something else.

I should point out that the graphs Denise posted above use the RAW unadjusted USHCN data, (from ) rather than the adjusted GISTEMP record so many are familiar with. In the GISTEMP record, Maryland, NY is shown to be nearly flat while Mohonk seems to be the same.

My experience and the experience of many others in surveying the USHCN network of climate monitoring stations has shown that time and again, when such a significant divergence is seen with two nearby stations, localized siting issues and other microsite biases are often found at the weather station. On January 4th and 5th, 2009, WUWT contributor Evan Jones set out to find the answer. Due to other projects that required my attention, it has taken me until now to find the time to write this article.

First and foremost I should point out that I do not disagree with the NYT’s characterization of this station as being valuable due to its lack of station moves and long and meticulously recorded record of temperature and precipitation. The staff at Mohonk should be commended for their long and dedicated service. It is not my desire to impugn that in any way. However, it should be noted that what Evan Jones found at Mohonk mirrors some of the slipshod quality control that is under the purview of NOAA as the entity responsible for the equipment at COOP and USHCN stations around the USA. The responsibility for the quality control failures that I am about to highlight lie solely with NOAA, and not with the staff of Mohonk. It is NOAA’s responsibility to ensure that these stations adhere to specifications and to perform regular quality control checks.First some perspective as to where the Cotton Region Shelter (Stevenson Screen) and the Standard Rain Gauge are located on the grounds. Evan provided this annotated map:


The station’s Cotton Region Shelter (CRS)  is located on the public grounds, just a few feet off of a public path. On first approach, a couple of obvious problems appear right away.


Upon closer inspection we see the CRS is directly next to a tree stump.


And, the CRS is rather close to a building and chimney.


Looking at the photograph, here’s a few questions that come to mind. The CRS is located just a few feet from a building with an active chimney. The building is L shaped, and thus acts as a wind block for at least two directions. If the building was there 100 years ago was the chimney there then? When was central heating and A/C added? How much of the waste heat of the building is imparted to the thermometers by prevailing winds? Evan Jones reports in his site survey (PDF) that the “CRS is 5.8 m. from building to South”. That would make it a class4 station (considered as unacceptable siting) by the current criteria used to evaluate siting (PDF) for the NOAA Climate Reference Network. It also violates NOAA’s longstanding 100 foot and distance to 4 times height rules as documented in the NOAA/NWS COOP Observers Handbook (PDF available here) and on the COOP web page here.

The CRS also has brush around it, and most notably has a large tree stump directly adjacent to it. Obviously at one time, there was a significantly large tree there that was cut down. There is also a large tree limb missing from the tree to the right. The CRS thermometers obviously recorded temperatures in the shade of these tree canopies. Seems’ like a good idea right?

For those that don’t know, measuring temperature under a tree canopy at the base is one of the worst places to do so for a long term record. Here is why:

  • The shade of the tree canopy will suppress the Tmax in the summer due to decreased solar insolation in the local area
  • The lack of a shade canopy will enhance the Tmax in the winter due to increased solar insolation in the local area
  • The shade of the tree canopy will elevate the Tmin in the summer, due to LW infrared being reflected back to the ground by the leaves, resulting in a  localized warming.
  • The lack of  shade canopy will  the lower the Tmin in winter due to increased LW infrared emissions (as compared to summer when the canopy reflects LWIR).
  • The tree grows, and  the effects grow with it over the long term. They don’t end until the tree is trimmed, dies, or is cut down.
  • The growing tree trunk gradually blocks air flow at the rear of the screen and is a mild heat sink.

Then of course there’s the state of the bushes. Trimmed regularly, overgrown and then cutback? Were they always there? when was the tree trimmed?

It appears some recent trimming done, perhaps due to a storm taking down a branch:


Here’s another view:


Some of these problems associated with trees and placement (specific to the USHCN network) are documented in the paper published in March 2005 in the International Journal of Climatology titled: The GeoProfile metadata, exposure of instruments, and measurement bias in climatic record revisited by Rezaul Mahmood , Stuart A. Foster, David Logan. Abstract available here.

But wait, there’s more.

In this picture below, notice the base of the CRS, made of logs, possibly from the tree that was cut down. Other than the fact that shade from the building is hitting the CRS, notice anything peculiar?


There is a standard height that the CRS must be off the ground. In this case the homemade log legs are shorter than normal, and according to measurements made by Evan Jones,  the base of the CRS is only 29 inches from the ground surface. Normally it would be 48 inches. You can read about the design criteria in this CRS manual (PDF) by a company, Novalynx, that supplies them. There is also a reference at NOAA here in FAQ#17 that states the wooden leg length to be 48″.

They write:  The legs are designed according to the original criteria to give the shelter a height above the ground of 48 inches.

The lowering of the screen height will create a warm bias, and since it is likely that these were not always the legs for this shelter (which appears relatively new) there will be a slight step function upwards in the temperature record when this occurred. Why NOAA allowed this I have no idea.

Here’s another view of the legs and the ground underneath.


Other than the photos seen above, there is only one other publicly available photograph of the CRS at Mohonk Lake. I’ve shown it below. The present curator, Mr. Paul Huth is standing near the CRS preparing to open the door.



I had always wondered what the dark material under and around the CRS was. It appears to be mulch and/or wood chips. Certainly such a ground cover with a dark albedo is not a good thing near a weather station.

When Evan was there, there was snow cover. But he found the ground cover by the CRS to be a dark crushed rock, similar to “road base”, shown below.


He photographed it in his hotel room at the resort and returned it to the site.

Crushed rock is not a good surface cover near a weather station as it will absorb more solar radiation on sunny days, raising Tmax and the rock will radiate LWIR at night raising Tmin. How long has the crushed rock been there? Was it always that way, or was it grass or some other surface cover in the past?  The crushed rock base certainly doesn’t fit the “representative of the area” specification for siting a Cotton Region Shelter in the NOAA/NWS COOP Observers Handbook (PDF available here).

3.1 Shelter Placement. The ground over which the shelter is located should be typical of the surrounding area. A level, open clearing is desirable so the thermometers are freely ventilated by the flow of air. Do not install on a steep slope or in a sheltered hollow unless it is typical of the area, or unless data from that type of topographic location is desired. When possible, the shelter should be no closer than four times the estimated height of any obstruction (tree, fence, building, etc.). Optimally it should be at least 100 feet from any paved or concrete surface. Under no circumstances should a shelter be placed on the roof of a building as this may result in extreme temperature biases.

In fact it appears that little about the Mohonk Lake USHCN station fits that criteria. If you look at the photograph that NOAA supplies with their handbook for section 3.1, the differences are obvious. Note the grass under the shelter and lack of nearby obstructions.


NOOA Caption: Figure B-2 - Instrument Shelters Cotton Region Shelter and Two MMTS Shelters

Finally we have the rain gauge, at the end of the public dock protruding into the lake. In such an open public area where fishing, swimming, boating, and picnic coolers abound, could it be assured that somebody didn’t pour their coke, coffee, or take a whiz in the gauge? Would the Mohonk staff catch it if somebody did, or would they just dutifully record the level on the dipstick, write it down, and empty the gauge into the lake?

Here is the closeup photo Evan took of the rain gauge at the end of the dock:


I found this photo taken by a tourist and placed  on Flicker photo service:

Source: Flickr click for larger image

Source: Flickr click for larger image

And since there was a 10+ megapixel version of the photo available, I was able to isolate and identify the rain gauge using Evan’s photo as a guide.


Mohonk Lake rain gauge placement - Click for a larger image

Going back to NOAA’s COOP website I found this criteria for rain gauge siting:

Precipitation gauge siting: The exposure of a rain gauge is very important for obtaining accurate measurements. Gauges should not be located close to isolated obstructions such as trees and buildings, which may deflect precipitation due to erratic turbulence. To avoid wind and resulting turbulence problems, do not locate gauges in wide-open spaces or on elevated sites, such as the tops of buildings. The best site for a gauge is one in which it is protected in all directions, such as in an opening in a grove of trees. The height of the protection should not exceed twice its distance from the gauge. As a general rule, the windier the gauge location is, the greater the precipitation error will be.

Looking at the boats stacked there, it made me wonder how they might affect the rain gauge with wind turbulence. I did some additional digging and found this photo, also from a tourist on another photo sharing site called Webshots.

Mohonk Lake rain gauge - here somewhere? Click for large image

Mohonk Lake rain gauge - here somewhere? Click for large image

I wonder what the boats stacked around the rain gauge does to the precipitation record?

Clearly the Mohonk station has a value in it’s long and uninterrupted record. But it pains me to say this, as I always feel bad for the observers when NOAA doesn’t step up and help them with quality control, but the value of the Mohonk Lake record has been tarnished due to the significant number of local site issues related to placement and maintenance of the thermometer and the rain gauge. When you look closely with NOAA’s own criteria (something the NYT reporter didn’t do) you find that the station isn’t as good as the story leads us to believe. Even NOAA’s spokesman quoted in the article made no mention of these issues:

“The quality of their observations is second to none on a number of counts,” said Raymond G. O’Keefe, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Albany. “They’re very precise, they keep great records and they’ve done it for a very long time.”

But I wonder, has Mr. O’Keefe ever visited the station, or is he just assuming the data quality is there because the Mohonk staff does such a good job with the monthly B91 form they send in? I agree, they do a great job of record keeping. For example here’s the December 2008 B91 form completely filled out and with extra detail.


mohonk_lake_b91 (PDF) Source: NCDC

December is normally a problem month for records, yet to their credit, they have every day.

But even with such attention to detail in record keeping, how valuable is such a record when there appears to be no attention to detail in the exposure and placement of the instruments gathering the data?

When scientists look for the “global warming signal” of a few tenths of degrees, how would they know if the data they are getting is accurate if they don’t know the provenance of the station quality? Even if they did know the things we know now about Mohonk Lake, how would they go about sorting out the local site biases that have cropped up over time and apply a correction?

Then there’s the resort itself. The NYT article  claims it “has hardly changed over time”.

“Mohonk’s data stands apart from that of most other cooperative weather observers in other respects as well. The station has never been moved, and the resort, along with the area immediately surrounding the box, has hardly changed over time.”

Yet if we were to examine things like: when was air conditioning installed for guest rooms? When were the grounds walkways and pathways switched from dirt or stone paths to concrete or asphalt? How much has bus and automobile traffic increased in the last 100 years? How many additional outbuildings have been built? How much of the ground cover, trees, shrubbery, and landscaping has changed? I wonder by what basis the NYT reported made that sentence? Given how much energy is used for heating/cooling cooking, laundry, landscaping and trasnportation, surely the resort has it’s own localized UHI signature compared to surrounding areas.

A tourist resort is hardly a static place. They are always being revised and improved to keep the customer experience fresh and rewarding, so I have a little trouble believing that Mohonk Lake “has hardly changed over time”, especially since the NYT reporter missed everything else about the station’s measurement environment.

I feel for the staff at Mohonk, and I have contempt for NOAA and the NWS for allowing this station to escape basic quality control.


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Robert Wood

Well, if I were in that region, I would make a point of visiting these people and shaking their hand in congratulation of diligent measurement and reporting. I would also spew venom on their masters who have deluded and ignored them.

Ron de Haan

How many millions of tax money is handed out to NOAA so they can continue their quest for reliable data?
May I suggest we hand them out an Official License of Total Incompetence.
The next time someone even mentions AGW?

Chris D.

Excellent, excellent job of surveying and documenting this site. Kudos to Denise and Evan for a job well done. One thing I’d love to know is when that tree was cut down. Surely that made a huge and abrupt difference.

Thank you for this post. This highlights a nagging question I have about all of this weather-measuring stuff…how can scientists claim results that are significant to tenths of a decimal point? It seems to me that they are doing the exact same thing my company has always done with sales data…get precise numbers from one vendor, approximations from another vendor, have nothing from a third (so they make a SWAG), pool the numbers from a mail-order place (well, you get the picture), and then claim they can force-rank us on quota achievement down to the hundredth of a decimal place.
All of this measuring business seems very fuzzy to me, very prone to human error and mechanical variability. Then “adjustments” get made on the basis of someone’s educated guess? I just don’t get it. Maybe I’m not smart enough for all of this, but I thought a good scientist didn’t make claims about significance that his equipment wasn’t capable of, yet it seems as though that is exactly what climate scientists are doing. (The proxies really puzzle me…are we claiming we can determine temperature differences of tenths of a degree based on measuring ice cores and tree rings?)
I guess I’ll start recording my weight on the scale down to the ounce, even though my eyes aren’t even good enough for me to tell if the pointer is on 103 or 104… (and those are pounds, not stone!)


The staff at Mohonk should be commended for their long and dedicated service. It is not my desire to impugn that in any way.
Excuse me, but this is a scientific establishment actively involved in climate science and they are not aware of the basic`s for siting and maintaining their own weather station.
From their own web site : A preliminary analysis of the Preserve’s weather data shows that the average temperature has risen about two degrees over the past 110 years.
Have they not heard of quality control, scandalous.

As I posted on Dee Norris’ original post, and as she points out herself using Maryland, NY, plots for Poughkeepsie and Walden from 1925-2006 (the earliest common date for all three sites), only Mohonk Lake shows a warming mean. So we have 1 out of 4 regional sites showing warming…
Mohonk Lake USHCN 1925-2006
Poughkeepsie USHCN 1925-2006
Walden USHCN 1925-2006

Dave Andrews

Just a query. As you say the CRS looks quite new. Who has the responsibility for installing such equipment? Is it the local monitors or do NOAA do it themselves?
REPLY: NOAA provides these, as well as installs. – Anthony

Arn Riewe

Great documentation Evan.
Would it be possible to post a map showing the relative location and proximity of the 4 stations that were mentioned? I think it would show how local and regional that “global warming” can be.

Evan Jones

I’ll make a slight addendum: I surveyed the Maryland, NY, site (pics are in the gallery). It’s c. 65 miles NW of Mohonk. I nailed it along with 3 others on an expedition this February (Cooperstown, Norwich, and Morrisville.
See that step jump in the data around 1985? That’s when the family moved to a new house and the MMTS was installed (I asked at the house). It’s just 10 feet from the house and 12 feet from a concrete patio . . .
They used to have a CRS setup, and that’s where all that cooling came from.

Evan Jones

I was going to mention Walden, but JA beat me to it.

Roger Knights

Another peek behind the curtain.

Leon Brozyna

“The lack of shade canopy will the lower the Tmin in the summer compared to winter due to increased LW infrared emissions”
I think you’ve got the seasons reversed in this one item.
Other than that small glitch, good bit of follow-up on the earlier posts.
REPLY: I reworded that to make it clearer, thanks – Anthony

Evan Jones

Walden is 14 miles south of Mohonk. Poukeepsie is c. 17 mi. to the SE.

George M

Is that CRS even facing the right way? I think I see sunlight on the front. I thought they were supposed to face away from the sun.
REPLY: By George, I think you may be right. – Anthony

Chris D.

That terrain map is also interesting. Almost looks as though the immediate vicinity of the lake is somewhat surrounded by cliffs or is in a pocket of sorts that could trap air in certain conditions perhaps aided by the tall buildings. Just a thought.

Roger Knights

“A tourist resort is hardly a static place. They are always being revised and improved to keep the customer experience fresh and rewarding, so I have a little trouble believing that Mohonk Lake “has hardly changed over time”, especially since the NYT reporter missed everything else about the station’s measurement environment.”
This sort of slanted coverage is part of the reason the MSM is losing popularity and credibility.

Roger Knights

What’s the exact day in Sept. 2008 that this story ran in the NYT? Knowing the exact day would help a researcher looking through microfilm or doing an online search.
REPLY: Sept 15th, the link to the story is in my article but here it is again:
– Anthony

evanmjones (16:10:02) :
Walden is 14 miles south of Mohonk. Poukeepsie is c. 17 mi. to the SE.

They were the closest distance-wise I found to Mohonk. Still they could all three have very different local climates due to terrain.

Do you have an update on your progress in evaluating these weather stations?
REPLY: Yes, but not ready for the web yet. We are at 76% total surveyed now. – Anthony

Evan Jones

No, it’s facing East. Should be facing north.
Back in January I didn’t know about that aspect, or I’d have included it in my report. (I learned about CRS facing later while reading up on the Vale site.)
Good call!
REPLY: According to the B91 form, the readings are done at 5PM local time, so a screen facing east won’t matter much since it won’t get any direct sun in the door. – Anthony

Evan Jones

That terrain map is also interesting. Almost looks as though the immediate vicinity of the lake is somewhat surrounded by cliffs
Yes, there are steep cliffs and hills surrounding lake. You could break your neck if you’re not careful.


How much difference does it actually make as to direction the CRS faces other than it being open to direct sunlight during reading?

Evan Jones

This sort of slanted coverage
Are you talking about the NYT citing or the CRS siting?


Not to worry.
Anthony answered my question above LOL

Evan Jones

A CRS is noticeably wider, though, on the north and south face. That much more direct sunlight if it’s oriented east/west.
And they told me at the hotel that TOBS was at 4:00 (IIRC, so did the article), but I wouldn’t dispute the B-91 form.


Having said that, how much difference can direct sunlight make to readings made in the minute or two the door would be open?
REPLY: Try it yourself, put a thermometer outside in shade and then put it in full sunlight for 1 minute, then read it. – Anthony

John F. Hultquist

I love the big brown stump! A few years ago we were all supposed to plant trees to reduce warming. Then a research team “discovered” that in the mid-latitudes a tree with brown bark and dark green leaves – most of them – absorbs solar radiation and warms. I have a beautiful photo of “lady bugs” by the thousands on a broken white pine stump in N. Idaho with snow melted away at least a foot in every direction. Dark fence posts (think treated RR cross ties) do the same thing. Ask, any cowboy. These things are known, they don’t have to be “discovered.” Oh, sorry, I guess this thread proves they do.

Sigh, such a pity. Mohonk is a neat place, I was there for a weekend ages ago. However, it’s really not the best place to put a weather station. Fortunately there’s more to record than just temperature.
Can I add a couple more items to “For those that don’t know, measuring temperature under a tree canopy at the base is one of the worst places to do so for a long term record. Here is why:”
1) In addition to shade issues, the transpiration of tree leaves (evaporation of water) cools and moistens the surrounding air.
2) Related: Tree leaves apparently actively try to maintain their temperature at 21°C. See Surrounding a weather station with living HVAC systems may be as bad as surrounding one with electromechanical systems.
Ah – I thought I read it here first, see really long link


Wow, Anthony, I don’t know how you did it….I tried creating a science/technology blog of my own because I felt inspired by you but apparently I’m just too much of a neanderthal to even begin to fathom how to set the blog up. The calendar wouldn’t appear, I couldn’t edit the blog roll at all, and I was so lost when I tried to put some clickable images like the ones in your weather roll on my blog that I wanted to rip my hair out. I could really use the help being as your IQ is much greater than mine as it appears you setup your blog with ease….If you’d be willing to help I’d greatly appreciate it. You can just respond to this comment or contact me at either:
REPLY: If it is I may be able to help, otherwise you are on your own. – Anthony


Very interesting article. Excellent work. Thanks to Evan Jones and WUWT.

evanmjones (16:40:47) :
This sort of slanted coverage
Are you talking about the NYT citing or the CRS siting?

Appears to me Mr. Knights’ comment is directed at the NYT as he ends the sentence with “…the reason the MSM is losing popularity and credibility.”
[REPLY – Yes, that was just my little joke. ~Evan]


Obviously there was no barbeque to write (or joke) about, but I’d expect a campfire ring somewhere nearby. Did you see one? If so, was it too far away to matter?
Thank you sir!

evanmjones (16:36:43) :

That terrain map is also interesting. Almost looks as though the immediate vicinity of the lake is somewhat surrounded by cliffs
Yes, there are steep cliffs and hills surrounding lake. You could break your neck if you’re not careful.

Mohonk is in the Shawangunk Mountains, usually called the ‘gunks by the many rock climbers that visit. I’ve done a little – very little climbing and none in the ‘gunks. I didn’t even know it was a popular climbing area when I was there, but it looked like it should be.

Evan Jones

Sorry to disappoint, but it’s all either manicured strolling area or wildlife refuge.
Anyone lighting a fire outside would have had the staff on him like wild on rice.
Nice BBQ at Morrisville, though.
Yeah, Mohonk was a neat place.
I looked all over for the alleged MMTS and eventually I encountered Brother Huth, who informed me that they didn’t go in for the electronic stuff. CRS readings, only.

It appears your graphs are from CO2Science.
There are 2 problems with these graphs, of which I informed Craig Idso, about 6 weeks ago, when I was searching for RAW data.
1 – The graphing software incorrectly handles missing data and produces major spikes. New Braunfels, TX is a great example, with lots of missing data and lots of spikes.
2 – The data used by CO2Science may not be RAW. From my email to Craig:
From your web site, under Data Set Description, you state: When referencing this data set, or any of its output as calculated on our web site, please cite as indicated below: Easterling, D.R., Karl, T.R., Mason, E.H., Hughes, P.Y., Bowman, D.P., Daniels, R.C. and Boden, T.A. (Eds.). 1996. United States Historical Climatology Network (U.S. HCN) Monthly Temperature and Precipitation Data.
ORNL/CDIAC-87, NDP-019/R3. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
From the following link:
NDP-019/R3 (1996)
UNITED STATES HISTORICAL CLIMATOLOGY NETWORK (U.S. HCN) MONTHLY TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION DATAEasterling, D. R., T. R. Karl, E. H. Mason, P. Y. Hughes, and D. P. BowmanNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationNational Climatic Data CenterAsheville, North CarolinaThis document describes a database containing monthly temperature and precipitation data for 1221 stations in the contiguous United States. This network of stations, known as the United States Historical Climatology Network (U.S. HCN), and the resulting database were compiled by the National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina. These data represent the best available data from the United States for analyzing long-term climate trends on a regional scale. The data for most stations extend through December 31, 1994, and a majority of the station records are serially complete for at least 80 years. Unlike many data sets that have been used in past climate studies, these data have been adjusted to remove biases introduced by station moves, instrument changes, time-of-observation differences, and urbanization effects.
Since Craig’s data goes through 2005, the above data (thru 1994) is NOT the data set he uses for his graphs. Since he did not download the data, he said he does not know what data set is used.
I compared a number of his monthly values with the raw data B91 forms, and they differed.
REPLY: They aren’t “my” graphs, I did not plot them, and apparently you missed the note in the post about the source. Take a look at these adjustments that NOAA applies to the raw data from the B91 forms after it is digitized:
Pretty hefty corrections they apply. FILNET, TOBS, SHAP, all add a positive bias.
This is why you’ll never see any NOAA tabular climate data data match a B91 form. I wish we could get the RAW data exactly as it is entered on the B91 form because we should be able to plot it and get the true trend for stations with quality record keeping like Mohonk.
– Anthony

Steve Case

The work that Anthony Watts has done is really an amazing documentation of government inaction. Were GISS a private organization with competition, the CEO would have hauled the Quality Manager into his office and demanded that all 1221 stations be audited with corrective actions requested on all findings outside the station’s standards.
As near as I can tell, this hasn’t happened. As taxpayers we need to ask who is running this outfit and what are they doing about this embarrassment. Whoever it is either doesn’t care, or likes the results.


2 trillion in new taxes what is not to like.

Mike McMillan

DaveE (16:50:30) :
Having said that, how much difference can direct sunlight make to readings made in the minute or two the door would be open?

REPLY: Try it yourself, put a thermometer outside in shade and then put it in full sunlight for 1 minute, then read it. – Anthony
If the Stevenson screen experiment is over, you might turn one around and see if there’s a difference. We already have a good idea of the whitewash, latex, bare calibration, so you wouldn’t have to paint it.
If I think of anything else you can do with your copious spare time and moolah, I’ll let you know.

Anybody can do this with an oral thermometer and a piece of cardboard. – Anthony


Just wanted to mention that Mohonk is a great place to visit if you get in the area. If I recall it’s a site where glacier melting created a beautiful lake ON TOP of a mountain. Really lovely, and people who can afford it say the main resort has excellent food too.

Anthony, I think you missed my point.
Point #2: The graphs posted (from Denise) are from CO2Science which probably uses an adjusted NOAA dataset. Please reread the citation.
From my point #1 above, I just checked the Mohonk B91’s for the outlier 1923.
Jan. Data x-ed out with handwritten note “not read” (I think).
May 17-31 Note: “way too high”
Dec. All mins x-ed out – no note
This missing data causes (incorrect) spikes in Craig’s graphing software.
In 90% of the CO2Science outlier spikes using Beeville, TX, I found large amounts of missing data.

If the adjusted data had been used, it would have been run through NOAA’s FILNET algorithm, and that missing data would have been interpolated from nearby stations. – Anthony


The “How not to measure temperature” series that Anthony gives us at WUWT provides a forensic accounting of the basis of the AGW record.
While it will not likely be used in a courtroom when accounts are settled with the alarmists, its wide dissemination is helping to turn the tide against the luddites.


Don’t assume that’s the stump of a deciduous tree. I’ve seen such a spiral pattern on the bark of evergreens, but identification without bark is a different problem.


AnonyMoose (19:13:13) :
I thought it looked like a fir stump, but then again that mostly what I see where I live.

Bill Schulte

What a great science experiment you could make out of this one.
A) Find out what kind of tree the stump came from. Get a slice and count the rings.
You could spend years trying to figure out how the temperature readings were affected
by the growth of the tree.
B) Add to your paint experiment. Affects of modification of height above various types
of ground cover.

D. C.

My grandparents lived in the area and our family spent summers there all during the 1950’s and 60’s, and because of family ties I have kept track (more or less) of what has been happening since then. The family that owned that whole mountaintop was losing money and letting the place run down until the last several decades when new money was put into the Mountain House and it became a fashionable hotel again. For a long time in the middle of the 20’th century it was a money losing proposition and became rather run down. I suspect that changes in the amount of economic activity (heating and electricity) going on in that area — specifically the changes in where cars were allowed to drive and not drive, and changes in whether or not the hotel was closed for the winter and how many rooms were open for occupancy — dwarfs the effects of tree and brush, etc. If you want to examine the integrity of the data, that’s where I would start.

Sorry if this is a duplicate – AT&T problems.
“REPLY: If the adjusted data had been used, it would have been run through NOAA’s FILNET algorithm, and that missing data would have been interpolated from nearby stations. – Anthony”
I will look into that.
” I wish we could get the RAW data exactly as it is entered on the B91 form because we should be able to plot it and get the true trend…”
I followed the B91’s:
From Beeville, the handwritten forms are sent to Corpus Christi (NWS), which just types up the data on a new form. This new form is sent (faxed?) to the Southern Regional Climate Center. The data is entered into CLIMOD (the great god of raw data). It is not infilled. Access to the database is fee-per-run based, but not very expensive.
The study I am working on: “Catastropic Warming in South Texas (with a 123 year down trend in spite of major UHI)” uses raw CLIMOD data. I’m comparing San Antonio (pop. 1M+ and a new major cloverleaf near the station) with desolate Beeville and rural Boerne.
REPLY: There is one place to get the transcribed “raw” data from NCDC and that is here:
This basically is the data off the B91 on a per form basis. No QC for scribal errors or adjustment of any kind is made to it. It is tedious to use this data, and to get 123 years worth would be quite a job (especially since many don’t go back that far) but it may be helpful to you. – Anthony


In his earlier contribution on the subject of Mohonk, John Goetz made fun of the fact that the supposed pristine data from Mohonk was adjusted. In this current article which inspects Mohonk and notes the possibility that changes have affected the readings from the station, we see why these changes are made.
Clearly the comments about the quality of the stations relative to NOAA’s standards show that the stations need improvement. Clearly the only way to deal with the past data is by processing the data using nearby stations in an attempt to null out the effect of changes on the station data. If this works it should help calculate a more accurate global temperature anomaly, which is what is of interest for climate change estimation.
I notice that there is a lot of anecdotal information on the poor quality of the stations on this web site. If the fixup of data is successful in allowing the calculation of a valid global anomaly, then there is little harm done from that standpoint. I guess the question is, do we know whether these adjustments are successful? Are there too many changes to deal with? Has any analysis been done on this question?112
The US is only a small percentage of the earth’s land area anyway, and if were are interested primarily in data on global climate change, is it worthwhile for NOAA to invest a lot of money in improving sites in the US, or are there better uses for US government dollars by NOAA.? This is an honest question, and a relevant one at this moment, because NOAA has just gotten increased revenue from the US stimulus program.

Evan Jones

If I recall it’s a site where glacier melting created a beautiful lake ON TOP of a mountain.
That’s a beautiful vision. Unfortunately, it is a manmade lake.
(But I like your version better.)

Evan, Denise, and Anthony,
Thank you! Great work!
So far, the people you’ve written about who monitor the stations have been really wonderful. Just think of the accurate data sets we could have if the equipment were sited correctly by NOAA…

Evan Jones

If the fixup of data is successful in allowing the calculation of a valid global anomaly, then there is little harm done from that standpoint.
They adjust the present 0.3°C (USHCN-1) to 0.4°C+ (USHCN-2) warmer than the past. Even SHAP (Station History Adjustment Procedure) is a warming adjustment–which fact is an outrage for the magpies.
Successful? Oh, it’s “successful”, all right . . . [self-snip!]


“[REPLY – Yes, that was just my little joke. ~Evan]”
Very clever, I didn’t catch that citing versus siting.