A report on the Surfacestations Project with 70% of the USHCN surveyed.

SurfaceStationsReportCoverI know many of you have wondered when I would post an update about the www.surfacestations.org project. That wait is over.

You can now download the PDF of the publication reporting on what the project has found with 70% of the network surveyed, See the link at the end of the article.

I’ve been exceptionally busy in the past few months. Since November 08, I’ve made 4 trips in the US to get more stations surveyed in areas that were lacking, and these trips have been funded entirely by donations from individuals.

Evan Jones and I have been actively working on logging new aerial surveys. Plus there has been a lot of review and quality control taking place to make sure that surveys and ratings are correct. Google imagery has now improved in many places, and it is now fairly easy to spot some stations from the air. To make certain that we’ve actually got the right station location, telephone calls are made to the curator and descriptions and measurements compared to the aerial photos. I also have 4 digital cameras that have been sent to station curators for them to “self survey” with and mail the cameras back.With additional aerial surveys done plus a few new hands-on surveys that have now come in, we are now at about 79% of the USHCN network surveyed. The sample is large and representative, with good spatial distribution and broad coverage.

The figures below from my Spring 2009 report represent coverage @ 70% of the network surveyed.


Surveyed and rated USHCN stations @70%

All USHCN stations

All USHCN stations


See the PDF report below for references on how the surveys were done and how the site rating system was arrived at, based on original work at the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) new Climate Reference Network.

For those WUWT readers that want to survey stations, there is still time to do so before my final report is issued in late summer/fall 2009.

My advice is to visit the Surfacestations Gallery and see what stations remain in your state, or states you may be traveling through.

I realize that we’ll never get 100% of the network surveyed, as over 30 stations have been closed, and some are inaccessible, but with a sample size exceeding 80% and broad spatial distribution as shown above I am confident that we’ll have the character of the network quantified and representative. Sure, there will be critics, but with an 80% or more sample size it will be an uphill battle to criticize the sample. Thousands of peer reviewed papers have been written with much smaller sample sizes. I prefer a “brute force” approach to getting the maximum sample possible compared to statistical extrapolation of a small sample.

The push has been on to get as many surveys done as possible, so I haven’t had a lot of time to update web pages and the like. WUWT itself has been becoming a black hole of time, sucking up more time than I care to admit. My email load has become huge also. Just a note to everyone who has emailed me. I read everything, but I can’t always respond, especially when I’m asked to do additional research to answer questions.

I’m also a bit under the gun as like many of you, my business has taken a financial hit due to the economy, and I’m short a person who is out for extended medical leave. So I’ve been doing 4 jobs instead of my usual 2 or three 😉 Even so, progress is being made.

Finally, I want to take a moment to thank Evan Jones, a frequent WUWT commenter and sometimes contributor. Evan has been working tirelessly to help me with this project, and now like many of you, is unemployed thanks to our current economic situation. Even through this, he has worked very hard to help me on all levels, doing everything from hands-on surveys himself, to QC checks, to aerial surveys, to data analysis.

Without Evan, this project would be a lot further behind. Please give him your thanks. He is truly a “screeching mercury monkey, first grade“. Evan, download your patch and wear it proudly.


Sadly, the alternate weekly that coined the phrase is now out of business.

Since Evan suffered the same fate as the alternate weekly editor (unemployed) and still doing a yeoman’s work for this effort, I have an offer for interested readers to help him out.

I have 25 professionally glossy color printed and bound copies of the report which I’ll provide signed, postpaid via US mail, to anyone who wants a copy that donates $30 or more. Just use the PayPal button at right, and I’ll make sure he gets it. (NOTE: SOLD OUT BACK IN STOCK Thanks to everyone who helped!)

For those that just want to read the report, please feel free to download and read the free copy here (PDF, 4 MB).

I also offer my sincere thanks to everyone who has helped make this project go from an idea to now near completion. The data analysis report will determine once and for all if station siting matters or not.

– Anthony


158 thoughts on “A report on the Surfacestations Project with 70% of the USHCN surveyed.

  1. Congratulations Anthony on a job well done. No wonder you are at 13,000,000 and counting.
    REPLY: Congratulations are not in order yet, data analysis still has to be done to determine the magnitude of the siting effects on the temperature record. When that is complete, and that published, then will be the time for congratulations or denigrations. This is not a done deal by any means. In the meantime we still have a lot of work to do. – Anthony

  2. Do you think Scott Pelley at 60-Minutes would ever pick up this story?
    This is fine, verifiable work. It needs to get out into the public and especially to the politicians.

  3. I’m in for $30, but didn’t see any “Special Instructions” comment box.
    After emailing the observer at Boerne, TX I received a phone call from the local NWS office. The observer had forwarded my email and they thought I was looking for data (I had included two topics in one email – site survey and local regional study I’m working on ).
    Bottom line: No problem to getting a survey done when I get the time for a cruise.
    REPLY: Hmm there used to be a PayPal section for that. Oh well, noted and look for it in the mail. Thanks, Anthony

  4. Anthony,
    it is one hell of an acheivement. The non-compliance is horrific. Now I’m a rather statistics-shy scientist (little call for it in my field) but I am familiar with error bars on graphs. I’m interested in the errors you cite for the sites. If you take the data for a station that shows a lot of warming – say a CRN4 and add +/- 2 deg C error bars on the mean annual temperature, that would be a very powerful image incounteracting the warming propaganda.
    Even folks with only high school science would show some recongnition of what error bars mean, and lets face it, schools are teaching this stuff.

  5. I’m a bit rusty on stats and low on sleep atm so please bare with me.
    If I’ve read this correctly you have ~855 of 1221 stations “polled” and that means that this survey (currently a poll, and not quite a census…yet) of the stations should have a MOE of around 0.86%.
    I think I’m looking at it the wrong way though. I keep getting the same answer from what I remember of the MOE formula MOE_INF=SQRT(0.7*0.3/855) and FPC=SQRT((1221-855)/1220) with MOE=MOE_INF*FPC. How am I approaching this wrong?
    I keep thinking that maybe I’m calculating the maximum MOE for the “poll” and that I need to do it per station category to come up with relevant MOEs for each specific statistic. Someone set me straight please…

  6. See I’m far too tired..I said “bare” instead of “bear” …/sigh
    Please nobody get naked with me…. Or if you do you will be all alone I can promise that much.

  7. Anthony, I can go get Canon City, CO one of these weekends if you need it.
    Let me know.
    Congrats on the outstanding work!

    Yes that would be helpful. While we have a Google Street level view and aerials, we have to actual photos of that station, which is an MMTS behind the radio building.
    see http://gallery.surfacestations.org/main.php?g2_itemId=1701
    Any time we can get ground photos and distance measurements to supplement aerials we’ll jump at the chance. – Anthony

  8. Even folks with only high school science would show some recongnition of what error bars mean, and lets face it, schools are teaching this stuff
    My thoughts exactly, and something that children can also use confidently to challenge warmist propaganda in schools.
    “Sir, did you know that the temperature records are all wrong?” should get a few heads scratching…

  9. Anthony,
    I would like to offer my help in analysis if it’s needed. I’m not sure where you might want help, but I have some hours to donate.

  10. Most impressive work. I am in Northeast US, will try to log in and do some stations. Can you direct me to an explanation of the error categories for the stations? Almost all of them have errors over 1% –what does that mean, and how has it been ascertained? Did somebody take a “true reading” at the site and compare it to what the station was reporting? Or is it calculated from the station’s heat “contamination” (nearby exhausts or pavement, etc)?

  11. Anthony,
    I signed up with the intent of surveying the GAINESVILLE 5ENE station (Gainesville, Texas). What is your current deadline?

  12. I have sent ther report to Drudge-lets see if it shows up-with 22 Million hits a day, now THAT is exposure.

  13. Anthony, your efforts are amazing and will provide one of the greatest benefits to 21st Century science upon completion. (Actually, your work and that of your team already has scored big for truth-in-science.)
    I have wondered at the global temperature chart for the twentieth century until today. If we take Leif’s revision of the sun’s energy in relationship to length of cycle and TSI, etc. and add in the revision to average global temperature that accurate U.S./world data demand, perhaps there is not so much variance from the 19th C. We continue to cycle through warm and cool, hot and cold. Sometime in the future we will hit the Big Cold again, it seems.
    As to Black Holes — aren’t they the center of galaxies? Sorry about the sucking up of so much energy, but you deserve to be at the center for all you have accomplished. I keep my subscription of $10.00 per month going. I know I am getting a bargain; only wish I could do more. Perhaps more regulars could contribute like this. I also want a signed copy of the report to date, with the contribution to the ever excellent Evan Jones.
    With admiration and appreciation.

  14. I’m looking forward to the analysis:
    It is easy to argue that *constant* artificial warming will not affect the temperature TREND of each station, thus allowing Global Warming to still be accurately detected. However, if artificial warming has been increasing over the decades (due to more buildings + more heat sources + sensors being moved closer to buildings), then clearly that will affect the temperature trend. The only way to say for sure whether the former or the latter is the case is to analyse the trends seen by the best sited stations & compare it to the overall trend.

  15. The mathematician in me has to say that we are basing our national temperature averages based on 11% unusable data, 58% terrible. 20% marginal, 8% good and 3% excellent. This sounds like a tremendous reason to spend trillions of taxpayer dollars.

  16. Excellent work Anthony.
    One more conclusion (that I think I’ve seen you say before, but isn’t in the report):
    – One simple requirement for any site or instrumentation change that would make a world of difference in the usefulness of a given site is instrument overlap. Run the new and the old concurrently for at least a year so we have a -measured- difference between the old systemic errors and the new ones.
    Another thought that I had while looking at the Oregon wastewater plant: Doing a detailed temperature map of a site like that would be interesting. Basically setting up a decent continuous temperature recorder at a reference position, then running around the rest of the whole area with a MMTS-on-a-tripod arrangement.
    IOW: At least at the Oregon plant, there are open fields -in the picture- where you might be able to hit 100m from the nearest concrete or vat. It would be very interesting to just flat out measure the temperature difference between that spot and the official measuring spot.
    Somewhat like the ad hoc UHI report you posted on Phoenix. Except this would be monitoring the real size of ‘micro-site issues.’ That’s something that the anti-surveying crowd has used as a defense. “Yes, that’s a heat source, but the actual effect is minimal.”

  17. why on earth would you survey the rest of the sites? 80% is enough of a sample by any standard. no one will argue with that.
    seriously dont waste your time doing any more…it would be crazy
    REPLY: Actually there is a reason for doing so. The CRN 4 and 5 stations are so overwhelmingly a large part of the sample that every time we get a CRN1 or 2 that becomes more valuable. We have so few CRN1/2 stations by comparison that those are the ones I’m really hoping to get. – Anthony

  18. Anthony,
    Fantastic project, great job. I will look forward to the CRN 1/2 vs. 3/4/5 comparison. 😉

  19. I just made a contribution but don’t need a book. Just glad I can kick a little in for all the enjoyment I get from the web site and your hard work.

  20. Hi Anthony
    Well done on all the hard work. When your schedule frees up, I’d like to interview you for Examiner.com.
    I can understand the impact of a complete census, but FWIW, you can now make statistical statements at a 99% level of confidence with a 1.5% margin of error. Interestingly, you can make statements at a 99.9% level of confidence with only a 1.9% margin of error. So, essentially you can start your analysis now, and be confident that the results will not change when you get the rest of the data in.

  21. Great job, guys!
    I hope the Google ads will help you out with the money side of things. I click one every time I come in for support. If the block size is too big on the top, try a standard banner size of 468×78, or something close, if your able. With the amount of traffic your site gets, you may do very well with them.
    Please support this site with an ad click everyone, if your not doing so already. Or a Paypal donation.

  22. This looks like a canditate for a random-dot survey of the US to use to calculate estimated “actual” average surface temperature. Generate random dots over a map of US with only the blue, green and yellow coded stations; calculate a temp for each random dot on the basis of the gradient between nearest stations and the random dot location. I designed such a sampling scheme for evaluation of a broad alluvial diamond deposit over 100m deep in South Africa for a client. I recall a post concerning analysis of Antarctica temps that had only a handful of stations for study – this one based on US good stations should be fairly robust.
    In any case, I’m sure there are a few hundred mathematicians who will also be offering ideas on this subject.
    It would be nice if it were possible to be able to set up a scattering of new automatic stations to fill in gaps. If we’re going to have some new Department of Climate with a few bucks in their budget – I would hope they could be convinced to replace and relocate new state of the art stations to ensure accurate monitoring – what other possible mandate could they have?

  23. Anthony,
    Please send thirty to Evan… there wasn’t a place on my form to make a note to that effect.

    On Surfacestations.org, if a station does not have any pictures linked, does it mean that it is not surveyed. I looked at Stillwater NY, which is close to me and it does not have any photos. If it is not surveyed, I can do so. If “no photos” does not indicate that the station has not been surveyed, could you pls tell me how I can find the un-surveyed stations?

  25. 11% are within one degree C? Holy crap! Is there any possibility of this getting published?

  26. Absolutely fabulous report.
    It effectively challenges the accuracy of the data sets.
    And that’s in the United States.
    What about Russia?
    After the collapse of the Soviet Union, scientists were living off crackers.
    And then you had the Russian economic collapse in the late 1990s.
    If you think that American data is haphazard, what about Russian data?
    And don’t forget – much of the global warming is attributed to North Eurasia.
    (Not to mention switching September and October data sets – heh heh.)

  27. Kudos to Anthony, Evan, and scores of volunteers.
    And now we can all share a bit in the first harvest of all that hard work.
    A must-read for all Congress members and staff.

  28. Anthony
    Thought you might be interested in this new report on UHI covered today in a UK newspaper.
    I have always been very sceptical of the notion that UHI only accounts for a fraction of a degree rise in temperarure so this latest report confirming the current and likely future impact of uhi therefore makes interesting reading
    In effect UHI dwarfs the notional impact of co2 and is something that observationally can be felt to happen. As over half the worlds population now live in cities perhaps the city temperature becomes the ‘norm.’
    Short of drastically reducing the population and curbing our instinct to cover everything with concrete in order to create homes, jobs and leisure opportunities, it is difficult to see how we can reduce any uhi effect by any appreciable amount in the future.

  29. Anthony,
    I will plan a trip shortly to cover some of the Colorado sites. I noticed Collbran just got data, and there is Google-based info for Canon City, Cheeseman, Lamar, Manassa, Saguache, and Steamboat Springs. There is no data at all for Del Norte, Durango, and Hemit. If I had to prioritize, would you like me to get the ones with no data first?

  30. Anthony,
    Ellen and I are going to Idaho and Montana in the Middle of August. My book on Cobalt Mining in Idaho is hot off the press and we are planning a book tour in the Region and we will be picking up our new dog in Stevensville Montana. We are planning to visit as many of the unsurveyed surface station we can on the western side of the Idaho and Eastern Oregon on our return trip. We have these stations on our list:
    CHALLIS Idaho Which we missed last time
    WALLOWA Oregon

  31. Great job, I’ve just read the report.
    Why don’t you produce a Summary for Policymakers instead? 🙂

  32. Google Adsense, Terms of Use:
    “Prohibited Uses. You shall not, and shall not authorize or encourage any third party to directly or indirectly generate queries, […] or impressions of or clicks on any Ad. […] You acknowledge that any attempted participation or violation of any of the foregoing is a material breach of this Agreement and that we may pursue any and all applicable legal and equitable remedies against You, including an immediate suspension of Your account or termination of this Agreement, and the pursuit of all available civil or criminal remedies.”
    All in all the public promotion of clicking or just clicking too often to a certain Ad from the same IP adress is not adviceable. With this behaviour, we are risking the immediate suspension of Anthony’s Adsense account (!). As far as know it from experienced Hungarian users Google has a very effective surveillance algorithm to ‘filter out’ any efforts like this.

  33. One of the UK’s leading weekly broadsheets, “The Daily Telegraph” has an interesting article about UHI. Apparently the Met Office claim that “urban areas can be several degrees hotter than the countryside”.
    Needless to say the “spin” is that this will lead to increased deaths as the clinate warms.
    No mention, of course on the effect of UHI on the temperature record!!

  34. Gary Pearse:
    Unlike geological data, temperature data show spatial gradients that are by no means constant over time. In fact, the variabilty between simultaneous measurements at neighboring stations is often not very much smaller than the year-to-year variabilty at each station. This, plus the quiltwork of microclimate zones in mountainous areas, is what dooms gridded interpolations and other “homogeneity” adjustments. The real problem is one of sampling from an inhomogenous, time-varying population, with all the travails that ensue therefom. It is best approached sans any preconceived framing, much like sampling rapidly changing political opinions in a diverse, mobile human population.

  35. Anthony,
    I would be great if you could post a pin-map of the unsurveyed station. That way volunteers could easily spot something a few hours drive away.
    I am interested in doing a thermo-gradient map of an especially unfit USHCN site near my home.
    I wonder if anyone is thinking of doing something similar, so we could trade notes.
    Also how does one get ahold of the raw USHCN data? I would like to see something to the effect of (Sat. June ?? at 10:00Am the station recorded a temperature of ??F). I could then tie that into my thermo-gradient.
    The site I am thinking of is on a south facing slope with an asphalt parking lot within 10 feet of the MMTS.

  36. Anthony Watts:
    You should be widely lauded for your enormous effort to bring attention to siting problems that exist at many of the USHCN stations. Regrettably, you can only do that for the present siting and not the past. Yet, it is the past history that frequently determines the suitability of a particular record for analyzing potential climate change. May I suggest that, along with documentation of present conditions, you include meta-data of station moves and instrumentation changes in you rating system. Also, during the surveys, knowledgeable locals should be querried about massive changes in local land-use, crop and irrigation changes etc. that might influence the historical record. Exemplary present siting is by no means a guarantee of an unbiased record of historical development. I’d personally would take an urban record from a fixed station in a no-growth city over a record from a suburban or rural area around which everything has changed dramatically over the decades.

  37. Congratulations Anthony!
    I still remember when this whole effort began at Roger Pielke Sr’s climate blog. You were interested in the effect that the condition of the exterior paint on the stevenson screen had on the temperature measurements.
    You and Roger knew the implications that poor siting and generally poor condition of climate montioring stations would have on the historical records. The unknown was (up till now) how many of the climate stations were in fact in poor condition or had siting issues. Of course, all of us who frequent WUWT were treated to examples of these stations with the now famous “how not to measure temperature” series.
    I also remember that vigorous and vocal resistance you initially encountered with the whole surface stations project! People from all corners of the AGW movement were lambasting you as to the waste of time this was, or that you didn’t know what you were doing. And as you uncovered example after example of lousy surface stations, the critics tried even harder to discourage you and the many volunteers. We now know why…
    To this day, I will NEVER understand why certain people at NOAA, NASA, and elsewhere in the global warming movement, who supposedly should be interested in encouraging scientific discovery and inquiry, would have such an irrational and visceral response to the surfacestations project. Maybe you can write an addendum to your report explaining how much resistance you encountered, and from whom…
    all the best,
    Frank K.

  38. This could well be the most important piece of climate science ever performed. My congratulations also on an outstanding job.

  39. Anthony,
    I donated $50, but I don’t need a copy of the report–just wanted to help out. Please make sure Evan gets it. Thanks!

  40. Looks like things are going well in the surveys. I just checked (at the web site) the location nearest my house, which is at a water treatment plant. The Williamsburg 2N, VA has some Google images and some information supplied by an employee of the plant. I assume they would not allow an observer on site. I also noticed that Google Earth now has much higher resolution images up for the site that probably show the actual temperature instruments. So slow but steady Google improvements may make some of the more inaccessible sites easier to grade.

  41. Is the surface temperature data the same data that is used at the National Climatic Data Center of NOAA.
    I ran the numbers for 1895-2009 (oops i see my trend date was off by 5 years) and they tell me temp. has only gone up by .12 F/decade or 1.2F per century. Is that what IPCC tells us is so worry some and produces the hockey stick type temp graph. I guess it depends on you x and y axis scales.
    This is terrible! The trend from 1998 to 2008 is -.77 per decade or almost 8 degrees F per century. I PREDICT we are in for a terrible ice age. Ice Scrapers for sale, 80 dollars.

  42. Splendid work!
    Is the Fortine, MT, site at the Murphy Lake Ranger Station? I plugged the coordinates from your website into Google maps and it pinpoints an illogical spot in the woods. If the site is actually still at the USFS station, they’re really nice people (and it’s a popular picnic spot with a lovely lake with loons and mergansers and bass…). Betty Holder is the District Ranger listed on the fs.fed.us site. Fortine, Murphy Lake, 12797 U.S. Highway 93 S, Fortine, MT 59918–0116, phone 406–882–4451, fax 406–882–4835. If one of your traveling surveyors is out and about in NW Montana, highway 93 is a beautiful drive, or whoever did your Kalispell or Libby surveys could hop up north. The county fair (with a rodeo!) will be the last week of August and the ranger station is right on the way from Kalispell… I’d do it if I could, but my health doesn’t permit.

  43. I am curious if your final publication will include some comparative analysis with ‘infilling’ NASA numbers and any other ‘corrections’ they have made? Assuming that data is available.
    I have also noticed with interest that more than one commenter her has raised the issue of publicity after the publication. I agree and think the impact could be enormous. If this gets picked up by Drudge, Fox and some of the press, this could be enormously damaging to AGW proponents but more importantly on a political level as people may not understand the complexities of science, they are very impacted by images and what they imply. The country is turning more and more away from what they believe is exaggerated warming hype and this would have great potential to complete their growing skepticism. If this were also to include Steve Mc’s experiences with stonewalling and deception by AGW scientist, it could be all over and your work could have been the deal breaker in behalf of and to the benefit of millions. This may appear a bit sensational but at the least, the possibilities are now real. Is there a ‘tipping point’ where the press turns on AGW after feeling manipulated for so many years?
    At least on a human level, the plot of a small band of scientist standing up against the establishment and eventually prevailing can be very appealing. Could there be a screenplay here as well?
    I have also donated to Evan and hope you can find additional ways over time. We are greatly appreciative of both you and Evan on this project.
    Thanks for being there.

  44. Anthony,
    A short summary, and a link to the pdf, of your work was just posted at Topix under the global warming forums. That should give it some more exposure [and a lot of snarky comments].

  45. Anthony,
    We should send a report to all the members of Congress, the Senate and the Government.
    It could prevent a Cap & Trade bill and it could prevent EPA acting on CO2.
    This report is a killer.
    If a short introduction is made with info about the ice caps, the ocean levels and rise-trend, the “weather disaster graph” and a short version of Goklany, short headers with good visuals this would be a strong message.
    A personal hand out would even be better.
    Do we have people available with the right connections to get this done?
    I am sure that the politicians lobbying against the cap & trade could use such a
    “hand out package” very effectively and it could help them to convince others.

  46. Excellent work, I believe this represents an important piece of work in understanding how reliable land based temperature records are.
    I would love to see a spatially weighted mean of all grade 1 sites vs a spacially weighted mean of all grade 2, 3 4 and 5 sites just to see the difference site quality has on temperature over a long timescale. I think the results could be very important indeed, particuarly to records such as GISS and HadCRUT etc…

  47. Great work you guys! Citizen bloggers, like you, are the ones who actually speak “truth to power.”
    It’s absolutely amazing to me that public policy that could cost trillions of dollars and change our society forever is (at least partially) based on data collected in such a haphazard, sloppy manner. It’s frightening. Also with the addition of “adjustments” by NASA, et al.. it’s even worse. I hope that your fine work somehow finds its way to the public, outside of the internet.

  48. Congratulations on your fine work. Just donated $30 as requested – if possible, would appreciate a copy of the report.

  49. Hi Anthony,
    Congratulations !…
    I just made a donation. I would really appreciate to get the book. However, I understand that the mailing to France may not be included in the “price”. In this case, the book could be sent to my son who lives in USA. Now that I have american grand-sons, I am there several times a year !…
    Please let me know by e-mail so that I send you the address.
    I can’t wait to see the details of the analysis !… Thanks very much in any case.

  50. Anthony…quick question. How important is it for you to document ASOS stations, if at all?

  51. Global Warming Humor
    It’s rather like that other item floating around, that shows that the declining content of women’s underwear is causing global warming–strictly intended as humor. Members of the global warming cult are wrong (or at least, not clearly correct), but at least the real scientists do actually use multivariate correlation analysis–not stupid bivariate correlations.

  52. Hi Anthony,
    This is a second trial, the first proved unsuccessful, maybe an error on my side.
    I just made a 30 $ donation as required and would really like to have the book. Now, my address is in France and I understand that this may be a problem for delivering.
    If the French address is a problem, the book could also be sent to my son who lives in USA. Please let me know by mail so that I send you the address.
    In any case, congratulations and many thanks for this piece of work!…
    [Reply: Your previous post didn’t vanish into the intertubes cloud, I left it unapproved so Anthony would be sure to see it. ~dbstealey, moderator]

  53. Has anyone mentioned that Glen Beck mentioned this blog the other day on his radio program?

  54. Anthony,
    Your website and efforts on this issue are the best. I look forward to reading WUWT every day. I certainly visit the websites on the “other side” (Realclimate, etc.) to make sure I’m considering both view points, but yours is the best. I just donated $50. Keep up the good work.
    I have been making the claim to many AGWers that the UHI has been the largest contributor to the increases in the temperature date base over the past 50-100 years or so. Warming from the UHI is the cause of high minimum’s, not CO2! Yet higher minimums are being claimed by AGWers as proof of AGW. While I don’t doubt that “human released” CO2 may be causing a very slight increase in global temperature, it is trivial compared to the “dirty” land based temperature records.

  55. The Third International Conference on Climate Change will take place in Washington, DC on Tuesday, June 2, at the Washington Court Hotel, 525 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC.
    last updated: May 7, 2009
    Nearly two dozen speakers will make keynote presentations or participate in panel discussions at the Third International Conference on Climate Change. The following speakers have been confirmed:
    The Heartland Institute
    Research Professor
    James Cook University
    (Queensland, Australia)
    Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change
    The George C. Marshall Institute
    Senior Policy Analyst
    The Heritage Foundation
    Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies
    Cato Institute
    Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
    Chief Policy Advisor, Science and Public Policy Institute
    U.S. Republican Congressman from California
    Former U.S. Senator and NASA Astronaut
    Chairman, NASA Advisory Council
    Adjunct Professor of Engineering Physics, University of Wisconsin – Madison
    Science and Environmental Policy Project
    Chief Science Advisor, Science and Public Policy Institute
    Astrophysicist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
    Principal Research Scientist
    University of Alabama in Huntsville
    Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News
    Senior Fellow, The Heartland Institute
    Former Program Administrator, NASA
    Former Senior Scientist, NASA’s Mission to Planet Earth Office
    Executive Director
    Beacon Hill Institute
    Author: “Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?”

  56. Congratulations Anthony, Evan and all associated with this project. I was sorry to hear about Evan’s misfortune and hope that things turn around quickly for him. Anyway, my contribution is on its way. Please don’t send a report to NZ, but a Screaming Monkey print signed by you both would be something to treasure. Only if you have time, and thanks again for the huge contribution that you are making. Your site is a daily absolute must read – sometimes more!

  57. At the top of page 2 of the report, appears contact information for the Heartland Institute. Does this mean you are affiliated with the Heartland Institute? Or receive financial support from this organization? Given that you are releasing the report electronically, why did you chose the Heartland Institute to publish it?

  58. I’m loathe to criticize Anthony or the surfacestations website, but I think it lacks an easily accessible working list of of stations organized by state that have not been surveyed. I may be wrong and may not know how to navigate the site properly, but I think a clear link to such a list would be helpful. I know people in several states that I could call, who might be interested in helping out surveying these sites.
    I volunteered myself to survey a couple of remote stations in southern California last year for Anthony, but it turned out that someone had already committed to do the work. I’d like to help in other ways by finding people who could do the work in Texas, Colorado and points back east, but I’ve been unable to figure out which sites I could match with people I know in these regions.
    Because Anthony is such a busy man whose work is having a noticeable impact, perhaps there is someone else with programming/website skills who could produce such a link.

  59. Anyone who is not shocked at the state of the USHCN, as demonstrated in Anthony’s report, should see a physician immediately to check whether they still have a pulse.
    Beyond the satellite record, I question whether we know anything at all that is scientifically useful about the climate of the 20th Century.

  60. gdfernan (13:46:16) :
    On Surfacestations.org, if a station does not have any pictures linked, does it mean that it is not surveyed? I looked at Stillwater NY, which is close to me and it does not have any photos. If it is not surveyed, I can do so. . . .

    Yep, no pix pretty much means no survey. Get signed up, read the how-to’s, go take some photos, then upload them. You’ll be doing more for the environment than a hundred Al Gores.

  61. A hearty thank you to you Anthony and Evan Jones. The work you have done i outstanding. Sure, computation and such still needs to be done, but your work is extremely important to putting the facts to the biggest lie of the the last century. How do I donate and receive the report? I want to give the report to our local library.

  62. Has anybody crunched the numbers and calculated the trends for the CRN1-2 stations versus the complete network? Sorry if this has been asked already…

  63. If Anthony’s report were to be sent to your US politicians, there should also be some explanation of the demise of the world-wide temperature monitoring sites (particularly cold, northern Europe) as the AGW hypothesis is based on world-wide average temperature, not just the US.
    The loss of many of the colder measurement sites
    (shown by Joseph D’Aleo at penoflight.com/climatebuzz/Docs/DAleo-DC_Brief.pdf), particularly the “Station Dropout & Global Temps” graph on page 12, shows the sad state of the entire land-based measurement system.
    Only having the US represented in Anthony’s report may leave a loophole for the ‘warmists’ to crawl through as they may obfuscate with reference to world temps, not just the US.

  64. Thanks, Anthony, and thanks to you all. I was deep into data analysis and I only just found this post, to my huge surprise. It has been an honor and a privilege to work on this project. I shall wear the patch with great pride. I am extremely grateful; you are a wonderful bunch of people.
    To those who say “just average the CRN1 and 2 stations”, I have to tell them it is not as easy as that.
    A disproportional bulk of the CRN2 stations are located in the west, which (unlike the Southeast and the Mississippi Valley) has seen a lot of perfectly natural warming over the last century.
    Site moves/degradation and longterm, constant microsite issues are definitely two different phenomena. And it may prove impossible to separate the two causes thanks to the abominable NOAA location records. There are some indignant observers at Blue Hill, MA, around now, checking out why NCDC has two major station moves indicated for their unmoved 125-year old site (they have a magnificent old Hazen station and a whole lot more).
    This just scratches the surface, and these are the sort of issues involved in the analysis.
    Without going into any more detail (and there is a lot more detail I could go into), you can expect that Anthony’s final report will address the many issues mentioned by the posters above and much more besides.

  65. Very many congratulations to you–the service you are doing is invaluable, because you are preventing people from manufacturing truth. I hope that you feel good about yourself!

  66. From the chilly plains of southern Alberta, a hearty THANK YOU! Well done.
    Maybe (we pray) this will indeed get the attention of the MSM! You will be sending an autographed copy to Barrack one assumes. ☺
    I’ve seen many wx stns here in Alberta and they “seem” to be well sited. I worked at a research center and ours met all requirements. However, the mean annual temp where I live has dropped for over twenty years…and this “spring” (oh Lord I am funny…spring ?? what spring ?? ) should haul that line down once again.
    Thank you!!

  67. BBC (off-topic)
    Last night, saw an excellent BBC programme about the beauty and marvels of South Pacific Islands (BBC2, 9th May, 20:30 hrs, South Pacific), and I didn’t hear a single reference to global warming and rising sea level threats. Surely, a recent record for the BBC!

  68. Just read the report, great work Anthony et al. As Ron suggests, everyone should email a copy to their their congress / senate representatives. The relatively simple to understand science of poor station siting and UHI may just be the tipping point which brings some common sense back to the decison makers, on the subject of AGW at least. Have you issued any press releases for the media yet, or have some planned?

  69. I see that you still need Key West. I will volunteer if you send me the proper methods. What are the particulars to photograph? What are the particulars to measure? No need to do the survey incorrectly and waste both your effort and mine. BTW: I’ve been in Key West in the ’70’s, ’80’s, and 90’s. I can’t imagine that there is a space on the island that is 100 meters from pavement. But on the other hand, I can’t imagine that it is more urban than it was in the 1970’s.

  70. My thoughts exactly PHE.
    All these low-lying islands and no mention of them being inundated.
    An excellent piece of research by Mr Watts & helpers. Doubtless it will attract the usual snide remarks from the “official” climate sites.

  71. TonyB (14:45:33)
    In reading the article you posted it seems that the tactic now is to acknowledge the heat island effect but to blame it on climate change. And then to super exaggerate the temperature effect.
    So much for Vickie Pope’s plea not to exaggerate climate events.

  72. KBOB said
    “I have been making the claim to many AGWers that the UHI has been the largest contributor to the increases in the temperature date base over the past 50-100 years or so. Warming from the UHI is the cause of high minimum’s, not CO2! Yet higher minimums are being claimed by AGWers as proof of AGW. While I don’t doubt that “human released” CO2 may be causing a very slight increase in global temperature, it is trivial compared to the “dirty” land based temperature records.”
    Did you see my earlier post when I posted a link re a new study on UHI?
    “I have always been very sceptical of the notion that UHI only accounts for a fraction of a degree rise in temperarure so this latest report confirming the current and likely future impact of uhi therefore makes interesting reading
    In effect UHI dwarfs the notional impact of co2 and is something that observationally can be felt to happen. As over half the worlds population now live in cities perhaps the city temperature becomes the ‘norm.’
    Short of drastically reducing the population and curbing our instinct to cover everything with concrete in order to create homes, jobs and leisure opportunities, it is difficult to see how we can reduce any uhi effect by any appreciable amount in the future.”
    I would be interested in anyones comments, especially as it relates to the surface stations project.

  73. Is there a chance someone could make a video with simple explanations of what constitutes a good and a bad surface station with a couple of examples of each, then a summary of the findings of the surface stations survey, then a link to surfacestations.org? It could then be youtubed and circulated. It would be nice to have.

  74. Anthony…is this study for open posting. I know a few forums I’d like to post this to. Thanks.

  75. @TonyB
    Isn’t it wonderful how selective these people can be? Now, it seems that UHI is yet another horror to be visited on us because of our CO2 emissions. But when we’re discussing the quality of the surface station record, suddenly UHI ceases to exist!

  76. Many many kudos to Anthony and Evan!
    I’ve made one meager attempt to survey a station near me, you can read about the attempt at my site here: http://whatcatastrophe.com/drupal/surveying_olga
    I will be posting the pictures I took, since I have permission from the curator/resident to do a proper survey when we can coordinate. I’ll post those pictures tonight (US Eastern time), and I’ll post them to the SurfaceStations gallery at the same time.
    I was pretty shocked when I saw the station, but refrained from making any snap judgments, at least I hope I did.

  77. Adam Gallon (00:50:43) :
    “My thoughts exactly PHE.
    All these low-lying islands and no mention of them being inundated.
    An excellent piece of research by Mr Watts & helpers. Doubtless it will attract the usual snide remarks from the “official” climate sites.”
    Any attack on this report will explode in their face.
    They will look stupid or they will be lying.
    The report needs a big promotion so the general public knows they are conned by the AGW scheme.
    I am sure it will cause an outrage.

  78. My thoughts exactly PHE.
    All these low-lying islands and no mention of them being inundated.
    An excellent piece of research by Mr Watts & helpers. Doubtless it will attract the usual snide remarks from the “official” climate sites.
    Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!

  79. Anthony,
    I can get over to Poughkeepsie, and take som ground pictures. The location is Duthess County Airport. which is a pretty low traffic field. Will be glad to help

  80. Anthony,
    Why worry about data integrity?
    Why not just say the raw data are personal property and not available to the public? Why not just say the data withstood rigorous scrutiny and was found to be of sound integrity?
    Why not say the survey was subjected to rigorous peer review, and that the raw code for the calculations is missing somewhere?
    Why not just say that there is universal consensus on surface station shoddiness, and that it is time to move on.
    Why not point out that critics of the survey are just flat-earthers who are in denial?

  81. Hi Anthony,
    Would it help if someone like me were to make a list of the sites still needing attn?
    Something like this:
    51294 CANON CITY 38.42 -105.23 72468001 5330 aerial only
    51528 CHEESMAN 39.22 -105.28 74531002 6880 aerial only
    51564 CHEYENNE WELLS 38.82 -102.35 72465001 4250 yes no data
    52184 DEL NORTE 37.67 -106.35 72462007 7880 no
    52432 DURANGO 37.28 -107.88 74521002 6600 no
    52446 EADS 2S 38.48 -102.78 74530005 4211 yes no data
    53951 HERMIT 7ESE 37.77 -107.13 74521004 9000 no
    54076 HOLLY 38.05 -102.12 74530002 3390 yes no data
    54834 LAS ANIMAS 38.07 -103.22 74530003 3890 yes no data
    57167 ROCKY FORD 2SE 38.03 -103.7 72464003 4170 yes no data
    57936 STEAMBOAT SPRINGS 40.5 -106.83 74421002 6840 aerial only
    58204 TELLURIDE 37.95 -107.87 74521006 8672 no
    Doesn’t format very well as a message. You or Evan would need to keep me on track some. Takes more effort to do than to maintain.

  82. Sylvia
    Many of what used to be Forest Service weather stations are now RAWS stations, and many of these are indeed situated in the woods away from habitations.

  83. Anthony,
    I note at the end of your report you say:
    “The U.S. temperature record is unreliable. And since the U.S. record is thought to be “the best in the world,” it follows that the global database is likely similarly compromised and unreliable.”
    I think that the only people who think that the US station network is the best in the world is the Americans. The Australian climate reference network would beat yours hands down for better siting. It is by no means perfect but far superior to the US network.
    see: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/change/reference.shtml (complete with photos of the stations)
    I think you will agree that the BOM have a far better siting arrangement for their network than the yanks.

  84. Chris Wright
    An Inconvenient UHI-what a great title for a movie!
    On the one hand you have a study emphasing the threat of UHI (which we can all feel in a built up area ) and on the other you have the IPCC saying UHI is unimportant. UHI is a reality irrespective of co2-too many people, buildings, concrete, roads. When that formula is combined with weather stations now within a UHI area when previously it wasn’t, it is going to skew the data.
    IMHO UHI is likely to be a far greater factor than any miniscule warming by the very weak co2 driver and much harder to do anything about it..
    Article repeated here
    I would be interested in anyones comments, especially as it relates to the surface stations project.

  85. Anthony,
    After reading the intro to your report, one thing that strikes me about missing data infilling and that the automated weather stations being more likely closer to sources of heat is that that probably further exacerbates the problem. It’s probably the best sources (more rural, further from the UHIs asphalt, buildings) have older, less filled data that get infilled with bias from more urbanized, ‘overheated’ data sets.

  86. Dennis, that’s interesting. I haven’t been up there to visit my kin since ’96 so am uncertain whether the site was moved to the woods. As a general rule, though, if you ventured into that part of the woods back then you were likely to get shot by a pot grower so I’m a little surprised…

  87. Great work Anthony, Evan and all others involved. A quick and simple analysis of the numbers for the whole system, counting the CRN 1&2 bias as zero, yields +1.9C or +3.4F. This should be the minimum error since the CRN are greater than or equal to the error number used, and I set CRN 1 & 2 to zero though they may have some bias. Throw in the +.5F from the USHCN adjustment and it’s +3.9F. Then let Hansen have his way with the dataset, and who knows what bias we end up with in GISS. I notice a vacuum of comments from the usual naysayers that like to keep this site apprised of the AGW/CO2 perspective.

  88. When I look at the map of the rating it looks like about all of the stations where I live , weatern North Carolina,are faulty or major bias toward the warm side just as I expected.

  89. Anthony,
    Congratulations are indeed in order. Your work has been singled out in Gavin Schmidt’s latest sneering post on unReal Climate. He is blaming you for “undermining the science”, of AGW. How dare you intrude on Gavin’s computer generated fantasy world with actual observation? As Steve McIntyre once concluded, he is one nasty piece of work.
    I shouldn’t be too harsh, seeing your life’s work fail utterly, to the point where a chimp on crack could do better, has to be a difficult experience, clearly he is still in the denial stage of grief. There is a tipping point coming, all right, I don’t think the alarmists will enjoy it very much. I just wonder who will get hung out to dry when the politicians go into CYA mode and search for villians to blame. Pretty unReal to think that Gavin will not be at the top of that list.

  90. I just can´t believe those +5°C!!. How do they take temps there, wetting the finger and rising it?
    Congratulations! That graph of ratings is for a presentation of just ONE SLIDE..just demolishing! (…if presented after the thousands of the prophet of Climate Change)

  91. Thank you so much, Anthony.
    Fellow WUWTr’s, forget Drudge or MSM, send links to everyone you know and post links to this in every community you take part in.

  92. Gilbert, 6:32:37: this responds to my post at 19:41:32. I believe such a list could greatly facilitate completion of the surveys.
    Thanks for volunteering. I hope Anthony takes you up on it.

  93. I sent Benny Peiser a link to the report. That might help with getting it distributed widely.

  94. A hell of a lot of footwork to be congratulated.
    Mr Watts, you advised you would publish the temperature record of the best sites this May. Does that deadline hold, or when do you expect to do so?

  95. And will you please reopen a thread for the analysis to be done publicly again? I can think of nothing more fitting than to do this work openly: to demonstrate a standard of transparency disappointingly absent from some elements of the other side.
    If you have the data, please post it as soon as possible to get the numbers crunched in the public domain. Don’t make this effort vulnerable to suspicious minds. I will follow with great interest.
    Thank you.

  96. Anthony, I think it would be very important to get as many “officials” from USHCN etc to agree BEFORE the results of the high-quality sample are analyzed that this is a worthy effort and that the method of selecting the best instruments is unbiased, etc. If people agree beforehand on the way to do it, then they cannot dismiss the results as coming from flawed methods.

  97. I don’t often laugh aloud at a computer screen, but the famous burn barrel did it for me. I forwarded it to my brother and we’ve been wuwt addicts since.
    The station that impressed me most was the state park in the Sierras where one could see the date of the tennis court being paved on the temperature record. So much for rural settings being free of urban effects!
    Great job, great service. Keep it up, donations sent.

  98. OT, but related: In the North.
    “Global warming critics appointed to science boards
    Harper government’s actions are ‘dreadful’ and undercut public pledges to tackle climate change, leading glaciologist says”

  99. TonyB,
    You seem to be mixing a couple of issues. The actual percentage of Earth that is directly covered by pavement, foundations, or something like pit mining is still mind-blowingly low. And the Surface Site contamination contains two separate issues: Urban Heat Islands and micro-site issues.
    When you’re in an urban center with skyscrapers everywhere and no dirt to be found, it is tough to wrap one’s mind around the fact that open spaces are still ridiculously large in comparison.
    What this means is: One can have a strong UHI effect, and still not have that actual warming strongly influence the true average global temperature. Essentially because the areas influenced by UHI are minuscule.
    But microsite issues are issues are a different issue. You can cause microsite issues by just placing the sensor next to a cliff wall. Or clearing the dirt off of the bare rock. Clearing brush – or letting it grow up. Or, as seems to be the most common, placing it next to the heat exhaust of an air conditioner.
    For the microsite issues to actually represent a true measure of the actual surface temperature, the air conditioners would need to be spaced uniformly across the globe at the same density the measurement sites experienced! That is: if we say the average distance to the nearest AC unit from the surface station pictures was 15 meters, then we’d need an AC unit (or equivalent) every 15 meters across the globe to make the sample mimic reality.
    Which would be nuts.

  100. Good work all, thanks.
    It’s a shame ads like this appear before your blog entry.
    Help Solve Global Warming
    Discover How You Can Take Action & Demand Change From Your Leaders.
    www .WeCanSolveIt. org
    Scott Finegan

  101. I’d wager that some of the most problematic microsite problems would be anything that is a significant change, either abruptly or slowly over time, such as tree growth providing shade where there was none originally, cutting down an overhanging tree, sudden-asphalt-syndrome, equipment moves or changes, changing/removing the ground cover, installing a light inside the shelter, and so on.
    Great report, btw. Thanks for making it available.

  102. Scott Finegan,
    I dont have a problem with the AGW alarmists paying for ads to go here, I make a habit of clicking through to as many of them as possible so that their cost to propagandize and lie to the public goes up. Every little bit helps.
    Note that Anthony doesn’t need to advertise and he’s won the ratings and popularity contest on the intertubes. That the opposition needs to actually spend money to get traffic is a big sign they are losing.

  103. Truth:
    “…In this morning’s article “Can This Planet Be Saved”, you simply regurgitated the typical fear-mongering hysteria that the Gore-IPCC-Hansen clique promulgate without any serious consideration of the fact that that hysteria is based on half-baked computer models that have never been verified and that are totally out of touch with reality…”
    “…You can always tell the difference between a propagandist and a scientist. If a scientist has a theory, he looks diligently for facts that might contradict his theory so that he can test its validity or refine it. The propagandist on the other hand selects only those facts that agree with his theory and dutifully ignores those facts that contradict it.”
    Read more here: http://jer-skepticscorner.blogspot.com/2009/05/skeptics-from-around-globe_3198.html

  104. Alan S. Blue (09:44:18) : said to me
    You seem to be mixing a couple of issues. The actual percentage of Earth that is directly covered by pavement, foundations, or something like pit mining is still mind-blowingly low. And the Surface Site contamination contains two separate issues: Urban Heat Islands and micro-site issues.”
    Alan, I had shortened my original post on this report and think the second post you must have seen has therefore been taken a little out of context.
    The original context was that many stations are situated in UHI areas but UHI is not considered a major factor by those recording local temperatures or quantifying their effect on global temperatures. The ‘mind blowingly ‘ tiny percentage of the land covered by development (0.046%) would be fair enough to largely discount if there were only around 0.046% of stations situated in urban areas, and UHI had only contributed 0.05C to the warming experienced, instead of the likely greater amount that seems probable because of the number of stations affected.
    UHI problems and problems with station siting may or may not coincide-for example an A/c outlet blowing on to a sensor is poor siting rather than a direct impact from the surrounding uhi.
    I have made a series of related links and comments below. This from Real Climate;
    “There are quite a few reasons to believe that the surface temperature record – which shows a warming of approximately 0.6°-0.8°C over the last century (depending on precisely how the warming trend is defined) – is essentially uncontaminated by the effects of urban growth and the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. These include that the land, borehole and marine records substantially agree; and the fact that there is little difference between the long-term (1880 to 1998) rural (0.70°C/century) and full set of station temperature trends (actually less at 0.65°C/century). This and other information lead the IPCC to conclude that the UHI effect makes at most a contribution of 0.05°C to the warming observed over the past century.”
    This from wiki
    “A number of scientists and scientific organizations have expressed concern about the possible deterioration of the land surface observing network.[18][19][20][21] Climate scientist Roger A. Pielke has stated that he has identified a number of sites where poorly sited stations in sparse regions “will introduce spatially unrepresentative data into the analyses.”[22] The metadata needed to quantify the uncertainty from poorly sited stations does not currently exist. Pielke has called for a similar documentation effort for the rest of the world.[23]
    The uncertainty in annual measurements of the global average temperature (95% range) is estimated to be ~0.05°C since 1950 and as much as ~0.15°C in the earliest portions of the instrumental record. The error in recent years is dominated by the incomplete coverage of existing temperature records. Early records also have a substantial uncertainty driven by systematic concerns over the accuracy of sea surface temperature measurements.[24][25] Station densities are highest in the northern hemisphere, providing more confidence in climate trends in this region. Station densities are far lower in other regions such as the tropics, northern Asia and the former Soviet Union. This results in less confidence in the robustness of climate trends in these areas. If a region with few stations includes a poor quality station, the impact on global temperature would be greater than in a grid with many weather stations.[26] “
    That UHI has apparently no real impact on global temperatures is further clarified here;
    “Peterson (2003) indicates that the effects of the urban heat island may have been overstated, finding that “Contrary to generally accepted wisdom, no statistically significant impact of urbanization could be found in annual temperatures.” This was done by using satellite-based night-light detection of urban areas, and more thorough homogenisation of the time series (with corrections, for example, for the tendency of surrounding rural stations to be slightly higher, and thus cooler, than urban areas). As the paper says, if its conclusion is accepted, then it is necessary to “unravel the mystery of how a global temperature time series created partly from urban in situ stations could show no contamination from urban warming.” The main conclusion is that micro- and local-scale impacts dominate the meso-scale impact of the urban heat island: many sections of towns may be warmer than rural sites, but meteorological observations are likely to be made in park “cool islands.”
    A study by David Parker published in Nature in November 2004 and in Journal of Climate in 2006 attempts to test the urban heat island theory, by comparing temperature readings taken on calm nights with those taken on windy nights. If the urban heat island theory is correct then instruments should have recorded a bigger temperature rise for calm nights than for windy ones, because wind blows excess heat away from cities and away from the measuring instruments. There was no difference between the calm and windy nights, and the author says: we show that, globally, temperatures over land have risen as much on windy nights as on calm nights, indicating that the observed overall warming is not a consequence of urban development.[14][15]
    However, Roger A. Pielke has claimed that Parker 2004 has “serious issues with its conclusions” [3] due to his research published in Geophysical Research Letters which states: “if the nocturnal boundary layer heat fluxes change over time, the trends of temperature under light winds in the surface layer will be a function of height, and that the same trends of temperature will not occur in the surface layer on windy and light wind nights.”[4].
    Another view, often held by skeptics of global warming, is that much of the temperature increase seen in land based thermometers could be due to an increase in urbanisation and the siting of measurement stations in urban areas [5][6]. However, these views are mainly presented in “popular literature” and there are no known scientific peer-reviewed papers holding this view.[16] “
    This from;
    The IPCC Physical Basis report [http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html] makes the following statements:
    “Urban heat islands result partly from the physical properties of the urban landscape and partly from the release of heat into the environment by the use of energy for human activities such as heating buildings and powering appliances and vehicles (‘human energy production’). The global total heat flux from this is estimated as 0.03 W m–2 (Nakicenovic, 1998). If this energy release were concentrated in cities, which are estimated to cover 0.046% of the Earth’s surface (Loveland et al., 2000) the mean local heat flux in a city would be 65 W m–2. Daytime values in central Tokyo typically exceed 400 W m–2 with a maximum of 1,590 W m–2 in winter (Ichinose et al., 1999). Although human energy production is a small influence at the global scale, it may be very important for climate changes in cities” [emphasis added]
    “Over the conterminous USA, after adjustment for time-of-observation bias and other changes, rural station trends were almost indistinguishable from series including urban sites” [emphasis added] [The problem is that the data don’t support these IPCC statements, as shown below using examples from around the world.]
    This is commented on here:
    “Since most of the long-term temperature stations are in cities, this is more significant than implied by the IPCC, because that’s where the data is recorded. While reading this document comparing the effects of urbanization on temperature trends, keep in mind the IPCC’s position that ): “Urbanisation impacts on global and hemispheric temperature trends have been found to be small. Furthermore, once the landscape around a station becomes urbanized, long-term trends for that station are consistent with nearby rural stations” (AR4, Chapter 3, 2007).
    The Surface Stations web site [http://www.surfacestations.org/] is accumulating physical site data for the temperature measurement stations (including photographs) and identifying problem stations — there are a significant number of stations with improper site characteristics.”
    So UHI-which we can all feel-is likely to have a considerable impact on a large number of stations which no longer represent the area in which they were first established. Compound this with poor siting/methodology/equipment etc and the likely extent of the inadequacy of the temperature records becomes even more apparent.
    My original link to which Alan was referring is repeated here.
    As an aside, it is said that more than half the earths population now lives in urban areas, so going from the figures above some 3 billion people are squashed on to .046% of the earths surface. Makes you think.

  105. I would reeeealy like a copy of that report signed. It’ll be great to have physical evidence of what I’ve assumed was the case for so long. Donation sent with the address included. Keep up the awesome and tiring work.
    Jason Bair

  106. Great effort Anthony
    I’ve made a small donation-sorry it’s not more but our Prime Minister is busy trying to bankrupt us all the moment so money is tight.

  107. I just want to say again how grateful I am. I deeply appreciate this. Thank you, one and all. Times are a little tough now, and I know there are others out there who are having trouble finding work. Nonetheless, I think there is nothing doable that this country cannot do and, whatever our current problems, I am confident we will come through it all and prosper.

  108. Key West:
    I put up a virtual survey up, but there are no ground photos, which would definitely be useful. Go to the gallery entry for the precise location of the ASOS; it’s a bit off the beaten path.
    An actual ground measurement would be a good thing, esp. if the area near the building to the NE turns out not to be paved (in which case, measure to the building).

  109. Evan,
    I may be able to get to Key West next week for those siting photos if you still need someone to go.

  110. I think you will agree that the BOM have a far better siting arrangement for their network than the yanks.
    Australian sites are mostly at airports (although not the big urban airports most will be familiar with). With sites in peoples backyards (Bridgetown), on nice patches of green irrigated grass (Geraldton), right next to the main transcontinental railway line (Lake Grace), underneath trees (Tibooburra), and of course the famous site in the middle of the busiest road intersection in downtown Melbourne (now apparently removed from the network, but doubtless preserved in the averages.
    If the Australian network is better, it will be because many/most sites are run by paid civil servants rather than volunteers as in the USA.
    The locations may be in general be better or they may not. Only a survey similar to Anthony’s will give us an answer to that question.
    However, far and away the biggest problem with the Australian network is geographic coverage. Away from the coast and a couple of hundred Ks in from the south east and south west coast, less than 20 stations measure climate over an area of 6 million square kilometers. With the opportunity for biases at one or two sites resulting in biased climate extrapolations over large areas. A problem the USA doesn’t have.
    By way of comparison, similar geographic coverage would mean just one site in The UK and Ireland combined.

  111. TonyB, I’m aware of your citations. I don’t feel that they change what I’m saying. I apologize for attributing any confusion over micrositing issues and UHI issues to you.
    A couple notes though: A fair quantity of the climactic research uses a definition of “Urban” and “Rural” that doesn’t quite line up as one might expect. The sites deemed Rural are often still large enough to have experienced UHI in their core. Similarly, the nightlights approach is particularly irritating when you find that “No lights” stations appear to have some of the weirdest siting issues. (Forrest for miles in all directions, MMTS is within 10m of the ranger’s AC unit and barbeque pit.)
    I think we’re actually discussing at cross-purposes. I don’t care to estimate the size of UHI, nor determine a percentage of the observed warming. I am concerned that the the various issues with the surface stations would appear to cause various biases in the base measurements. At the very least, the error calculations would seem to be compromised.

  112. .
    You might need to make a clarification for the ignorant reader (most news reporters). Is level 5 good, or bad?? It is hard to tell at first reading.

  113. I may be able to get to Key West next week for those siting photos if you still need someone to go.
    Pics from the ground are always best. But check the link I posted earlier (to the virtual survey). It will tell you exactly where the thing is. It may be hard to find, otherwise.

  114. @Alan S. Blue,
    The point we are making is this: now it seems that UHI is being portrayed as another terrible result of AGW, while at the same time the IPCC tells us that UHI is insignificant, for the obvious reason. Hopefully you can appreciate the irony, even if it doesn’t necessarily prove anything.
    One point you made was that city centres where high UHI temperatures may be experienced are a tiny fraction of the earth’s surface. Of course that’s true, but I think it misses the point.
    I’m sure that no one is claiming that all the surface stations are subject to several degrees of UHI warming. But the fact is that most of them are in urban locations, for obvious reasons, and the proportion of urban stations actually increased during the previous decade. Although most of the stations don’t have several degrees of UHI warming, the probability is high that the great majority of stations experience some fraction of a degree of UHI warming. As the total 20th century global warming is also a fraction of a degree, then a small amount of UHI could have huge significance.
    Recently Michaels & McKitrick demonstrated a strong correlation between individual station temperature records and the local environment. In their estimate, if UHI were properly taken into account then the warming over the last few decades is only a half of the generally quoted figure. In turn, this would strongly suggest that the effect of CO2 on climate has been greatly exaggerated.

  115. OT Mauna Loa CO2 graph has been updated for April. Has the trend slightly flattened since January 2008? Does it match a reduction in GHG because of the global recession or the recent cooling? Perhaps Dr. Spencer would like to take a look at it?

  116. It seems there now 11% of the stations is considered “good” or “best”, and an additional 20% is considered “fair”. The question that now arises is: When you only take temperatures measured by these stations, how would the avarage temp graph of the twentieth century look? Does it differ, and how much? Is a warming trend still visible?

  117. Good question peeke. Especially since, from a statistical standpoint, about 300 stations is more than enough to perform the needed analysis (as one of R. Pielke Sr.s frequent co-authors, John Nielsen-Gammon, has already attested).
    The answer is that you get exactly the same answer as GISSTEMP, and Anthony knows it. The analysis was performed over a year ago.
    REPLY: BCL give it up, despite your repeated pronouncements of failure, this project goes forward. Neilsen Gammon’s assumption was wrong then because there are so few CRN1 and 2 stations at the 300 level that the survey did not have a representative sample of the best stations because the network is so flush with badly sited ones. He had no way of knowing that, but seeing the results first hand, I did. That’s the problem with armchair data sampling, you really don’t know firsthand what you’ve got unless you are there in the data measurement environment.
    With 300 stations, yes it looked a lot like GISTEMP. Sure it would have been easy to stop there as many like you suggested, but the goal here is a census, not a sample. And with samples that are geographically widespread and diverse, as some people correctly pointed out early on we got the “low hanging fruit”. Getting the best rural stations requires persistence and effort. Getting the best stations surveyed is what it is all about. Finding the CRN1/2 stations is critical, because they represent the unbiased data. With over 900 surveyed now the makeup is different. You’ll have to wait until my paper is published to find out just how much.
    Now run along and write another predictably childish smackdown of the project on that angry little blog of yours. In the meantime the project continues. – Anthony

  118. Chris, I acknowledge and don’t dispute that. TonyB just had me confused for a second by terminology choice. I was just pointing out that there is a difference between the “True UHI,” the warming due to microsite issues, and the pre-assumed levels of UHI accepted by the climate community.
    The contamination of the stations being placed in (even rural) cities is dramatically different from from the contamination of the true global average temperature due to the simple presence of cities.
    IOW: We’re both saying the same thing. I was focused on: “If we had perfect temperature measurement, the observed contribution by UHI would be slight due to the sheer area covered.” I also agree that: “In reality, the percentage of surface stations that have both microsite issues and UHI issues would seem to be significant and damaging to the skill of surface temperature measurements.”

  119. I did a quick search for Dr Meier in this topic and came up empty. Please forward this to him because he is willing to listen and is more open minded then most government supported scientists. If the data is this flawed then how can you rely on the conclusions coming from the Computer Models.
    I guess the Forcing Function will have to be increased to 3 from 2 to make up for this surprise flaw in the data. Ha Ha just adding a little laughter.
    Thanks Anthony.

  120. You may find this of interest- UK met office document you need to register to get it but gives sattellite and other observation corrections (april 2009)
    Global Data Monitoring Statistics
    Suspect Lists
    Data Availability and Quality Maps
    Appendix (Radiosonde Error Limits)
    Base page:
    There is no excuse for stupid placement or poor maintanence of measuring sites but I have a few points that perhaps someone could answer.
    1. The screen has to be proof against radiation from the sun. So why does re-radiation of the suns heat from a wall affect the temperature.
    2. Shading by trees etc. The screen has to effectively screen agains the sun. Adding another sheild should have no effect?
    3. Underlying ground. If this is consistent over the life of the thermometer than surely this is ok if it is grass, concrete, a mirror, asphalt. It will read the wrong temp but it will be consistent. It will be useful for trends only.
    4. If a town area is growing fast and the thermometer is centrally located then UHI will increase with time. Most towns do not grow much in area so again the temperature is wrong but the trend is correct. The only problem would be if a rural site suddelny becomes engulfed. In this case will ther not be a sudden increase in temp which is visible?
    5. The ratings for some of the stations is for 5C increase. Presumably this is a one off increase and not year on year?
    5a. Presumably this 5C influence is visible?

  121. PS
    it would be very simple experiment (in a sunny climate) to place an instrument at varying distances from a concrete wall and to measurement the error compared to one at a correct distance away. Has this been done, or is invalid reading just assumed?

  122. Gosh, I look at the Dakotas and MO/AR and think two people could do a tremendous amount of good in a long three day weekend. If we could find reliable volunteers in each of those regions, I personally would be willing to kick in to the kitty for gas/hotel/food to cover their expenses.

  123. Of course, all that needs doing is to show that these estimated CRN biases are robust in each case, which of course they will be, so what’s the point in doing that tedious analysis?
    What is BCL gibbering about? He knows that Hansen’s “adjustment” is a fraud. Anthony’s photos alone prove that! There is definitely no need to make any thermometer based measurements supporting these most excellent assertions.

  124. Alan S Blue
    Are you accusing me of a terminological inexactitude? Thats fighting talk where I come from-its a good job I don’t come from there. (With apologies to the great Groucho Marx).
    I think we are all in agreement on this one. Personally, I think that when ALL the various factors are taken into account many local temperatures records of any length aren’t worth the thermometer they’re written on. Yet despite the local problems we believe we can calculate global temperatures back to 1850 or 1880 that are accurate to fractions of a degree, where the inexactitudes are magnified enormously, compounded by the sheer number of stations (A few dozen back to 1850) with all the maintenance, resiting, methodology issues,interpolation, guesswork and fudging.
    Hopefully someone will write an article (when Anthony’s survey is complete) drawing all these factors together and pointing out that the most fundamental pillar of AGW is cracked from top to bottom.

  125. evanmjones (00:50:12) :
    I may be able to get to Key West next week for those siting photos if you still need someone to go.
    Pics from the ground are always best. But check the link I posted earlier (to the virtual survey). It will tell you exactly where the thing is. It may be hard to find, otherwise.
    Will do.

  126. Anthony,
    Will we be able to observe the progress of data analysis as we did at climateaudit through 2007 for good stations? I’d like to stress again how important it is to do this openly and publicly rather than present the results as a fait a complis. Not just because it was fascinating to watch the stats and conversation unfold, but primarily to demonstrate transparency in the scientific process (particularly when we castigate others for keeping data and methods secret). You may elect to publish the results all at once, with data and methodology included, but it can only give confidence to the work if the world can see it being done step by step.
    I can’t think of a good reason not to do it that way, as exemplified in the climateaudit analysis – surely one of the most focussed thread evolutions on just about any subject – no snark, just honest analysis and effective exchanges dedicated to revealing the truth. This shows the best of us.

  127. Heh. No, I was misunderstanding. 😉 The whole reason I brought up the scale of cities was to point out how much UHI would actually affect a true, complete surface temperature average. (Which is what I thought you were discussing.) Whereas you were discussing their impact on the surface temperature average we’ve actually got (significantly larger).

  128. The ratings for some of the stations is for 5C increase. Presumably this is a one off increase and not year on year?
    Yes, it’s offset not trend.
    Spurious warming data will be due to station moves with offsets getting conflated into the trends.
    Bad stations tend to warm a bit faster if there is a warming trend already (see Yilmaz, et al, 2008, and extend daily logic to the longterm).
    Good/Bad stations are – not – evenly distributed among naturally cooling/warming areas. This complicates matters (but is being dealt with).

  129. It seems there now 11% of the stations is considered “good” or “best”, and an additional 20% is considered “fair”.
    It’s barely 10% now, if that. Plus, a lot of the better sites are in airports which have seen huge expansion both in traffic and asphalt in recent decades.

  130. >>it would be very simple experiment (in a sunny climate) to
    >>place an instrument at varying distances from a concrete
    >>wall and to measurement the error compared to one at a
    >>correct distance away.
    Anthony –
    Yes, this needs to be done, otherwise it will be the first thing that critics will raise. My own opinion is that radiative heat is not the problem here, but the convective heat from hot surfaces – which is what thermometers measure.
    Regards the rest of Bill’s post.
    Yes, If the poor siting remained constant the readings would be inflated, but consistent. However, things have been changing.
    a. Towns are growing around established met stations.
    b. Towns are producing more of their own heat, as we consume more energy (cars, air conditioning etc:)
    c. The new equipment is getting closer and closer to buildings (as Anthony mentions)
    c. The equipment is nearer to things like air conditioning outlets which produce convective heat (which the thermometers measure), and would not have been there 50 years ago.

  131. ralph ellis (01:58:28) :
    Thanks for the response
    As I said above there is no excuse for stupid placement or poor maintanence of measuring sites. On many sewage treatment works (UK) I have seen the usual cluster of instrumentation – thermometer (presumably), wind speed and direction etc. I have assumed that the site requires this info to adjust “digestion” times, stirring time etc. I presume the instruments shown in the document on these sites is actually fed to the network and used? It seems a ludicrous placement if this is the case.
    My 3rd statement:
    3. Underlying ground. If this is consistent over the life of the thermometer than surely this is ok if it is grass, concrete, a mirror, asphalt. It will read the wrong temp but it will be consistent. It will be useful for trends only.
    This must be hell for unattended instruments. Snow/rain/grass growth/season will affect the absorption and convection of heat under an instrument. This cannot be taken into account. Somewhere on the UK met office site I found a document describing UK set up (idealised presumably). It went to dreat detail on things like the slab used for precitation and I think grass length! Cannot find it now.
    As you have pointed out only air temperature should affect the reading and if this is from sewage tanks, airconditioners,jet engines it is invalid (and dependant on wind direction.
    It would also be interesting to see how a large flat tarmac stand affects readings, and if wind direction has an effect.
    I would have thought that closeness (within reason!) to a building has less effect – re-radiation should be ignored by a screened thermometer. Convection of the walls will predominantly straight up. Only wind will be heated and could find its way to a thermometer but it is difficult for wind to blow at 90deg from a wall.
    How does rain affect the screen of a thermometer – evapouration will cool the air as it enters the box. is this this why the paint was changed to a waterproof variety?

  132. I just got home from work and bringing a daughter back from the airport. I don’t see other references to this, so:
    One of my Emails says:

    Subject: News from Blue Hill Observatory
    From: Blue Hill Observatory
    Date: Wed, 13 May 2009 10:17:23 -0400 (EDT)
    To: Eric Werme
    Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?
    A new, comprehensive study says NO!
    – Charles T. Orloff, Executive Director, Blue Hill Observatory
    In a shocking report scheduled to be aired on CBS Channel 4 tonight (May 13, 2009) at 11 P.M., Anthony Watts, a veteran broadcast meteorologist, concludes that we can not trust the reliability of temperature data collected across the United States. In fact, he found that “89% of the 860 official climate stations surveyed – nearly 9 of every 10 – fail to meet the National Weather Service’s own siting requirements.”
    In probably the most comprehensive review of the quality of data coming from the National Weather Service network of weather stations ever compiled, Watts concludes that the clear majority are reporting a “false warming trend”. Having documented that, he asks the question “How do we know global warming is a problem if we can’t trust the U.S. temperature record?”
    For the last few years Watts and a team of over 650 volunteers have been visually inspecting and photographically documenting official temperature stations across the United States. What he has discovered is alarming – “We found stations located next to the exhaust fans of air conditioning units, surrounded by asphalt parking lots and roads, on blistering-hot rooftops, and near sidewalks and buildings that absorb and radiate heat. We found 68 stations located at wastewater treatment plants, where the process of waste digestion causes temperatures to be higher than in surrounding areas… The conclusion is inescapable: The U.S. temperature record is unreliable.”
    Earlier this week Watt’s assistant, Evan M. Jones, who has personally surveyed over 200 climate stations, visited Blue Hill Observatory (BHO) for an official audit. As the oldest, continuously operating weather station in the nation, BHO is often looked at as a benchmark station for the study of climate trends and we have documented change – the temperature at BHO has risen almost 2.5 degrees in the last hundred years. While a final report from Mr. Jones’ visit has not yet been issued, we expect that his assessment will be generally positive.
    If you’re interested in the discussion of global warming you won’t want to miss this report. Tune in tonight on WBZ-TV at 11 P.M. and follow the expanded story on their website on Thursday, May 14th. http://wbztv.com/

    The WBZ notice was posted by one of their on-air mets, Terry Eliasen, who notes “Watch WBZ-TV news at 11pm on Wednesday night for Mish’s full report on this fascinating topic!” That would be Mish Michaels, another on-air met and one of my favorite people in the Boston area. She “continues to support the WINS program (Women in the Natural Sciences), run by the Blue Hill Weather Observatory in Milton. The program seeks to inspire adolescent girls to pursue careers in math, science and technology through thoughtful study of the atmosphere.” (She may have been the one to start it.)
    Living in New Hampshire, I generally watch the Manchester NH station and the New England Cable News Network. However, I’m making an exception tonight! New England weather is a bear to forecast, so we attract some of the best talent.

  133. Anthony–I do not know how to reach you or anybody at surfacestations.org, but I wanted to tell you about one site that is right next door to the building I take classes in at the University of Kansas.. I took one photo today, I would be happy to take more, take measurements, etc. It is a terribly sited monitor.
    Please tell me how to submit this if it would be useful.

  134. anyone know how many stations there are worldwide that are functioning? put another way, what percentage of the worldwide network does the US network represent in terms of sheer numbers?

  135. Wow!
    Superb work. I think we are near a tipping point in the AGW debate.
    ‘Tipper’ Gore anyone?

  136. I think there’s no point in going any further – with all the stations that were removed, we can already tell that the noise-to-signal ratio will be too high to draw any conclusion. So what will be the conclusion? That one cannot conlude?
    REPLY: People told me I should stop at 30%, that I had a large enough sample. Of badly sited stations, I have an overwhelmingly large sample. The goal here is to find the best stations, because literally there are only a couple of handfuls of them. I will continue data gathering while analysis methods are developed, as it is very easy to plug in the final numbers. But you just sit comfortably and do nothing, and lodge complaints as you do, and then you can harp about the results when they are published. One thing nobody will be able to say is that I did not make the strongest effort possible to find all the best stations and get the largest survey of surface stations done to the best of my ability. – Anthony

Comments are closed.