An old friend put out to pasture: Marysville is no longer a USHCN climate station of record

WUWT readers who have followed this blog and the surfacestations.org project for a long time know that the USHCN climate station of record in Marysville, California,  is the station that gave me that moment “when the light bulb went on”. I still remember my cellphone conversation (shortly after surveying the site) with my friend Russ Steele, saying:

“Russ you won’t believe it, they are measuring the temperature of a parking lot!”.

Some of the pictures I took that day are below, I’ve annotated them to point out things of interest.

Marysville_issues1.JPG

Marysville_issues3.JPG

I made Marysville the very first of the  “How not to Measure Temperature” series on May 26th, 2007.

I realized in discussions at this Climate Audit thread, since Marysville was one of the first stations I surveyed, I hadn’t looked at the metadata for it in almost two years. Time for a look again given the discussion of this thread. I’ve been busy chasing hundreds of other stations but haven’t looked back to that one where I had the light bulb go on.

I found some interesting things last night in the NCDC Metadata (MMS) for Marysville at http://mi3.ncdc.noaa.gov/mi3qry/login.cfm (use guest login button)

First in The UPDATES Tab

[2009-02-04] 9999-12-31 2009-02-04 MSLAGLE AD HOC NONE — CLEAN UP OF COOP-A STN TYPE ISSUE MSLAGLE 2009-02-04

Then this in the REMARKS Tab

[2008-07-01] 9999-12-31 GENERAL REMARK REASON: UPDATE PUBLICATION; DATA NO LONGER PUBLISHED. DATA ONLY GOES TO WFO/STO. DATA THAT IS RECIEVED FROM THIS STATION WILL BE USED AS BACK UP TO TO MARYSVILLE AIRPORT DATA (04-5388) WHICH IS NOW BEING PUBLISHED. — INGEST_USER 2009-02-10

It seems to me like they gave up on it. There is not much that can be fixed there in terms of siting like they did at Detroit Lakes. Marysville Fire Station property is 98% Asphalt/concrete/buildings, with a small patch of grass in the front by the street/sidewalk.

I decided to check the B91 Forms, and sure enough, NOAA bailed on Marysville in October of 2007, just a few  months after I first brought it to national attention with “How not to Measure Temperature

See the screencap of the NCDC B91 database showing the span of record:

COOP LIST

It is sad really, a station with a long record, since Feburary 1897, climatically “out to pasture” after more than a century, likely a victim of lack of quality control by NOAA. That being said, why should we retain questionable station data in our climatic database?

Here is the very last B91 form submitted from the Marysville Fire Department in October 2007:

Marysville_final_B91

Click for PDF report

So I guess NOAA saw enough problems at Marysville to put it “out to pasture”.  So now they use the airport.

Ironically, since the data from Marysville is now going directly to the NWS office in Sacramento/Stockton, rather than NCDC’s climatic database, the station mission has come full circle. It is likely now used for forecast verification, which is what the original mission of the COOP network was.

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58 thoughts on “An old friend put out to pasture: Marysville is no longer a USHCN climate station of record

  1. Wow ! a real UHI data point, that would be used for the temperature 1200 km away; maybe in Loreto , Baja Sur, Mexico.
    So maybe they can take the guts out and let the owls take it over; or maybe some bats.
    George

  2. Another “win” for you and the surfacestations project, Anthony.
    Excellent work. Superb, even…..

  3. i wonder if the surfacestations project will one day be seen as the primary crack in the foundation of AGW theory.

  4. I would suspect that the fact that only about one contiguous 12 month period was recorded for the station from 2000 to 2007 would have been a major reason why marysville was pulled:
    http://img54.imageshack.us/img54/6420/maryvillehpfiltered.jpg
    REPLY: Yes that is one issue, but not the only one. And I’ll point out the data reporting issue is common with many other facilities that are USHCN stations that don’t operate on weekends and holidays. In this case the office manager, not a fireman, was responsible for the record. If the issue was reporting, you’d think they would have switched the job to a fireman on duty, since they are there 24/7 and have sleeping quarters, kitchen, and a lounge. I’ve been there.
    The airport (and its AWOS) has been around for quite some time:
    CALIFORNIA/YUBA [MARYSVILLE YUBA COUNTY AP] 1947-03-01 Current None 93205 MYV 20002846 [ 39.09778
    39°05’52.008″N ] -121.56972
    121°34’10.992″W AIRPORT: 62 FEET
    UNKNOWN: 72 FEET
    LAND SURFACE, ASOS, FAA, SAWRS
    AWOS was commonly installed in the mid 80’s to mid 90’s
    The fact that Marysville was removed from climatic records just a couple of months after I highlighted the embarrassing problems speaks volumes. You, being in England, probably see it differently. Mostly I see it that you just can’t take in the fact that this station has a quality control issue with siting.
    There was ample opportunity to correct the reporting problem or switch stations for years before my report came on the scene. – Anthony

  5. So, how many other stations have been changed/dropped as a result of the hard volunteer work done by Anthony’s Army? I can’t help it, but the image that comes to mind is of NCDC following in the wake of Anthony’s Army with a pooper scooper, cleaning up the messes that the Army discovers. It could be taken as a measure of the Army’s success.

  6. Anthony:
    You recently published your results from the Surface Stations site survey. Do you have enough data to analyze the data from the properly sited stations to see if there is a temperature trend?
    A few years ago I read about a study that indicated rural California was cooling. The stations not affected by UHI showed cooling. I’d like to know if you have enough data to do a similar analysis and if you plan to publish it soon.
    Thank you.

  7. A pasture sounds like the ideal location (except for all those methane-expelling cows, of course). 😀
    Paul

  8. In bill (10:05:31) :
    REPLY: Mostly I see it that you just can’t take in the fact that this station has a quality control issue with siting.
    My “problem” is not that i do not see the siting problems. It is simply that it is claimed that this sort of record wrecks the integrity of the whole of the network.
    The siting problem will give an error. This error will be a one of shift in temperature – up or down – There is little increasing UHI effect at this site (stable population). The record does not show more than perhaps, if you squint a bit, 0.5deg shift at about the time the asphalt was placed.
    http://img35.imageshack.us/img35/5114/maryville.jpg
    In fact because of the GISS adjustment the record shows a overall negative temperature rise! (Remove this record and make GW larger!)
    My objection is therfore just that the figures do not match the quality rating given the site with respect to temperature anomaly.
    A comparison is required that proves the effects of shade/buildings/concrete/tarmac/trees/grass etc not only as an absolute but also as an “anomaly”

  9. Anthony – not all of us in England see things differently, you’ll be glad to know. I, for one, who know little of the science behind all this stuff, well understand the GIGO concept.
    Like markinaustin I think that your work will one day be proved to be pivotal in pulling down the AGW construct.

  10. I must say congrats Anthony. If nothing else, your project and its volunteers are forcing NCDC to clean up the surface station network. If nothing else comes from this project, that in and of itself is a huge accomplishment. My hat is off to you.
    CB
    PS. I think there might be some unsurveyed stations near me and I might just have to make a day trip to get you some more info. Congrats again on the great work that your project has done.

  11. The airport, of course, has grass pastures and no buildings around the thermometer, right?
    The airport is, well, an airport.
    The CRN ratings for airports are about 1.2 better than those for non-airports. yet they have warmed much faster than non-airports over the last 30 years because airports have expanded so much (plus other issues). They have their own mini-UHI bubble.
    So no matter how good the CRN rating, an airport is a lousy place to site a station. (Other than for airport use, of course.)
    I can’t help it, but the image that comes to mind is of NCDC following in the wake of Anthony’s Army with a pooper scooper, cleaning up the messes that the Army discovers. It could be taken as a measure of the Army’s success.
    There have been a few we have noticed.

  12. A comparison is required that proves the effects of shade/buildings/concrete/tarmac/trees/grass etc not only as an absolute but also as an “anomaly”
    There is no practical difference between absolute and anomaly — just add the baseline and they are identical.
    I think you mean “trend” vs. “offset”. The answer appears to be that bad siting affects both.
    For a start, see Yilmaz et al (2008).
    Yilmaz et al (2008) Heat over grass/soil/concrete
    http://www.ejournal.unam.mx/atm/Vol21-2/ATM002100202.pdf
    And,
    Ross R. McKitrick, Patrick J. Michaels , JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, DECEMBER 2007, Quantifying the influence of anthropogenic surface processes and inhomogeneities on gridded global climate data
    http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/jgr07/M&M.JGR07-background.pdf

  13. Bill:
    1) The quality rating is per NOAA standards…not some number made up by Anthony.
    2) This isn’t an isolated site, as you should know if you’ve follwed this site for any amount of time.
    3) .5 degrees is almost all the GW from the last 100+ years, so if it’s insignificant, then so is the warming for the next 100+ years.
    4) Have you visited surfacestations.org?

  14. This whole thing makes me laugh…
    Asphalt vs tarmack
    A/C Exhaust vs jet engine exhaust
    Cell phone tower vs traffic control tower.
    SEE? All better now. Just like it was in 1897.

  15. Anthony,
    Marysville brings back memories. I remember looking at all the other sites in the area, california state agri sites, well sites all ( in feilds) colusa for example.
    the differences with Marysville were clear and demonstrable.
    Other things:
    1. remember the argument that photos dont matter? Ha, looks like NOAA thinks differently than the crowd at the Elis and Tamino.
    2. Remember how we argued that bad sites should just be removed? and people argued that bad data could be fixed or adjusted? memeber that?
    ha
    REPLY: He who “ha’s” last “ha’s” best. – Anthony

  16. Bill,
    Been there, done that. I helped a student do a measurement of temperature differences over different surfaces for a science fair project almost two years ago (he made it to the national competition.) He showed that some surfaces (forget which ones) can have differences of up to 7 degrees centigrade from a control measurement. He found that grass actually is about 1 degree warmer than light sand, so if we went with grass as the base-line, only light colored sand/dirt surfaces were cooler. He didn’t do shaded areas. Surprisingly, even snow gave a warmer reading than a grass surface.
    And, of course, the difference wasn’t just a flat offset. The whole curve of how temperature rose in the morning, fell in the afternoon, and persisted overnight was different for almost every type of surface.
    I think, when we ran the offsets through the 450 stations that were in surfacestations at the time, the average was an error of 3.4 degrees. That totally swamps the 0.7 degrees or so that is claimed for global warming.
    The condition of the USHCN is a joke from the viewpoint of basing multiple trillion dollar economic decisions on it. The idea that we wouldn’t spend (taking a very, very conservative estimate of 1 trillion as the cost of “AGW Remediation”) 0.001% of that cost ($10,000,000) to put in a set of 1,000 truly well sited and reliable stations to get a real idea of what the temperature is, is a disgrace.

  17. It must be gratifying to see that you have had a positive influence. Congratulations! I don’t remember the airport site. Is it a real improvement?

  18. RACookPE1978 (09:45:46) :
    The airport, of course, has grass pastures and no buildings around the thermometer, right?
    It could be “right” but it could be not because the data could be being collected from all the stations and the average could be presented like regional fluctuations of temperature.

  19. bill
    The majority, likely vast majority of the sites in the network have these siting issues. Read the surfacestations.org materials. This does affect the validity of the whole network. The size of the average error is larger than 1 C. This error is growing over time and has NOT been accounted for. It appears UHI corrections for it are inadequate in size and generally made in the wrong direction. It is so large that the likely error for North America is significantly larger than the entire warming signal.
    This error if world wide (likely) may in fact account for ALL of the warming of the 20th century. Now I don’t think it does, but don’t pretend a bias error larger than the entire signal is minor.
    The raw data has a strong bias and the “corrections” make it worse.

  20. Jeff Naujok (12:23:58) :
    Bill,
    Been there, done that. I helped a student do a measurement of temperature differences over different surfaces for a science fair project almost two years ago (he made it to the national competition.) He showed that some surfaces (forget which ones) can have differences of up to 7 degrees centigrade from a control measurement. He found that grass actually is about 1 degree warmer than light sand, so if we went with grass as the base-line, only light colored sand/dirt surfaces were cooler. He didn’t do shaded areas. Surprisingly, even snow gave a warmer reading than a grass surface.

    Compacted sand gives warmer readings than loose sand. Compacted snow gives cooler readings than loose snow. You know why? By photon scattering which is higher in loose (coarse) surfaces than in smooth surfaces.

  21. Although I have doubts about AGW. One thing I don’t doubt is the heat island effect. Our cities are hot – hence the problem with sites for monitoring stations.
    But if you don’t measure in cities, you miss the heat islands. It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out how much hotter cities are than surrounding areas. Multiply that times the area taken up by cities, and have an estimation of at least some human caused warming. And as the number of people grows, the area of cities (and pavement) will grow.

  22. We have a saying in Australia ” keep the bastards honest “.
    I think that’s what you are doing Anthony, well done.
    BTW. We’ve just hit -5 oC in Canberra this morning. Lovely.

  23. While it is being suggested that we are headed to an El Nino the marine weather weather underground shows that cool water is still being pushed westward. The upwelling off the coast of Peru is still there and cool water is still moving north. What does this mean? It means that cool water is still upwelling and moving westward. Until warm water at the equator starts moving eastward I would hold off with any prognostications.

  24. Jeff Naujok (12:23:58) :
    Been there, done that. I helped a student do a measurement of temperature differences over different surfaces for a science fair project

    Any chance of seeing the results? From the plot of marysville and other statons I have looked at the temperature increase is vaguely linear. Change the surface from grass to tarmac and you should see a step increase. I have not seen this in the 15 sites I have plotted.
    ($10,000,000) to put in a set of 1,000 truly well sited and reliable stations to get a real idea of what the temperature is, is a disgrace.
    I agree. But I suspect that it was beleived good enough for the purpose for which it was originally installed and no-one bothered to think of their current use.
    Also to replace all sensors and relocate will cause a sudden shift. This is why NSIDC continue to use faulty sattelites for their sea ice data rather than the more accurate AMSRE data – change and you introduce a shift (in sea ice, this will not even be a static shift)
    Steve M. (11:21:03) :
    1) The quality rating is per NOAA standards…not some number made up by Anthony.

    I know this as I read the French article concerning quality when first pointed out to me!
    3) .5 degrees is almost all the GW from the last 100+ years, so if it’s insignificant, then so is the warming for the next 100+ years.
    The question is why is it only .5C changing from grass to tarmac?
    evanmjones (11:18:29) :
    There is no practical difference between absolute and anomaly — just add the baseline and they are identical.

    There is the world of difference! If the site layout is static for 100s of years but is on top of the middle of the only dark rock in the area then the absolute temperature will not be representative of the air temperature outside the rock. However the anomaly caused by changing climate will be similar to that outside the rock.

  25. RIP Marysville Station. How much better is the site next to the airport?
    But since the problems with this station were obvious and apparently unfixable, will NOAA pull out the data retroactively from where those problems started?

  26. The internet is truly an amazing place. This was a kind of mini-muckraking journalism, investigative reporting, if you’ll have it.
    It was conducted by experts, not paid, but done out of personal interest. And it changed behavior.
    That’s really quite amazing. It represents, in an important way, the progress of society.

  27. As sites are surreptitiously relocated to cooler settings, the resultant apparent temperature declines will no doubt require yet another re-jiggering of the computer models.
    Great work Anthony.

  28. I keep wondering if there might not be a good weather record that could indicate long term climate. The single most important weather event for temperate climates is the date of the first killing frost. It repeats every year and has enough economic significance that it is likely recorded for many counties. It occurs at night when the sun is not beating down on the asphalt and the air conditioners are not on. If any rural counties have long term records, it would be a good secondary data to use as a check against the temperature recording sites. If the recorded temperatures are going up, but the the date of the first killing frost does not change, I would not believe the temperature record.
    Thinking along the same lines, would not the minimum recorded temperature be more reliable that the average of the minimum and maximum temperatures? Many of the problem sites have issues with the sun warming various surfaces which may not be so important at dawn when the temperature reaches a minimum. Or course that doesn’t count for massive concrete structures or putting the thermometers on a roof with a furnace underneath them : )
    If all I had was a lot of problem sites where 90% of them were unreliable, I would take a look at the average of the minimum temperatures for the months of December and January for each year. Snow would tend to equalize a lot of surfaces. A reasonable subset of the temperature record should should also show longterm trends. This would not help the records from a growing urban area.

  29. Lee (13:58:11) :
    Although I have doubts about AGW. One thing I don’t doubt is the heat island effect. Our cities are hot – hence the problem with sites for monitoring stations.
    But if you don’t measure in cities, you miss the heat islands. It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out how much hotter cities are than surrounding areas. Multiply that times the area taken up by cities, and have an estimation of at least some human caused warming. And as the number of people grows, the area of cities (and pavement) will grow.

    The only problem I see with that is the UHI effect can extend more than 30 miles outside of the urban areas – affecting temperature measurements in the supposedly ‘rural’ areas – while the UHI effect also affects the weather downwind of the cities for hundreds of miles. You can’t just ‘adjust’ for these effects when they can be so large and variable – it’s just another case of GIGO.

  30. RE: Gary P (17:28:37) :
    I believe that you ask a very good question about the first killing frost. For the last two years, I have asked in various forums if there was a record or a study on the length of the growing season in various locations. My own search came up with sparse results. I was somewhat surprised that I could not find a comprehensive study, and I was even more surprised to find inconsistent trends in the length of growing seasons for various counties. A global warming pessimist chastised me for not looking very effectively, and he gave me a couple of references. However, those references dealt with observations that various plant species have extended their range northward in the northern hemisphere. That research was quite unsatisfactory for a couple of reasons. First, crops have extended their range northward both because of genetic engineering and because they are heartier with more CO2 in the atmosphere. Second, some plants have not extended as far north as their range was during the MWP.
    In my farming community where I was raised, farmers use corn that matures faster than the corn that was planted in the 1950s. Not proof, but interesting anecdote.
    So my questions remain on trends in the length of growing season. Perhaps fodder for a Ph.D. or Master’s thesis?

  31. There is the world of difference! If the site layout is static for 100s of years but is on top of the middle of the only dark rock in the area then the absolute temperature will not be representative of the air temperature outside the rock. However the anomaly caused by changing climate will be similar to that outside the rock.
    You seem to be confusing “anomaly” and “trend”. You mean “trend”. Anomaly can apply to trend, offset, or anything else. It’s just a “0” baseline for whatever one is trying to measure, be it offset or trend. What you are seeing in the graphs is an anomaly based on 1950-1980 for GISS and 1979-2000 for RSS and UAH. Anthony equalizes the anomalies before he posts the graphs so they have the same baseline.
    But semantics aside, yes, you have hit on the relevant questions, which a lot of folks on both sides of the debate often miss.
    1.) You are correct that a site change from good to bad (whether the station was moved near concrete or concrete appeared near the station) will produce a large difference (as per LeRoy, 1999). This, according to NWS chief in Taunton, MA, Bob Thompson, is exactly what has happened to many stations.
    2.) There is indeed a larger trend (sic) — what you are calling “anomaly” — for your station on the rock (make it a parking lot) than for the nearby well sited station, given a natural warming trend, even if it hasn’t been moved or suffered encroachment since initial placement.
    Yes, I do believe there has been a modest warming trend. For a warming trend to be exaggerated, after all, there must be a genuine warming trend to exaggerate in the first place.
    This is not as large a difference as a site change from good to bad, but it is evident in the Yilmaz (2008) graphs, whereby the actual trend is greater over concrete than dirt or grass. It is also reasonable to conclude that in a cooling trend there may be exaggeration as well, as the effect “undoes” itself.
    This, of course, applies in the case of a heat sink (such as concrete), but not so much in the case of generated waste heat (such as an AC, airport, or wastewater treatment plant), which would tend to affect offset rather than trend (but it’s rarely a constant, so look out!).
    And, yes, more experimentation needs to be done to separate and accurately describe the differences to both offset and trend caused by heat sink and waste heat.
    What has occurred to USHCN stations is a combination of the two effects–initial bad siting and deterioration of siting. At our present state of knowledge and poor MMS records, it can be difficult to separate the two effects (but easier to tabulate the combined effects).

  32. How much better is the site next to the airport?
    It’s an airport: Strike two. Probably not as bad as Maryland but worse than CRN3 or 4 stations, judging by the 30-year record.
    As sites are surreptitiously relocated to cooler settings . . .
    Fortunately, we have pinpointed around 80% of the buggers, so changes will not go unnoticed.
    Thinking along the same lines, would not the minimum recorded temperature be more reliable that the average of the minimum and maximum temperatures?
    Maybe, maybe not; the 30-year data appears to show significant differences in Tmin depending on siting.

  33. John Galt (10:21:11) :
    “A few years ago I read about a study that indicated rural California was cooling. The stations not affected by UHI showed cooling. I’d like to know if you have enough data to do a similar analysis and if you plan to publish it soon.”
    I would second that question. In 1994 I started logging temperatures in my vineyard. So, I had to ask the question of where my logger should be located, how high, what type of enclosure, whether it should be insulated at the base and so on. I worked with multiple loggers starting with soil temperature through to 1.5 metre elevation over grass north of some trees (Southern Hemisphere).
    As I accumulated data over the years I realized that the place was cooling. I am in the extreme south west of Australia with the ocean in a 270° arc around me. The thermal regime is very moderate with a low thermal range. But, on two to three days in the height of summer the wind blows from the continent from the north east and temperature goes through the roof. For hundreds of miles in that direction the soil is strongly exposed because the land has been cleared, there is the summer drought and the stubble is short.
    So, I recommend a survey of the temperature records of very small islands, well away from major continents, preferably uninhabited!
    REPLY: Chatham Island – Anthony

  34. Here is the problem.
    We know that the current USHCN numbers are worthless. What we don’t know is what they were like 10, 20, 50 or 100 years ago. Personally I think they should all be thrown out. But if we throw them out we have no history. Life sucks.
    We’ve only got accurate data going back to 1979. That includes both satellite and ice data. I read somewhere (here?) that Roy Spencer isn’t even sure that his data is accurate enough and I don’t doubt that his data is the best in the world.
    WE JUST DON’T KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    There is nothing wrong with not knowing. I’ve spent most of my life not knowing about the things that are important in my life. The important thing is to try to learn so that you (we) will learn.
    The Alarmists “know” what is happening. They “know” it because it fits what they expected to see. Anything that questions that is discarded as irrelevant.
    http://www.surfacestations.org/ is one of those problems and it needs to be ignored.

  35. Whatever the reason for the removal of this defective site, it was removed; so hat’s off to those who took that decision.
    I remember seeing the photographs of this station before and thinking how absurd it is to include its records in any assessment of average temperatures in California, let alone on a wider scale. If one or both of the A/C vents were removed what difference would it make? No one can tell. If the big tower were removed what difference would it make? No one can tell. How have individual vehicles parked nearby affected readings over the years? No one can tell. There probably is some learning on the effect of the asphalt ground surface but even that would need to be tweaked to take into effect the nice hedge (box hedging by the look of it, and very neat it is too). When there are so many “ifs” and “buts” I cannot see how any adjustment can result in figures within a meaningful margin for error.
    And then how do you “adjust” measurements from other urban locations to provide data that can be of any use statistically? Quite simply, you can’t. And the reason you can’t is because they don’t all have two A/C vents, a big mobile phone tower, an asphalt ground surface, hedges and vehicles parked close by. No single formula can get anywhere near making an accurate adjustment for the particular circumstances of each urban measuring facility. All that can be done it to assume an enhancement value for UHI and apply a discount universally. The result is an average of an average based on an assumption of an average. It can, I think, only be as accurate as the multiple of the averaging factors.
    I wonder whether it is fair to compare “average global surface temperature” to “average human body temperature”. When measuring the latter we are concerned with the mode average not the mean average (I last studied statistics back in the days before colour television, so just ignore me if this is twaddle). Average body temperature seeks to assess what body temperature is once you leave out of account any ailments, agues, conditions or treatments that affect particular individuals but do not affect the population as a whole. You simply don’t include those very few people whose temperature is temporarily lower than par through illness or excessive ice-cream consumption nor the more prevalent number whose temperature is temporarily higher than par through illness or recent ingestion of a tasty chicken vindaloo.
    Insofar as urban areas produce more heat than quaint villages with thatched cottages, they undoubtedly add to overall surface temperatures for a few miles around, but one only needs to look at a map to see how very few cities and large towns there are compared to the whole surface area of the planet.
    Would we get a more meaningful “average global surface temperature” by treating measurements from urban areas like people with fevers and leaving them out of account altogether?
    I ask, I don’t advocate.

  36. There are alarmists and skeptics. Then there is a huge number who are neither.
    It is the ongoing battle for the swing vote that will determine where policy is going to wind up. Right now, what with the staggering price tag, many are willing to take a second look. The brutal winters and snow-in-June thing are taking their toll as well.

  37. And then how do you “adjust” measurements from other urban locations to provide data that can be of any use statistically?
    What USHCN1 did was to rate stations as urban, suburban, and rural. Then note the trend differences between urban and non-urban, divide by the number of stations and subtract the difference.
    This is good enough to be going along with, but it falls down if the u-s-r classifications are incorrect (and they may well be).

  38. I feel truly wretched, I included a plural apostrophe in “hats”. A thousand pardons.
    I noticed that, but assumed it was a subconscious typo; having read your posts, I know you know better.
    Would we get a more meaningful “average global surface temperature” by treating measurements from urban areas like people with fevers and leaving them out of account altogether?
    Maybe. But I wonder if NOAA or GISS are properly determining what is in fact “urban”. 9% of the USHCN is rated as urban, 17% suburban, 74% suburban.

  39. Humph. The “measurementcomputing.com” ad was actually interesting and germane. What’s the world coming to when the ads are actually good and interesting? Didn’t read it in depth, but they were hawking wireless quality temperature measurement.
    Wonder what key words kicked it off… (And still waiting for an article titled “Halle Berry Hot Images of Antarctica”… though googling the phrase brings up the “Steig et.al. Falsified” page from when I last made the suggestion; so you might just get an ad to yourself! )
    FWIW, I’m not sorry to see the Asphalt Jungle thermometer put on the bench… but as I understand GIStemp, it will now “fill in” the missing data going forward based on a “nearby” station. Hope they are cooler.

  40. Again, if they update the positions of 20% of the sensors, they will be left with a massive reduction in temperatures to deal with.
    The only answer will have to be the insertion of a ‘fiddle factor’ into the data to correct for this – and if we apply the fiddle factor to all stations, we can even engineer a global temperature RISE.
    .

  41. >>I feel truly wretched, I included a plural
    >>apostrophe in “hats”. A thousand pardons.
    It was actually a possessive apostrophe – the ‘off’ belonged to the ‘hat’.
    .

  42. bill (10:50:21) : The siting problem will give an error. This error will be a one of shift in temperature – up or down – There is little increasing UHI effect at this site (stable population).
    Look again. It is right next to a PARKING SPACE. The temperature will bounce around with each arrival and departure of a vehicle. Now me, I’m fond of parking with my windshield away from the sun (which if I read my shadows right puts the car backed into the space, exhaust pipe blowing on the sensor).
    I grew up near Marysville. During the hot part of the summer, folks often leave the engine running to keep the car cool while they wait for someone. In winter, they do the same to keep warm. If the car was left parked and frosted overnight, they will run the engine to warm it up enough to melt the frost so they can see enough to drive off. The opportunities for sporadic heating are very large. Not a one time only “shift”.
    Those buildings look to me like about 1980’s vintage. That means that the site has had construction and change of features. Also, in that climate, the color of the paint will change the radiative heat you get off the buildings. (Hey, hottest I personally remember was about 117 F one day sometime about the early ’60s. At those temperatures in direct sun, the color makes a BIG difference. Black cars run 15 F hotter than white cars…)
    Now maybe you have the magic eye that can spot a 2 hour lift in the temperature from a hot black car running the A/C while waiting for a lunch date… but I don’t think so.
    One other point: In that area it is dramatically cooler over a nice green watered lawn than over black asphalt. (As a kid once, we did cook an egg on the pavement in August…) Which is right? I couldn’t say. Are they different? Heck yes! Does the spec say “no asphalt, yes grass”? Then you must do what the spec says. Was that place grass in 1897? I’ll bet beer to dollars it was. (I get the beer 😉
    What I can say with certainty, is that your assertion of a simple ‘SHIFT’ is just broken, and very much so. In winter the asphalt will be quite cold (nightime radiator) while in summer it will be quite hot. If no car parks there at night it will give a wrong low. If “auto heated” it will be too high. During the summer it will be “way high”. When the field trip is over and someone tips the ice chest out on the dirt under the sensor? (And yes, folks do that there. I’ve dumped more ice chests of water on scraps of dirt near facilities after the “offsite” than I care to think about. It is considered polite to water the plants). And after the ah, Chu obligatory whit paint on the buildings it will be off again.
    You just can’t get an accurate stable temperature in a parking lot near air conditioned structures.
    Oh, and per the ‘stable population’: So what? During the time I lived there, the dominant form of cooling shifted from very little, to swamp coolers, to small window AC units, to the large industrial units seen in these pictures. (Or did you think they had industrial AC in 1897?) Cars changed from “Old Gluepot” the horse, to Model Ts to Hummers since 1897. Any heat difference?… Size of population is a poor proxy for rate of thermal energy production change. (Or more precisely: energy production rises BOTH with increased population AND with economic advance.)
    And a LOT more asphalt got laid down… Many a dirt road and grass / dirt parking area got asphalted over the last half century (and unfortunately, I remember that half century having been born near there and lived there for a few decades and visited regularly for a few more after that… we used to “cruise” Marysville as the “Big City” – farm kids! 😎 And a fairly large number of new buildings were built. (Sadly, one replaced an old open air farmers fruit stand / store where you could get farm fresh produce and fruits right from the lug boxes on tables in an “open air with tin roof” shed. Still have fond memories of the rich fruit smells. Sigh. Refrigeration just kills that kind of thing.) And did I mention the TWO freeways built through the area? Yuba City / Marysville make a bit of a metroplex that mushes together with a river between them. HWY 99 on one side, HWY 70 on the other. Watched them go from 2 lanes at about 35 – 45 MPH and light traffic to 4 lanes 70 MPH with a LOT more traffic. Those cars passing by don’t count as “population” either. Nor all the folks who drive in to the shopping malls that got built near the freeways… like the folks from my home town.
    So basically, your idea that it’s OK, nothing changed over time is just wrong.

  43. bill (14:20:50) : Change the surface from grass to tarmac and you should see a step increase. I have not seen this in the 15 sites I have plotted.
    That is because you have a false assumption. A facility does not just one day turn from peach orchards into asphalt jungle. It evolves over time. A barn gets put up. Then a dirt road and a few cars park over a patch of dirt (that dies and browns). Later some gravel is added. The gravel grows to a larger lot. A new building is put up and 1/4 the parking area gets asphalt. Couple of years later, a second building, so they asphalt another chunk. Then more buildings, and some concrete sidewalks are added and a larger parking area to deal with the new shed equipment cover at the far side of the facility. I’ve watched this happen a large number of times.
    The tendency to take 20 acres and do a mega-development “greenfield” is a new thing. It was fairly rare a few decades back (and then largely done in major urban areas like Chicago or in major industrial areas like Huston).
    So you just can’t “eyeball” the temperature graph and expect to see a bright line transition from Mayberry RFD to Downtown Dallas…
    The question is why is it only .5C changing from grass to tarmac?
    Because it isn’t only 0.5 C and it didn’t happen in one moment when the entire city got asphalt on that day… I went barefoot most summers for pretty much the whole summer. Kids got REALLY good at dashing from white paint stripe to patch of weeds and HATED when it was all black asphalt. You could burn your feet on the black stretches if you took too long (not blister-burn, but Ouch Ouch burn) where the grass and white paint stripes were comfortable (even on 110 F in the shade and there ain’t no shade – which was most of July and August…)
    Stand in the sun on asphalt, you would be sweating in no time. Move to the grass under a shade tree and have a picknick for comfortable (slow) hours. (THE thing to do when I was about 4-10 yrs old was the picknick at the park. Folks came from all over for a big pot luck every so often. Then we got TV sets and the world started to change… we had one of the first sets in the town and folks came over to marvel at it. Early 1950s, B&W, RCA, $800 IIRC – 3 channels to choose from. Sacramento, ch. 3 barely, and Chico was channel 12? and I think 7 was Redding?) But the bottom line is that you can FEEL the very large difference between open asphalt and park setting; and it is measured in the several degrees, not the fractional degrees. (The community pool was opposite the picknick park, you had to cross asphalt parking to get to it. EVERY kid dreaded the run over the “fire hot asphalt” from cool enough park to delicious cold water… coming back you were dripping cold water so it wasn’t too bad. Heck, I was just reminded of how we would squeegee the water out of our cutoffs to make a puddle if someone stopped you to talk in the parking lot 😉 Ah, the joys of growing up in a Very Hot Place ! Now maybe that 5 F (or more!) got averaged with the cool patch on the way to the thermometer… or maybe not: And that is why siting standards matter. So you know what you’ve got.
    BTW, my home town has almost exactly the same population today as it had then. The pool is now 3 miles away at a new location and is heated now. Folks drive between the park and pool. Most every house has an AC (many window mounted – some central) where they had none when I was a kid.
    Picknick pot luck in the park has been replaced by 300w to 500w of color TV at home and the dinky fridge is now a monster fridge; and “cruising” (at least they still cruised in about 1990 last I was there on a Saturday Night…) blossomed through the ’50s with ever larger engines. At least in the 60s folks parked as much as they cruised to save on gas. Later is was more cruise and less parking… Oh, and all the cars now have AC. I didn’t have AC in my car until after graduating college… Car AC is about 5 tons (ice equiv.) IIRC. It’s a significant added heat load to the UHI.
    Now none of these changes happened over night. They will not give you a bright line on the temp graph. They all DO put more heat in the UHI. Heck, when I was a kid it was a big deal to run the heater and keep the whole house warm. Now folks complain if it drops a degree below 74 F. I didn’t have a heater outlet in my room until I was about 14. I would often get down to “foggy breath” cold and occasionally freezing cold in winter. No complaints, I had my own room. That was a bit of a luxury then… And most of the time the heated part of the house had the heat turned off at night anyway. After all, you were under a big comforter…
    Which brings up another point: The standard 100 years ago was 2 to 4 kids to a bedroom. Today it’s one. Think the added rooms, all kept at perfect temperatures 24 hours a day year round, might add a bit of waste heat to the environment? Even with a stable population? We had one car when I was a kid (and even THAT was a bit “rich”) for a family of 6 (rising to 3 cars over 20 years). Now I’ve got a family of 4 and we have 6 cars, with 4 of them being used at any one time when everyone heads out. Again, think that makes a bit of heat difference? Then, going 15 miles to “the big city of Marysville” was a big deal, reserved for one trip on the weekend. Now 15 miles is “a short daily commute”… and I’ve seen folks do 30 miles to visit 2 different malls in one day just looking for some trinket.
    And when I get home, we now have 4 TVs (large color ones at about 500 w each; but only 2 with satellite feeds) with 4 VCRs and usually 2 or 3 laptops running (one TV for each person; after all, everyone wants to watch something different…) As a kid, we had one BW TV that was run for about 3 hours (after dinner to bed time: at 10 p.m. for Dad, 9 for kids on school nights.) at about 300 W I’d guess (trying to remember the power rating of a 5u4 power rectifier tube!)
    Each room of the house had exactly ONE light bulb. 60 W in small rooms, 100 W in the 3 big rooms. Don’t need much when you rise with the sun. About 1970 I put a chandelier in the dining room that took 6 bulbs. As many as the whole house had prior. About the same time that the whole house got heat with a new heater. (It got window AC in 1965). We also put double bulb ceiling fixtures in the living room and kitchen. And yard lights.
    So just why do you expect to see some kind of “step function”?

  44. E.M.Smith (02:09:29) :
    Thanks for the stoll down memory lane. I especially liked the barefoot parking lot part. I remember doing that at Jones Beech, Long Island, NY. I only started wearing shoes outside when I didn’t have to about 5 years ago (I’m 52). Maybe I’ll stop.

  45. Parking lots have also gone through seasonal and climate changes. The overall climate of a parking lot next to an agency has shifted from regular patterns to regular patterns plus conference patterns. These days, if you don’t have a conference at your headquarters you are not part of the “it” crowd of agencies. Hotels have also seen this same shift. There is a “season” for conferences if you will. Didn’t use to be that way. Parking lot sites could very well be measuring the increasing heat of conference season wall to wall, or stripe to stripe, cars, if you will.

  46. So just why do you expect to see some kind of “step function”?
    Actually, there are some dramatic examples of step change. But mostly it’s as you say.

  47. An Inquirer wrote:
    “First, crops have extended their range northward both because of genetic engineering and because they are heartier with more CO2 in the atmosphere. Second, some plants have not extended as far north as their range was during the MWP.”

    It is sometimes claimed that animals and plants are extending their ranges to higher elevations than they occupied in the 19th century. (I recently saw a snippet of a TV interview describing a comprehensive 19th century survey of plants and animals and their locales in California in which this claim was made.) This is taken as supportive of a global warming trend–and no doubt there is one. But what may be overlooked is that these plants and animals had been driven down to lower elevations during the LIA, and that what has been seen since is a lagging rebound effect. (Part of the lag would be due to the length of time it would take for new trees to establish themselves, a few feet per year, at higher elevations before animals that rely on their presence would move up there.) IOW, the rate at which the animals are reestablishing themselves is not dependent on the more recent, manmade, temperature changes, but on mostly natural increases going back centuries.
    I hope someone can develop this possibility as a partial rebuttal to one of the warmists’ strongest arguments.

  48. Roger: Good observation about the slow “rebound” BACK to higher elevations after the LIA.
    What is the “nominal” degrees C per 100 meter elevation increase” compared to “degrees C per degree latitude increase”?

  49. Sean Ogilvie (05:29:53) : Thanks for the stoll down memory lane. I especially liked the barefoot parking lot part. I remember doing that at Jones Beech, Long Island, NY. I only started wearing shoes outside when I didn’t have to about 5 years ago (I’m 52). Maybe I’ll stop.
    You are most welcome. I do suggest going barefoot in the summer a bit more… it certainly brought back some of these memories to me 😉
    Even the ones of “bull head stickers” that I didn’t want 8-(
    Then there was the “flat flip flop”… When we got enough money to have those cheap plastic ‘flip flops’ and toward the end of summer the strap between the toes would break… And you had to learn how to walk with a flip flop flopping on a foot, or do the the “flip flop hop” where the good flip flop foot would stay on the ground a long time and bare foot would do a quick hop step…
    Just think of what grand experiences we are denying to our children today!
    😎
    One year, in desperation from too many leaks in a bike tire full of bull head stickers and no money for a 3rd tire / tube that year, and being a somewhat bright 8 year old: I ran the hose over the hand air pump while filling my tire and filled it with water (figuring the greater viscosity would keep the water in longer). After one day or two cycle (that got most of the residual air bubble out) I had a tire that held pressure for many days… Used it that way for the rest of the summer / fall.
    It really would coast a long ways, but the turns at speed were “interesting”… (It was the front tire 😉
    If only I’d have taken it a bit further I could have been the inventor of tire “Slime”. Oh well, it was a pretty good effort for an 8 year old and I got what really mattered to me at the time…
    BTW, the fishing in the Feather River near Marysville can be very good… and they have a nice “off road park” (hope it is still there!) in the river overflow area next to the river between the two cities.
    A decent “cruise” cycle was to enter town (Yuba City) from the north on (what was then 99E back when what is now I5 was 99W) highway 99, turn left on the first main drag (hwy 20?) and cruise the new part of town, over the bridge to The Other City (Marysville) and just after downtown, near the theatre, turn right on “bridge street” to take the old bridge back to Y.C. eventually cycling back around to your entry point. Repeat until low on gas, then stop at the Dairy Queen on the way north on the OLD 99E for burger, fries, and frozen dairy which was near the Very Cheap noname gas station (it only pinged if you floored it, so don’t floor it!). If we had lots of money, we would add a movie at the drive in theatre that was toward the river…
    Now we watch TV and play nintendo games with the climate…
    BTW, at the hottest part of the day it is ALMOST 70 F on my patio and it is very overcast. This is running on several weeks (month?) now. It ought to be sweltering hot and family complaining at me about it. My “45 day” tomatoes that are typically set out as gallon sized in April / May ought to be giving plenty of fruit and the beans ought to be more than we can eat “where did I store the canner and jars last year?” plentiful. I’ve got kale and onions and a few grapefruit sized green tomatoes…
    Sunday we were at a graduation (she got Summa Cum Laude) at San Louis Obispo. Outdoors most all day. Absolutely beautiful day. But I noticed that it was not horridly hot… Briefly, about 10 to 11 am, the sun was “too hot” which ought to be “normal” and one expects a swelter into the afternoon.
    Instead, that “high haze” started… About 12 noon a couple of jet contrails didn’t go away (instead starting a slow expansion into broad cloud bands) and some cumulus puffy bits filled in. Just enough to make it perfectly comfortable and only “too hot” if you were stuck in a patch of direct sun.
    It was predicted that the weekend would be warmer, and it was, for about 24 hours. Now we’re back to “Will it sprinkle soon?” (Don’t know how better to describe it. Not rain imminent, and not cold winter… that odd spring / fall state with thick overcast and a feeling like charged air before a storm a bit – and cool, but well, just, like it’s going to sprinkle just a little Real Soon Now.)
    Maybe I’ll change my handle to “Eternally Waiting For Summer”…

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