NCDC writes ghost "talking points" rebuttal to surfacestations project

UPDATE: The “ghost author” has been identified, see the end of the article.

When I first saw it, I laughed.

When I saw the internal memo circulated to top managers at NOAA, I laughed even more.

Why?  Because NOAA and NCDC are rebuking an analysis which I have not even written yet, using old data, and nobody at NOAA or NCDC  had the professionalism to put their name to the document.

First let’s have a look at the National Climatic Data Center’s web page from a week ago:

ncdc_web_page_061209

I was quite surprised to find that my midterm census report on the surfacestations.org project evoked a response from NCDC. I suppose they are getting some heat from the citizenry and some congress critters over lack of quality control. I was even more surprised to see that they couldn’t even get the title right, particularly since the title of my report defines most of what NCDC is all about; Surface Temperature Measurement.

SurfaceStationsReportCoverHere’s the title of my report released in March.

“Is The U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?”

But NCDC calls it: “Is the U.S. Temperature Record Reliable?”

True, a small omission, the word “surface”. But remember, this is a scientific organization that writes papers for peer reviewed journals, where accuracy in citation is a  job requirement. Plus, the director of NCDC is Thomas Karl, who is now president of the American Meteorological Society. The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society is considered a premiere peer reviewed journal, and Karl has written several articles. For him to allow a botched citation like this is pretty embarrassing.

[NOTE: For those that just want to read my report, please feel free to download and read the free copy here PDF, 4 MB]

But the citation error is not just in the NCDC webpage, it is in the PDF document that NOAA and/or  NCDC wrote up. I can’t be sure since they cite no named author.

NCDC _talking_points

You can download it here (PDF 91KB)

I had few people point out the existence of the NCDC rebuttal to me in the last week, and I’ve been biding my time. I wanted to see what they’d do with it.

Over the weekend I discovered that NOAA had widely circulated NCDC’s “talking points” document to top level division managers in NOAA. I was given this actual internal email, by someone whom appears not to agree with the current NOAA/NCDC thinking.

Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2009 16:26:48 -0600

From: Andrea Bair <Andrea.Bair@noaa.gov>

Subject: Talking Points on SurfaceStations.org

To: _NWS WR Climate Focal Points <WR.Climate.Focal.Points@noaa.gov>,

_NWS WR MICs HICs DivChiefs <wr.mics.hics.divchiefs@noaa.gov>,

_NWS WR DAPM-OPL <Wr.Dapm.Opl@noaa.gov>,

Susan A Nelson <Susan.A.Nelson@noaa.gov>,

Jeff Zimmerman <Jeff.Zimmerman@noaa.gov>, Matt Ocana <Matt.Ocana@noaa.gov>

User-Agent: Thunderbird 2.0.0.21 (Windows/20090302)

Recently I was asked if we had any official talking points on the surfacestations.org report that came out recently.  Attached are some talking points from NOAA that we can use.

AB

Note the “NWS WR MICs HICs DivChiefs” It seems pretty much everyone in management at NOAA got this email, yet a week later the citation error remains. Nobody caught it.

I find it pretty humorous that NOAA felt that a booklet full of photographs that many said at the beginning “don’t matter” required an organization wide notice of rebuttal. Note also some big names there. Senior NOAA scientist Susan (1000 year CO2) Solomon got a copy. So did Matt Ocana, Western Region public affairs officer for the National Weather Service. Along with Jeff Zimmerman who appears to be with the NWS Southern Region HQ. The originator, Andrea Bair, is the Climate Services Program Manager, NWS Western Region HQ.

There are lots of other curious things about that NCDC “Talking Points” document.

1. They give no author for the talking points memo. An inquiry as to the author’s name I sent to my regular contact at NCDC a week ago when I first learned of this has gone unanswered. Usually I have gotten answers in a day.

2. They think they have the current data, they do not. They have data from when the network was about 40% surveyed. They cite 70 CRN1/2 stations when we actually have 92 now. Additionally, some of the ratings have been changed as new/better survey information has come to light. They did their talking points analysis with old data and apparently didn’t know it.

3. They never asked me for a current data set. They know how to contact me, in fact they invited me to give a presentation at NCDC last year, which you can read about here in part 1 and part 2

Normally when a scientific organization prepares a rebuttal, it is standard practice to at least ask the keeper of the data if they have the most current data set, and if any caveats or updates exist, and to make the person aware of the issues so that questions can be answered. I received no questions, no request for data and no notice of any kind.

This is not unlike NCDC’s absurd closing of my access to parts of their station meta database in the summer of 2007 without notice just a few weeks after I started the project:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2007/07/07/noaa-and-ncdc-restore-data-access/

4. They cite USHCN2 data in their graph, but they can’t even get the the number of stations correct in USHCN2. The correct number from their AMS publication is 1218 stations, they list 1228 on the graph. While the error is a simple one, it shows the person doing the talking points was probably not fully familiar with the USHCN2.

from NCDC's "talking points"rebuttal - click for larger image

from NCDC's "talking points"rebuttal - click for larger image

On page 6 of Matthew J. Menne, Claude N. Williams, Jr. and Russell S. Vose, 2009: The United States Historical Climatology Network Monthly Temperature Data – Version 2.(PDF)  Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (in press) there is this sentence:

As a result, HCN version 2 contains 1218 stations, 208 of which are composites; relative to the 1996 release, there have been 62 station deletions and 59 additions.

Sure maybe it is a typo, but add the fact that they couldn’t get my report title correctly cited either, it looks pretty sloppy, especially when you can’t count your own stations.

When I was invited to speak at NCDC last year, I had a lengthy conversation with Matt Mennes, the lead author of the USHCN2 method and peer reviewed paper here:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/12/ncdcs-ushcn2-paper-some-progress-some-duck-and-cover/

What I learned was this:

a) The USHCN2 is designed to catch station moves and other discontinuities. Such as we see in Lampasas, TX

b) It will NOT catch long term trend issues, like UHI encroachment. Low frequency/long period biases pass unobstructed/undetected. Thus a station that started out well sited, but has had concrete and asphalt built up around it over time (such as the poster child for badly sited stations Marysville, now closed by NOAA just 3 months after I made the world aware of it) would not be corrected or even noted in USHCN2.

5. They give no methodology or provenance for the data shown in their graph. For all I know, they could be comparing homogenized data from CRN1 and 2 (best stations) to homogenized data from CRN 345 (the worst stations), which of course would show nearly no difference. Our study is focusing on the raw data and the differences that changes after adjustments are applied by NCDC. Did they use 1228 stations or 1218 ? Who knows? There’s no work shown. You can’t even get away with not showing your work in high school algebra class. WUWT?

For NCDC not to cite the data and methodology for the graph is simply sloppy “public relations” driven science. But most importantly, it does not tell the story accurately. It is useful to me however, because it demonstrates what a simple analysis produces.

6. They cite 100 year trends in the data/graph they present. However, our survey most certainly cannot account for changes to the station locations or station siting quality any further back than about 30 years. By NCDC’s own admission, (see Quality Control of pre-1948 Cooperative Observer Network Data PDF) they have little or no metadata posted on station siting much further back than about 1948 on their MMS metadatabase. Further, as we’ve shown time and again, siting is not very static over time. More on the metadata issue here.

While we have examined 100 year trends also, our study focus is different in time scale and in scope. If I were to claim that the surfacestations.org survey represented siting conditions at a weather station 50 or 100 years ago, without supporting metadata or photographs, I would be roundly criticized by the scientific community, and rightly so.

We believe most of the effect has occurred in the last 30 years, much of it due to the introducing of the MMTS electronic thermometer into the network about 1985 with a gradual replacement since then. The cable issue has forced official temperature sensors closer to buildings and human habitation with that gradual change.

NCDC’s new USHCN2 method will not detect this long period signal change introduced by the gradual introduction of the MMTS electronic thermometer, nor do they even address the issue in their talking points, which is central to the surfacestations project.

7. In the references section they don’t even cite my publication!

References

Menne, Matthew J., Claude N. Williams, Jr. and Russell S. Vose, 2009: The United States Historical Climatology Network Monthly Temperature Data – Version 2. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, in press.

Peterson, Thomas C., 2006: Examination of Potential Biases in Air Temperature Caused by Poor Station Locations. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 87, 1073-1080. It is available from http://ams.allenpress.com/archive/1520-0477/87/8/pdf/i1520-0477-87-8-1073.pdf.

Yet they cite Mennes USHCN2 publication where the 1218 USHCN2 station number is clearly found.

It seems as if this was a rush job, and in the process mistakes were made and common courtesy was tossed aside. I suppose I shouldn’t be upset at the backlash, after all bureaucrats don’t like to be embarrassed by people like me when it is pointed out what a lousy job has been done at temperature measurement nationwide.

I’m working on a data analysis publication with authors that have published in peer reviewed climate an meteorology journals. After learning from John V’s crash analysis in summer 2007 when we had about 30% of the network done, few CRN1/2 stations, and poor spatial distribution that people would try to analyze incomplete data anyway, I’ve kept the rating data and other data gathered private until such time a full analysis and publication can be written.

As NCDC demonstrated, it seems many people just aren’t willing to wait or to even respect he right to first publication of data analysis by the primary researcher.

By not even so much as giving me a courtesy notice or even requesting up to date data, it is clear to me that they don’t think I’m worthy of professional courtesy, yet they’ll gladly publish error laden and incomplete conclusions written by a ghost writer in an attempt to disparage my work before I’ve even had a chance to finish it.

This is the face of NCDC today.

UPDATE:

WUWT commenter Scott Finegan notes that Adobe PDF files have a “properties” section, and that the authors name was revealed there. Here is a screencap:

NCDC_Document_properties

Thomas C. Peterson is the author.

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I’m afraid this is the face of political spin these days, especially in the UK. Everything is written to communicate the ‘party line’ with as much spin and saccharine as possible, with little or no respect to truth, integrity and honesty.
Unfortunately, this attitude has now spread to other government-sponsored fields, including science. Your report potentially undermines the integrity of NCDC, and they can already feel this critisism reducing the budget for 2010, so they are manning the guns already. The truth and the underlying science are now immaterial, this is personal.
This first broadside was just a precursor – a few 20 pounders aimed well clear of their primary target. When things get really rough, they will wheel out the 50 pounders and fire direct. Expect your server to go down regularly from now on, there will be no prisoners taken…
I’ve see this too often.

William

This may be a sloppy rush job, but the main purpose is not to disprove you but to disagree with you. Then other people can cite the NCDC’s disagreement as if it really were disproof. It’s a standard trick from the political rebuttal toolbox.

Leon Brozyna

There you have it — politics and science don’t mix.
And what better an illustration of that old saying – a picture is worth a thousand words. Stations sited on rooftops or surrounded by asphalt – you can feel the heat. Show a journalist or a congressperson a photo of a sloppy site or a blink comparator to highlight adjustments and that’ll have more impact than any other argument.
Sounds like someone’s on the defensive, and it ain’t Anthony.

Lee

You’ve got them running scared and as Yoda once famously said;
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
I hope this half assed attack on you doesn’t lead to any suffering on your part, be nice if we hoist these idiots on their on petard though.

TerryS

Anthony, the lack of attribution, data, methods and inaccuracies in the report are all irrelevant.
The only item of relevance is the graph which will quickly be taken up by many websites and pointed to with the claim “see, there is no problem with surface station quality”.
The graph is now out there as part of an official rebuttal and, no matter what its provenance, it will keep on resurfacing in one form or another. Just like the hockey stick.
I’d be willing to bet that many of your future “How not to…” articles end up with a significant part of the discussion taken up with this graph.

Paraphrasing the pilot of a certain fictional tramp spaceship “they’re crooks, sweetie. if everything was all right they’d be in jail”

dennis ward

Have you been able to investigate urban shade islands yet, Mr Watt?
By which I mean surface weather stations that were originally sited in places that were in the direct glare of the sun but were later obscured for at least part of the day by new building, thus throwing them into the shade.
The resulting difference in temperature can be imagined by engaging in a simple experiment of going out on a sunny day and standing first in the shade and then in the direct sunlight.
I would be interested to know how many stations fall into this category and how much they would skew temperatures in the same manner as urban heat islands.
I would be expecting some kind of objectivity on this matter, of course.
REPLY: Sure, Happy to, I’ll just drop everything right now and switch gears. 😉 I haven’t got the analysis report written yet and you want me to go off on another angle? Hardly practical at this stage. Though last fall I did do such an experiment with USB temperatures dataloggers (see at right sidebar) at a single COOP station that had an odd signal, so maybe I’ll write that up the the days ahead.- Anthony

They can run; but they cannot hide.
Faster please. Pretending climate change is hard work. The quicker these folks grab a clue the better.

redneck

Anthony,
The reason the report was written by a ghost writer is because you have them spooked.
Keep up the good work.

>>The only item of relevance is the graph which will
>>quickly be taken up by many websites
True, but it may also be the hole in their armour. We have all seen the individual jumps in the temperature record, as sites have been relocated or built around, so the total comparison between good and bad sites cannot be coincident, as they attempt to show.
If this graph can be falsified, then the reputation of the NCDC will be in tatters. As ever with spin and mirrors, if people can be shown the evidence behind the spin the organisation concerned loses all credibility.

Peter Hearnden

Anthony, I ALWAYS post using my real name, would that many of your most outspoken correspondents, notably the people who ad hom James Hansen, here showed that same ‘professionalism’…
Anyway, I ‘like’ this paragraph:
It seems as if this was a rush job, and in the process mistakes were made and common courtesy was tossed aside. I suppose I shouldn’t be upset at the backlash, after all bureaucrats don’t like to be embarrassed by people like me when it is pointed out what a lousy job has been done at temperature measurement nationwide.
because you lament the lack of common courtesy and then go on to show precisely that same lack of common courtesy with your ‘bureaucrats don’t like…pointed out what a lousy job has been done’. Do you see it that way?
Reply: There’s history here Peter, Anthony’s indignation is justified. ~ charles the “I offered to get him his ticket to North Carolina but he didn’t trust flying on miles” moderator

Capn Jack Walker

Final war for the future of mankind is joined.
Sauron and Saruman have unleashed their death armies.
The only ring that matters is in play.
But this aint up to Hobbits no more, this is science and unfortunately for evil wizards this is now up to a literate humanity.
They fear the light of reason and they fear question and they fear a question to belief and fefuse and refute their own biases or corruption.
No officer in Australia under it’s law may administer a department while under criminal prosecution. That is Law. Your officer from NASA, regardless of your nation’s law, is now silent and has no speech thruout the scientific world.
The ring is at play.

Dodgy Geezer

“Have you been able to investigate urban shade islands yet, Mr Watt?
By which I mean surface weather stations that were originally sited in places that were in the direct glare of the sun but were later obscured for at least part of the day by new building, thus throwing them into the shade…..I would be interested to know how many stations fall into this category and how much they would skew temperatures in the same manner as urban heat islands.
I would be expecting some kind of objectivity on this matter, of course.”
D Ward
As far as I understand it, Mr Watt’s analysis is purely examining siteing issues which breach the NOAA guidelines. This is completely objective. The issues are frequently UHI issues, primarily caused by convenience in siteing convenient ly for human access, but there are certainly shade issues as well.
AFAICS, the two major cooling confounders are tree shade and close lawns, with associated sprinklers cooling the area. Where these are an issue they are certainly mentioned – here is the write-up for Happy Camp: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2007/08/01/how-not-to-measure-temperature-part-26-counting-ac-units/. If you don’t have time to read it, here is a quote:
“Additionally. for other biases, positive and negative there’s the buildings, the windows, the shade trees, the wind sheltering, and the lawn sprinkler. There’s also the big parking lot to the southwest, and the Stevenson Screen is at the top of a slope and there’s a parking lot downslope.
When I mentioned to the site curator about the A/C units she said “hmm, I never thought about that” but then added, “But I can tell you that when we water the lawn, my high temps are lower”. I asked the curator what the prevailing wind direction was, and she said from the “south to southwest usually”.”
All the data is there, Mr Ward. If you are particularly interested in shade (and it certainly is a problem) there is nothing stopping you examining the data and writing your own report. It would be courteous to ask Anthony first, of course – he may be able to help.

alexis anders

I think its very disingenuous of you to 1) write a blog post once or twice a week about how terrible the surface temperature record is 2) express indignation that someone has rebutted your points “which I haven’t even published.”
I mean, I know the standards that apply to others don’t apply to you, but still…

Stephen Wilde

dennis ward (01:29:45)
The whole point about properly chosen and maintained sites is that if the rules are obeyed there is no scope for such confusion about shading and direct sunlight.
In the appropriate receptacle the instruments are supposed to be shaded from direct sunlight.
In the proper location the instrument receptacle should be well away from the shade of vegetation and buildings.
There should be nothing nearby which inhibits the free and ‘natural’ flow of air.
The receptacle itself should be of a colour and of materials that do not affect the temperature of the passing air flow.
ALL those parameters have been treated in cavalier fashion since the 1960s prior to which the standards were much more rigorously enforced which is why as a student I never found it practical to set up an officially recognised recording site.
It is appalling to find such abandonment of standards throughout the western world let alone the rest of the planet.
If those standards had been maintained the issue you raise would be a complete irrelevance.
In any event the effect heat absorption, retention and later emission from nearby buildings is far in excess of any shading effect.
As an aside, am getting fed up with TV weather personnel presenting a maximum expected UK temperature based on the temperature in London which is always at least 3C higher than the natural background temperature.
The rest of the nation is becoming baffled by the misleading daily temperature ‘predictions’ coming out of London based weather offices.
This week they keep telling it how hot it is or will be but that is based on London alone. For the rest of us a late June temperature in the low 20sC in the afternoon is entirely normal. There might be recordings of 26C or 27C in London but that is not representative of the real world but it is being used to perpetuate an impression of ongoing warming and future catastrophe.
Unbelievable.

Dave Wendt

I can’t wait for Mr. Hansen to chime in with his contribution, which I have little doubt will include a characterization of your project as the death stations report. I hope you don’t have any outstanding tax liens or children who have given birth to or fathered any out of wedlock babies. I suspect you may soon be feeling a sense of kinship with Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin, because your efforts are being seen as a threat to the prevailing orthodoxy and there is a well established system now in place for dealing with folks like you.

Peter Hearnden

There’s history here Peter, Anthony’s indignation is justified. ~ charles the “I offered to get him his ticket to North Carolina but he didn’t trust flying on miles” moderator
Fine then if the claim is he’s better than them (and surely it is? ) rise above it!

par5

Pre-emptive Denial, very classy!

Peter Hearnden

This week they keep telling it how hot it is or will be but that is based on London alone. For the rest of us a late June temperature in the low 20sC in the afternoon is entirely normal. There might be recordings of 26C or 27C in London but that is not representative of the real world but it is being used to perpetuate an impression of ongoing warming and future catastrophe.
No, Stephen, they simply do not.
Look at this – http://www.xcweather.co.uk/ – note that it’s warmer or as warm as London across large part of the country (Keswick for example or Exeter, indeed here on Dartmoor it’s only a degree or so colder than London (think height…)). Btw yesterdays high temperature for the Uk was in Glasgow, the day before Durham.

I take note of this from NOAA’s talking points PDF:

Q. Is there any question that surface temperatures in the United States have been rising rapidly during the last 50 years?
A. None at all. Even if NOAA did not have weather observing stations across the length and breadth of the United States the impacts of the warming are unmistakable.

And I respectfully submit this…
Obviously the ‘selected’ a time frame that would emphasize warming. A form of Cherry Picking, a form of deceit, and though truthful at the same time it is a lie. But… at the same time we have been inundated about the acceleration of warming in recent decades. We have been told how much WORSE it is getting. They pointed out temps in the US….. so let us look at temps in the US over the last two decades. Let us use their data…..
http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg136/BigLee57/8909.jpg
My apologies to Anthony for the harsh tenor of my post.

smallz79

dennis ward (01:29:45) :
The point of the surface stations project is to cite the unreliableness of the Temp Stations. Not to prove the effects of UHI and now “UCI”. However I do remember reading about the few stations that were in such a predicament. The surface stations project is the overall big picture which is, Can we really believe that the US surface temperature stations are as reliable as have been believed up until now. This is what Anthony is working on, not so much of proving the effects of UHI/UCI (which do play role in the scheme of things), but only the reliablity of the surface station records past and present is what is called into question. I hope this helps.

Terry

As a Scientist with a long background in instrumentation and now with industrial clients who demand the best performance, otherwise I would very quickly have no credibility nor income, I just despair at the continual butt covering that goes on in this area of science (but perhaps I’m still naive and still believe that science should always strive for the truth). It is disgraceful. I just can’t understand why they don’t accept that there are flaws, FIX the bloody problem and get on with doing the science they were trained to do.
No-one ever said that the stations were originally intended for climate studies with the level of precision that is now demanded. So it is not a blight on the original program and if they were not so bureaucratically intent on defending their position, we could all make some progress.
A plea to Solomon, Zimmerman, Karl et. al…. You know it is broke, SO JUST GET ON WITH IT AND FIX IT.

Facts! You want facts? They can’t handle the facts.
Sorry, Jack.

OT and Weather Not Climate:
I just received this from the famous gardening supply outfit, White Flower Farms:
Dear Mark Young,
Gardeners talk incessantly about the weather, sometimes as an enemy, sometimes an ally. It has become pretty common for these conversations to be linked in some way with the broader topic of global warming, since current weather almost always seems unique at the time. We will spare you the larger context and simply say that we had temperatures in the 30s on four different nights in the last two weeks of May, and June has been warmer but wet. The undersigned has been on this property for 34 years and not seen the like of it. If you garden in the Northeast, and think things are moving a little slowly, you are absolutely right. Soil temperatures are still very cool and heat lovers like Tomatoes and Dahlias and annuals will be sulking for a while more.

Geo

I think we’re getting a litle too defensive here. I didn’t read that document as a rebuttal. Just as evidence that internally you’ve gotten their attention and they are starting to think about and analyze what you’ve found.
Of course, it may develop later into a full-fledged attack, but I don’t see it yet from that doc.
The thing that struck me as “missing the point” was their bit about how the many people involved in the project has an unknown impact on quality of the results. I guess I can see why at first blush they might think so, but it misses the real leveraging of “distributed processing” going on here. By making it about taking many high quality pictures, what has really happened is that you are able to centralize analysis to a much smaller number of people who do have the expertize/experience to review the data collected for each and put a reliable rating on them.

Paul

Freaking lightweights!

INGSOC

I will simply say that You have my unwavering support Mr. Watts.
Many thanks.

Gina Becker

I wish we could find money to run a television advertising campaign, showing the broad public…
1. Photos of all the poorly sited stations, including “rural” ones which are supposedly free from heat islands
2. Urban heat island growth around stations
3. Visuals and explanations on how the gradual MMTS changeover corresponds with temperature rise
4. And the point: this is the USA, which has the most extensive, longest, best temperature record. Think what the rest of the world relies on.

Aaron Edwards

Thanks for all the hard work you are doing! It takes courage to defy the powerful and frightening forces of Big Brother and I admire you greatly for that. And what is the crime you are guilty of that should so enrage the know-it-alls at NOAA / NCDC?
Simply asking a few intelligent questions no one there thought of, or if they did, dared not ask. That you had the audacity to ask for raw data, or worse yet collect your own, was apparently the ultimate affront to their thin skinned pseudo scientific sensibilities. The truth is the truth and I believe that whatever it is, it will eventually assert itself. The nonsense will slough off like so much dead skin from the hide of the evil genius “Gold Member”.
On a different subject, am I the only one that has noticed a nation wide trend by local weather casters to over emphasize the “heat index” otherwise known by the pseudonym, “feels like temperature”? I have gotten to the point where I become angry at the mere mention of the term “heat index” by the local TV weather guys. Next thing you know your expensive HDTV screen you just bought is filled with a 1080p computer generated cartoon graphic depicting wildly inflated temperatures plastered all over south Texas warning every one of the dangers of humidity in conjunction with the expected high for the day. It is quite windy down here along the coastal counties and wind turbines are springing up like unwanted Hackberry trees but does not the wind cool one’s body in the summertime just as it does in winter? Surely the evil twin of “heat index” called “wind chill” must still operate, unless of course the laws of thermodynamics do not apply to TV weather physics. I am convinced it is just another subtle scare tactic employed by “dime a dozen meteorologists” with a narcissistic need to seek attention and justify the importance of their 8 minutes of smiley faced air time.

Claude Harvey

The bottom line for any bureaucracy is survival of the bureaucracy. The appearance of defensive talking points should come as no surprise to anyone when a threat to such an organization is presented. The quality of those “talking points” aside, I think complaining that those points respond to a work not yet completed and published is a bit hypocritical. The tone, tenor and thrust of the threatening work has been quite clearly publicized by its author, both here and in other public forums. You cannot expect to “have it both ways”.
You are a magnificent warrior, Anthony. Take their counter punches with righteous smile. Your wounds will heal as they are washed with the waters of truth. Theirs will fester under a putrid pile of “talking points”.

Aaron Edwards,
It’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity!
😀
LOL!

Anthony
Bask in the glory. You have been noticed and you are doing good work. This is just the beginning. The science will win in the long term. Even Gallileo is quoted as saying something along the lines that “it only takes one humble truth spoken by one man to dispose of a clamouring consensus claimed by the masses”.

William nails it: This may be a sloppy rush job, but the main purpose is not to disprove you but to disagree with you. Then other people can cite the NCDC’s disagreement as if it really were disproof. It’s a standard trick from the political rebuttal toolbox.
This is how the politics of AGW game gets played, turning discussion into fact. Hey they had to do something, the trap was cutting to the bone.
I wish America had it’s media back, instead of the state run pravda it now has.

GlennB

dennis ward (01:29:45) :
“Have you been able to investigate urban shade islands yet, Mr Watt?
By which I mean surface weather stations that were originally sited in places that were in the direct glare of the sun but were later obscured for at least part of the day by new building, thus throwing them into the shade.
The resulting difference in temperature can be imagined by engaging in a simple experiment of going out on a sunny day and standing first in the shade and then in the direct sunlight.”
You may imagine, I don’t think the actual air temperature is much different, other variables aside.
But thermometers don’t stand in the direct sunlight and humans aren’t cotton region shelters in any event.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevenson_screen

When you don’t understand something, think money.
If you still don’t understand it, THINK MONEY.
The memo has nothing to do with science, it is about MONEY.
The liberals are spending the USA into oblivion, and their only recourse is to raise taxes. The latter is very unpopular, so hence, devise a distraction. In this case, the distraction is the global warming hysteria. See the haste to pass the Waxman cap and trade bill. Do you think for one minute that anyone in a current government position would survive if he/she did not walk the party line on supporting global warming? Those people at NCDC at just trying to cover their posteriors. Don’t be discouraged. Hopefully at some point public apathy will fade and people will begin to realize they have been misled …. in the name of MONEY.

hunter

This is just part of the pushback. Now that AGW has eaten our political system, we will only see more politicized efforts to silence skeptics.
AGW is too big to fail.

Mitchel44

Can’t seem to download the talking points PDF, it keeps telling me the file is damaged beyond repair.
I won’t draw any conclusions from that, lol.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if just for once tax supported scientists and bureaucrats announced: “we need to get our house in order, first.” The NCDC would gain tons of credibility if they decided to thank you and all your supporters for the work already done, plus announcing an immediate quality control effort to bring every station into compliance within 24 months.
For U.S. bureaucrats that now believe they can now “manage” the climate, how hard would it really be to put a QC program in place to properly manage their own surface station network?
C3H Editor, http://www.c3headlines.com

Frank K.

From the “Talking Points”
Q. What can we say about poor siting’s impact on national temperature trends?
A. We are limited in what we can say due to limited information about station siting.

THIS IS STUNNING! Here we have a government agency (NOAA) which is given *** millions *** of taxpayer dollars a year to run the climate network, and they say that they have “limited information about station siting”??!! What are these people DOING all day long!! It’s like someone running a taxi service and not bothering to check to see if the taxis have had their oil changed…
In addition, they say NOTHING about how they generated the comparison plot. The curves showing the 70 “good” stations looks smoothed to me – what smoothing did they use?
I summary, a very lame and sloppy attempt to cover up what will in fact turn out to be one of NOAA’s most embarrassing episodes in its history.

Konrad

Anthony,
There is a saying in Australian government bureaucracy – “never contradict the minister”. This comes before – “defend the bureaucracy, even at the expense of it’s stated purpose” The internal actions of the NOAA bureaucracy you have highlighted in this post bow to both these guidelines. The good news is George Orwell’s 1984 did not come to pass. We do not live in the age of Big Brother, but rather in the age of Little Brother. The comments, actions and gross malfeasance of bureaucratic hegemonies is now a matter of permanent record, although it is taking time for some to realize this.

Stephen Wilde

Peter Hearnden (03:38:01)
I need only refer you to this morning’s (24th June) TV charts which showed temperatures in the range 17 to 22 for the whole country but 24 for London.
We have a wind from north or north east coming off the cool north sea but they are trying to talk up a heatwave.
In such a scenario I would expect highest temps on western coasts but by no means exceptional. We need air from a much more southerly point to produce a real hot spell and there is no sign of that for the forseeable. Nor have we had that setup at all since 2006.
Better stop there because I am going off topic.

Bill Illis

We are supposed to completely change how our economy works based on the measurements these stations are recording.
A new station doesn’t just magically appear in the middle of a parking lot. Someone has to design it, produce some drawings for contractors, spend several thousand dollars constructing it etc. You’d think they’d think about the importance of siting.
The fact that they so readily dismiss the siting issue and the urban heat island issue should make one think about whether they are trying to make these measurements objective and accurate.
How many important pro-AGW papers have been written by the head of the NCDC, Thomas R. Karl. He would be in the top five most influential researchers on the pro-AGW side and, being in charge of the NCDC, which is almost like the agency of record for the world-wide climate measurements, he is in a position to influence all of the records.

I get the sense that surfacestations.org is giving the good folks at NOAA and the NCDC angst about the quality of their work. (The bad folks simply don’t care and are unaffected.) Hence, the leaders have turned to that staple of what the American education system has become and produced a memo to boost their employees’ self esteem.
A false sense of self esteem merely delays the crash when reality knocks down the house of cards – self esteem has to be earned, not given. I suspect the best folks at NOAA and NCDC cringed when they read the talking points memo.
That is really a rather sad report whoever it is has written, but that’s their problem. For us, it’s a sign that the surfacestations project will bring significant change. Keep up the good work guys. Things keep getting more and more interesting.

George Patch

” But, as many different individuals participated in the site evaluations, with varying levels
of expertise, the degree of standardization and reproducibility of this process is unknown. ”
I can’t help but find this offensive. The thinking must be “If professionals can’t site the stations correctly, how can volunteers survey them?”
I guess they have a point. It must be difficult since the network was screwed up so badly.

Arn Riewe

Geo (04:29:17) :
“I think we’re getting a litle too defensive here. I didn’t read that document as a rebuttal. Just as evidence that internally you’ve gotten their attention and they are starting to think about and analyze what you’ve found.”
That’s a little naive, I fear. I haven’t checked RC (why bother), but I’m sure if it hasn’t been posted, it will be shortly… “NOAA debunks WUWT claim!”

Gary P

From their talking points memo, “…there has only been one published peer-reviewed study that….”
A number of people have commented on various sites that there may be a back lash against science as the climate continues to cool. I do not know if that will happen, but it has gotten to the point I now assume that anyone who uses the term “peer reviewed” in an article is lying. I also now assume that any government scientist who hides data or methods is lying Any journal that allows articles to be printed where the data and methods are not available is not worth reading.
Have the words “peer review” now become the ‘tell’ of a liar?

Scott Finegan

According to the “Properties” dialog, thomas.c.peterson is listed as the author.

david johnson

The key point in the study is the graph showing that the 70 stations classified (by you) as “good” or “best” show almost exactly the same temperature trends as the set of all stations put together.
You have validated their work!!
Now it is true that this list of 70 station dates from “early June” (i.e., a few weeks ago). And its also true that you’ve added another 20 stations or so, and perhaps changed some ratings. But you don’t indicate that this makes any difference at all to the bottom line, or to the important work you’ve done to validate the excellent work performed at NOAA and NCDC.
So here’s a public challenge: Does your latest data show that their is any systematic departure between the best stations (as determined by you) and the overall record?
If the answer is yes, you will have something interesting to write about.

Richard111

The is mention above of urban shade islands and doing experiments.
(dennis ward (01:29:45) )
I made myself a simple solar oven out of cardboard boxes and a small sheet of glass. Under ideal conditions I can get 300F inside the box within 20 minutes. Any haze or reduced sun angle will cause a dramatic drop in temperature. Complete cloud cover will result in no change from ambient inside the box.
I have aquired much respect for the power of the sun from that simple execise.

don't tarp me bro

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
Thanks. How do we trigger fear?Some times fear is triggered by a lie. It can be a fact that is misinterpreted. Sometimes fear is triggered by being caught lying. Example at time of a criminal arrest.
Now that the industry has taken a turn to the political, models and simulations over rule raw data. Models are also applied to “help out” the data. In experimental design we test for accuracy of measurements. If too many measurements are in error and the errors are too large, the gathering has to start over.