More bad siting in Australian weather stations

WUWT Commenter “Boy on a Bike” was inspired by Willis article on Darwin (See: The Smoking Gun At Darwin Zero) to have a look at stations in his part of the world, he didn’t have to look far. He’s found what we’ve been saying for years on WUWT. Just have a look in our Weather Stations Category. One notable example, Lampasas, TX

He writes:

UPDATE: The writer has misidentified the lighthouse shown in the photos below. it is actually Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, not Cape Naturaliste. Not being familiar with Australian lighthouses, I did not catch this right away. But I have verified that it is Cape Leeuwin in Google Earth. The siting issue of the weather station at Cape Leeuwin remains a concern. I’ll add the temperature record at Cape Leeuwin as soon as I can locate it. UPDATE: Graphs have been posted in comments – Anthony

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Australian weather records – how much can we trust them?

After reading a few articles on weather stations in the US and Australia over the last year or so, I decided to do a random check on one station in WA [Western Australia] to see what the records looked like.
I chose Cape Naturaliste, as I have visited it several times, and the lighthouse has been there for around a century. I guessed that the weather station would be at the lighthouse – and I was right.
One glance at the annual mean maximum temp from around 1900 to today would convince most people that we are all about to fry. However, I decided to have a look for photos of the site to check out the location of the weather station.
The weather station is located between the two buildings on the far right – and it is about a foot from an asphalt road. Note that the asphalt is a dark black colour – the colour of fresh tar.
Here’s a side on view.
If memory serves me correctly, when I visited this place back in the 1980s, this was a gravel road – not tarmac.
If the weather station has not been relocated since 1901, what impact would moving from a gravel road to tarmac have on temperature readings? Undoubtedly, it would skew them upwards. The key question is when the tarmac was laid – or relaid – and what impact this has had on the temperature record.
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crosspatch

Well, there is an obvious step up in the data in the mid-1990s.

John Hooper

What’s the point of the the Stevenson screen if not to counteract that?

chainpin

And what do you know, there are no adjustments to this station.
Funny how that works:
http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/climgraph.aspx?pltparms=GHCNT100XJanDecI188020080900111AS50194600000x

Nice job, the answer is it has absolutely no impact. The IPCC has determined that only positive adjustments are required to temperature data as it is simply impossible that local additions of asphalt, air conditioner outlets would have any effect whatsoever on thermometers.
In fact, I read somewhere that all thermometers are going to be replaced with clocks. The clocks will count the seconds since installation and this will be used as a true temperature measure. Nearby tree rings will be used for verification. Then scientists can get rid of all this denialist rubbish about ‘heat affecting temperature’ and such.

@John Hooper If I understand it correctly, the Stevenson screen will block radiant heating. The asphalt actuayl accepts the radiant energy from the sun, and turns it into heat, with then heats the air. A Stevenson screen can not stop the effects of artificialy heated air. That is why there are rules for placement, and the point of the Surface Station audit (to determin the quality of the placements). See http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.surfacestations.org%2F

Where’s the barbee?

pat

Are those measured data or adjusted?

Vincent

“What’s the point of the the Stevenson screen if not to counteract that?”
To stop birds nesting inside.

GP

Are you sure were are looking at the correct photos here?
From the linked page’s links I would say these photos are of Cape Leeuwin rather than Cape Naturaliste.
I could be wrong of course ….

Bernie

Triggered by Willis’ excellent piece, Matt Briggs has started an interesting and informative discussion on homogenization at his blog. See http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=1459

Ray

The plot is too small to see the dates but it would seem that it departs from almost a flat line to rise up again in 1960… hide the decline trick temperature adjustment maybe?

durox

Lets find someone to go there and paint that tarmac in white! I bet we’ll see at the news that the Ice Age is comming, and that in 10 years that lighthouse will be half in ice.
The alarmism does great tv ratings!! ;]

Ryan O

Jeff Id:
Hahahaha! Careful . . . someone might try to implement that . . .

JMANON

This is an unfenced road and it looks nice in the pictures but is it inundated with tourists who would park along the road or would people visiting the nearby buildings tend to park along the road here?
It seems to me that parking could be the big unknown here and that may also be influenced by nearby buildings that do not directly influence the temperature measurement but if one suddenly changed from an occasional storage centre to a works canteen, for example, it would influence vehicle behaviour.
The idea of being away from roads and car parks is just as much about insulating the measurement from traffic as the road surface itself. and traffic would be the most difficult to compensate for.
It could be that a scenarios such as I have described could be difficult to detect or identify.

pat

OT. The Cryoshpere Today says that they still are unsure of current ice imaging due to satellite problems. Does anyone have an accurate analysis of current arctic ice extent?

Keith

If one is looking for GLOBAL averages does one need any adjustments at all? IF stations are subject to random change – eg moves up or down hill, or from fields to tarmac or vice versa, wouldn’t it be better to just use raw data? (My guess would be that any net bias would be over recording due UHI, more tarmac roads, more air con outlets, etc)
If this is right, the use of adjustments is a cure worse than the disease ( which is error margins around the averages used ?
My reason for asking is that I’m trying to persuade folk re AGW over hype and so far just get shouted down, mostly!

JMANON

PS
Annual mean maximum temperature?
What have other charts shown?
annual mean average temperature?
Is this the “value added” data or raw data? If “value added” then we seem to have the fingerprint post 1960 growth correction here where each year more correction is added.

Joe

Yeah, you may need to work on the citation and images here. That definitely doesn’t look like the Cape Naturaliste light house.
See archival photo here: http://members.upnaway.com/~obees/lights/swest/oldnatts.jpg

John Hooper (09:32:26) :
“What’s the point of the the Stevenson screen if not to counteract that?”
The screen is to shield the instruments from direct exposure to sunlight, so they measure ambient air temperatures rather than direct radiant heating. It doesn’t counteract the ambient air getting additional heating from the micro UHI.
I have a thermometer on my porch (not screened; I’m not doing science). When the sun reaches the point where it is shining directly on the thermometer, its reading jumps 20 degrees.

D. Ch.

With google earth it should be possible to locate those few, those valiant few, weather stations that have remained far from any contaminating artificial heat effects. Go beyond just checking whether roads, buildings, etc., have changed during the data record — because it is always possible that the way these roads were travelled on and buildings heated have changed. Then, once this selection has been made, check what those obviously raw and uncontaminated data series show about warming. Now, that would be interesting …

John Cooke

Re: GP (09:50:44)
I agree – the photos on the original page are listed as being of the Cape Leeuwin site. It’s not clear from either the radio amateur photos or from the “Lighthouses of Australia Inc” web site where the Stevenson screen is located at Cape Naturaliste.
Hopefully someone will identify the location.

Gary Plyler

Are tohos anual temperatures based on raw data or “value added” data? Do we know?

Bob H.

The buildings around the station are not 109 years old, so it is reasonable to assume they were built after the station was in place. Also likely, the roadway was the width of buckboard and obviously gravel. This would have placed the roadway further away from station. And let’s not forget the concrete sidewalk leading up to the antenna as being an add-on sometime after 1900. It’s no surprise the temperature record is showing significant heating.

Joe

From a quick Google Check that is Cape Leeuwin:
http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/41/51/be/cape-leeuwin-lighthouse.jpg
recent picture of Cape Naturaliste:
http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/photos/Australia/CapeNaturalisteWAU.jpg
I don’t have as trained an eye as many here, so maybe the Cape Naturaliste station is visible here:
http://www.lighthouse.net.au/LIGHTS/WA/Cape%20Naturaliste/Cape%20Naturaliste%20wb%201.jpg

charlie

OT, but too thick to work out where else I post this. From Copenhagen, a breath of fresh air:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1234515/Copenhagen-summit-The-world-COOLING-warming-says-scientist-Peter-Taylor.html

AdderW

..that is not Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse…

Ron de Haan

It’s incredible. I have no words.
AGW is dead, dead, dead.

Science. Doncha love it? Once question to the group. The “white paint” on the thermometer structures likely reflect most of the light in the visible spectrum, since I see them as white. BuT… wouldn’t a perfectly reflective and emissive surface be preferred. A coating that reflects all light including infrared? Watt is the absorption spectrum of the paint on the boxes. Watt is the emmissivity? …just to pile on.

Ron de Haan

Warming Establishment Crumbles: More than 140 scientists challenge UN’s climate claims in open letter
http://www.copenhagenclimatechallenge.org/

JC

GP (09:50:44) :
Are you sure were are looking at the correct photos here?
From the linked page’s links I would say these photos are of Cape Leeuwin rather than Cape Naturaliste.
I could be wrong of course ….
GP is right. These are photos of Cape Leeuwin.

lucklucky

[snip – no valid email address given – policy violation]

Svein

Anthony writes:
“Undoubtedly, it would skew them upwards.”
Is there no doubt about that? It’s an honest question. I assume the argument is that it can’t skew the downwards, so there will be a skew upwards, however it may be to small to matter?
Which brings me to my next question: Can’t this type of effect be easily measured in a controlled study? Sure, it wouldn’t be something done in an afternoon, but surely by empirical testing, some function of distance and surface area, etc, could be made, no?

Hmmm … near antenna (appears to be a horizontal quad) is lashed-up to a pipe sticking out of the ground using rope …
Far antenna support by an X-frame on placed on the ground.
Appears to be a ‘field day’ setup (this may all be redundant info).
.
.

Mark Buehner

For the station in Windsor Ontario, the last 11 years is all adjusted data but no unadjusted. Weird.

jeanparisot

Those picture are from the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse, not the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse. Both are in the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park, but are some distance from each other.
Is there a separate weather station for each lighthouse, did the naming convention change over time, is the record a local average, does the site reference (lat/long) match the photos, etc. Every station needs these questions answered by local examination.
What was the “fireball” incident all about? Ball Lightning

Doug

My question about all this is: do we have any examples of temperature graph where all the data is known, shows warming, and does not have any illogical corrections? I’m somewhat of a skeptic on AGW, so I enjoy seeing this nice work about the cases where there are artificial correctionsof various sorts. It seems a very reasonable request to the warming crowd to show us some “good” (i.e., verifiable) examples of their temperature assertions. If every rock turned up has a snake under it, at some point our skepticism approches certitude. Do we know of any such “good” cases?

Chris Schoneveld

Cape Leeuwin has a considerable adjustment downward for the period 1895-1916 artificially (?) amplifying the warming trend. No noticeable adjustments downwards to nullify the effect of a relatively recent asphalt road.
http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/climgraph.aspx?pltparms=GHCNT100XJanDecI188020080900111AR50194601000x

RAB

I’m new to this. Would someone please check my thinking? First, you have a temperature signal with errors. Second, you use this erroneous data in a nonlinear dynamic system to predict future events. But wouldn’t the derivatives in such a math model serve to MAGNIFY the error even more?!

Atomic Hairdryer

Call me old fashioned but.. I work in telecoms & when digital cameras became cheap, I got a box full and tasked our installation engineers to take before and after pictures. Handy for QA, familiarisation and occasional remote hands stuff.
Is it too much to expect that the agencies responsible for these stations might do similar, or ask site operators to send them pics? Even better, get out of the office and inspect them themselves.

Frank Skog

Is there no doubt about that? It’s an honest question. I assume the argument is that it can’t skew the downwards, so there will be a skew upwards, however it may be to small to matter?

If a structure were built to block the sun, that would bias readings lower. The black road surface will store heat during the day and release it at night usually raising the low temp for the day.

Which brings me to my next question: Can’t this type of effect be easily measured in a controlled study? Sure, it wouldn’t be something done in an afternoon, but surely by empirical testing, some function of distance and surface area, etc, could be made, no?

It is not easy. It depends in large part on the amount of sunlight hitting the road surface and the blackness of the surface. Its pretty hard to get a numerical average for leaves and dirt on the road, precipitation, degree of cloud cover at that point, and the effects of parked and moving vehicles.
Moreover, an induced error of sat 2F or 3F is mostly going to be unnoticeable for use by locals on a daily basis. Forex would you do anything differently if told the temp was 76F versus 74F?

George E. Smith

“”” crosspatch (09:29:45) :
Well, there is an obvious step up in the data in the mid-1990s.
John Hooper (09:32:26) :
What’s the point of the the Stevenson screen if not to counteract that? “””
Well I don’t see any obvious step up in the mid-1990s. I do see a short period when the data appears to drop down, and then “steps up” to about where it seemed to be heading anyway.
I’ve never seen a real Stevenson Screen; but I presume that it has inside it a thermometer which is essentially immersed in the air inside the owl box, and attempts to measure the temperature of that air; or at least that part of the air that is in contact with the thermometer.
When you read a thermometer (assuming it is accurately calibrated) the only thing you can be sure of is the temperature of the thermometer; which is what it is recording. If your intent is to determine the temperature of something else, other than the thermometer, well then you have a problem; and that is the big question in temperature measurments. Just what temperature is the sensor responding to, other than its own.
But I’ll assume that a lot of smart people have given a lot of thought to the design of the setup in the owl box, and that the sensor reading is a respectable representation of the internal air temperature.
Also I assume, that either the box is hermetically sealed, or that it is open to the outside atmosphere; hopefully the latter, so that the box is free to exchange air between the inside and the outside whenever thermal gradients or winds cause that to happen.
The thermal radiation from the tar road is certainly going to warm that outside air near the box differently from what a stony road would have.
The direct radiation from the road surface is hopefully excluded from the box by the design of the louvres which I seem to recall those contraptions have (maybe I should get my own owl box). I assume that the box is made of wood and painted with some highly reflecting Titanium oxide or somesuch paint, that rejects electromagnetic radiation but is amenable to heat conduction from contact with the air.
I have given a lot of thought to the question of exactly how would I go about constructing a “weather proof” enclosure for an accurate temperature sensor, that would adapt quickly to the temperature of its immediate surroundings, and not respond to any EM radiation source including the sun. Something tells me that I should make it small; the smaller the better, so I would opt for a semiconductor bandgap temperature sensor, that is part of an integrated circuit that converts the analog temperature to a digital serial data stream that simply repeats, as fast as the A-D can recycle. Of course the update rate would be kept low; maybe once per second so that the chip can power down between readings to minimise self heating.
You can make some bloody low power CMOS ICs these days that wouldn’t self cook by more than the inherent uncertainty of the temperature sensor.
The real trick is to have the thermal environment around the IC such that it facilitates conduction and heat exchange with the air (or ground), while eliminating EM radiation, even direct incident sunlight.
I can’t say I have a solution I’m really in love with yet.

Frank Mosher

I prefer unadjusted raw temperatures. Not anomalies. Although not as insidious as “models”, still there is the subjective choice of base period. Preferably monthly mean max temps. for the entire period of record. Just my $.o2 worth.

This is how science should work. Check the facts, show your working, allow debate about your assumptions and results. If you are wrong, it’s back to the drawing board.

GTFrank

Frank Skog (11:15:29) :
“Can’t this type of effect be easily measured in a controlled study?”
The GCM modelers should really show off their prowess and understanding of radiative and convective heat transfer by creating a program to model the temperature in a Stevenson screen in various real life installations. Then this microclimate model could be verified by instrumenting a real life site and comparing the results.
Of course, we have to remember this “historical” temperature measuring system was only originally intended for weather data. There is probably a good meterological reason the weather reports only report the temperature to the nearest degree – not tenths or hundredths – not that critical.

Gail Combs

durox (09:56:37) :
Lets find someone to go there and paint that tarmac in white! I bet we’ll see at the news that the Ice Age is comming, and that in 10 years that lighthouse will be half in ice.
The alarmism does great tv ratings!! ;]
Reply:
Maybe it is time for all of us to grab a bucket of paint ‘n brush and several rolls of aluminum foil ‘n duct tape then head for the stations near us. Paint all the tarmac/concrete white and duct tape aluminum foil over all the a/c exhausts. One year later analyse the temperature data to see if there is any effect…. /sarc
or maybe we really should do it…HMMmmm

It’s beginning to look like this all needs a do over with open science, no grants. The only possible hope to get to the bottom of all this is to do it all in the open…
Personal computers are now capable enough and free software is easily available on free Linux. Start your Ubuntu’s and let’s have at it.

Greg

re: Keith (10:01:51) :
This is from a comment link on another WUWT post. A 6th grader and his did use the raw data to pick out the heat island effect.
The video also shows how they got that data and why they chose it. I expect someone could do the same thing and get data for other areas.

DaveE

George E. Smith (11:32:47) :
Sensor of choice = LM92
Claimed accuracy 0.33ºC
About the best reasonably priced sensor & you won’t get any improvement in accuracy without spending big bucks.
Interface is I2C 2 wire.
Otherwise needs power & Gnd.
If I remember correctly, best accuracy is @ 5V
DaveE.

Bob Koss

Anthony,
Feel free to use this Cape Leeuwin graphic made with Hadcrut3 data. I had to infill 9 random months after 1960 before calculating the yearly mean. Used the mean of the monthly series to infill. Overall series trend of about 0.4C. If you crop off the cold first decade the trend is reduced to 0.12C.
http://i48.tinypic.com/2vtcy2f.gif

Talking of Australia, are you aware of Peter Spencer.
I think he is worthy of a little “coverage”.
http://agmates.ning.com/group/peterspencerhungerstrike?commentId=3535428%3AComment%3A37261&xg_source=msg_com_group
Excerpt,
” High up on a 300m wind monitoring tower Farmer Peter Spencer “Saarahnlee” NSW Australia on the 1st December 2009 as a last resort commenced an indefinite hunger strike until the Australian government meets his demands”
REPLY: Actually, no, I think he’s not worthy of any coverage here at all. His issue appears to be land use, and the website you give does a horrid job of explaining what “his demands” are. – Anthony