Dial "M" for mangled – Wikipedia and Environment Canada caught with temperature data errors.

UPDATE 4/23 4PM: I’ve been in contact with the Eureka Weather Station manager, and despite the incredible nature of the temperature jumps that are outside of normal experiences, such as July 14 2009,  they do appear to be real. The METAR coding errors are another issue. I have many pictures now, plus a plan map, and a better meteorological insight than what can be gained from the meager online metadata. I’ll have an updated post later tonight or tomorrow – Anthony

Ecotretas find more cases of missing “M”s and mangled data in METAR reports making it into climatic temperature data.  I’ve reposted his findings below and added some of my own notes [in brackets] to strengthen his findings. This time it’s Eureka, Nunavut, Canada. From “Up Here” magazine:

The first High Arctic Weather Station in history, Eureka was established in April 1947 at 80-degrees north latitude in the vicinity of two rivers, which provided fresh water to the six-man United States Army Air Force team that parachuted in. They erected Jamesway huts to shelter themselves and their equipment until August, when an icebreaker reached Eureka – as it has every year since – and brought permanent buildings and supplies. For decades after that, small, all-male crews would hunker down for entire winters, going a little stir-crazy from the isolation.

Photo by Eric Charlton from Flicker used under creative commons license

As I pointed out last Saturday there’s a common reporting flaw in world meteorological stations that use the METAR weather data format to report their hourly temperatures. Just one bad report in a cold location in the Arctic or Antarctic is enough to throw off the whole month’s worth of data when averaged. And it is monthly data that is used for climate. The all time high temperature error identified below has found it’s way into Wikipedia as “factual” when it is clearly wrong.

Some METAR and other kinds of unidentified errors also seem to be finding their way into official Environment Canada data. I’ve made screencaps. Given the importance of this weather station as the last surviving  GHCN station that far north, also used in GISS, you’d think better quality control would be done, particularly when EC has a statement about data quality on each data page. What has been found seems to point to a corrupted dataset there.

– Anthony


Eureka by Ecotretas

[Images above from GISS – click to enlarge]

Eureka, in Nunavut Canada, is a very special meteorological station. As can be seen in the first image above, it is responsible for the very big stripe on the very top of Canada. As can be seen on the second image, the data from only one station is responsible for a very big percentage of global temperatures… Both graphs can be obtained here.

So, one would imagine that data for this station is quality proof. We found two sources for temperature data: at Weather Underground and at the National Climate Data and Information Archive.

The first interesting data about this station is its record high temperature, which according to Wikipedia was reached on July 14, 2009, with 20ºC. [image below added by Anthony]

screencap from Wikipedia's climate section on Eureka station -click to enlarge

[UPDATE: Wikipedia editor removed the sentence above within 8 hours of this posting. See discussion here]

On Weather Underground, the monthly page for that day does say that 20ºC was the maximum temperature. But when you check the METAR data, the maximum temperature was 14ºC.

[Here is where it really gets strange, I’ve added two screencaps from Environment Canada, on for the monthly data, another for the daily data from July 14th, 2009. They don’t match! The 20.9C value never appears in the July 14th hourly data. Click images below to enlarge, EC’s July 2009 Monthly report on the left, July 14th, 2009 daily/hourly data on the right. Perhaps EC corrected the error in the daily/hourly data, but missed the monthly?  – Anthony]

[click images above to enlarge]

[It also shows up as 20.9C on the EC yearly report for 2009, shown below]

Checking the Environment Canada page, the maximum for the date was 14.4ºC.

Things were different on the day before, July 13th. Maximum temperature for Weather Underground was also 20ºC, while at Environment Canada was 19.6ºC. But if you check the graphs below, some special heat occurred at 10PM, when temperatures soared some 15ºC!

(click images to enlarge)

[Image below added by Anthony. Here is the METAR report for Eureka, via Weather Underground, the error is highlighted in yellow, note the jump in temperature followed by a fall the next hour]

Eureka METAR coded and decoded 07-13-09 click to enlarge

[In the image below added by Anthony, note the implausible temperature jump in the Environment Canada data for July 13th, 2009 at 22:00 where it was 5.9C at 21:00, jumping to 19.6C at 22:00, then back down to 4.1C at 23:00. Looking at the weather conditions of clear sky and moderate sustained winds from the North ~ 24 km/hr, there does not appear to be a meteorological explanation. Looking at the METAR data above, it appears the temperature was rounded up by the observer to 20C from 19.6. This makes me wonder if the event could be caused by something like a plane, truck, or snow-cat parked briefly near the sensor. In the Arctic, vehicles are left to idle, as turning them off allows them to freeze up, sometimes never to be restarted. ]

As Anthony Watts pointed out at Watts Up With That, the Eureka station registered the biggest rise in temperature probably seen on the Earth’s surface: 86ºC in one hour, on March 3, 2007! Now this data is available on Weather Underground, but seems not to exist in Environment Canada. The graph differences are clear below:

But that seems not to be the case in other examples. Take January 1st, 2007, for instance. Both Weather Underground and Environment Canada agree: there was a mighty spike at noon. Seems like the “M” problem affects both:

[Here’s the METAR data with the missing “M”, note at  11AM the M reappears]

There are times where differences are not so big, but the “M” problem is still there. Check the images from Weather Underground and Environment Canada for September 26, 2006:

Other times, changes are so significant, that something must be wrong. Check out the temperature rise on June 20, 2005. On the left, the weekly graph from Weather Underground shows a great surge in temperatures, confirmed by the Environment Canada graph for the day.


Thanks to Ecotretas for his sleuthing, I’m sure there are many more like this yet to be discovered. It seems with Eureka, more is going on than METAR errors. The temperature rises reported seem impossible given the meteorological conditions, and because they seem to be automated, suggest sensor error or perhaps sensor environment contamination (like a vehicle or other heat source). If you look at this 1997 image from Wikipedia (and click it to get the super hi-res version and pan around) you’ll see a number of vehicles near buildings. Where is the temperature sensor? – I don’t know, but if someone can find out it might shed some light on this mystery.

File:Eureka Weather Station 1997-08-04.jpg

The fact that the obvious error on July 14th is now cited in Wikipedia as an “all time record high”, when it doesn’t appear in the EC hourly data, is troubling. – Anthony


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Sudden water vapor outgassing (maybe a researcher cooked himself an egg), leading to a rapid localized feedback and runaway warming is the only possible answer within the framework of physical laws. 😉


seems like maybe someone is opening closing doors …. (and hence warming of thermometers) proping open doors for an afternoon in summer or having door open for a few minutes during winter??


I’m confused why you feel the need to conflate this with Metar. This can’t be a missing sign, right?
Not saying it isn’t wrong, but it can’t be a Metar missing negative sign from what I can see.
REPLY: See the January 1st, 2007 example with a missing M. Yes not all cases have missing M’s but we also have what appears to be meteorologically impossible values in the METAR reports. I can’t tell you if this is a manual coding error, an instrument error, or a local heat bias. More investigation is needed. Clearly there are data problems of all kinds here -A

Henry chance

Just for the record.
Carol Browner, former Clinton administration EPA head and current “Obama White House climate czar, instructed auto industry execs “to put nothing in writing, ever” regarding secret negotiations she orchestrated regarding a deal to increase federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-WI, is demanding a congressional investigation of Browner’s conduct in the CAFE talks, saying in a letter to Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA, that Browner “intended to leave little or no documentation of the deliberations that lead to stringent new CAFE standards.”
..So why do we keep complete and accurate records?

Alan Simpson

As Lord Nelson famously said, ” I see no ships”.
Although great pains were made by Anthony to suggest that it could be human error, evidently the quality control of the body who aggregates this data is either lacking or biased.
Take your pick viewers.

Any reasons why the GHCN and GISS data should differ so much from the Environment Canada data?
REPLY: I wish I knew. Which one is the “correct” temperature. Who knows? – Anthony


It is all about The Narrative.
the data is inconsequential.
the measuring process is inconsequential.
The Narrative is all. Disturb not the Narrative, lest ye be Judged!
(in canadian civil court, apparently)


Mysteries of modern climatological ‘science’.
1. Mistakes are always found by non-climatologists.
2. Mistakes are found to have been erroneously increasing the temperature.
3. People who find the mistakes are reviled by climatologists.
But don’t forget – the ‘science’ is settled.


I believe there are statistical methods which could be used on the entire temperature record from eureka which would identify outliers like the readings in question on this post. I don’t have the skills myself but I wonder whether the various algorithms used by the likes of GISS identify and discard such anomalies?


wws –
yes, the narrative is all and if u disturb it?
22 April: Guardian:Michael White: Leaders’ TV debate: Nick Clegg: Score 9/10
Best moment: When he accused Dave of working with “nutters, anti-Semites, people who deny climate change exists, homophobes”.
22 April: BusinessWeek: Brown Attacks Clegg on Trident, Slams Cameron on EU (Update2)
Clegg described the Conservatives’ allies as “a bunch of nutters, anti-Semites, people who deny climate change exists, homophobes.”..
22 April: Financial Times: Matthew Engel: Surreal spot from well-worn comedy trio
Mr Clegg – predictably enough in a foreign affairs debate – called the Tories’ new allies in the European parliament “nutters, homophobes, anti-Semites and climate change deniers”. ..


As Lord Nelson famously said, ” I see no ships” followed by “only hardships” for some

Mike Davis

They had a barbecue that day or burned their trash


Hi Anthony,
has any official agency confirmed those reporting errors yet ?
Or has any acknowledged there could be a problem ?

Ed Caryl

Where is the thermometer? Look just to the left of the “low-boy” trailer. That white block looks like an intrument shelter. I think the building just to the left of the radome is the generator building.

nandheeswaran jothi

Anthony, the July 13th data also is very close to the 20 deg.


You should get some kind of award for discovering the “Missing M” in the METARS. Thanks.


The temperature spikes at Eureka are obviously exhaust from UFOs that visit the station! 🙂


@ Henry chance (15:55:43) : IMHO, every person in the Obama Admin. including Senate & Congress, the Supreme court, and every dept and regulatory agency, should have a video recorder & RFID/GPS surgically implanted to capture every sound, gesture, email, phone con, writing, sign language, and movement (bowel or otherwise) they ( and whoever else is present in person or via any technology ) make, with a live feed to the web, and 50 year storage of it.

Gail Combs

The july 13 data with the big jump to 19.6 at 22:00 hrs also has some interest jumps at 10:00 hrs and 17:00 hrs. The temperature jumps from 6.9 to 13.0 and back to 7.4 at 10:00 hrs and again 9.5 to 13.7 and back to 7.2 at 17:00 hrs. Looks weird like running equipment parked near the sensor.


They have all these super accurate models that are so good they can predict the climate 100 years into the future. Surely they can use some of this predictive ability to determine the maximum temperature change for any station for any given hour and then throw out any temperature that exceeds this maximum. As anybody who has done the smallest bit of programming can tell you, it is a trivial matter to either discard or flag temperature changes that exceed a maximum possible change.

Gail Combs

Gee, I wonder when they change the group posted to the station? Could a newbie just posted to the station be the answer to the data jumps in the July 13 record?

Ozzie John

Is this a case of GISS saying that when it comes to quality control…
“We;ll have Nunavut” ?


CO2MIC SPRITES? A very rare and unusual meterillogic event in the Arctic. Only a vew UN Environmentalists, Ecologists, Economists, Climatologists, Historians, Biologists, Arms Reduction Negotiators, and Socialogists have been able to study them up close. I imagine from what we’re seeing in these official reports that they’re very hot, sometimes, and not very hot sometimes. Isn’t this just wierd? The Universe is a mighty wonderous and very strange place, and here we are just spoiling everything. I for one intend to stop breathing for Lent, next year, if it gets hot, in Canada, and all the snow and ice melts, and the oceans rise more than 3 feet, before Ash Wednesday.

John Eggert

I’ve been recording Alert’s monthly average for a number of years now. Have it broken down by month as well so that can be trended. Kapuskasing as well for obscure work reasons. If you wish, I can send you the excell file. For days with missing data, I’ve substituted the mean from the day before and the day after. In some cases, the day is missing from the monthly record, but can be reconstructed by using daily data. Not a huge number of data points. As I was doing this for personal reasons, I didn’t keep careful track of which months were adjusted. I would put it at less than 1% though.


geo (Anthony’s reply) (15:54:35) :
Ah, okay, so we’re broadening the METAR critique here beyond the M issue. Got it.
This also appears to me to be an obvious and compelling argument for doing some outlier testing and rejection during QA of these kind of “edge of the world” sites that are used to represent vast areas of the globe all by themselves without other averaging available to smooth out temporary issues.
That’s probably worthy of its own focus, outside of whatever METAR contributes to that problem.


While I enjoy reading your posts I dearly look forward to the day that you learn that it’s is not th possessive of “it”, but rather the contraction of “it is”.
The possessive of it is merely “its”.

Layne Blanchard

Ed Caryl (16:18:20) :
You know, that DOES look like a stevenson screen, sitting on a slightly lower elevation. If you look closely, the landscape seems to drop lower 5-6 meters behind the low boy.


It’s worth taking a look at http://www.sailwx.info/shiptrack/
This website uses The World Meteorological Organization’s Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) data.
Click on All ships worldwide and start searching in the cold northen regions. Scroll down for individual ship and bouy data. You’ll soon notice plenty of missing minus signs.
Some examples
This ship
or this bouy
(these are realtime readings if they stop working then take 5min to find some of your own)


Environment Canada’s hourly readings are not the high for the hour. They are just the reading that was taken on the hour. I have seen the high for the day be off by a degree or two for my area in Ontario, but nothing like this.
John M Reynolds


I’m willing to bet that the office cat curled up for a nap on the temperature sensor.


Kind of funny, Nick CLegg calling people “nutters” when he’s about the most vicious anti-semite British politics has seen in a long, long time. Look up some of his comments on the subject.

This makes me wonder if the event could be caused by something like a plane, truck, or snow-cat parked briefly near the sensor. In the Arctic, vehicles are left to idle, as turning them off allows them to freeze up, sometimes never to be restarted.>>
Well… since the advent of fuel injection and electronic timing, not so much. I think more importantly though… not at +19 degrees C!
Although some people leave their trucks idling so the air conditioning keeps running….


Bunch of guys, isolated and bored.
You are bound to get a blue flame every now and then, and since they show up better in the dark (outside) and they can warm you up a little, there is no need for any further analysis.

Rod Smith

Anthony, as I understand it, WMO requires that a METAR report have AUTO included near the start if it was automatically generated. The illustrated reports do not contain this indicator.
Fortunately, all METAR reports from U.S. stations are required to have an additional “T Group” tacked on the end reporting the temperature and dew point in tenths of degrees Celsius, each preceded by a sign indicator, 0 for positive and 1 for negative. This at least provide a crosscheck. But nothing can automatically fix sloppy observations. Take a look a few U.S. METAR reports and be surprised.
I’m with you – I liked AIRWAYS code. I was always intrigued by the way so much info was packed into the term W0X0F, which for you “youngsters” meant “Ceiling Indefinite, Zero, Obscured, and visibility Zero with Fog.” We always pronounced it as if the zeros were alpha “ohs.”


Not that I’m a fan at all of Shawn Hannity of Fox news, but he is doing a show tonight on Climategate at 9PM eastern.

John from CA

given the time of year and the time of day, I’d guess the sensor was undergoing maintenance and someone brought it in or accessed it from indoors that evening – thus the 68F.

Eureka has eMinent domain over the north!


Look at the other readings from July 13th, 2009 in Eureka, they’re consistent with a humid heat source. Dew point is higher, so there is more water in the air. The wind speed and pressure are unchanged, so something moist warmed the thermometer without a pressure change and without reaching the wind sensors.
It’s a non-weather temperature change, and not a misread thermometer.
I do note that the dew point happens to be the same as the previous hour’s temperature. But the temperature should have been dropping, so the actual temp that hour probably was not copied in the wrong place.
There is a possibility that the previous hour’s temp was copied twice, once into the temp and again into the next hour’s dew point. But if the temp was back-calculated from the dew point, the relative humidity should have been lower than it is. Again, this is inconsistent, so a local heat source is most likely.

It renders any conclusions you can draw from the data sets as eMpty of value.
Eureka has eMinent dominion over the north!

Their GOES products and lightning detection are good, I have respect for some of their workers and field people but the management and public/media relations depts are just horrendous…
They sure do invest millions and millions of taxpayer dough in “green” initiatives and they’re big Kyoto cheerleaders, tho..


Perhaps if they didn’t make the sensors look like ashtrays this sort of thing wouldn’t happen

Dr A Burns

The question I’ve got is how do you get a trend out of all this?
If a technical change introduced more errors then you may see a spike at the time of introduction. After that the rate of errors should remain the same and appear randomly. It could change the absolute values but not introduce a trend.

Gail Combs (16:36:33) :
The july 13 data with the big jump to 19.6 at 22:00 hrs also has some interest jumps at 10:00 hrs and 17:00 hrs. The temperature jumps from 6.9 to 13.0 and back to 7.4 at 10:00 hrs and again 9.5 to 13.7 and back to 7.2 at 17:00 hrs.

That’s what my data looked like from Anthony’s USB-2 two days ago.
After an evening cruize (sic) in my black 350Z (checking SA UHI), I left it installed in the window, taking readings every 10 seconds. Over night temps were very stable (overcast), but the next day was partly cloudy (with only a mild wind).
Max temp at the airport was 76°F, but a foot above the roof of my car, the temps were all over the map, reaching 98°F during one mid-afternoon sunny period.
The device would be an inexpensive way to measure cloudiness.
I hope one or the other address is correct.


I thought this website was interesting.
It shows The the World Meteorological Organization’s Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) data realtime.
Click all ships worldwide and check some of the cold northerly reports. You can see many missing minus signs in both the ship and bouy data.


Do I notice a simultaneous drop in humidity? It must be the barbecue or a fired heater of some kind. I think vehicle exhaust might have a higher humidity than ambient. Somebody at the site may know exactly what happened. Otherwise, a simoom, maybe?


Every one of them [ the general pool of media the government criminal ring to terrorize people with the end of the world got it’s hands around: wikipedia, government reporting, government (university) review of scientific literature ]
Every one of them is being revealed to be fake , one,
by one.
Al Gore the guy who ”had a great idea of how to transform the economy he wanted to show the people… SMART, SMART MEN, He KNEW, had APPROVED it” –
carbon credits opened at $22 per ton. . . opening at Z.E.R.O. after
dozens of arrests all over Europe where he worked with Germans and others
Hansen with his legendary record of false predictions that , for some years, was literally a CAT CALL to shut a bunch of globel warming HICKS up.
Mann with his “school of statistics for climatography-ism-istic studies in the magic-sphere”
The entire system recently adjudicated as “not mathematics we endorse as being actual statistics” by the Royal Statistical Society…
If their statistics aren’t even endorsed by the people that teach statistical modeling
they aren’t qualified to make climate models and submit them at ALL.
‘WHAT YOU DO IS NOT MATH’ turns that water O.F.F. PERMAnently. PERManently kids.
They dont have MODELS they can get certified any more, NONE of them who used the Mann/Briffa/Jones/etc methods do; not by serious statistical/instrumentation schools or foundations. That’s done because it is a simple matter to simply enter into federal regulations and state, that methods used must have endorsement by statistical/instrumentation professionals and teachers in a variety of fields.
Briffa.. with 12 trees.. HID it for YEARS. Wanted it submitted to sway policy.. but didn’t want to have to let people look under the hood, just like Mann didn’t.
Kevin “I’m the smartest man in the world” Trenberth with his LUDICROUS ‘earth energy budget’ who
when we gave him a satellite
found he couldn’t read the information from it: what he had thought and taught and testified was end-of-the-world runaway warming
situation – what? Oh yea situation normal.
Gavin Schmidt who whined about how ”the troposphere really is heating if you look for it”
Steven Schneider who tried to float the “the answer’s floating in the wind” paper which said – he had MODELED TEMPERATURE from WIND SPEED in the troposphere, and SURE ENOUGH
the troposphere is heating and yea.. it’s worse than we thought, and yea … all the radiosonde
thermal sensors on earth
are broken. They don’t work.
And with the NEW MODEL thermal measurement was no longer needed because it was OBSOLETE compared to schneider’s model.
Can you believe those claims were allowed to be floated at large, by him and the people who hire him, trenberth etc
As science that was foretelling the END people, of the WORLD.
Which one of them has NOT had his fundamental methodology and acumen completely revoked in broad daylight….
But they’re a ring of government employees and Al Gore needed them to pulse his “i could have been president” rage tantrum.
Many years ago, Gore and others would have been out on the front steps of the capital choosing pistols out of a matched set in a box, where someone called him out to see if he really stood by his beliefs, as he and his friends LAID WASTE to PEOPLE’S LIVES and CAREERS in the interest of sheer political will for their word
to be the law of the land.