Raising Arizona

By Steve Goddard and Anthony Watts


Wikipedia Image

NCDC has done an first rate job raising Arizona summer temperatures, as seen in the graph below.

How did they accomplish this? – by magic! My favorite Arizona station is Ajo, near the Mexican border. Until 1984, temperatures were dropping – as seen in the USHCN (RAW) plot below.

Apparently someone at USHCN didn’t like that trend, so they made up homogenized an extra 25 years of data with a sharp upwards trend. This spreadsheet shows the USHCN data. Note that there aren’t any years after 1985 which have a full year’s data, and no years after 1985 with a full summer’s data.

For example, note this B91 form from the Ajo observer for July 1987, missing 10 out of 31 days of data:

Here is the adjusted monthly mean maximum data plotted from NCDC:

The image below shows Ajo adjusted maximum mean (black) on top of raw maximum mean (red.) Note that they are identical until 1970, when the magical adjustments kicked in.  Click on it for a clearer image.

The station is not well sited. Note the MMTS temperature sensor is inside the white stucco patio wall enclosure at right:


Here’s another view:


Photos by surfacestations.org volunteer Bob Thompson

While the near A/C heat exchanger units are comical, wind sheltering and building proximity are also likely contributors. According to NCDC MMS metadatabase, in 2002 the station was switched from a Stevenson Screen to the MMTS sensor in the location shown above. Since NCDC does not make the site sketches that exist for all stations public, we can’t see the plan map showing where the Stevenson Screen was. However, the site survey from Bob Thompson tells us:

Site description and known history: The station was previously located on a nearby hilltop, but is now close behind a Phelps Dodge administration building adjacent to an open mine. I did not find any record of the relocation, but there is nothing any longer atop the hill.

There was a notation in the NCDC MMS Metadata remarks though, saying that the station had been moved 845 feet to the northeast.

The dates don’t match the date of the equipment change in 2002 though, and since the MMTS sensor requires a cable, it is likely that it was moved when the equipment change was noted in 2002.

Most likely the metadata citing the date of the move is wrong, and/or it took NCDC time to catch up with the change made by NWS personnel.

This Google Earth view, dated July 13th, 2006 shows the location of the temperature sensor at Ajo at the Phelps Dodge plant. Basically in the middle of an industrial zone:

click for a larger version

In this more recent aerial photo from Bing Maps, it appears the facility has been closed down, and the buildings removed. They even abandoned 3 locomotives previously used to shuttle ore cars:

Click to enlarge

click for a larger version

Note while the buildings are missing, the asphalt parking lot to the SE of the office is new.

Here’s a view with the GE ruler, showing where the Stevenson Screen likely was:

click to enlarge

Here’s a closeup view of where the MMTS and rain gauges are:

click image for a larger version

Interactive view at Bing Maps is here

The point of all this is that this station has the following problems:

  • Poor siting – building proximity
  • Station move
  • Sensor change from Mercury/Stevenson Screen to MMTS
  • A nearby dynamic industrial environment with rapidly changing infrastructure and albedo as shown by aerial maps
  • Missing/incomplete observer data over a long period, likely due to observer not recording data on weekends, holidays, vacation days, sick days.
  • Incorrect/conflicting metadata at NCDC
  • post facto adjustments to infill missing/incomplete observer data

That’s a lot of uncertainty added to the base measurement. Many stations have similar problems. The measurement environment is hardly static, yet we are looking for small variations in the climate in the midst of all this noise and uncertainty.

Other Arizona USHCN raw station data is below, showing about equal numbers of stations with declining and increasing maximum mean temperatures over the last 80 years. In Arizona, it’s all about the daytime heat,  not the nighttime low.

Raising Arizona was probably Nicholas Cage’s best movie. In the end, they decided to be honest and give Nathan Arizona’s baby back. Can we expect the same?


121 thoughts on “Raising Arizona

  1. It goes on, and on, and on….
    But we are supposed to believe.
    Stay on it, Anthony. The truth MUST eventually win out.

  2. Would sticking a thermom back up on the hill sw of the present location be a good indicator of where the temp has been going? Maybe 2 doz loctions around the country could be manned by volunteers.

  3. when in Gods name is someone or some big Law firm going to take this one on? The proof is overwhelming!

  4. Wouldn’t it be great if Arizonians would just turn their ACs off for a few years? Then, we might be able to see ACs contribution to temperature measurements.

  5. A quick look at Google Earth shows that there is in fact a hill just 960 feet SW (not 845 feet SW) of the station shown above. At elevation 1,845 feet it’s about 80 feet higher than the “new” station. For some reason not shown in the above photos, there’s a facility on top of that hill which appears in GE imagery going back to 1992. In the 2005 GE imagery, the facility appears to be surrounded by fencing and there are 3 or 4 spots within the fence that look as if they could have contained weather monitoring equipment.

    Is it possible that the pre-1970 station was located on top of that hill, and then moved to the gravel parking lot of the current building later on?

  6. It’s not my day today.
    Everytime I enter my website through my homepage, the homepage is mostly blended out. Has anyone using WordPress ever had this problem? I’m lost.

  7. When we hear the continuing litany of “hottest year so far” etc., how can we fight back? Where can we address this issue so that changes will be made to the siting as well as and especially concerning the “homogenization” of data?


  8. Actually most of this will become irrelevant as the predicted shocker is starting
    I think the next 6 months will be the definite end of the AGW scam
    Thanks to S Goddard for emphazising NH ice concentrations.
    The next shocker will of course be a precipitous drop in Global temps as predicted by R Spencer.
    God help us all if that Volcano blows

  9. Man made global warming? No wonder they changed the name.

    Irony can be so…er….uhm…ironic sometimes.

    BTW is R Gates real name Mark Serreze? Jus askin is all.

  10. Why don’t these folks just get it over with and starting siting inside of steel mills next to the blast furnaces?

  11. Climate science is a most unusual science.
    Who would have thought that you would adjust temperatures up to account for UHI?

  12. The vast majority of these sites seem vulnerable to fairly standard discrepancies, while unscrupulous manipulation renders official records suspect. These problems seem inherent to large-scale bureaucratic enterprises, especially those masquerading as scientific endeavors whose politicized results in fact are matters of convenience only.

    A private Advisory Board of dedicated but non-technical participants could set relevant standards, sponsor grids of valid sensor sites, monitor and supervise regional networks to ensure data continuity and integrity. Organizing and administering volunteers with requisite personnel backup –what is this “holidays and vacations” stuff?– would establish crucial baselines over time, perhaps enabling integration with halfway-decent historical inputs. A climate Call to Arms might find a surprisingly strong response.

    In this as in most other areas, despite vaunted regulatory regimes centralized “big government” has proven worse than useless– corrupt and incompetent at best, subject to ruinous propagandizing at worst. Non-profit contributions, donations could support the enterprise, perhaps enhanced by “educational” grants-in-aid purporting to backstop Warmist claims. If the Salvation Army has managed since 1878, why not an Earth Patrol taking climate hysterics’ bleats and squeaks in hand?

  13. Every time I see one of these obscene travesties reported here, I want to hit the tip jar again.

    Thank you, Anthony, thank you.

  14. This actually will be come less relevant as the real shocker seems to have arrived
    and soon the temperature one re R Spencer
    Thanks to S Goddard for highlighting the NH ice concentration so much previously the AGW ‘ers discounted it
    NB tried posting previous so repeat here

  15. When I had my first Stevenson screen in the 1960s this is the reference I used to find the best site in my back garden:

    Handbook of Meteorological Instruments
    Part 1 – Instruments for Surface Observations
    Meteorological Office 1961

    Chapter 3, Measurement of Temperature, Page 93

    Location of the screen or shield
    For general meteorological work the temperature required is that which is representative of the free air conditions over as large an area as possible surrounding the station, at a height of 4ft. above ground level. The height above ground level must be specified, as on many occasions large temperature gradients exist in the lower layers of the atmosphere. The best site for the screen, or shield, and thermometers is therefore over level ground, freely exposed to sun and wind and not shielded by, or close to, trees and buildings. The most unrestricted exposure available should be used. A site on a steep slope or in a hollow is subject to exceptional conditions and should be avoided. In towns and cities local peculiarities will be more marked than in rural districts, but the best site is an open situation with the screen at the normal height. Observations of temperature on the top of buildings are of doubtful significance and use, owing to the rapid variation of temperature in the vertical and the effect
    of the building itself on the temperature distribution.

    For air temperature at other levels and for other purposes the exposure would have to be modified accordingly.

    That is the section in its entirety.

    Where is the World Meteorological Organization and country or state organizations to validate, or invalidate, these woeful exposures?

    REPLY: Surely you jest. The WMO is part of the UN. -A

  16. NCDC was just doing its job as part of the Ministry of ClimateTruth. How ironic they chose 1984 as the year to do their dirty work.

  17. As I understand it, you, Dr Watts, believe average near-surface temperatures have indeed risen over the last hundred years or so, although you question the trend’s anthropogenicity (if there is such a word?!). Given all these measurement issues/fiddles/errors/uncertainties, how certain can we really be that the putative temperature rise is real, anthropogenic or not?

    REPLY: For the record, no Dr. here. The satellite record shows a bit of warming. I trust it more. -A

  18. 7-11 introduced the Slurpee in 1967, followed by the Big Gulp in 1980. These icy confections, for obvious reasons, caught on big-time in AZ. Hundreds of thousands of AZ citizens carrying around these frozen treats in public lowered average temps through this period and continuing today. The adjustments you’ve identified are simply accounting for the chill introduced by the ISBGCE (Individual Slurpee Big Gulp cooling effect).

  19. Obviously, “temperature” is weather; not climate. “Temperature” has people involved.
    Climate doesn’t have people involved, except for AGW.

    Climate can only be “realized” on supercomputers; weather can only be “realized” by the talking head TV personalities.

  20. (Problem is now fixed).
    But as this weather station shows in Ajo, which isn’t really that far from Tuscon, it’s a real doozy, aint it! It’s the Wild Wild West of climate measurements
    Do you have a Cat 6 to classify this one under?

    With all the follies uncovered recently, perhaps Durkin ought to make a second “Great Global Warming Swindle”. It’s one sequel that would certainly be better than the first.

  21. Actually the other one that stands out like a sore thumb is Miami AZ. Are you sure that they did not move the station to Miami Florida in late 1999?

  22. Here’s a radical idea, given that all the western countries are broke, why not just admit that the figures are made up. Then we can save all that money that running the weather stations cost.

  23. Mike Haseler said on July 10, 2010 at 5:27 am:

    This is appalling.

    But not unexpected. Which is also appalling.

  24. Excuse my ignorance but are tax dollars paying for this? If so, what is the tax payer doing about it?

  25. This “hide the decline” stuff is “worse than we thought!” Just how did they add 25 years of data that aren’t there?

  26. Thanks for all this research on temperatures.

    It is very sad that the scientists changing the data to show false warming (and the simple investigation of source data problems, like airport asphalt or builing heat is not considered).

    You present photographic evidence from many angles to verify your claims (excellent research work). I am sad that the scientists involved with NCDC have such low integrity. Science is only as good as the scientists who are doing the research. I guess they have to sell out to the Truth to feed their families. Really really sad for science though!

  27. Then they wonder why many people just don’t trust the ‘adjusted’ data published by climate scientists. How can one find a warming signal of a tenths of a degree among all that noise?

    Here are some arguments from a pro-AGWer stating:

    “Why Global Mean Surface Temperature Should be Relegated, Or Mostly Ignored”
    “It seems like one big accident of history. We had them, so we used them, then analyzed them, homogenized them, area-weighted them, re-analyzed them, wrote papers about them and in so doing gave them much more significance than they deserve. Consequently, many people are legitimately confused about whether the earth is warming up.”


  28. These articles in WUWT casting doubt on the reliability and accuracy of temperature collection are interesting and worrisome. Is this just sloppy work or is it a conspiracy? Even if all the stations are properly sited, will the data still be manipulated to show a rising trend? Is WUWT being looked at as crying wolf all the time? Is the system so politicized that none of this analysis matters? How do we sort through all this and get a look at the real picture of climate change or lack of? There is always two sides to every story. It would be interesting to hear a response to some of these concerns about siting from the people responsible for collecting this data (probably not going to happen). I think:
    1) Your surface stations project is a great start.
    2) More empirical data on how much difference poor siting has on the temperature results would add credibility to the complaints.
    3) Keep hammering away at this.
    4) Hope that someday, somewhere, someone in a position to make a difference will have a light bulb go off in their head and actually care.

  29. Anthony, no matter how many bad ones we find (siting, or sets of data) there are many, many more out there waiting to be found. I never cease to be shocked by all this. Keep at it!

  30. And the skeptics are accused of bending the facts. Remember, always accuse your enemy of your own deepest crime.

  31. “The point of all this is that this station has the following problems:…”

    But other than that…

  32. Te Soviet National anthem activates in my head every time I read about the state of our reality. Shine the light of truth, is all we can do Anthony. If man is too stupid, we’ll become slaves. We have nothing to lose by fighting, other than gain our country back.

  33. Again, Captain Renault says:”I am shocked, shocked that there is gambling going on in this establishment.” “Captain Renault, here are your winnings from last night.” “Oh, thank you.”

    Sorry, but I love that scene. In reality, though, we can no longer be shocked.

  34. Ah yes… here, yet again, we have more inconvenient information illustrating that the inconvenient truth is alive and well in climate *cough* science *cough*.

    No data ?
    Unsure ?
    Not warming enough to cause alarmism ?
    Need more funding ?

    No problem !
    Just take your best guesstimate, plug a few extra numbers in and voila !

  35. We should be hearing about how it is an insignificant piece of land compared to the total surface area of earth, soon.

    Question, why is the TMAX and TMAXraw so different? It appears, not only did they invent hotter temps as we move closer to present, but they also simply moved the data down about 1.5 degrees for the past reads so we get the double illusion of warming up. I’d like to say I’m outraged by this manipulation of our temp history, but we’ve seen it here far too often.

    Another question or two: Anthony and Steve, after the many temp sites shown to be fraudulent, at this web site and others, has anyone, be it NOAA, USHCN, NCDC or any other “official” entity corrected the errors? Can’t we simply state the official global temps are just a bunch of numbers known to be false. In my view, you two have already shown this. From Arizona to California to Australia, and just about everywhere else on the globe, we know that someone manipulates the numbers to give the false appearance of warming. You guys have presented your case well and I think it is time to simply state we know the global temp average is in error and shouldn’t be taken seriously by anyone, especially scientists and politicians………oh, wait, that was redundant.

  36. Mike

    I am quite familiar with the adjustments being made by USHCN.

    Suppose that a station changed their time of observation, which produced a biasing of its max or min temperature readings. That would cause a one time shift in the data – not a steady divergence like we see in so many “adjusted” USHCN plots.

    The fact that nearly every station has been adjusted upwards wreaks of a bias in the methodology. Random errors should produce equal numbers of up and down corrections.

    That is why the best data is the raw data, using Monte Carlo theory.

  37. Mod—– I didn’t see my post immediately after submitting and the usual accompaniment with the words “Your post is awaiting moderation”….or something of that nature. Did it go into the black hole?

    REPLY: Yes, liberated

  38. You’re comparing TMAX (maximum temperature) against average temperature. It’s not the same thing and cannot be compared like that. You’re misleading your followers and no one of them was smart enought to see it so far.

    If you look at the same database for the average temperature and compare it to the NOAA, you’ll find that it fits. Further, you will find that temps are continuously raising since the 70s.

    I don’t mind if you find errors as this will help improve the system, but try to find real error.

  39. “REPLY: For the record, no Dr. here. The satellite record shows a bit of warming. I trust it more. -A”

    Yes, it does, but there is no historical context to view it in. Further, we know an actual thermometer on the ground isn’t the same as a sat read and we can’t make the historical merc readings compare to the present sat readings. So, the only thing we can say about sat readings is sat reading show a slight warming trend from the 1980’s onward.

  40. Any guesses as to what the mean US temperatures would read in two years time if over the next 6 months 90%+ of US thermometers were correctly sited according to guidelines?

    Answer = hottest year on record.

    If it ain’t badly sited they will tweak the raw data because the Earth must be getting warmer due to increasing co2 output and positive feedback. What a bunch of jokers! :o)

  41. Should NCDC and NOAA simply switch to Autodesk’s Green Building Studio subscription for all their weather needs??

    …Thought you guys might find this interesting, as it suggests somebody knows something somebody else doesn’t….

  42. I have made Arizona my home since 1995 and yes the summers are hot and dry – right now however, we are having a monsoon condition and it is cloudy, humid and just under 100F. It rained very lightly last night.

    Measuring the difference in temperature just after sundown between urban and rural areas has been between 5 and 7 degrees F. UHI is pronounced here and there has been a tremendous amount of urban development in the last 15 years all over the state. Take a look at Buckeye, AZ just west of Phoenix. It was practically open farm land in 1995 and now is small city.

  43. Psst… The “Raising Arizona” image is on Wikipedia, but it is not under their license. It is an image protected by copyright, used under fair use terms.

    REPLY: We figure if it is on Wiki, no issues with our own fair use of it. -A

  44. Grumpy Old Man says:
    July 10, 2010 at 7:39 am

    “Excuse my ignorance but are tax dollars paying for this? If so, what is the tax payer doing about it?”

    In this case, I’d say your tax dollars (and mine) paid for every bit of this. Note the sources of the graphs and data. NOAA, NCDC, and USHCN are all governmental agencies. What are we doing about it? Well, a majority of the taxpayers decided we didn’t have enough true believers in office to fund such enterprises to the level they deemed necessary and so they elected one to the highest office of the land to put more true believers into positions of authority over our environment and health and agriculture, commerce, ect.

  45. This is just fraud, pure and simple.

    REPLY: I tend to think of it this way:

    Never assume malice where simple incompetence will do.

    Government excels in incompetence.


  46. Regg says:
    July 10, 2010 at 9:36 am

    “You’re comparing TMAX (maximum temperature) against average temperature. It’s not the same thing and cannot be compared like that. You’re misleading your followers and no one of them was smart enought to see it so far.”

    Sis, scroll back to the top and look……real close at the first graph. Then, real close, look at the rest of the graphs. Most of the readers here know what they are looking at and how TMAX figures into average temperature. If one doesn’t properly plot or record the TMAX, then the average temp will be wrong.

    From time to time, we get a reader here that isn’t smart enough to understand this concept. Some that don’t understand but are smart enough, we’ll take the time to go into detail about how TMAX is relevant. Others, we simply refer them to a different website where understanding of numbers and values aren’t relevant to the climate discussion and one doesn’t have to bother with data integrity and all that……..sis, I think you’d be better suited clicking on this link, it’s a funny place, that doesn’t allow for dissenting views nor does it require thought to participate. Simply parrot what is said and you’ll get along fine there. Click here. http://www.realclimate.org/

  47. Regg

    Here is Childs, AZ mean overlaid on max. You claim there is a diverging trend, but I don’t see it. In cities like Phoenix with bad UHI problems, the mean temperature has increased because nighttime temperatures don’t cool much any more.

  48. John Blake says July 10, 2010 at 6:32 am: “centralized “big government” has proven worse than useless– corrupt and incompetent at best, subject to ruinous propagandizing at worst.”

    John, it appears to this layman onlooker that in this case (and probably in many, many others) the thermometer data is being put to uses never originally intended, to wit, to measure “global warming” as evidenced by a hacked-together “global thermometer grid” that does not and was never intended to collect the “pure” ambient air temperatures of the locations where the thermometers have been placed.

    Ajo appears to have been established in 1948, and probably no one envisioned that it would be used to measure ambient “global temperature” at tenths of a degree centigrade. Even to move it from a hill station collection point to a nearby site directly next to a blazing sunny white-walled highly reflective location next to a black gravel heat-sink might have been through OK at the time because “Hey, we’re not measuring 1/10th degree C for billions of dollar$, are we!?!?”

    Just looking at the topography in Google Earth makes it patently obvious why the temperatures would increase.

  49. Where exactly is the difference between malice and stupidity? Honesty and brilliance are also closely related . Thank you Anthony for your humble approach to find the real facts . Do not expect a reward from the powerful and their followers or slaves , as your behaviour endangers their bread and butter , wherefor they have sold their souls . Continue to keep our society awake !

  50. Stephan says:
    July 10, 2010 at 6:37 am

    This actually will be come less relevant as the real shocker seems to have arrived

    As I pointed out yesterday the following seems to show a worrying forecast at BOTH poles over the next 8 months. Is my interpretation of the NOAA forecast correct?

  51. Anthony, there’s something I don’t understand here. From your overlay of the raw and adjusted maximum temperatures, it seems that a constant offset is used in the adjustment of the temperatures until about 1970, and then things deviate. But if I look at the raw and adjusted values, say at 1934, you get a raw temperature of a little over 87F and an adjusted temperature of about 86.75F but on your overlay graph the values appear to be over 87F for both the adjusted and raw data. I think the way you plotted the overlay data doesn’t look right. Why not plot the raw data together with the adjusted data w/o trying to mess with the y-axis scale? Do you not have access to the actual data to make a correct plot? You could then also plot the differences and see how the “adjustment” has changed over the time-period. If a constant bias was applied for the first 40 years and then some other bias is applied that would be important to investigate.

  52. Anthony, I believe that NCDC metadata remark about “equipment move 845 feet NE” may be correct (or only slightly off) if you measure from the hill station to the new building.

    Note that the hill station appears to have an equipment pad at the south perimeter, as does the “new” building at the extreme southeast corner at the back of the building.

    If you measure from one equipment pad to the other it’s about 855 feet.


  53. I live in Arizona. I moved here in 1988. If I can help you in any way with documenting sitings of these weather stations, I’d be happy to do so if you would provide instruction as to how to do so.

  54. Do your part to elect enough Republicans or Tea Party candidates for Congress to make Democrats the minority in both the House and Senate. That will empower the Issa and Inhofe and like minded members to investigate the NOAA, NCDC and NASA et al concerning the false data and scientific malpractice. At this time the road to honest science is political. The cleanup of science will follow.

  55. Paddy says:
    July 10, 2010 at 10:49 am

    “Do your part to elect enough Republicans or Tea Party candidates for Congress to make Democrats the minority in both the House and Senate. That will empower the Issa and Inhofe and like minded members to investigate the NOAA, NCDC and NASA et al concerning the false data and scientific malpractice. At this time the road to honest science is political. The cleanup of science will follow.”

    While I appreciate the efforts of Inhofe and Issa, I don’t believe that switching party affiliation in congress will suffice. The allure of almost unlimited power over the lives of everyday citizens will be too great for a politician, regardless of his/her political persuasion. Remember, the repubs held congress prior to 2006. They were slightly more reserved in the literal pursuit of power, but the AGW crowd was still fostered and thrived well under repub leadership.

  56. I am proud to say that I have children, grandchildren and a great grandchild all citizens of Phoenix, AZ. When I visited one July, what I wanted was CO2 – the dry variety!

  57. “Mike says:
    July 10, 2010 at 7:15 am
    There are reasons why data is adjusted rather than used raw.”


    But explain why raw data generally is cooler, and adjusted data is usually adjusted up, by the exact same people that describe UHI.
    How can UHI be described as remaining warmer at night, and temp data adjusted higher to compensate for that?

  58. stevengoddard says:
    July 10, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Here is Childs, AZ mean overlaid on max.

    Steve, you do lots of good work here. But what’s the point of video clip of a still graph??

    REPLY: Because, oddly, wordpress.com allows YouTube videos to be inserted in comments, but not images, unless you have admin status. – Anthony

  59. DirkH says:
    July 10, 2010 at 8:56 am
    And the skeptics are accused of bending the facts. Remember, always accuse your enemy of your own deepest crime.

    I will resist the urge to descend into Ad Hominem, but surely even someone such as yourself must see that this is pretty blatant tampering with the data. If you can’t then I assume you are a true believer or have an agenda.

  60. DirkH, my humblest apologies, I re-read your post!

    Sorry that was a shameful error by me. Off to stand in the corner :-(

  61. Alan Simpson says:
    July 10, 2010 at 11:34 am
    “DirkH says:
    July 10, 2010 at 8:56 am
    And the skeptics are accused of bending the facts. Remember, always accuse your enemy of your own deepest crime.

    I will resist the urge to descend into Ad Hominem, but surely even someone such as yourself must see that this is pretty blatant tampering with the data. If you can’t then I assume you are a true believer or have an agenda.”

    What i wanted to say is : The AGW crowd accuses [us] skeptics of bending the facts [for instance, we steadfastly refuse to believe that GCM’s resemble reality]. This is, IMHO, an example of accusing [us] skeptics of something that they [the AGW crowd or their institutions] have done and do on a daily basis.

    Sorry for any confusion.

  62. Did they really use proper engineers to come up with a temperature measuring apparatus that in and of itself has a designed that funnels light coming from below into its center where everything is black or otherwise void of white, put inside a lower perimeter of all white that does nothing but reflecting light upwards.

    But I’m sure there’s a perfectly logical reason for why one choose black and brown wiring and green boards, et cetera, around a temperature sensor, when there’s white colored stuff that’d suit that particular application ever more so.

  63. Sorry about the quality of that previous comment. I rewrote and edited for clarity and brevity and then neglected to delete that which was rewritten which appears below the first three paragraphs. I hate when that happens!

    REPLY: Deleted, can’t figure out what your before/after was, feel free to resubmit. -A

  64. Aside from the MAX vs AVG issue, which has already been noted, the NCDC graph is for summer (JJA), while the A&S rebuttal shows annual averages. Is the NCDC distortion just because of their choice of season, or because of their “homogenization”?

  65. pat says:
    July 10, 2010 at 9:57 am

    This is just fraud, pure and simple.

    REPLY: I tend to think of it this way:

    Never assume malice where simple incompetence will do.

    Government excels in incompetence.



    Case in point: an oil leak coming up on 80 days now.

  66. Steven, I noticed in Mike’s link regarding NCDC’s quality:

    The first paragraph has two things I wonder about:
    1. A quality control procedure is performed that uses trimmed means and standard deviations in comparison with surrounding stations to identify suspects (> 3.5 standard deviations away from the mean) and outliers (> 5.0 standard deviations). Until recently these suspects and outliers were hand-verified with the original records. However, with the development at the NCDC of more sophisticated QC procedures this has been found to be unnecessary.

    Referring to the ‘suspect’ and ‘outlier’ data points, do you have an idea what order of magnitude the std. dev. is for the data? I assume they are talking about that for the data in a given grid cell. Secondly, did the methodology change in going from hand-verification to ‘the development at the NCDC of more sophisticated QC procedures’?

    It seems to me that is an unusually large number of std. dev. they are using as limits. As few as 1.5-2 would give a fair chance the point was representative of the population, but I still would not bet on it.

  67. I didn’t see it posted here, my apologies if I missed this elsewhere or am in error, I think these are the adjustments made through 1999.

    REPLY: That is USHCN1, now they are on to USHCN2, and they have not published a similar graph. Perhaps you could inquire? – A

  68. Joseph D’Aleo covers adjustments, sitting, UHI, etc. in 20 minutes:

    “Joseph D’Aleo, PART 1, runs the gauntlet of data problems!”

  69. “Joseph D’Aleo, PART 2, runs the gauntlet of data problems!”

    Hansen, Wigley, Jones, they’re all here building a hockey stick

  70. Anthony, after everything uncovered in the CRU tape letters and other documents and speaches given by the ACGW alarmists, do you really feel it’s pure incompetence vs. malfeasance?
    Could they really be that incompetent to the point of screwing things up that badly rather than intentional mishandling with ulterior motives?

    I know you can have a subtle dry whit sometimes Anthony but how can you believe that it’s just incompetence, or are you just trying to be diplomatic and full of grace?

    I mean after seeing the difference in the charts between Marysville and Chico, the charts in Mexico used for that ludicrous paper on disappearing lizard populations in Mexico, and all the pictures of the messed up sensor depots are you seriously saying it’s just mere incompetence?

    Granted after looking at Hansen at Nasa and Gore in politics it is easy to aim many things to the side of incompetence but I think there is a little bit more to this than mere incompetence.

    Anthony you are a truly gracious man, because you give them far more credit than they deserve.

    The odd thing is, here you are being gracious to them, and on other websites they’re constantly saying what a hatemonger and dictator you are.

  71. Brad aka 1personofdifference says:
    July 10, 2010 at 12:41 pm
    “[…]The odd thing is, here you are being gracious to them, and on other websites they’re constantly saying what a hatemonger and dictator you are.”

    That’s not odd. They know they’re failing. They’re desperate, that’s all.

  72. the really obvious sad thing is that the alarmists will use the adjusted charts and the average person will believe the lie. thanks for your continued investigations !!!!!!!!!

  73. latitude says:
    July 10, 2010 at 11:27 am
    “Mike says:
    July 10, 2010 at 7:15 am
    There are reasons why data is adjusted rather than used raw.”
    “But explain why raw data generally is cooler, and adjusted data is usually adjusted up, by the exact same people that describe UHI.
    How can UHI be described as remaining warmer at night, and temp data adjusted higher to compensate for that?”
    Read the link I gave. UHI is only one of six factors used in the adjustment methods.

    “Application of the Station History Adjustment Procedure (yellow line) resulted in an average increase in US temperatures, especially from 1950 to 1980. During this time, many sites were relocated from city locations to airports and from roof tops to grassy areas. This often resulted in cooler readings than were observed at the previous sites. When adjustments were applied to correct for these artificial changes, average US temperature anomalies were cooler in the first half of the 20th century and effectively warmed throughout the later half.”

    See also:

    Mike, you are behind the curve. You are arguing using USHCN Version 1 references, which are no longer used. NCDC data that we used here is USHCN Version 2 with a whole different set of adjustments. -Anthony

  74. Anthony, can you please point me to the data you’re using for your figures?
    At this site: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/r3d/ushcn/ushcn_r3.html you can download the USHCN data for Ajo, maximum, mean and minimum, and the data do not match the data you show in your figures. I wonder why that is. This data tells a different story than the data you show.

    REPLY: I did all the metadata and imagery, that’s a question for Steve. I’ll make him aware -A

  75. James, just continue to enjoy all that false stuff and life in general.

    As per all those false assertions, tricked figures and all what the owner is trowing. Aren’t you happy to live in a country where you can lie and you even get a fan club out of it. And the best you can make a living out of this.

    Just look at the scales from the graph, it’s wrong. The data is not the same, c’mon can you see that ? are blind or what. Just take a station mentionned above, pull the figures for yourself, and you will see that the processed data is cooler than the raw data. You will also see how the owner of this website is tricking you by comparing max temps with average monthly temps.

    Double check the numbers for yourself and open your mind.. You badlly need it.

    I live well and i don’t need climate audit for that. I base my life and knowledge on facts and the way they are defined – not the way people are twisting the reality of things as i see here.

  76. With this kind of work, Climate Scientists are to science what kazoo players are to classically trained musicians.

    For its own good, Science needs to step on the shoddy workmanship we’re seeing from the AGWers or they will be tarred with the same brush. Credibility is all the science has.

  77. Regg,

    You are correct that my comparison between the state mean graph and the station max graphs was not correct.

    However, you other assertions are nonsense. The raw max data at Ajo shows a downwards trend, while the adjusted max data shows an upwards trend. The corrections are clearly bad. The graphs were taken straight off the USHCN web site. If you think they are bad, then we are in complete agreement.

  78. “REPLY: I did all the metadata and imagery, that’s a question for Steve. I’ll make him aware -A”

    Do you mean to say you put you name on a “paper” and did not check the work of your coauthor? That’s outrageous.

    REPLY: No, you are jumping to a conclusion. I’m saying that it’s a question for him, and that Julienne keeps asking me as if I’m the only one with my name on it. In any paper with more than one author, the work gets divided. The best person to answer is the one who did that specific portion. In this case, Steve. -A

    also from above in case you don’t see it

    REPLY: Mike, you are behind the curve. You are arguing using USHCN Version 1 references, which are no longer used. NCDC data that we used here is USHCN Version 2 with a whole different set of adjustments. -Anthony

  79. Regg says:
    July 10, 2010 at 1:37 pm
    “[…]will also see how the owner of this website is tricking you by comparing max temps with average monthly temps.[…]”

    Are the adjustments up or down over time, that’s the interesting question. I don’t expect YOU to answer that, you’re only here to drop a comment to cause some confusion. Simple FUD tactics.

    One would expect adjustments to subtract temps as time passes because of the UHI, but often WUWT found examples where it was exactly the other way round. I think it’s one more case here.

  80. Do your part to elect enough Republicans or Tea Party candidates for Congress to make Democrats the minority in both the House and Senate. That will empower …

    That will empower the party you prefer. That is all.

    This is not a political website. The moment it becomes one, I will leave. This site is good because it sticks to science and events.

    Not to mention an enormous number of visitors here are from outside the US. We know this is a global issue and the nature of the US government is pretty much irrelevant in the global scale of things.

  81. Mooloo says:
    July 10, 2010 at 3:17 pm
    “[…]Not to mention an enormous number of visitors here are from outside the US[…]”

    Yes, and i find the political fight in the U.S way more entertaining, way more informed and way more relevant than whatever the European AGW Bloc government does (which amounts to always the same, always the party line of Crazy Connie).

  82. BTW…the link I posted was for USHCN version 3 which shows different results than the data in this posting. I don’t know if this is the “latest” version, but I would suspect it is more accurate than version 2 or version 1. So perhaps you could redo the comparison with at least version 3 data…

    REPLY: Thanks for pointing that out, but I’m unaware of USHCN Version 3. Version 2 only came out last year in BAMS. Further, I can find no references to version 3 via Google, or at CDIAC, NOAA, or NCDC. Care to share? – Anthony

  83. Regg

    The scales on the graphs are the same, but they are normalised.

    There are two ways to make a trend tip up. One is to lower the temperatures on the left side. The other is to raise the temperature on the right side. In this case, they did both.

  84. Anthony, this is what the site says:

    U.S. Historical Climatology Network Description
    The U.S. Historical Climatology Network (U.S. HCN) was compiled in response to the need for an accurate, unbiased, modern historical climate record for climate change research. The Carbon Dioxide Research Program of the U. S. Department of Energy and the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) established a network of 1219 stations in the contiguous United States for the specific purpose of compiling a data set suitable for detecting and monitoring climate change over the past two centuries. This network, known as the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (U.S. HCN), and the resulting data set were initially documented by Quinlan et al. (1987) and made available free of charge through the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC). The data presented in Quinlan et al. (1987) extended only through 1984. In 1990 NCDC and CDIAC revised and updated the HCN data records through 1987 (Karl et al. 1990). In addition, using the techniques of Karl et al. (1988), NCDC generated temperature files in which the biases introduced by urbanization effects were removed.

    The new revision 3 (Easterling et al. 1996) data represent the best available data from the United States for analyzing long-term climate trends on a regional scale and may be used for studies attempting to determine the climatic impacts of increased concentrations of greenhouse gases. The data for most stations extend through December, 1994, and a majority of the station records are complete for at least 80 years. Unlike many data sets that have been used in past climate studies, these data have been adjusted to remove biases introduced by station moves, instrument changes, time-of-observation differences, and urbanization effects.

    At this revision (Revision 3) the data set has been extended through the end of 1994 and several stations have been added (54) and deleted (52). Twenty-five of these additions/deletions involved stations who’s official station name and number changed, but who did not actually move. These revisions have resulted in a network with 1221 stations (Figure 1). Seems it currently ends in 1994 but I don’t know why that is. It doesn’t seem to show the same upswing though that the Version 2 data showed here does…although 1989 has the highest annual maximum temperature, the next highest was in 1934…

  85. Anthony, sorry I should have included this reference as well:
    Easterling, D. R., T. R. Karl, E. H. Mason, P. Y. Hughes, D. P. Bowman, and R. C. Daniels, T. A. Boden (eds.). 1996. United States Historical Climatology Network (U.S. HCN) Monthly Temperature and Precipitation Data. ORNL/CDIAC-87, NDP-019/R3. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

    I suppose it’s strange that this reference is from 1996 if a BAMS paper with version 2 was published last year. On the same site they have Version 2 as a 1990 reference:

    Karl, T. R., C. N. Williams, Jr., F. T. Quinlan, and T. A. Boden (ed). 1990. United States Historical Climatology Network (HCN) serial temperature and precipitation data. ORNL/CDIAC-30, NDP019/R1. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

    see http://cdiac.ornl.gov/r3d/ushcn/ushcn.html#source for more info…

  86. Steve, so I don’t mean to be a pest here…;) But I went to the link you gave me (thanks for that!) and I downloaded the annual mean Tmax and the annual mean Raw Tmax. When I plot them on the same graph, it is clear that the annual mean Raw Tmax is greater than the adjusted Tmax throughout nearly the entire time-period of overlap period but what appears to be a constant offset of 1.31 to 1.32 degrees F. Then in 1973 the offset decreases to 0.24 and goes negative in 1974 and 1975 (by less than a tenth of a degree), positive for another couple of years and then negative again by less than a tenth of a degree.

    So I find it curious that there seems to be a constant offset up until 1973, and then something different is done to the data. I have no idea why that is. But I do notice that at no time from 1895 to 2009 does the adjusted Tmax exceed the Raw Tmax, so this seems to conflict with your plots.

    I haven’t actually looked at any of these temperature data before, but I would be curious to find out what different processing was done post 1973.

  87. One last thing…being a scientist, I don’t naturally look at a figure and assume it is correct. I tend to want to investigate its accuracy. Usually I only look at the Arctic sea ice stuff since that is what I’ve been working on the last few years, but today I had some time to take a look at this posting on the temperature record at a station in AZ. I found it strange that the adjusted temperatures would be higher than the raw data since I would expect it to be the other way around.
    So first I did a google search for the data from the station and the first link was to a Revision 3 data set which showed different temperatures. When Steve gave the link to the data he showed in this posting, I then downloaded that data. What I found is that the way Steve put the two plots together was misleading. In reality, the adjusted data has lower temperatures than the raw data by 1.31-1.32 F until 1973 when suddenly the temperatures match to within a tenth of a degree.

    I think the real thing that should be looked at is why is there a constant offset applied until 1972 and then the raw and the adjusted temperatures are about the same. Does this constant offset have to do with a bias in the heating/cooling of the instrument?
    Also, I would imagine the Urban heat island affect would become more important post 1972 (though I don’t know anything about the town around the Ajo site). So why does it appear that no adjustment was made (at least during the 1973-1984 period of overlap)? And why is there no raw data after 1984? I know the temperature record is of great interest to WUWT, so hopefully some of you can answer these questions.

    thanks, Julienne

  88. Julienne

    From the site you referenced:
    “To save space on this server, only the data adjusted for urbanization effects are available here (i.e., this data has also been adjusted for time-of-observations, station moves, and instrument changes).”

    ‘Adjusted’, or ‘homogenized’ data indeed does differ from the data Steven used.
    It can be difficult to find true raw data. The site referenced above by Steven does have some raw data.

  89. Julienne

    Great questions. I would guess that there was a time of observation adjustment made around 1972. If the station readings were previously made in the afternoon, and later made in the morning, USHCN would (rightly or wrongly) add on to the post 1972 measured temperatures and subtract from the pre-1972 measured temperatures..

    What concerns me about that is that the switch in polarity occurs coincident to an adjustment. It looks very suspect, particularly when the data set became sparse around the same time. The adjusted data has all many symptoms of being flawed.

  90. Steve, definitely would be good to find out why a different bias is being used from 1973 onwards.
    But I did go ahead and compute the trend from 1916 to 1984 for which you have data for both the raw and adjusted temperatures:
    raw: -0.013 F/year
    adjusted: +0.002 F/year

    So basically both data give you no trend in the annual maximum temperature…

    now wouldn’t you think that the raw data would show a positive trend because of urbanization? Perhaps a change in instrument during the 1916-1984 time-period occurred that would affect this urbanization effect; I can’t imagine the same instrument has been operating since 1916 and I would suspect the instruments have been better designed to deal with heating up from solar exposure so they would probably record cooler temperatures than the older instruments.

  91. On your overlay graphs of Ajo Arizona, raw and corrected, you state that “they (the graphs) are identical until 1970, when the magical adjustments kicked in.” Actually they are identical AFTER the magic adjustments kick in. The post 1970 adjustments amount to zero. If there is any magic it occurs prior to 1970, when the temperatures for the corrected data were reduced. It is a minor point and this was mentioned earlier by Regg. I believe this to be an honest error, perhaps a result of an overzealous need to prove a point. It happens to all of us.

  92. Julienne,

    GISS normally quotes trends from the 1970s onward, and the adjusted trend is actually fairly steep during that time period. So I disagree abiut the significance.

  93. Geoflynx

    I think I made it pretty clear that the adjusted graph is normalised to the raw graph. That is a standard technique and is not an error.

  94. Steve, unfortunately for this station the raw data ends in 1984, so it’s a bit hard to say much about a difference in slope between raw and adjusted data from 1970-1984 (I would have to do a significance testing to see if you even have enough data records for any slope to be significant for only 15 years of observations). But even during this time-period, the adjusted data only give a slope of 0.013F/year. Would be good to see all the raw data since obviously there must be raw data from 1984 onwards if they have adjusted data during that time…

  95. Finding all the raw data is always the issue in Climate Science, be it NOAA or CRU.

  96. Anthony, I would disagree with “always”. At NSIDC we have all the raw satellite data we archive available, plus the algorithms that are applied to that raw data, and we do Climate Science…;)

    REPLY: Which is why I didn’t list NSIDC. Also see above on USHCN VERSION2, I think you missed it -A

  97. Anthony, thanks for info on version versus revision. At NSIDC if we have a revision of the data we call it a new version (v1, v2, v3, etc.). I would have thought the USHCN folks would do the same.

  98. Julienne

    The reason I wrote this article was a response to the Stanford paper suggesting a major increase in heat waves in the four corners states. I think we both know that idea is laughable in Colorado, and looking at the USHCN data it became clear that maximum temperatures have not increased in Arizona either.

    Low temperatures in Arizona have increased in urban areas, because of grass, trees, irrigation (anything which increases humidity and/or causes increased condensation,) asphalt, buildings, air conditioners, etc.

    USHCN claims to adjust out UHI effects, but looking at the adjusted data for Arizona it does not seem credible that they are doing an adequate job.

  99. @Julienne

    Where can I find the source code for the software that makes the adjustments?

    Look here:


    This guy was comparing the raw data to the TOB adjusted data and then graphed the difference.

    There are STEP CHANGES that stick out like sore thumbs:

    1960 —- 1 degree F step change to warmer readings
    1980 — 1.2 degree step change to warmer readings

    There appear to be other step changes as well. Whatever the TOB correction is doing it isn’t doing it right or it is doing more than TOB. Without the source it is impossible to know how the raw data is being pencil whipped to get these results.

  100. What the world needs now is…
    (sarc on)
    a NASA super-launch that installs 1.21 gigawatts, I mean 1.21 mini giga-weather-robots all around the world, on land and sea, that transmit their readings back to the mothership, which in turn transmits the data to Houston and Chyenne Mountain, the one in Colorado Springs, which processes it through a super-dupper super-computer, and transmits it it via the web to everyone who wants to know.
    (sarc off)
    when the citizens of the empire lost faith in Rome, the world grew dark, and cold…

  101. Look at this graph which shows the results of adjustment steps:

    There would be no warming trend without the adjustments. The claim that these adjustments don’t significantly effect the trend is utter bullshit. They don’t effect the trend, they manufacture the trend. The warming is manmade alright. Made by whoever wrote the software that adjusts for:

    TOBS: time of observation bias
    MMTS: change in thermometer type
    SHAP: station history changes
    FILNET: fills in missing observations
    FINAL: UHI adjustment

    TOB and SHAP are the biggest adjustments by far and without them there would be essentially no warming trend.

    MMTS increases the trend slightly beginning in 1985 by smudging the temps higher by 0.25F. Every little bit of manufactured warming helps appears to be the motto.

    FILNET has little effect on the trend but it’s interesting that it always adds about 0.1F to the entire record. One would reasonably expect a routine that fills in missing data to make no difference. What’s the deal with that? All the station keepers don’t like recording the temperatures on the hottest days but seldom miss one when they need snowshoes? Non sequitur.

    FINAL appears to be a very simple algorithm that simply ticks the temperature readings down more and more at a constant rate of increase as time progresses from 1900 to 2000. Interesting that it begins with a positive adjustment for a few years. I guess prior to 1905 a thermometer sitiuated in city was colder than the outlying rural readings. Yeah, that makes sense. Must be all those horse drawn carriages delivering blocks of ice for old fashioned refrigerators were cooling the streets as they went.

  102. TOBS adjustment is quite interesting. Evidently there’s been a number of changes in the overall habits of people who record and reset the min/max temperatures.

    I understand that resetting near the time of daily lows can cause a daily minimum to be recorded for two consecutive days when it should have been recorded for just one day and resetting near the afternoon high can cause two consecutive days of daily maximum to be recorded when it should have been recorded for just one day. I question the method used to establish the amount of bias this introduces. It appears to hinge on just a single study which is in itself questionable practice and there is also no verfication that the software which makes the corrections is faithfully following the procedures used in the study.

    Also curious is how the TOBS changes from net positive to net negative biases. One might reasonably think that shifts from morning-to-afternoon or afternoon-to- morning would occur in equal numbers. By the shape of the TOBS corrections it would appear that there have been a number of large simultaneous shifts in the population from “morning people” to “night people” and vice versa. Interesting sociological phenomenon there. I’d love to see a graph made from station metadata that shows the average time of observation. It should pretty much exactly match the shape of the TOBS adjustment curve. If it doesn’t then something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

    SHAP is also interesting. This adjustment is made for station changes other than time of observation. I would assume largely for changes in position. I suspect this is the most computationally complex adjustment which also means it has the greatest room for error. It adds a remarkably large and growing warming bias to the record beginning in about 1920. The rate of growth in adjustment magnitude doesn’t vary by huge amounts but there are some notable changes in it in 1950 where it increases faster than before and in 1990 where it flattens out.

    Again, this is curious behavior. One would expect these kind of station changes to be a wash – i.e. moves from a colder to warmer locations and moves from warmer to colder would occur in equal numbers. But that isn’t the case. Nowhere near the case. Somehow all the station changes show a large bias towards moving from warmer to colder locations thus requiring either an upward adjustment to data prior to the move or downward adjustment to data before the move. I can’t think of anything that would drive a more or less constant trend to relocate stations to cooler locations as time goes on. I understand how things like changing the paint to something more reflective could result in a cooling step change, or moving from less windy to more windy location could add evaporative cooling, and going from a lower to higher altitude, or moving into a seabreeze, and so forth. What I question is why there is such a pronounced bias towards moving to cooler situations. The kind of paint being used if more a more reflective kind reflective type gradually replaced a less reflective but there doesn’t seem to be any other category of change that would do it.

    And once again this adjustment relies on a methodology described in just one paper by the same person (Karl) who wrote the paper on TOBS bias. By all appearances the entire warming trend displayed in the fully homogenized data for the United States rests on findings in just two papers written by the same researcher. That in and of itself is alarming.

  103. Dave Springer

    I have looked at TOBS as well and am baffled. In a random distribution it should be a wash between morning and afternoon, just like all the other adjustments – made by the “Carbon Dioxide Information and Analysis” center (The very name of the organisation wreaks of bias in their thought process.

    There aren’t many fields of science where this kind of nonsense is permitted. There shouldn’t be any adjustments made to the data. They don’t have enough information or resources available to tinker with it.

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