NOAA/NCDC – USHCN is broken please send 100 million dollars

While this would certainly put an end to the poor siting problems discovered by the surfacestations.org project, I can’t help but think almost everything related to climate can be solved with money:

Here’s the letter:

PDF with attachments here: USHCN_Letter_-_FINAL_-_7-29-10_SECURED

I also can’t help thinking of this image when 100 MILLION DOLLARS is used:

Now don’t get me wrong, I support a modernized network, but $100 million? That’s a bit steep.

It works out to $100,000 per weather station.

When I visited NCDC in April 2008…

Day 2 at NCDC and Press Release: NOAA to modernize USHCN

…they told me the USHCN-M cost was supposed to be around $25,000 per weather station.

Which looking at the USHCN-M equipment below, allowing for government inflation, sounds about right:

USHCN-M station at Greensboro, AL

But $100K a piece for what you see above? I don’t think so.

See: What the modernized USHCN will look like

Hell, I’ll do it for 10K a piece and do a better job than NOAA ever could.

h/t to Joe D’Aleo

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Ed Caryl

But city lots are expensive!
Sarc/0

ZT

Gotta make provisions for those pensions, and expensive bathroom accessories.
I mean, if we can’t keep public sector jobs competitive with the private sector, all those loyal public servants would simply join the workforce….(no wait, that can’t be right).

oMan

My thoughts exactly. $100K a site? Not for the equipment and operating costs, particularly when there’s a volume discount to set up 1,000 of them. I would imagine the $100MM gets soaked up in “systems design” (consultants) and “standards development” (consultants) and “database infrastructure” (consultants) and “training” (consultants) and “management and reporting processes” (consultants).
Add about 25% markup for standard governmental waste, confusion and graft, and you’re at the desired total without much trouble.
Seriously, if a Net Community were to attack this problem, what would it look like and how much would it cost (both hard dollars for equipment and third-party vendor costs; and imputed dollars for volunteer time to design and build it, and to tend the system and crunch the numbers)? Somebody should do a Shoestring Challenge Model and shame these guys into a less crazy figure.

DocattheAutopsy

Count me in Anthony. I’ll even drive the rental for $30 per diem and a room at the Super 8.

Henry chance

By the time you do a soil study and spread some black asphalt pavement, the costs go up.

TomRude

OT:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/25/the-nominees/maurice-strong-environmental-leader/article1716499/
Incredible: Maurice Strong nominated as a “Tranformational Canadian” by the Globe and Mail, fully owned and controlled newspaper of the Thomson Reuters group…

Claude Culross

What’s missing from these analyses are the (high) costs of special high-tech heat absorbing materials that must surround each station.

glacierman

How much extra for the code that will pencil whip the data into its proper, adjusted final values?

richard verney

Whilst I applaud the need to address poor siting issues and bias caused by adjustments, if one simply creates 141 or 1000 new sites, whilst you start of with a clean bill of health, you start at year one. No worthwhile trend data will be available for at least 15 may be 30 years. Gurther, will this add anything of substance to the satellite data. Are we not better ditching the idea of new sites and just use sat data and sea buoy data?
Since we want to find out what has happened during the past 150 or so years, there is no alternative but to simply collate those records, examine the sites, and throw out data from sites which would require adjustment/harmonisation and just use the raw data from the pure sites available.

JPeden

In sync with Anthony’s surface station project, isn’t NOAA/NCDC thereby admitting that its existing USHCN data is essentially unuseable/unreliable for the reconstruction of a “Global Mean Temp.”? And likewise for the rest-of-world data?
Not that moderization and adequate maintenance of stations alone would solve all the problems involved with generating a “GMT” and what it means physically!

Don Shaw

Yes expensive,
But you forgot that this will require union labor and require about 10 different trades most of which will be standing around waiting for their call to duty.

P Walker

You’re forgetting the union wages needed to pay the installers .

Dr T G Watkins

It really is an astonishing letter and admission that the historical record is of little use in estimating temperature trends in the US, supposedly the best in the world. No doubt the experts who supported its “value” are from GISS and CRU/Hadley.
I’d trust Anthony et al to do it better and cheaper and at a fraction of the cost.

Enneagram

Urgent, a donation button needed!

Malaga View

The real costs are associated with the special coding trick © needed to hide the decline… not to mention to state of the art computer centre and management suites located near the beach in Bali so the managers can be close to their programmers… then there are the first class return flights to the states – one week off / one week on the beach… its a tough life… but someone has to do it.
Of course there is always plan B – Forget about the network of technical stuff in the field which always goes wrong… just concentrate on programming the trick ©… Pardon?.. What did you say? Really? We are doing that already? Gosh! And its outsourced! WOW! Lets all go home then… Anyone fancy a BBQ on the beach? We’ve got a real party budget now… so leave your wallets at home… just bring a shopping bags with you so you can take home some of these greenbacks.

Enneagram

TomRude says:
September 21, 2010 at 12:48 pm
That will make Suzuki to be jealous!

Enneagram

Virtual stations: The solution!

Djozar

1000 Weather stations – $25,000,000
Cost of 1000 employees surfing web for 10 years – $75,000,000
Ability to claim additional stimulus jobs – Priceless

From National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado
“CU is a great place to do research,” said Drews, who graduated with his master’s just over a year ago. “My professors never said no to any crazy research ideas.”
Biblical parting of the Red Sea ‘could have happened’
http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-news/ci_16128420

Frank K.

“Hell, I’ll do it for 10K a piece and do a better job than NOAA ever could.”
LOL. I’m sure that, unlike NOAA, you would try to avoid asphalt parking lots, barbecue pits, sewage treatment plants, A/C exhausts, tombstones, large commercial buildings, airport runways, … AND I’m sure you would actually take some time to, you know, visit the sites…

Lark

@ richard verney says:

If they use good sites they will almost immediately (year two) be able to compare current trends with the sites they have. Of course, that might make them look bad, so all that extra money is to find sites where the temperature can be expected to go up or special thermometers which trend up all by themselves or some other scheme. I would be happy to be proven paranoid, but consider their history.
Standard bureaucratic fare: “If we screwed up, it was because we didn’t have enough money and power. You need to give us more so we can do a better job.”
[Of screwing up, we all know they mean.]
A modernized USHCN would be nice, but it’s not what we’ll get with the NOAA in charge.

Lark

It looks like Mr. Verney’s sentence “No worthwhile trend data will be available for at least 15 may be 30 years.” disappeared, and my comment ended up in the block quote instead. Sorry.

geo

$100M over 10 years doesn’t sound that bad to me all on its own for such an important function. . . but yeah when the context changes to $100k/per, that does seem very high. I’d need more drill-down on the detail to support those kind of numbers.

H.R.

Claude Culross says:
September 21, 2010 at 12:49 pm
“What’s missing from these analyses are the (high) costs of special high-tech heat absorbing materials that must surround each station.”
Bingo! You need the barbecue grill, the 1,000 square meter blacktop pad, the air conditioner(s), the tombstone, a pond, a 10′-high brick wall…
$100,000 is cheeep! Must be a lowball bid.

Chuck

What we need is a redistribution of equipment wealth.
The Alabama Confederate grave stone is missing I see.
Let’s move it to a Confederate Grave Yard and make it a monument under a Different budget and have it play Dixie.

simpleseekeraftertruth

So how much for the rest of the globe?

Gosh,
100 thousand grand is not too much, Anthony. Besides the equipment, you have to asphalt everything around. Than, you have to put some air conditioning nearby. An inexpensive jet near some of the stations should also amount for more money. Ohhh, and some stoves for some of the other stations, too! And finally, some supercomputer, just in case. Nobody knows if we have to put a rising trend somewhere…
😉
Ecotretas

Rattus Norvegicus

Well, Anthony, you’ve been asking for a better network. Do you want to pay for it?
I doubt that it costs 100K a station — you seem to be ignoring the communications and data processing infrastructure and personnel which will be necessary to maintain it. Quite simply all of this costs money.
REPLY: No I’m not ignoring it, as a designer and maintainer of such systems myself, I’m saying the price is way out of line. Then again, we have $600 hammers in government procurement. – Anthony

Paddy

1. The NOAA IG said $100,000,000 is needed to modernize and enhance NOAA’s network for collecting “regional climate data”? How does one collect climate data? When did climate and weather become synonymous?
2. Tom Rude: The Thomson Reuters Group is controlled by the Rothschild family. The combination of Maurice Strong, Rothschild family, and George Soros spells international statist cabal that is determined to control the global economy apparently with support from Chinese oligarchs. Their tentacles are long and the powerful. Climate alarmism is designed to put them in control of global energy policies using surrogates, including the UN and numerous NGOs.
.

Scott Covert

How about a standardized method for estimating UHI? Upgrade the station and do day/night 360 degree infrared measurements, grid surrounding surfaces with actual surface temperature measurements in multiple samples per year etc… That might be worth 100K per station.
If Google can map every square inch of a city, why can’t we standardize UHI?

Jordan

Maybe their forecast assumes cap-and-trade, and the cost of CO2 emissions. D’Oh!

Tenuc

Even with the new stations, it still won’t solve the low data granularity problem which must be overcome if we are to get a good understanding Earth’s energy balance.
Temperature alone is a very poor metric to diagnose what’s happening to climate.

Steven mosher

Well,
They did do an internal review.. from the attachments:
“We requested the hardcopy files from the internal review, but NCDC could not find them. The
files should have contained, among other things, three sets of review notes: one from each
reviewer and one from the deputy director. However, we were able to see one set of notes since
one reviewer had saved his separately. Although the deputy director did not have her notes, she
had saved an e-mail to the author indicating her review was complete and the article was
approved for publication, thus verifying that she had performed a review. ”
So much for record keeping. and I like the way they think a email saying a review is complete, if VERIFICATION that she had performed a review.
So, here is my blog comment: I performed a review and it failed the review. Thus verifying that I have completed the review, and that their paper failed an external review.
I’m sure there is more fun stuff in the file… searching

Steven mosher

opps.. not to be accused of cherry picking.. they add this:
5
Because all of the
 
review notes were not available, for the purpose of our evaluation NCDC officials obtained
notarized certifications from the reviewers to confirm their inspection of and concurrence with
the contents of the article.
ahh, we lost your reviews that said you approved it, so can you look at it again and say what you think. Now, dont get me wrong, I think they did the reviews and approved it. Just saying that their record keeping sucks. Well, they do have Phil Jones as an advisor on their standing board of data archiving and access.

Enneagram

Tenuc says:
September 21, 2010 at 2:12 pm
Temperature alone is a very poor metric to diagnose what’s happening to climate.

What instrument do you think it would be better?

Steven mosher

Page 11 has a pie chart detailing all the costs in the 100M. so before you think its just equipement.
approx 20M for equipment
aprox 20M for labor to deploy
approx 17M for site maint.
appro 8M for system maint.
so about 20K per site in equipment
about 20K in deployment labor.
at 100 bucks per hour thats like 5 man weeks of labor.

old44

Let me get this straight, they want $100 million to replace the inaccurate weather stations that provide the information that is the basis for massive carbon taxes.

TJS

Land stations are plentiful, and most are excluded from the database used to calculate land temperatures. Stations are cherry-picked to be biased toward higher temperatures.
Land stations are not needed. We should switch to satellite data, and the ARGO system of 3,000 sea buoys covering the Earth. We do not need any more land stations, just better configuration of those which are used, to avoid bias and urban heat island effect.

Enneagram

Paddy says:
September 21, 2010 at 2:07 pm
….apparently with support from Chinese oligarchs.

Ho,Ho!, you just made me laugh, that is precisely where, thanks God, they have made their last error. China is a too old culture to be predictable by occidental standards. Just wait and see.

While the cost may seem high, it is a small patch of “yellow snow” compared with the capital investment which would be required to actually reduce carbon emissions by “83% by 2050” in the US, which I estimate as $30 trillion (+/-).
When dealing with government, every time you think you see the “big picture”, there is a bigger picture waiting to be found. BOHICA!

RockyRoad

If things were working just fine, they wouldn’t need the money, right? Says it all.

a.n. ditchfield

MALTHUS – TWO HUNDRED YEARS LATER
a.n. ditchfield
Malthusian thought has had a long spin, the closest to eternal life seen on earth. Paul Erlich kept it going with his best seller, Population Bomb (1968), and its soul went marching on with Limits to Growth (1972), of the Club of Rome, and a host of publications over the last two decades that support the man-made global warming scare. After warming stopped for fifteen years it was sold as climate change and now as climate disruption, to exploit the publicity over the latest natural disasters that befell mankind. A switch of brand name to prop up sales of a failed product is frequent publicity practice.
In another gimmick the UN Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) takes peer-review as a synonym of approval by higher authority. All should believe because an alleged consensus of climate scientists says so. But science recognizes no authority above proof backed by experimental evidence and it does not matter who publishes the proof. Who peer-reviewed the work of Newton? To begin with, he has no peer. Who peer-reviewed some 400 papers published by Einstein over half a century? Again, nobody did. Under its own rules, IPCC must then rate Newton and Einstein as irrelevant to science because they lack approval by higher authority. This intolerant stance, combined with the Climategate revelation of the perversion of the procedure, has rendered the “peer-reviewed climate science” of IPCC an object of derision.
Peer review means that a paper submitted for publication meets the editorial standards of a journal – and nothing else. If its standards are high, a science journal will weed out the papers that don’t add to the stock of knowledge, stand on poor evidence or questionable method. To its credit, the procedure used over two centuries has done much to improve quality of what was published in science journals and avoid waste of time with implausible ideas. It is not infallible. Over forty years, some 250 papers were published about the Piltdown Man as the missing link of ape and man, until it was laid to rest as a hoax.
Another ghost that must be laid to rest is the idea that economic development must be stopped to save the planet from man made catastrophic climate, even while one quarter of mankind has no access to electricity and is mired in all the woes that go with it. It is based on the belief that the world is running out of:
· Non-renewable resources of a finite planet;
· Space for a population that grows at an exponential rate;
· Time to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that will bring climate disruption.
None of the tenets is true, but well funded propaganda has made them accepted with an act of faith.
Mankind does not consume the planet like a piece of cheese. There are no non-renewable resources in a world subject to the law of conservation of matter. Human consumption never subtracted one gram from the mass of the planet; matter only changes form and may be recycled. Energy for it is potentially available. One cubic kilometre holds deuterium, fuel for fusion reactors, with energy content equivalent to that of all known petroleum reserves. The oceans hold three billion cubic kilometres of water, more that enough for any imaginable need. Water is not scarce and desalinisation plants already furnish one fifth of the water supply of a big city like Madras, in India, with a process that uses reverse osmosis membranes. A new nano-tube membrane, that requires far less energy, holds the promise of making desalinised water cheap enough for irrigation purposes, a boon to a dry places like Australia with a coast of 25000 kilometres, or the Sahara for that matter. Mining companies never had use for the notion that the planet holds a fixed inventory of resources because they are aware that little is known about the content of the crust of the earth. Since 1850, The Economist has maintained consistent records of the value of commodities, and none has shown an increase symptomatic of scarcity. On the contrary; in 1850, food for a human being was eight times more expensive than it is today. In 1950, less than half of world population had a diet above 2000 calories/day while today 80% have it, and population has tripled since 1950. The Malthusian fallacy has always been that technology will remain frozen forever. It currently holds that fusion energy never will be practical.
UN population forecasts point to stability of world population in the course of the 21st century, and some estimates foresee a drop in population at its end. A new topic of concern is the widespread ageing of populations, clearly seen in Japan with a population that heads to extinction. China heads the same way and West meets East in a suicide pact with a birth rate that is approaching that of the Chinese official policy, of one child per couple. Overcrowding is a local problem seen in places like Calcutta, but far from the predicament of mankind. With an efficient economy, the world population of six billion could live comfortably on 100000 square miles, the area of the state of Wyoming (0.17% of the terrestrial area of the planet). Manhattan and the Copacabana beach district of Rio de Janeiro have higher population densities that do not seem to drive people away with insurmountable problems.
Climate disruption induced by economic activity is the last straw clutched by Malthusians as the cause of all misfortunes that happen on the planet. A dust storm in Australia; the Indian Ocean tsunami; an earthquake on the Himalayas; floods in Pakistan and concomitant drought in Russia; tribal wars in Africa; a snail plague on the Isle of Wight; volcanic eruption in Iceland; collapse of a bridge in Minnesota; hurricane Katrina; summer floods in Bolivia, that Evo Morales blames on fuel consumption by Americans. Anything goes if it serves the aim of suspect pecuniary interests: rationing the consumption of fuel and international licensing and taxation of its production. It means power over every act of all human beings. Qui bono?

Jim Goodridge

As I recall George Brown, the only congressman with a degree in meteorology. He sponsored the National Climate Program Act signed by President Carter in 1978. He intended it to improve the climate network as I recall from the inquiries from the office of the Committee of Science and Technology. Unemployed bomb builders usurped the money to built dry computer models. No new thermometers resulted from 5 billion dollars spent.
The climate network continues to degrade, but then the sites have been denatured so much that even a better instruments could do little more than describe the climate where people live.
The idea of gaining climate inferences from the NWS Climatological Data network is not realistic without a careful examination of each stations exposure history
Thank the fire weather people for the RAWS network with little pavement, heated buildings or night-lights in their view shed.

Jim Goodridge

As I recall George Brown, the only congressman with a degree in meteorology. He sponsored the National Climate Program Act signed by President Carter in 1978. He intended it to improve the climate network as I recall from the inquiries from the office of the Committee of Science and Technology. Unemployed bomb builders usurped the money to built dry computer models. No new thermometers resulted from 5 billion dollars spent.
The climate network continues to degrade, but then the sites have been denatured so much that even a better instruments could do little more than describe the climate where people now live.
The idea of gaining climate inferences from the NWS Climatological Data network is not realistic without a careful examination of each stations exposure history
Thank the fire weather people for the RAWS network with little pavement, heated buildings or night-lights in their view shed.

Steven mosher

Rattus Norvegicus says:
September 21, 2010 at 2:05 pm
Rattus the costs are all broken down in the pie chart on page 11.
Many people who have never worked building things for the government or under the government do not understand how costing works and everything that goes into the 100M. Having built my share of 600 dollar hammers and billion dollar aircraft ( a totally misunderstood figure that has more to do with COST ACCOUNTING practices ) I would say that people should look at the numbers, ( I’ve broken down some of them above) before they try to quote a “unit cost” by dividing the program cost by the units. The program cost is a cost over time that includes, cost to survey, cost to aquire the land, equipment, labor, maintence, research, management reserve (10M) lots of things. Further, whoever makes up the budget is going to be forced to use standard cost estimating procedures and methods. It’s tedious effin business. So, for example if you look at the equipment used, the cost for that will come off a GSA schedule. the equipment is all COTS. The labor, from a description of the work required and standard labor codes, the managment reserve? dictated.

Steven mosher

Anthony,
no way you can do “it” for 10K a piece, because “it” is a total program.
lets suppose you are just talking about equipment. I will use chips as an example
because I also sold chips to the government. ( and bought stuff for the government) A chip that sells for say 30 bucks to a company, will cost the government 90 bucks.9for example) why? well, for one you have to
consider that the government looks at the life cycle cost. In the commercial world
I sell you a chip and then 6 months later I EOL that chip. I discontinue it. Tough luck for you, plan ahead. When I sell that same chip to the government they put it in a system that has to last for 20 years. So, for example, they will have to buy 20 years of spares, based on the MTBF of the part. Just as an example. So, you can just say “that device costs 600 bucks” .. it may cost 600 bucks but if it needs to be replaced every 5 years, then I need spares in place..so it costs $2400 over the life of the program. and when I EOL the product I have to offer the government an EOL buy. so you simply cannot figure the true program cost by looking at the purchase price. Cant.
REPLY: Can, you have no idea what I had in mind. – Anthony

Liz

Check out the Oklahoma Mesonet. It is a net of 120 automated sites with at least one site in each county. The link is for the North Oklahoma City site. http://www.mesonet.org/index.php/weather/local/okcn
If you click on the “site information” (scroll down, there is a slight formating glitch), you’ll see pictures of the site, including a panorama option. It also lists what data is transmitted every 5, 15 and 30 minutes.
I have requested information on the current costs of the system. The history page indicates that the cost of the intial setup was $2.7 million for 108 stations. The set up was done between late 1991 to 1993. But, the “about” page is interesting reading – they even show you the instruments that are used for measurements.
They do have another website that is tailored for “agweather” http://agweather.mesonet.org/

Paul Deacon, Christchurch, New Zealand

Anthony – write to them formally with an offer to make a full tender.

Steven mosher says:
September 21, 2010 at 2:26 pm
so about 20K per site in equipment
about 20K in deployment labor.
at 100 bucks per hour thats like 5 man weeks of labor.

Laying nice smooth tarmac takes preparation groundworks y’know. 😉

Alan Simpson not from Friends of the Earth

But, but, but surely the magical money tree still has some fruit left?
This is starting to look like a “beggars banquet”, sadly in Englandistan we have an Energy and Climate Change” F**kwit, who has decided to raise green taxes to £50 billion a year! I hope some of his colleagues will take the tw*t to the woodshed, but I am not hopeful.