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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148 thoughts on “NOAA/NCDC – USHCN is broken please send 100 million dollars

  1. 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).

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. “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…

  11. @ 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.

  12. 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.

  13. $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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

    .

  19. 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?

  20. 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.

  21. 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

  22. 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.

  23. 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?

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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!

  29. 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?

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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

  34. 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/

  35. 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. ;-)

  36. 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.

  37. Anthony the land survey expense alone is 3000 per site.

    so even before you buy anything, you are down to 7K.
    And, you had better have all the MTBF data on the systems.

    But if you think you can deploy and maintain 1000 sites for 10K a piece and pay all the salarys, pay for the spares, the maintence, the whole program, then you probably need to read the spec again.

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

    $100k … that’s about the cost of an acre of good building land, land which has been effectively purchased for the sole use of weather monitoring … otherwise it is useless for long term trends.

    $25k might be the cost of equipment, but when you add on time and effort to locate these sites, legal fees to draw up contracts, contractual payments to secure long term use, in some cases roads, gates even planning permission (or the US equivalent).

    Add to that a few years to cover setting up the organisation to install, monitor and maintain. A calibration lab, replacement equipment so that calibrated equipment can be swapped with equipment in the field.

    Then you’ve got staff training, (…. like not to put old bits and bobs around the station).

    Basically what I’m saying is that it is quite possible that it could cost an average of $100k/site, and whether or not that was reasonable would depend on a lot of other factors like the contractual terms with landowners e.g. are they buying the land and if so how much?

  39. Man says:
    September 21, 2010 at 12:37 pm
    “Seriously, if a Net Community were to attack this problem, what would it look like and how much would it cost”

    If a net based community were to attack this problem then … it would look like the shambles they call wikipedia … full of in fighting, petty politics data that cannot be trusted by anyone least of all those involved. All it all a total waste of time for all concerned!

  40. You mean Obama missed this in his stim you less package and his health crater program? I am astounded. I would have thought that once they passed this they would have found this to be in it. After all the replacement of traffic lights with LED bulbs only cost something like $5,000 a light in the stim you less package in LA. A turn arrow cost $25,000.

  41. I’ve recently read that smart phones are gaining sensors faster than any other device in the world. In line with the other thread on pollution. why not enable the phones to send time, date, GPS, stamped temp data to a central server, or share resources like Seti at home, and have real time trends from everywhere? Sounds a little crazy, but the possibility is real.

  42. To “the Rev. Anthony Watts”

    From his “band of screeching mercury monkeys”

    EEK! EEK! OOK! OOK!

    NOBODY BEATS THE REV!

  43. Anthony the land survey expense alone is 3000 per site.

    I use a tape measure.

    “The smoke alone is worth a thousand pounds a puff.”

  44. Reminds me of the late and great George Carlin’s skit about God:
    “He’s all knowing!, all powerful!, call seeing!, call caring!, omnipotent!…CAN’T HANDLE MONEY. ALWAYS NEEDS MONEY!”

    JimB

  45. a.n. ditchfield says:
    September 21, 2010 at 2:50 pm
    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?

    Good question. Trying to guess the motivations of the elite is tricky at this point in history. Some of them genuinely believe humankind needs to have its numbers reduced for the good of the planet. Some of them see a buck to be made in providing the means of control. It’s hard to see how they come to the conclusion that thier wealth will increase in a world creating less energy, but wealth is a relative thing. It’s status and a hand in ‘big decisions’ which they really crave, even if they choose to reman discreet.

  46. ya go figure. 10K per system is 10 Million dollars. you can’t even maintain the system on that figure.

    the Maintanance labor cost for 1000 sites for 10 years.
    thats 10,000 years of maintenance cost. we already know what bad maintenance gets you. Ever check the triple redundant CRN data files to see how well the stuff operates in the field under all sorts of conditions?
    Anyway, the estimated site operation and maintenance figure is 1700 dollars per site per year. Go figure at 100 bucks an hour, thats 17 hours per site per year or less than 90 minutes per month of operation and maint.

    Figure that includes travel time of 15 minutes to and from any site and a 1 hour minimum for service labor. pretty soon when you look at the costs over a 10 year period it adds up.

    So if you plan for 90 minutes per site per month for all maintainence actions (PM as well) that means, 18000 hours per year and 180,000 hours over the length of the program.. and so, 18Million bucks at 100 bucks per hour.

  47. $100 for new measurement equipment, to produce the same quality of data … What do they need to stop the data fudging? How many billions will that cost.

  48. In some parts of the world, corruption is corruption: politicians and hangers-on fill their pockets with state cash in pretty direct ways, and every million dollars they embezzle costs their taxpayers a million dollars. Here in the West, we congratulate ourselves on stamping out corruption – only problem is that the politicians and friends are still filling their boots, but they have to do it through convoluted channels, by buying the right stocks, getting the right directorships, and then awarding contracts like these. Net result, every million dollars they embezzle costs the taxpayer a hundred million.

    Remind me again who has the better system?

  49. Anthony’s original publication was done in March. In May, it was featured on WBZTV. And in June, congress started making inquiries.

    And now this!

  50. evanmjones says:
    September 21, 2010 at 4:02 pm
    Anthony the land survey expense alone is 3000 per site.

    I use a tape measure.

    “The smoke alone is worth a thousand pounds a puff.”
    #########################
    Evan. does your tape measure:
    research potential sites.
    fly itself on an airplane
    rent a car
    eat.
    sleep in a hotel
    take photos
    record GPS coordinates.
    write a report.

    real basic. if you figure you’ve go to fly from evan jones place to any 1000 different
    places all over the US, you better figure 2 days of travel. land the night before. sleep. travel to the site, do you work, return the car and hit the plane.
    That’s 16 hours of time on the clock for your time, figure 4 hours to complete your
    trip report, 20 hours per site, assuming every site is picked for you and passess muster. 20 hours, 100 bucks per hour. thats 2K. figure 700 bucks for the average
    plane ticket to anywhere, figure 2 days per diem @50 bucks a day GSA rates, 100 bucks for the room, 100 bucks for the car.

    3K per survey is not outrageous. so basically the value of surfacestations project is 3million or so.

  51. I can do the com to where it reports back to a DB! I won’t charge that much, but I’m not a programmer, but I do know a few!

    Anthony, yes, we can bring it in under $10,000/per and do it in a way that is open to scrutiny, sortable, and programmable. Did I mention more accurate and reliable?

  52. So in answering the question about station siting they didn’t actually look at any stations? They examined documents.and consulted other people who hadn’t looked at any stations either?

    Sounds like government work.

  53. Mike Haseler says:
    September 21, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    The 100Million is the PROGRAM cost over 10 years.

    The equipment deployment expense is roughly 20K per system.

    Depending how they define things the deployment expense can include the following:

    1. the cost of the actual equipment.
    2. the cost of a lay in of spares and replacements for 10 years of operation.
    3. the cost of storing the spares
    4. the cost of transporting the equipment.

    but you really cant tell ANYTHING without a specification. Based on their prior experience with equipment, and based on the requirement of a 99% availability requirement ( system must be reporting 99% of the time) they may require redundancy (CRN is triple redundant) they may require a scheduled replacement after 5 years ( which would mean 2000 sets of equipment) So, its really unwise to claim that you can do “it” for less. “it” means deliver a system that satisfies the spec. including all the life cycle aspects of the program. so 100M over 10 years to design
    deploy operate maintain 1000 stations. Seems low to me.

  54. Hey,what Steve Mosher says. Stress again,this is over a ten year period….and yes,if you want to improve the infrastructure,you need money.

  55. “If a net based community were to attack this problem then … it would look like the shambles they call wikipedia … full of in fighting, petty politics data that cannot be trusted by anyone least of all those involved. All it all a total waste of time for all concerned!”

    the problems with a net based community approach would be a nightmare for anyone analyzing/auditing the data either now or 25 years from now.

  56. Obviously, the $100K pricetag includes the $60K screwdriver set and wrenches for assembly.
    $10K for installation fees, $10K for enviro-impact study, $10K for paperwork and $10K for the equipment.
    Budget another extra 50% for cost overruns, attorneys fees, contract administration, etc.

  57. Nick says:
    September 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Hey,what Steve Mosher says. Stress again,this is over a ten year period….and yes,if you want to improve the infrastructure,you need money.
    ========================================================

    Yes, but, not that much. Ideally, these people have actually identified what was wrong and where. (Else, where did they come up with that figure?)

    If you know what is wrong, what does it take to fix it? It isn’t that every station needs relocated. Some only need upgraded materials. As Steve Mosher says, there are considerable expenses involved in lodging and transport, but done properly, one could hit 3-4/day, depending upon the task. The logistics, if done properly, would cut considerably the estimated costs. Sadly, this is a governmental agency, so it won’t happen, in fact, the incentive is to spend more, because they’ll have more of a budget to spend if they can find a justification. Sigh, I can see where we’ll take it from here.

  58. I will happily install 2 stations per year for $200,000. Just send my first $100,000 and I’ll get right on it. With luck, I’ll raise the rate to 4 per year just after the first 2 are installed ….

  59. Have they no shame?

    No, I guess not – after all these same “scientists” have been lying to us for years about the catastrophic dangers of man-made global warming. Is it any wonder that they would not be seeking outrageously inflated funding that has absolutely not one jot of justification.

    Bernie Madoff would be proud of NOAA/NCDC.

  60. How do we get historic temperature trends from all these new sites?

    That is alot of “station move adjustments” and recalculated “homogeneity adjustments” and new super computer programs to do all the “adjustments” and, viola, massive global (US) warming.

    There must a limit to just how cynical a person can get but obviously I haven’t reached it yet in this area – more to come later I guess.

  61. Yeah but for government work that’s pretty cheap.

    Sure, they could almost certainly do it cheaper. But unfortunately Government tends to find the most expensive way to not accomplish what it intends to do.

    The private sector tends to seek the cheapest way to accomplish something, and accidentally ends up accomplishing more than it even intended to, in a positive way that is. Unfortunately I don’t think there is a market for climate monitoring, so this remains in the government responsibility area. Which means it will be expensive and not work right.

    Is that really the best we can do?

  62. tallbloke says:
    September 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Steven mosher says:
    September 21, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    100 bucks per hour.

    Blimey.

    Yeah, my thoughts exactly. At $100/hr, are they getting Peterson and Karl to do some manual labor? (That IS an amusing thought…).

    In any case, $100 million is an awful lot of money for just 2% of the Earth’s surface (as Jimbo Hansen likes to point out). They could install much cheaper equipment and just “homogenize” and “correct” the data like they do now…

  63. @Djozar says: @September 21, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    “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”

    Very good. One can tell from the number of wounded trolls on this thread how accurate that comment was.

  64. 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.

    Nah. Just stick it right next to a house. Much cheaper. Then you can spend the money on bogus polar bear reports.

  65. Have you done the analysis? $100 million over ten years for a group that size + the equipment installs doesn’t sound all that unreasonable to me. What Mosh said.

  66. According to the AGW promotion community, the stations are producing highly reliable data.
    There for it would be a waste, in these times of budget pressure, to spend any money on this perfect system.

  67. Well and good from here on, perhaps, but what of the data already collected over decades? Will we have to wait for a few decades more to gain enough new data to discern global warming/climate change/climate disruption, to use the latest buzz phrase?

    I guess the heat’s off until new data replace the old (pun intended!).

  68. Bill Illis says:
    September 21, 2010 at 6:34 pm
    How do we get historic temperature trends from all these new sites?

    See the CRN. basically you have overlapping periods. so with CRN they have a pristine station, with say 7 years of data ( last I checked, they have published on this) and you look at the correlation of the new with the old. The assumption being that if they track well from say 2000 to 2010 that you can splice them together. Of cou

    However if the new site showed .1C warming from 2000 to 2010 and the old nearby site showed .3C warming or 0C warming, then they would have an issue.

    of course people will have issues with splicing but if the data support it and you want an estimate of the past, its the only way to estimate.

  69. Yeah, my thoughts exactly. At $100/hr, are they getting Peterson and Karl to do some manual labor? (That IS an amusing thought…).

    100 bucks an hour. ever had your car fixed? or washing machine.

    do you know what a wrap rate is?

    http://fedbiztips.net/blog/entry/55691/do-you-know-your-cost-structure

    basically, its the true cost of the employees labor.

    you may pay the employee 30 dollars an hour or 60K per year.

    To that hourly rate you “wrap” in all the other costs.

    Does that employee have a boss? a manager who does not charge the government
    on this contract? say he earns 200K per year. thats 100 per hour. Say he has 3
    employees. each of them has to charge 60 per hour to pay the overhead on their labor. do you give them a 401K, that gets added. do you give them health, life insurance, pension. These are all allowed costs that are “wrapped” into the base labor rate. So, when you sell the government (Noaa) labor you bid a wrapped rate.

    so 100 bucks per hour is NOT what the employee GETS, its what the business has to charge to make money on the labor. It is all regulated by a giant ass book called the FAR. And if you want to sell to the government you have to comply with the FAR which means you get to wrap your overhead charges ( secretaries, managers, buildings, vacations, IR&D, pensions, medical etc, bid and proposal work, etc) into your labor cost.
    AND when you sell equipment to the government that too comes with its wrap rate.

    and your profit margin is fixed. and fully disclosed.

    I’ve worked at places with wrap rates of 3X

    here is the average for the IT sector from TRW

    http://www.ardak.com/competitor_rates.html

    about 2.2X

    software engineers
    http://www.linux.com/learn/whitepapers/doc/4/raw

    2.4X

    so, If I were a scientist like Karl making say 75 per hour, that would be burdended up to at least 150 per hour if not 200 per hour.

    Most consultants I know charge 400 per hour, wrapped. they dont put 400 per hour in their pocket. Its what they have to charge to put 100 per hour in their pocket.

    and now you understand a little bit more about cost accounting and the FAR.

    yikes that was years ago

  70. Off-topic apology, but this one is too good to miss… possibly climate quote of teh week material:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/wind-and-fliud-dynamics-may-have-parted-red-sea-for-moses/story-e6frg6so-1225927841954

    Yes climate modelling used to argue the case for Moses parting the Red Sea… I kid you not. It ain’t April 1st somewhere is it? Is this you tax dollars hard at work?

    REPLY: Ah thanks, I saw that earlier today and was working on the writeup when you posted this.- Anthony

  71. Who needs stations? All that is needed are bigger MegaComputer Clusters. As far as the GCM is concerned, the heat is rising at the processor level.

  72. Long time reader of the site. Keep up the good work. Work in a creative industry and have been the only skeptic in the office …. until today. One co-worker now has seen enough to say he was wrong and others are definitely wavering. I couldn’t be happier. Even the former true believers just don’t wanna talk about it anymore. Their arguments are getting less and less …. “sustainable.”

  73. Andrew says:
    E.M.Smith says:
    September 21, 2010 at 6:18 pm
    I will happily install 2 stations per year for $200,000. Just send my first $100,000 and I’ll get right on it. With luck, I’ll raise the rate to 4 per year just after the first 2 are installed ….

    ##############
    the installation cost as I noted is 20Million Over 10 years. that is 2Million per year
    for 100 stations per year. that is 20000 per station. Now, I imagine that includes whatever labor and tools are necessary to prepare the site, and bring the system on line and test it. And are you prepared to change your accounting system so that you comply with the FAR?

  74. Mike Haseler says: September 21, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Man says: September 21, 2010 at 12:37 pm
    “Seriously, if a Net Community were to attack this problem, what would it look like and how much would it cost”

    If a net based community were to attack this problem then … it would look like the shambles they call wikipedia … full of in fighting, petty politics data that cannot be trusted by anyone least of all those involved. All it all a total waste of time for all concerned!

    I don’t know what you have in mind, but there already exists a volunteer network for rain and snow, with manual web data entry nation-wide. It is the Community Collaborative Rain hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS). They are shooting for 20,000 observers by the end of 2010. The observer provides their own guage.
    Here: http://www.cocorahs.org/

  75. Steven mosher says:
    September 21, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    “the problems with a net based community approach would be a nightmare for anyone analyzing/auditing the data either now or 25 years from now.”

    Maybe, but there could be an agreed upon set of standards that could be imposed and enforced. It would take a lot of the contention out. Perhaps the IEEE could help?

  76. James Sexton says:
    September 21, 2010 at 6:05 pm
    Nick says:
    September 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Hey,what Steve Mosher says. Stress again,this is over a ten year period….and yes,if you want to improve the infrastructure,you need money.
    ========================================================

    Yes, but, not that much. Ideally, these people have actually identified what was wrong and where. (Else, where did they come up with that figure?)

    If you know what is wrong, what does it take to fix it? It isn’t that every station needs relocated. Some only need upgraded materials. As Steve Mosher says, there are considerable expenses involved in lodging and transport, but done properly, one could hit 3-4/day, depending upon the task.

    ##########
    without knowing the locations ahead of time you cannot optimize the logistics. If you planned ( dreaming) that you could optimize the travel, then if you could NOT, you would have to eat the difference. if you predict 1500 per trip, under a FFP contract that is all you can spend. so the difference comes out of pocket. If you underspend you can also get in trouble. because your profit is limited by law.

  77. A million dollars for 10 thousand worth of site improvements sounds about right. The Department of Commerce has overhead to cover. ( a large part of the CIA funds come from the departments of agriculture and commerce) Have you done work for the government. I have, you have to charge 3 times the normal price to cover the extra overhead of the paperwork and special demands in all government contracts that have nothing to do with the needs of the job. pg

  78. I think you are all missing the point – I see that one Scientist is saying that the new data adjustment homogenizer, is the best there is to detect and show climate change. So that work is done and dusted on that say so and now if we just make the replacement program so high in cost the politicians will baulk at the prospect of spending that sort of money then business adjustment agenda as usual.

    Conversely if they opt to provide it. Lots of new data, but lots of time to invent excuses, we didn’t do it, don’t blame us it was the old equipment see!! (the honorable escape route – blame the tools !!) (you know the instruments, not us!!)

    Whatever happened with rational minds – you can parralel a random number of new sites and effectively check and verify the temperature trends against the others and use that to bring into effect an orderly replacement program.

    Most of the cost of maintaining is already there with the old systems now – perhaps in a double blind experiment the Surface Stations Org project team could recommend and re-site the worst UH affected sites and assist in the random selection of new representative sites.

    Proper way to do things and disarm your skeptical critics (maybe!!)

    Hmmnn.

  79. And the other thing to consider is that whoever did the budget request had data, real cost data, on building up the CRN. Typically, that data would be controlling and anybody in the budget office reviewing the budget request would go over it with a fine toothed comb. There would a full schedule, head counts, average labor rates, review meetings programmed, blah blah blah, AND if you want to sell your services to the government you have to abide by their aquisition rules or you cannot bid. So, you might think you can do the work your way, but that is not what they are buying. They are buying the work done THEIR way. And you have to prove that you can do it their way. do it their way. and then document that you did it their way and be subject to audit that you did it their way. Oh, and if, for example, you have employees in some cases they have to fill out a time card in 1/4 hour increments, and keep the time card visible for inspection at all times. At least that is what I had to do.

    So you cant do “it” cheaper, because doing “it” means doing “it” their way. of course we can all think of ways to do “it” cheaper, but the government is not buying your innovative ways. they are buying it the way they bought it yesterday, and the day before that.

    If you want to build a better mousetrap, your way and try to sell them something better, cheaper, etc. then I would suggest an unsolicited proposal.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_F-20_Tigershark

    1.2 Billion was alot of money then. but we knew better than customer. ha.

  80. P.G. Sharrow says:
    September 21, 2010 at 8:29 pm
    A million dollars for 10 thousand worth of site improvements sounds about right. The Department of Commerce has overhead to cover. ( a large part of the CIA funds come from the departments of agriculture and commerce) Have you done work for the government. I have, you have to charge 3 times the normal price to cover the extra overhead of the paperwork and special demands in all

    #########

    yep. for a smallish business the wrap rates can be 3X. like I said at one small company I worked with the wrap rate was 3.12 bigger companies have it easier since the added overhead gets amortorized over more labor hours. hence the TRW numbers around 2.2X

  81. James

    Maybe, but there could be an agreed upon set of standards that could be imposed and enforced. It would take a lot of the contention out. Perhaps the IEEE could help?

    ########

    the issue isnt the standards. The issue would be compliance and audit. just for starters. And the system (like CRN) has to supply reliable data for decades.

    just think about the problem of incorporation new data into the old system. after 10 years of the new system supplying data you can start to correlate it to the old and adjust as needed. So any net based approach would have to have people committed to 10 years of supplying data.

    James: I have a great idea boss, we can get people to supply data over the net.
    BOSS: will the promise 10 years of data?
    James: err you mean a contractual obligation?
    Boss: yes, thats the goal of the program, to build a new system that can be
    matched to the old system and carry on as old stations go out of service.
    James: err, like a real contract?
    Boss: yes, I have to be able to represent that this is low risk and we can be held
    accountable. we need guranteed success. Im a federal worker. I want this
    gig till I get my fat pension.
    James: oh, so be very safe and conservative..
    Boss: ya, unless you like the weather in alaska, I suggest you be boring and safe.

    not like the commercial world at all.

  82. How about doubling the cost and hardwiring ALL of the sites to a central point to which the data is delivered absolutely independent of human handling. The central box then spits out the data while concurrently archiving it in itself in a permanent database no one can alter, Read Only!

    More expensive, but so much better!

  83. Jim Barker says:
    September 21, 2010 at 3:56 pm
    I’ve recently read that smart phones are gaining sensors faster than any other device in the world. In line with the other thread on pollution. why not enable the phones to send time, date, GPS

    ##################

    well Phone GPS. last I looked ( in 2008 when I worked on cell phones) roughly 15% of cell phones had GPS, so 85 percent would have to rely on cell tower triangulation. In the case of a a single tower your measurement error is roughly say 6km,

    One of the biggest issues with the existing database is the quality of the metadata since data like nightlights comes in at 1km resolution but the positions recorded in the inventory databases can be off by 10s of km. So basically, you would be going in the wrong direction to when it comes to providing metadata.

    Now it somebody wants to propose this:

    http://alumni.media.mit.edu/~emunguia/miteswebsite/index.html

    that would be hella cool. just sayin.

  84. Mosher,

    You have laid out the case far better than I ever could have. I was just pointing out to Anthony that you have to take the whole cost into account — something he obviously was not doing. I’ll take a look at the cost breakdown, I didn’t have time when I looked at the letter during work. IIRC, USCRN was not cheap to bring online and it is only, what 130 stations or so?

    I guess the point is that if you want good quality data over a long period of time you have to pay for it. Otherwise live with the adjustments to minimize known flaws in the data. USHCN was never intended to do the job that is being asked of it.

    REPLY: “USHCN was never intended to do the job that is being asked of it.” On that we agree, however the $100K per station “package” is still way too high for what is involved. It can be done far more efficiently. Perhaps my failing to accept the numbers is not thinking like government does. – Anthony

  85. Charles Higley says:
    September 21, 2010 at 9:27 pm
    How about doubling the cost and hardwiring ALL of the sites to a central point to which the data is delivered absolutely independent of human handling. The central box then spits out the data while concurrently archiving it in itself in a permanent database no one can alter, Read Only!

    I’ll have to check but I think they have an uplink to GOES

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/crn/hcnm/

    The data quality requirements are the same as ushcrn

    you can see those requirements and the legislative requirements here

    http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/uscrn/publications/annual_reports/FY09_USCRN_Annual_Report.pdf

    Beginning with a pilot project in the Southwest, USHCN-M stations will be deployed at a 100 km spatial resolution to provide for the detection of regional climate change signals. Following completion of the pilot project, the long-term vision is deployment in each of the nine NOAA climate regions of the United States at a 100 km spatial resolution that will allow the detection of regional climate change signals. As with the USCRN, USHCN-M stations have triple redundancy and are placed in pristine environments. About 1000 locations in the United States will have either a USHCN-M or USCRN station at the end of deployment for this project. This project is managed by the Office of Science and Technology in NOAA’s National Weather Service and operated in partnership with NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center and NOAA’s Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division.

    an example:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/crn/hcnm/hcnm-map.html

    Photos here

    http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/hcnmweb/StationPhotos.pdf

    looks like the job involves heavy lifting or pouring some concrete. Hope EM is up for that. Anyways, I suppose getting the thing to communicate with the satillite is a 5 minute job. its a geo stationary platform.

    two of these batteries:

    http://www.batteryusa.com/Deka.htm

    here is the data sheet
    http://www.dekabatteries.com/assets/base/c.pdf

    here is the rest of the equipment more or less.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/crn/instrdoc.html

    Anyways, with the experience of crn they know a bit more about how to plan and the problems you see in the field

    • Aberdeen, SD: A wind generator will help this site significantly.
    • Lander, WY: Additional batteries are all that is recommended for the time being,
    although the potential for wind energy production is very good.
    • Montrose, CO: Increasing the size of the battery bank is recommended.
    Installation of a wind generator is justified based on locally measured winds and
    the fact that the surface is very rough, and significantly stronger winds than were
    locally measured are expected a height of 5 m.
    • Northgate, ND: Some combination of a wind generator, additional batteries, and
    possibly additional solar panels are needed at this site.
    • Sandstone, MN: The size or efficiency of the solar array must be improved.
    Doubling size of the solar array is recommended. In addition, the size of the
    battery bank may need to be increased.
    • Spokane, WA: More solar panels or a wind generator should be added, and the
    size of the battery bank should be increased.
    • Sundance, WY: A wind generator and additional batteries are recommended.

    …..
    With the USCRN and USHCN-M, accuracy and reliability are critical attributes which must be
    maintained in order for collected climate data to be scientifically credible. To ensure the highest
    degree of credibility, all climate stations in these two networks must be constantly monitored for
    potential problems. As problems are identified, they must then be prioritized, diagnosed, and
    scheduled for maintenance. Traditionally, the operation of each station has been closely watched
    by trained engineers and scientists to look for signs of hardware or software failures. This
    manual observation approach worked well when the number of climate stations was small

    And of course since these 1000 sites will be installed the government way, you should be aware that they tell you exactly how to do things …

    http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/uscrn/documentation/program/USCRN%20Installation%20Guide.pdf

    Construction Procedure
    A 1 in. diameter aluminum conduit pipe shall be placed vertically in the concrete.
    The center of the pole shall be 9 in. from the northeast edge and 5 in. from the
    northwest edge. The pipe shall extend vertically down into the concrete to a
    minimum sub-surface depth of 2 ft with at least 3 ft of vertical length remaining
    above the surface of the concrete.

    A 2 in. diameter aluminum conduit pipe shall be placed vertically 6 in. from the
    southeast edge and 9 in. from the northeast edge. The pipe shall extend vertically
    down into the concrete to a minimum sub-surface depth of 2 ft with at least 4 ft of
    vertical length remaining above the surface of the concrete.

    110 volts of AC power shall be supplied via direct bury cable in a 36 in. deep
    trench from the breaker box (use a 20 amp breaker for USCRN Station) located at
    the metered source of AC power to a point, 1 ft from Structure A, at which point
    the AC power cable shall continue, being contained in 1 in.

    and….

    5. Wire Datalogger box

    a. Connect red 12 AWG from the LVD in battery box to fuse block in 23x box
    b. Connect black 12 AWG from LVD in battery box to ground terminal strip in 23x box
    c. Connect 16 AWG from transformer in battery box to 23x battery charger
    d. Connect yellow wire from the temperature sensor in the east shield to 23x SE 1
    e. Connect white wire from the temperature sensor in the east shield to 23x SE 2
    f. Connect green wire from the temperature sensor in the east shield to 23x gnd
    g. Connect yellow wire from the temperature sensor in the south shield to 23x SE 3
    h. Connect white wire from the temperature sensor in the south shield to 23x SE 4
    i. Connect green wire from the temperature sensor in the south shield to 23x gnd
    j. Connect yellow wire from the temperature sensor in the west shield to 23x SE 5
    k. Connect white wire from the temperature sensor in the west shield to 23x SE 6
    l. Connect green wire from the temperature sensor in the west shield to 23x gnd
    m. Connect orange wires from all three of the temperature sensors to 23x EX 1
    n. Connect orange wire from the voltage divider to 23x SE 16
    o. Connect black wire from the voltage divider to 23x gnd
    p. Connect the white wire from the pyranometer to 23x SE 17
    q. Connect the green wire from the pyranometer to 23x SE 18
    r. Connect the bare wire from the pyranometer to 23x gnd
    s. Connect the red wire from the anemometer to 23x P1
    t. Connect the black wire from the anemometer 23x gnd

    whew.

  86. Im have what may seem like a trivial, or maybe, a hostile question.

    I care not which it is–it is interesting to me and I would like to see it addressed.

    Recall, please, that there is often an argument about whether a particular phenomenon or even is “weather” or “climate”. In general, I think the rule of thumb is “if it got cold, it was climate”, whereas “if it got warm it was weather”. Or maybe it was the other way around. (For what it is worth, I choose to think that “climate” is “average weather”, or maybe “summary of past data that can be used to predict future weather. But take your umbrella.”

    In the letter above seems to be talking about “weather stations” that report “climate data”.

    When I used to call Flight Service or drop into the Weather Bureau Office for a briefing, was I getting “weather”, or “climate”.

    And I still wonder if we can predict snowfall 30 years out, why can’t I get a useful statement about the Church Picnic?

  87. Mosher,

    You forgot steps aa to zz in the datalogger installation. The checklists, parts lists and documentation requirements associated with the installation are pretty extensive too. Pretty much Anthony’s wet dream for metadata.

    But of course this all drives the price up… How much do you want to pay for the data?

  88. Rattus:

    Part of the issue here is understanding the data availability rates required by the program. the goal I believe was 99% after years they are hitting rates above that at least the fiscal 2009 program review shows that.

    So people see a 100M price tag and they don’t realize all of the requirements that have to be met by the system.

    20 Million for equipment deployment. Roughly 20K per system.
    As Anthony notes they told him about 25K when he visited,

    19 Million for Labor deployment expense. about 19K per sit to prepare the site,
    pour the concrete. connect the wires

    17 Million for site operation and maintance. less than 200 bucks a month

    8 million for system operation and support. call that
    4-8 people at the system level (NCDC)
    8 million full time staff. again 4-8 people.

    and everything else is mouse nuts. taxes, reserves,

    Anyways, I dont see much fat in the way of staffing. the maintanance cost comes from EXPERIENCE in the field with how often these puppies need attention.

    So you are left with deployment costs.. which are KNOWN from prior experience
    and equipment costs which are known

    So, not many ways to save money here. A different approach may LOOK like it saves money, but before the government adopts a different approach you have to PROVE that it saves money. Like with an actual test. which costs money. and so if you want to build a prototype approach an operate it for 5 years or so to get the data to prove that your different approach actually saves money on a life cycle basis, you have a break even point…..

    Say, you thought you could get the same data with 10K of equipment per site.
    Thats a program savings of 10Million. so, a pilot study of 100 of these stations for 5 years would cost what? lets see.. hmm. makes no sense to spend the money to prove your case, because the program cost is NOT dominated by the material cost.

    I think what most people miss is that you actually have to prove your idea is better before the government can believe you.

  89. It’s the old “It’s other peoples money” thing again in the UK people talk of all this money that can or should be spent on this or that but get very upset when asked to shell out their own hard earned.

  90. Steven mosher says:
    September 21, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    are you prepared to change your accounting system so that you comply with the FAR?

    Sure. My wife will be secratary, my son will be software engineer, I’ll be site engineer driver and procurement lackey, and my office will be at my home address.

    Are you pitching for a consultant role here Mosh? ;-)

  91. There does not seem to be a trade-in value for the existing stations in the proposals above. There are already more than 1,000 existing stations in USA. Surely these can be sold, probably at a profit because so many of their once-lonely rural surroundings have now become expensive suburbia.

    With a bit of creativity and a short overlap period for calibration, NOAA might find it can turn a quid on this proposal and even get some new, good-quality data as a bonus.

    Anthony, you’ll have to stop publishing your work if it leads to projects that make the Government spend $100 million. Or maybe propose an alternative, like siting the new ones on military bases and using existing labour to run and maintain them – which probably happens already.

  92. Well I’ll come back to an old favourite if mine. The proposal seems to be based on 1000 sites and there is now a debate about whether $100M is fair value.

    Who has looked at the sampling problem? Who has analysed the dynamic characteristics of the measured variable to determine how many measurement points are required and their distribution? Could be that 100 well positioned stations would be adequate. Could be that 10,000 would still suffer from spatial aliasing.

    If some money is spent at the outset, characterising the signal and determining the sampling problem, there would be a chance of an informed debate.

    If nobody has bothered to do that, then this proposal has got off to the worst possible start and climatologists are showing the world that they have learned nothing.

  93. Is the data collection automated or does someone need to read it?

    $10k to equip the site, $10k a year full cost for data collection?

    Then there’s data collation, distribution, QA/QC, station maintenance etc.

    Sure it sounds a huge figure, but why not ask to see the breakdown and then see how to do it cheaper?

  94. Primary cost is for the environmental impact studies necessary to preserve the local gnat population and fending off the green protesters who’ll object to ascertaining the truth. That’s in addition to all the other costs and payoffs mentioned earlier.

  95. evanmjones says:
    September 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm
    Anthony’s original publication was done in March. In May, it was featured on WBZTV. And in June, congress started making inquiries.

    And now this!

    ———————————————-

    and still no acknowledge from NOAA/NCDC for Anthony pioneering work, What a shame for a pubic funded institution.

  96. Years ago when I worked at a university I was asked by one of my department’s scientists to call up a supplier of scientific equipment for a price on a 15 mm screwdriver-type box spanner with an insulated handle to service one of the department’s scientific pieces of kit. The supplier of scientific equipment sent me a quote for $40.00 dollars, plus freight and packaging. They also very kindly mentioned the brand of the quoted item. I then drove to the town’s biggest hardware store; they stocked the exact same 15 mm screwdriver-type box with insulated handle – retail price = $2.50.
    It seems that when a government budget is going to pay, the world and his brother get into extortionate profit mode!

  97. Steven mosher says:
    September 21, 2010 at 3:45 pm
    Anthony the land survey expense alone is 3000 per site.
    so even before you buy anything, you are down to 7K.

    Dear Steve, that adds up to $10,000 per site – $100,000,000 divided by 1000 sites equals $100,000 per site. Back to grade 3 for a little remedial arithmetic

  98. Steven mosher says:
    September 21, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    “So people see a 100M price tag and they don’t realize all of the requirements that have to be met by the system.”

    OK, OK Steve. You are obviously very passionate about this, and I agree with your assessments that the costs are in line with any typical government-run project. I actually think that the final cost, like most things in government, would end up being much higher. The main question I have is if we as a country can afford this right now. I really think they should defund something else to pay for it – I can think of a few things…

  99. 100 million in 10 years, that means 10 million per years. How expensive!

    Indeed that would mean that it would cost something like 0,001% of the annual military expenses in the US.

  100. Steven mosher says:
    September 21, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    ” the issue isnt the standards. The issue would be compliance and audit. just for starters. And the system (like CRN) has to supply reliable data for decades.

    just think about the problem of incorporation new data into the old system. after 10 years of the new system supplying data you can start to correlate it to the old and adjust as needed. So any net based approach would have to have people committed to 10 years of supplying data.”
    ========================================================

    Steven, I believe you’re thinking within the proverbial box. The scenario you’re describing is what got it all messed up in the first place. But if we still have to go that way, sure contracts are a nice way to go. As far as the comm goes, one would have to use a variety of forms of communication. One size won’t fit all. Fortunately, the old and new system will have a standardized unit of measure called “temperature”. NOAA says the system is broke. This statement implies they’ve identified problems and problem areas. Yes, compliance is always a difficulty, auditing should not be, we’re still paying NOAA personnel. They should have a function or two in the process.

  101. I thought we already had weather sites. I thought we already had people to monitor them. I thought we already had supervisors? All existing costs of current system must be subtracted from new system. All current budget must be subtracted from new systems proposed budget. Is it not new equipment in better locations within same sites, or on gov land with no purchase price? Production is four things, paint, paint brush, painter and picture. Do each of those four things correctly and no problems. If you have a problem it is in one of those four areas, every time. Do it again 1,000 times.

    All costs, taxes pension, medical and payroll for an hourly employee equall about a 55% increase on the hourly rate of say 30 per hour. Yhe supewrvisors and data people are already in place in the current system. Maintance should be minimal at sites, reporting data gathering mostly automated. Only the govt can make it so complicated.

  102. Don`t need weather sites dried flowers will suffice.

    How dried flowers picked 150 years ago could give scientists clues about how plants respond to climate change.

    Karen Robbirt of UEA, (would this be the same UEA of climategate fame) the study’s lead author, said: ‘The results of our study are exciting.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1314213/How-dried-flowers-picked-150-years-ago-scientists-new-clues-plants-respond-climate-change.html#ixzz10GWxJ700

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1314213/How-dried-flowers-picked-150-years-ago-scientists-new-clues-plants-respond-climate-change.html#ixzz10GWmxCjo

  103. Ahhhh, I am already giving NOAA/NCDC (via the US Federal gov’t) involuntary donations yearly every April and in a significant amount.

    No more, no more, no more . . . . . taxes.

    John

  104. Rob Vermeulen says:
    September 22, 2010 at 5:01 am
    100 million in 10 years, that means 10 million per years. How expensive!
    Indeed that would mean that it would cost something like 0,001% of the annual military expenses in the US.

    Even though it was a disingenious remark, you might have something there. Let the military do it. We have bases worldwide, supply clerks to staff it, and personnel to install it. Reduce redundancy, cut this away from Jim, Karl and the econut gang.

  105. So essentially I have been right every time in that those schmucks only want more money pretty much every time they open their gutter hole essentially with out having to produce an actual working product or service or in this case a working robust-stand-up-to-critics theory . . . hey that’s a exactly what happened in the “dot com” industry, before it collapsed, and even during and right after the collapse the head in sand for late comers for people still spent billions on in fact an ongoing collapse.

  106. Tim Clark says:
    September 22, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Even though it was a disingenious remark, you might have something there. Let the military do it. We have bases worldwide, supply clerks to staff it, and personnel to install it. Reduce redundancy, cut this away from Jim, Karl and the econut gang.

    This is an excellent suggestion. Give this responsibility to a group which is well-removed from the government global warming apparatchiks…

  107. Very interesting discussion. My first thought would have been that this is not the right approach. We should not be building weather-measuring stations, with concrete and all that stuff. We should be designing a very inexpensive and very sturdy thermometer with GPS and automatic reporting, powered by solar power(?), that can be dropped from a helicopter or such. Instead of getting 100 stations, drop 10,000 thermometers. If they’re $100 apiece, that’s a million dollars, not counting the helicopters. When half of them fail or are eaten, drop some more. You’d lose some metadata, but get vastly better coverage.

  108. Gee, two of the three experts from “the three professional organizations we contacted” said that in their personal [not official] professional opinions, NOAA/NCDC USHCN Version 2 data “has value”, one saying it’s “the best we have” – but which can also easily mean not a ringing endorsement of past U.S. surface station related “GMT” reconstructions; and possibly leaving one expert not very impressed at all; along with me, as to this particular evaluation’s contribution to establishing the credibility of all non-satellite “GMT” reconstructions. FAIL?

  109. Hi Anthony. The $75 K you don’t account for is for (i) good old kickbacks, (ii) a really big air conditioner unit to situate nearby, and (iii) blacktop paving of the site.

  110. old44 says:
    September 22, 2010 at 4:47 am
    Steven mosher says:
    September 21, 2010 at 3:45 pm
    Anthony the land survey expense alone is 3000 per site.
    so even before you buy anything, you are down to 7K.

    Dear Steve, that adds up to $10,000 per site – $100,000,000 divided by 1000 sites equals $100,000 per site. Back to grade 3 for a little remedial arithmetic

    ########
    no old, I am afriad you need to go back to school.

    The claim was made that it could be done for 10K per site.

    As I pointed out, the cost of site SURVEY is 3000 per site. So anybody who thinks they can do it for 10K per site, has forgotten that they have to survey the site and see that it meets standards. That involves travel, hotel, food, car rental, etc. hence, if they thought they could do it for 10K per site, 3 K of that is eaten up by survey.
    so they are left with 7K for
    1. equipment
    2. equipement transportation
    3. labor to install.
    4. spare parts
    5. Taxes ( 7%)

    even if you could do it you could not operate or maintain the site, collect the data, etc

    watch the blue angles fly over head, look at the computer in front of you, or listen to your ipod, or talk on your cell phone, and understand that some of us here have decades of experience in designing, costing and building and supporting the things you have no idea how to build.

  111. James Sexton says:
    September 22, 2010 at 5:03 am

    Steven, I believe you’re thinking within the proverbial box. The scenario you’re describing is what got it all messed up in the first place. But if we still have to go that way, sure contracts are a nice way to go. As far as the comm goes, one would have to use a variety of forms of communication. One size won’t fit all. Fortunately, the old and new system will have a standardized unit of measure called “temperature”. NOAA says the system is broke. This statement implies they’ve identified problems and problem areas. Yes, compliance is always a difficulty, auditing should not be, we’re still paying NOAA personnel. They should have a function or two in the process.

    #####################
    Sorry, I spent years thinking out of the box. That was kinda my title. There are effective ways of innovating and ineffective ways. The most difficult innovations are those that try to innovate AGAINST infrastructure, since infrastructure has long term payback requirements. if you like I can detail all the innovations that I have succeeded in bringing to market as well as those that failed. The failures are almost always those that try to innovate infrastructure. In anycase innovating with the government is very difficult because there values and time horizens are different.

  112. Since there is a state (Oklahoma) that already has a statewide system (120 monitoring sites) that has been in effect since 1993, it would seem logical to use that system as a model. Initial cost was $2,700,000 for 108 stations = that’s $25,000. I haven’t found out the operating costs yet, but I assume that it is within the state university budgets.

    But, if Oklahoma has this type of network for education, research and support of ag and public safety, don’t other states? How much of the work is already done and available and probably partially funded by federal grants? And, I’m sure that the data is used by the National Weather Service and the Severe Storms Lab in Norman.

    http://www.mesonet.org/index.php/site/about

  113. david says:
    September 22, 2010 at 5:11 am
    I thought we already had weather sites. I thought we already had people to monitor them. I thought we already had supervisors? All existing costs of current system must be subtracted from new system. All current budget must be subtracted from new systems proposed budget. Is it not new equipment in better locations within same sites, or on gov land with no purchase price?
    ###################################
    these are new stations. in the current system the stations have assigned engineers and scientists. in the new system the requirement is 99% data availability. So, that’s new staff. The current system will stay in place for calibration against the old.
    The land in cases will have to be leased. that is in the program cost. people who expect to argue with me should do themselves the favor of reading the document

    “Production is four things, paint, paint brush, painter and picture. Do each of those four things correctly and no problems. If you have a problem it is in one of those four areas, every time. Do it again 1,000 times.” unfortunately in this case its wood, and wire and concrete and computers and batteries and solar panels and wind mills and different in every case. no learning curve unless you send the same crew to every site.
    And with installation happening over years I suspect the learning curve will be flat.
    Still, since they have experience putting in 100 or so, the learning curve ( if any) is known.

    “All costs, taxes pension, medical and payroll for an hourly employee equall about a 55% increase on the hourly rate of say 30 per hour. ”

    Unfortunately if you want to sell your services to the government you must use their accounting principles. its how they manage contractors and get cost parity from suppliers. Cost parity is important because they want to decide issues on risk.
    two contractors offering the same thing (meets the spec.. NO INNOVATION) same cost ( everybody uses the same accounting system and shares labor rate information)
    so all decisions come down to risk: can you deliver on time. So a low ball bid is suspect. same thing: same cost: win on risk abatement. simple.

    “the supewrvisors and data people are already in place in the current system. ”

    Acually not. You would need to read the program overview to understand the staff required to integrate into the existing system. Its like this:
    everyone is already working 100 percent. They just signed a time card that says so.If you add a new program, you have to add staff. If you lose a program, you lose staff.
    this is not operated like a business.

    “Maintance should be minimal at sites, reporting data gathering mostly automated.”

    You didnt read the links I posted. the current system is manually operated. but with 1000 stations they propose a level of automation. that system needs to be built and tested. that system needs to be manned. heck we man satillites. My friend had this great job flying a satillite ( dont ask, top secret, blue building in sunnyvale) anyways.
    Maintenance is based on experience with systems already fielded. As I said above I suggest anyone who wants to can go look at the ACTUAL data coming from the system and see how often the system has issues. like batteries or sensors going bad, or fans stopping, or wind damage. Then you have calibration. we all whine here about calibration. it takes money. and time.

  114. Liz says: September 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm
    Since there is a state (Oklahoma) that already has a statewide system (120 monitoring sites) that has been in effect since 1993, it would seem logical to use that system as a model.

    Most states have a network, but the international values? There are about 40 or so stations here.

    Missouri Historical Agricultural Weather Database
    http://aes.missouri.edu/sanborn/weather/sanborn.stm
    This model is used to query the Missouri Agricultural Weather Database to obtain hourly and dailyweather data from the Commercial Agriculture Automated Weather Station Network.

  115. Well I don’t think $100M will be anywhere near enough to cure the problem.

    After all the City of Los Angeles admits to having received $110M from the Federal Government (taxpayers) “Stimulus funds”, and by their own admission they were able to create a total of 55 public employee (union) jobs with that money or $2M fpr each public employee union job; well actually those jobs are only temporary; because when the $110M is all gone thse people will once again be unemployed.

    So how is a mere $100M going to support the countless thousands of otherwise unemployed “Climate Scientists” who seek to make their living off the Global Climate Disruption gravy train ?

  116. Liz says:
    September 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm
    Since there is a state (Oklahoma) that already has a statewide system (120 monitoring sites) that has been in effect since 1993, it would seem logical to use that system as a model. Initial cost was $2,700,000 for 108 stations = that’s $25,000.

    #######

    yes in 1990 dollars.
    and one cant forget the donated time and services.

    of course they charge for the data.

  117. Steven mosher says:
    September 21, 2010 at 3:45 pm
    no old, I am afriad you need to go back to school.

    The claim was made that it could be done for 10K per site.
    WHO claimed?

  118. Please contact Phil Jones and Wei-Chyung Wang – they can make up the data for you. This will actually be better than the original data would have been (you lay people may want to call it ‘value added’ data).

    If you have any questions concerning data probity or integrity – an independent inquiry can be organized for a small additional fee which will guarantee full scientific integrity.

  119. Mosher,

    About the charge for the data. Oh boy do they charge for the data. Take a look at the charges for the data:

    http://www.mesonet.org/index.php/site/about/data_access_and_pricing

    Everybody here would be screaming if NCDC charged this much for data. You all want the best quality data, but you don’t want to pay for it. Personally, I think the cost in my taxes of a fraction of a cent per year is well worth it. This is opposed to the OK charge of $1000 per CD for three years out of date data or $12000/yr for near real time data.

  120. Rattus says:

    “You all want the best quality data, but you don’t want to pay for it.”

    Sorry, that’s backwards. We certainly pay for the best quality data. But what we get has been adjusted, tweaked, massaged, manipulated, and beaten into submission until pseudo-reality is forced to conform to climate model output.

  121. How can you say that you need another $10 million/year for 10 years to improve something that, overall, you don’t think needs improving? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it is broke, admit it and tell us what, in it’s broken state, it is still good for and what, in it’s broken state, it is NOT good for. But that would admit that some of it is broken, which means that 95% certainty goes out the window, which is non-admissible, which means it is NOT broken, so we don’t need the money, but we WANT the money, so …

    My head already hurts and I have no idea what the justification is. Except that we think it is cool to get more money.

  122. Steven mosher says:
    September 22, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    …….”watch the blue angles fly over head, look at the computer in front of you, or listen to your ipod, or talk on your cell phone, and understand that some of us here have decades of experience in designing, costing and building and supporting the things you have no idea how to build.”
    ———————
    True, yet can you concede, I paid for it. Your expertise.
    Without us peons, government contracts don’t exist.
    Which comes first, the chicken or the egg.

  123. A lot of numbers have been tossed out – I presented the cost of a 1991-1993 project that installed automated weather recording/transmitting in all counties of a state. I did not restate the cost in current dollars. I’m sorry, but I assumed that most people here would have realized that inflation had occurred and would be able to mentally adjust the number using whatever factor they were comfortable with.

    The OK Mesonet involves a state agency (OK Climatological Survey) and two state universities. In addition, another state agency (Public Safety) lets the data be transmitted over its telecommunication system. So, the cost is covered by the state and its taxpayers. There really isn’t any true donated services. We paid for it. I have asked for annual operating costs, we’ll see if I get it.

    As to the fees for the data – the real time data is available to anyone with a computer. The archived data is sold to companies who would have a need for it. Think electric companies planning wind farms. State agencies, schools etc get the data for their needs, including research. And I guess you were shocked at the price, so you didn’t see the “fee waiver” section for smaller research projects.

    But, my purpose of writing about this system is to show that there is an automated system in place that has practical uses (farming, public safety, emergency management, general weather info) as well as collecting data for climate research. It is an excellent website that includes pictures of all the sites. Proper siting of weather instruments is a concern of Mr. Watts as well as many others.

    It would be wonderful if whatever is done with updating the current NOAA system that they would be just as transparent.

  124. Steve,

    Your experience with government contracts and wrap-rates and the like notwithstanding, I think you are missing Anthony’s point, just as Pachuri et al miss the point on CAGW. Do all the math and simulations and column adding you want, but the end result is not reasonable.

    This “fix” for the climate data is not a fresh-start program but an add-on. Incremental costs are quite differnt. Sites, equipment can be improved. Current staff are in place, along with data handling facilities.

    This full-cost accouting is the way they do it and insist on doing it, perhaps, but is the end result reasonble? I’ve worked for multinational organizations, and I’ve seen this many times. You don’t want to do it but don’t want to say you don’t want to do it? Write it up with a “precautionary principle” as a guide. $100 million and you can’t say it won’t be more? This brick isn’t going to fly.

    Definitely a procedure that kills action while stimulating activity. If nobody moves, nobody gets hurt. Looks good up the ladder, though. Lots of meetings. Bosses get to say they have addressed the issue, but right now, well, there is a problem.

  125. I actually don’t think those prices are too outrageous. It’s a little simplistic to just divide the total cost by the number of sites and call it a day. Since this is over a ten year period, you’re ignoring maintenance, calibration (which should be done annually if not quarterly), data gathering costs, network costs, server and hardware costs, etc etc. They’ll get hit by lightening, run into by lawn mowers, hit by tornadoes and hurricanes, and damaged by hail and high winds.

    An AWOS-3PT, which has no redundancy and would rely on having power brought to the install location, can run $100k-$125k just for the install.

    Of course, the AWOS would have a nice tall tower for more accurate temp and wind data and has much more stringent citing requirements (build a parking lot next to your AWOS and have fun explaining to your pilots why it’s been decommissioned by the FAA). I’m surprised at those pics. Placing a temp sensor that low and you get lots of higher temps due to radiant heat. Even an AWOS will show temps that are 2-3 degrees F too high if you simply don’t mow around them, especially at night. Are these going to be installed at locations that will have staffing in charge of maintenance? Just having multiple temp sensors doesn’t change the fact that the sites will need weekly/bi-monthly attention.

  126. Steven mosher said: (September 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm)
    “but you really cant tell ANYTHING without a specification.”

    I am confident that Mr. Mosher would agree that you can’t do specification without documenting the system requirements. Only then can you create and evaluate the specification.

    Note that the system requirements include not just equipment and communications, but processes, data bases, staffing, maintenance, reliability and the development processes. Validation and Verification should be stringent.

    Requirements should be made public.

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