While Joe Romm squawks about record highs being “obscenely hot” over at Think-Climate Progress, there’s a quiet bit of questioning going on within NOAA about the veracity of the surface temperature measurements, particularly related to ASOS stations at airports, which have made up a significant number of recent record high temperatures in the USA in June.
Below is an extraordinary interchange between Dr. Roger Pielke Sr., and Greg Carbin, of the NOAA Storm Prediction Center.
Figure and Data Analysis Provided by Greg Carbin of NOAA
I received the e-mail below from Conrad Ziegler that alerted me to a really important analysis of siting issues with respect to surface temperature data. The relevant part of Conrad’s e-mail, and the e-mails on this figure by Greg Carbin and Richard Grumm are reproduced below (with their permission).
Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2011 08:44:32 -0500
From: Conrad Ziegler <xxxxxx>
To: pielkesr@xxxxxxCc: gregory.carbin@xxxxx, richard.grumm@xxxxxxx Conrad Ziegler <conrad.ziegler@xxxxxx>
Subject: Fwd: [Map Discussion] All-time maximum temperatures broken or tied in
I hope this message finds you well!
I thought you’d be interested in the correspondence below between Rich Grumm and Greg Carbin about US record high temperatures since 1950. I’ve attached Greg’s interesting figure that accompanies his message below (Greg, I hope you don’t mind my sharing this). I know you have long advocated the need for adequate siting of surface operational meteorological sensors worldwide, and have written on the subject of effects of poor siting on temperature time series. Rich’s message raises the bar so to speak…the instrumentation itself needs to be properly designed and sensors aspirated correctly. One would have hoped this was at minimum a standard thorughout the US, though reading Rich’s message I’m no longer so sure.
Following is Greg’s initial e-mail on his analysis
From: gregory.carbin@xxxxxDate: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 10:37 pm
Subject: All-time maximum temperatures broken or tied in June
To: HWT Map Discussion Listserv <discussion@xxxxxx>, SUNY
Map Listserv <map@xxxxxx>
I was wondering how the 41 all-time max temperature records broken or tied in the U.S. during June 2011 compared to other Junes of the past. So, I wrote a script this evening to grab the all-time annual maximum temperatures that were broken or tied during the month of June, for all Junes, back to 1950. The resulting chart is attached. June 2011 has had the most all-time maxes broken or tied (16 broken/32 tied through June 29) since June 1998 when 89 all-time max temperatures where either broken (31) or tied (58). However, the month of June 1994 really bakes the cake! That’s when a total of 229 all-time max temperatures where either broken (112) or tied (117). June 1990 was also another hot one with a lot of records either tied or broken. See the chart for more details.
Warning Coordination Meteorologist
NOAA-NWS Storm Prediction Center
National Weather Center
Norman, Oklahoma 73072-7268
Richard Grumm’s of NOAA replied
From: Richard.Grumm@xxxxx Date: June 30, 2011 7:49:12 AM CDT
To: gregory.carbin@xxxx Cc: SUNY Map Listserv <map@xxxxxxx>, HWT Map Discussion
Subject: Re: [Map Discussion] All-time maximum temperatures broken or tied in June
Nicely done. Kind of warms the soul.
I ponder if the sensors used in ASOS massively deployed circa 1991 played some role in this, that is [a] downward trend though most of this would be COOP site data. Did we go through some program to improve those sites in the 1990s?
As for ASOS sites, if used, we had one really badly placed sensor at KMDT when we opened in State College. The ASOS was aspirated and on grass, not a roof. It ran cooler in parallel to our older unit (was it an unapirated HO83?). We did not officially began using the ASOS until AFTER your 1994 spike. Hitting 100F at KMDT has been extremely difficult since the new sensor. Being on grass and on the ground helps.
Additionally, we had 2 very warm ASOS units and I know an office not too far west of me that did. It turns out how the fans are installed is critical. One does not want to pull hot air up into the system. We had a sensor that was really warm last year and in the July heat wave (KSEG) was often an eastern US hot spot. New fans lead to local cooling.
How much of the 1980s was badly placed sensors? Did we improve COOP sites in the 1990s? How much of this was the pattern? Some of those 1980s years were hot but how much did sensors contribute to this too? Gotta find the eggs for this Duncan Hines cake mix.
The relevant part of my reply to Conrad’s e-mail is reproduced below.
Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2011 08:20:54 -0600 (MDT)
From: Roger A Pielke Sr <pielkesr@xxxxx>
To: Conrad Ziegler <conrad.ziegler@xxxxx>
Cc: Roger A Pielke Sr. <firstname.lastname@example.org>, gregory.carbin@xxxx,
richard.grumm@xxxx Subject: Re: Fwd: [Map Discussion] All-time maximum temperatures broken or tied
Thank you for sharing the information on the surface temperature measurements! I have a question and a list of some of papers on this issue below.
First, Greg/Rich – do I have your permission to post your e-mails and figure on my weblog?
Second, we have been examining the effect of siting quality on the long term surface temperature record, with our most recent paper
Fall, S., A. Watts, J. Nielsen-Gammon, E. Jones, D. Niyogi, J. Christy, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2011: Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., in press. Copyright (2011) American Geophysical Union.
We also have other papers on this subject; e.g. see
Klotzbach, P.J., R.A. Pielke Sr., R.A. Pielke Jr., J.R. Christy, and R.T. McNider, 2009: An alternative explanation for differential temperature trends at the surface and in the lower troposphere. J. Geophys. Res., 114, D21102, doi:10.1029/2009JD011841.
Klotzbach, P.J., R.A. Pielke Sr., R.A. Pielke Jr., J.R. Christy, and R.T. McNider, 2010: Correction to: “An alternative explanation for differential temperature trends at the surface and in the lower troposphere. J. Geophys. Res., 114, D21102, doi:10.1029/2009JD011841″, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D1, doi:10.1029/2009JD013655.
Steeneveld, G.J., A.A.M. Holtslag, R.T. McNider, and R.A Pielke Sr, 2011: Screen level temperature increase due to higher atmospheric carbon dioxide in calm and windy nights revisited. J. Geophys. Res., 116, D02122, doi:10.1029/2010JD014612.
Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229.
Parker, D. E., P. Jones, T. C. Peterson, and J. Kennedy, 2009: Comment on Unresolved issues with the assessment of multidecadal global land surface temperature trends. by Roger A. Pielke Sr. et al.,J. Geophys. Res., 114, D05104, doi:10.1029/2008JD010450.
Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2009: Reply to comment by David E. Parker, Phil Jones, Thomas C. Peterson, and John Kennedy on .Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 114, D05105,
Hanamean, J.R. Jr., R.A. Pielke Sr., C.L. Castro, D.S. Ojima, B.C. Reed, and Z. Gao, 2003: Vegetation impacts on maximum and minimum temperatures in northeast Colorado. Meteorological Applications, 10, 203-215.
Pielke Sr., R.A., T. Stohlgren, L. Schell, W. Parton, N. Doesken, K. Redmond, J. Moeny, T. McKee, and T.G.F. Kittel, 2002: Problems in evaluating regional and local trends in temperature: An example from eastern Colorado, USA. Int. J. Climatol., 22, 421-434.
We are currently looking at the instrument change issue as a follow on to our Fall et al 2011 paper. Your input on our paper would be very valuable.
This is really important and influential work and I am glad you have shared it!
Last evening when Greg sent me the latest figure with the June 2011 data, he also updated the information with the e-mail below.
On Thu, 30 Jun 2011, gregory.carbin@xxxx wrote:
The updated chart is attached to this e-mail. It may be trivial to add one more record for the month but it was a new record (not a tie) and it was also the only new all-time record high broken in Kansas during the month. There were all-time max temperatures in Kansas that were tied during the month but only this one, on the last day of the month, was a new record. The other states with stations breaking all-time high temperature records in June were: FL, NM, OK, and TX. Again, there were 17 new all-time maximum temperature records set in June 2001, and 25 all-time maxes tied during June 2011 according to the data available from NCDC as of late this evening.
The top three years and numbers from the chart, if you need them handy, are:
Year, # Tied,# Broken, Total
1994, 117, 112, 229
1990, 95, 62, 157
1998, 58, 31, 89
I will look forward to your post.
From Anthony: I have documented serious and uncorrected problems with the NOAA ASOS system at airports. One notable train wreck of false high temperatures (which still remain in the climate record today) Occurred in Honolulu , HI at the airport. Just look at the difference.
The data from the two Oahu stations, 3.9 miles apart on the south shore. When plotted side by side, was telling. I marked missing data, the record high events, and when the ASOS was repaired.
The ASOS sensor read several degrees high, setting a string of all-time new temperature records. Seems to be a recurring problem, see my analysis over several posts:
I have more coming on this, look for another post on the ASOS/Airport issue related to high temperatures.