From Cliff Mass, a study that demonstrates how adding a runway generated a hockey stick in temperature difference to surrounding stations. As I’ve been saying for years, the dynamic environment of the airport is the wrong place to measure “climate change”, and in this case, Cliff Mass shows why.
Last week the Seattle Times had a front page story about the Northwest becoming warmer and wetter based on recently updated climate statistics at Seattle-Tacoma Airport. But can we use one observing site to reliably determine region climate trends?
Between 2004 and 2008 there was a huge change at the airport, one of the largest construction/earth moving projects in the region in years–the building of a third runway. In this blog I will ask the question: did the construction of the third runway have an impact on summer temperatures reported from the airport? My conclusion and that of my colleague Mark Albright is: it sure looks like it.
But first a few pictures. Here is a picture of Sea-Tac before the third runway was installed. I have also indicated the position of the National Weather Service/FAA temperature sensors (their ASOS system) by a blue circle (just to the west of the second runway).
Here are two recent pictures of the current runway situation (with the blue circle showing the sensor position). Quite a change.
Did the runway change the summer climate at the airport? My colleague, Mark Albright, calculated the difference in summer temperatures (June, July, August) between Sea-Tac and an average of four nearby official reporting locations (Olympia, McMillan Reservoir near Tacoma, Kent, and Buckley).
Negative means that the neighbors are warmer than Sea-Tac, which you would expect since they are farther inland and generally south of Sea-Tac (which has some cooling influence from the Sound). You will see that Sea-Tac was generally cooler than those surrounding station (by roughly 1.5F) early in the period. And the slight shift in 2002 had little impact. But after construction began in 2004 (particularly in 2005 to 2006 when the heavy earth moving occurred) things changed: Sea-Tac temperatures warmed up by roughly 2F so it was the same or warmer than the surrounding, more inland, stations. I strongly suspect we are seeing the influence of the third runway.
Bottom line: It really looks that the third runway has significantly warmed summer temperatures at the airport. Thus, one must be really careful in assuming that any warming there is the result of some kind of greenhouse gas influence.
Full story at Cliff Mass blog h/t to WUWT reader “Speed”