24 Hours of Climate Reality: Gore-a-thon – Hour 22

A new post containing a cartoon from Josh will appear every hour. At the end of the 24 hours, everything will be collated on a single page. Readers are encouraged to post skeptical arguments below, as well as offer comments on what has been seen from the Climate Reality Project so far.


Warming up the thermometers

The surfacestations project found that the majority of official climate thermometers in the USA were improperly sited by the government’s own standards.

Many are near air conditioners or in parking lots.


Above: official USHCN weather station, in the parking lot, Atmospheric Science Dept. University of Arizona, Tucson. Photo: Warren Meyer



Many, like the University of Tucson shown above, have been closed by NOAA since the project started: An old friend put out to pasture: Marysville is no longer a USHCN climate station of record.

The first peer reviewed paper didn’t find a strong effect on the mean temperature, but we did find something nobody else had, and that is that the dirunal variation over the last century is flat.

Summary below:

Temperature trend estimates do indeed vary according to site classification. Assuming trends from the better-sited stations (CRN 1 and CRN 2) are most accurate:

  • Minimum temperature warming trends are overestimated at poorer sites
  • Maximum temperature warming trends are underestimated at poorer sites
  • Mean temperature trends are similar at poorer sites due to the contrasting biases of maximum and minimum trends
  • The trend of the “diurnal temperature range” (the difference between maximum and minimum temperatures) is most strongly dependent on siting quality. For 1979-2008 for example, the magnitude of the linear trend in diurnal temperature range is over twice as large for CRN 1&2 (0.13ºC/decade) as for any of the other CRN classes. For the period 1895-2009, the adjusted CRN 1&2 diurnal temperature range trend is almost exactly zero, while the adjusted CRN 5 diurnal temperature range trend is about -0.5°C/century.
  • Vose and Menne[2004, their Fig. 9] found that a 25-station national network of COOP stations, even if unadjusted and unstratified by siting quality, is sufficient to estimate 30-yr temperature trends to an accuracy of +/- 0.012°C/yr compared to the full COOP network. The statistically significant trend differences found here in the central and eastern United States for CRN 5 stations compared to CRN 1&2 stations, however, are as large (-0.013°C/yr for maximum temperatures, +0.011°C/yr for minimum temperatures) or larger (-0.023°C/yr for diurnal temperature range) than the uncertainty presented by Menne at al (2010).

More detailed results are found in the paper, including analyses for different periods, comparisons of raw and adjusted trends, and comparisons with an independent temperature data set. More here

A follow up paper is in the works looking at other issues in the metadata, such as airports, rural/urban etc.


Josh put a lot of work into these, so if you like the work, drop by the tip jar. Unlike Gore’s CRP, he won’t spam you asking for more. Buy him a beer, he’s worked a long time bringing us enjoyment with only some “attaboys” sent his way.

17 thoughts on “24 Hours of Climate Reality: Gore-a-thon – Hour 22

  1. Pablo Barham says:
    September 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm
    “Oh god, they just called Al Gore “the world’s top climate expert”
    This is just so worrying…”
    I think that’s a great name for him. It says it all.

  2. Pablo Barham says:
    September 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm
    Oh god, they just called Al Gore “the world’s top climate expert”
    This is just so worrying…

    Well, don’t forget – they look at the world upside-down.
    Seriously, if the “world’s top climate expert” gets it wrong so much (earth’s core millions of degrees), what hope is there for any of us to know what is going on?
    I guess it really is worse than we though.

  3. I decided to donate $1 per hr into the tip jar. But I found that the tip jar link was for UK pounds and would not accept the US as an address. So I sent $50 to Substations.org. Split it 50/50 with Josh.
    Kudos to all involved in the Gore-a-Thon.
    Leading each post with an on-topic witty cartoon to skewer the AGW argument was a brilliant move. The followup with serious, factual, linked rebuttals makes these post worth of long life. Well done, all.

  4. Just tuned in. This bit is on the rise in temperatures. This one shows the 4 major global measures of average temperatures. NOAA, Gisstemp, Hadcrut & Japanese Met Office.
    They seem to have used the NASA graph. The one that hides the 2010 data for HADCRUT. Maybe an error, or maybe it is because HADCRUT did not show 2010 to be the warmest on record.

  5. Not bad with the air conditioning idea. I think a barbeque grill would have been just as accurate, however, and perhaps more fun. Maybe Josh can do an alternate cartoon with the bar-b.
    Incidentally, I had a laugh at my own expense a while back. We have a rather small patio area in back of the house, partially enclosed on three sides: door on one side, house windows on another, and one wall that is available. I hadn’t really noticed it before Anthony began documenting all the barbeque grills next to thermometers, but it dawned on me one day and I had a good laugh. Turns out I had put an outdoor thermometer on the one available wall several years ago when we moved to the house, and then when we got a gas grill, I also put it against the same wall, as that was the one available space for it. One day as I was grilling I glanced up and saw the thermometer right above the grill and had a good laugh. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has an outdoor thermometer in close proximity to the family grill. Anyone else game to admit it? 🙂 I’m wondering if there is some law of nature that draws the two together . . .

  6. Will they have somebody pick up the droppings that Gore leaves behind like they do behind the horses in parades? I think that would qualify as a shovel ready job.

  7. Josh, could you please draw a cartoon of Al Gore holding a blow torch next to a official climate thermometer saying, “Look, Global Warming!!!”

  8. Chuck L says:
    September 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm
    But I thought Jim Hansen was “the world’s top climate expert!”

    Last time I checked, Hansen doesn’t have any formal training in climate science or atmospheric physics. Same for Mann and Trenberth (and probably a few others that I haven’t looked up yet.)

  9. Daniel Packman says:
    September 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm
    Urban heat islands are well studied and have been found to have a negligible effect on long term trends. The effect tends to affect when a location will cool off or heat up more than the actual extremes.

    Well as least there isn’t a Wikipedia link…
    Ever seen a weather forecaster giving the nighttime temperatures, particularly for a cold night, then adding that “of course, outside built-up areas you can expect to be several degrees colder”. Of course, because it’s been empirically demonstrated to anybody who’s ever travelled from town to country and back.
    The more a town builds up, the greater the effect, becoming in the order of double-digit degrees C in winter for mid-latitude major cities. Most towns and cities tend to get bigger over time. There’s your long term trend.
    Still persuaded by sophistry from John Cook or career-justification from the EPA? Get a thermometer, travel to a few different places and check for yourself. Possibly the easiest real-world experiment one can do.

  10. Yes, Keith we know from personal experience that heat island effects are real. If you look at the references in the links I provided you will see that you will need to travel to many locations at many times of day and seasons to “check for yourself.”

  11. Had a $ 20 burning a hole in my pocket, it is now burning a hole in Josh’s pocket.
    Best money I’ve spent lately.

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