How airports like BWI help set outlier high temperature records

Mark Johnson, Chief Meteorologist of WEWS in Cleveland writes:

A friend of mine, Justin Berk, a local TV Met in Baltimore, MD had this story to tell today:

“There’s something fishy going on at BWI (Baltimore International Airport),” he says. Hourly obs at BWI airport (April 12, 2012) never went higher than 59 degrees.

(See the obs from BWI below – Anthony)

But, he noticed the official high temperature was listed as 62 degrees.

“There’s no way a jump of 3-4 degrees occurred and then fell back down between obs,” he added. Why the discrepancy? Justin called the local NWS office.

For a brief 10 minutes, the steady NW wind that persisted all day at BWI shifted to a westerly direction. That allowed the  HEAT from the nearby runway to provide a quick 3 degree warm-up between hourly obs. Once the winds shifted back to a NW direction, the temperature fell back to 59 degrees.

The NWS employee concurred that the extra warmth came from the runway.

Global Warming is real (thanks to poorly-sighted thermometers)! This is the second time Justin observed a false high temperature reading this week at BWI.

========================================================

I followed up on this, and his story checks out.

First the table of high/low for the day from BWI:

Source: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/getclimate.php?wfo=lwx

And here are the hourly observations for the day from the BWI airport ASOS station:

Source: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/obhistory/KBWI.html (downloaded at 2AM EST 4/13)

Here in what the BWI ASOS station looks like along with compass points added:

Source: http://binged.it/HC0WPG

And here is a view looking to the west:

Source: http://binged.it/HFgGmM

Seems an open and shut case. This is not the first issue with weather observations at BWI, they also have issues with measuring snow, and I reported here:

BWI snow record rescinded: Another reason why airports aren’t the best place to measure climate data.

=============================================================

UPDATE: 3PM PST 4/13/12 The Capital Weather Gang tries to avoid the siting issue with an alternate explanation. This from comments.

I’ve posted a different perspective on this at washingtonpost.com: The case of the curious temperature spike at BWI airport: asphalt or the sun?

REPLY: Anything to avoid UHI it seems with you guys. As for sun/wind debate. It could very well be both. Asphalt absorbs sunlight pretty well. More sun coupled with a shift of wind to the asphalt area can easily make a quick 3 degree jump. Sunlight by itself on grass, not so much. You didn’t mention albedo in your article so I’ll assume you don’t understand it.

Bottom line – airports are a poor place for temperature observations used for climate purposes, as they aren’t representative and are very dynamic with land use changes, and, see this detailed analysis.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/13/warming-in-the-ushcn-is-mainly-an-artifact-of-adjustments/

Airports are part of USHCN.

– Anthony

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UHI, as it’s well known, is a phenomenon that happens locally everywhere but, as if by magic, globally nowhere.

You sure do put a lot of effort into justifying USA as the worlds heaviest carbon poluter 😉 Respect!

Lew Skannen

Stories like this are just so mundane and lacking in glamour that the MSM will never pick up on them. There is no looming disaster and no villain, no polar bear and no photogenic hero, just the steady constant corruption of data.
Well done Anthony for taking the trouble of picking up on it but you can be sure few people outside WUWT will ever know.
They will just read that another heat record has been broken somewhere…

Rob

I’ve noticed this at other locations as well. There is big discontinuity issue when NWS shifted from Cotton Region Shelters to MMTS, ASOS etc.

Pete Olson

‘poorly sited’, not ‘sighted’

Disputin

Just goes to show what Anthony has said before – airport weather observations are collected for the use of aircraft using the runways, not as climatological records, for which they are nearly useless.

Capell

Is there no way of capturing data from the Davis WeatherLink system? The people who go to the expense of buying these stations (many of them private individuals) are likely to take care with the siting of the sensors, this network might be quite reliable.

michael hart

The scientist in me immediately starts think about new experiments that might be done to improve the data at airports. Given the high aspect-ratio of the runway and the flight paths, it would be interesting to have thermometers located both at the side of, and and at the ends of runways. The effect of prevailing wind might then appear to be greater.
Also, think of all that lovely heat [and CO2 and water!] that the jets are cranking out at take off: probably biased towards the starting end of the runway. Has anybody done these relatively straight forward experiments?

thisisnotgoodtogo

It’s what they\ve telling us would happen…runway global warming

Eric Dailey

Great post, thanks. Good work by the local Mets.
This house of cards will fall soon but in spite of journalism and not because of it. It’s time to wake up and realize we are being deliberately deceived by the press establishment and not just about CAGW.

thisisnotgoodtogo

It’s what they’ve been telling us would happen…runway global warming

The real irony, is that if the climate “scientists” had been real scientists and a) looked at the data, b)admitted to themselves (or c) stopped lying) then they would have made it known that they needed a top notch metereological data collection system and that it was inappropriate in “such an important issue” to use fifth rate sites to measure data.
But these guys are not real scientists. They are quite happy to use slip-shod data where it suits their purposes, and as I said, the real irony is that a pittance has been spent on the real area of need: ACCURATE TEMPERATURE MONITORING SITES and as a result of a woeful lack of a few billions on temperature monitoring, the world is spending trillions on unneeded and unwanted and economically harmful measures which will probably cost us all many more trillions in lost economic output.
I can only liken it to a diamond dealer buying a supermarket set of scales … no that would at worst be a few percent loss. It’s more like they built a massive tower block based on a geological survey done by schoolkids using “eye spy minerals”.

Nothing to see here…move along. BoM in Australia have most of their stations next to runways, previously favoring post offices. How else can they keep up their #pocket-lining from the government.

Andrew

Brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘Jet Stream’.
But seriously, since jet-fuelled thermometer readings artificially increase the range of the data readings at a given site, in a given time period, it is not hard to see how the inappropriate use of ‘linear interpolation’ for filling-in gaps in the surface temperature record (eg. at neighbouring sites) over time can compound the original (UHI) bias by introducing a systemic source of warming bias into the wider temperature record.
And as air traffic increases through time, this systemic warming bias effectively becomes self-amplifying… a bit like a virus initiating infection in one cell, replicating then releasing progeny viruses to infect other cells.
Once again, “linear interpolation” of this nature is really extrapolation by another name… or to put it another way, a statistical method for transforming science into science fiction.

KnR

Airport weather stations are intended to provide data for flights and out of the airport , so such features are not a problem for there intended purpose . Expect that now these stations data is being used for 101 things with great claims being made to its precision and how well its represents the local area.
The reality is there used, not because there a good idea, but because they exist and save actual having to set up another one that would provide valid data. They are the duck tape of weather measurement , a fair temp fix that is easy to use but is actual in no way a good nor permanent fix to the problem.

omnologos says:
April 13, 2012 at 12:24 am (Edit)
UHI, as it’s well known, is a phenomenon that happens locally everywhere but, as if by magic, globally nowhere.
#############
its rather easy to understand
1. Its a function of windspeed and direction. Note the temperature changed for 10 minutes
when the wind changed.
2. Its a function of timing. If that wind change happens at 19:54.. no change to TMAX
does UHI exist. Yup. DO you get it every hour of every day? nope. conditions have to be right.
Do you know what they do when they want to study UHI? They look for days when the synoptic conditions are such that you can actually measure it.
At this place, you nee a westerly wind at the right time of the day.
Its not a big mystery why UHI is real and why it doesnt show up in the record.

Its not a big mystery why UHI is real and why it doesnt show up in the record
It does show up in the record. It just doesn’t show up that well when you smear min/max temps over large geographic areas in the method so beloved by climate scientists.
The data is fine. The problem is the method.

Andrew

RE
Steven Mosher says:
@ April 13, 2012 at 2:35 am
—————
Nonsense.
Please address my point (@ 2:27 am) re how inappropriate interpolation results in a self-amplifying and systemic warming bias into the temperature record…
Are you seriously suggesting that all readings taken at this site, for example, when the wind direction is from the west are culled from the record?
And what about other sites where a UHI bias may not yet have been identified?

Hello,
Sorry for my bad English, I am French.
On the map 2 D, I see the W here :
http://meteo.besse83.free.fr/imfix/wbaltimore.jpg
If the soil is very dry with a sparse grass, for the T max of the day with sun, it is warmer that the runway (in a study at Nice aeroport in France (“Topoclimatologie et habitat”, Pierre Carrega), for example, the temperature surface max in september, is 46°C for the runway for 62°C for a sparse grass with soil dry (water reserve in the soil : 9 mm for a maximum 150 mm). The night, the runway stay very much warmer that the sparse grass.
In your case, also there are some clouds and a wind variability for generate this value without runway, it is not unusual to observe these differences. Here for several stations with and without ventilated radiation shields, it is very common in the natural sites with yours conditions.
At Baltimore in this site very open for to get a good natural ventilation, there are not a big problem on the T max with a ventilated radiation shield, if the fan is good. This difference is not make by the runway (you can check with an other same station before the runway at the same distance of the runway, for this wind direction. In the Var in France, I like to do this kind of test )

gator69

Nice. Right between the runways. Jet exhaust and hot pavement. Perfect.

Andrew

And what about southerly winds transporting jet exhaust heat from the adjacent runway (see pic 2)? Or for that matter easterly winds from the (same) adjacent runway?

DavidH

I can’t see what the problem is. If the wind shifted and the thermometer recorded 3 degrees higher in between the reported hourly observations, then isn’t that rightly the maximum for the day? Are we arguing here that observed temperatures should be adjusted according to our preferences? (There’s already one team playing that game.) As long as past brief spikes and dips in temperatures have been faithfully recorded then these 3 degrees shouldn’t be any cause forma concern. Or am I being too optimistic that the dips haven’t been discarded by “the team” and only the spikes kept?

mfo

I’m a bit confused.
The photo shows the main runway running east/west lying to the north of the weather station. I think that the tarmac area to the south of the weather station is the mid-field cargo complex on which are parked quite a few large vehicles. Please do correct me if I’m wrong
The Google photo map shows an aircraft waiting to take off at the eastern end of the main runway, with the weather station located just south of the western end of the main runway where the aircraft leave the ground to begin their ascent:
http://maps.google.com/maps?spn=0.036009,0.046450&t=h&hl=en&ll=39.175361,-76.668332&fc=1
It seems very odd to locate a weather station just south of that part of the runway from where aircraft are taking off, particularly as they are taking off into the wind which is then being blown back towards the weather station.
It seems clear there must be a considerable UHI effect at this location. The faa map of the airport is:
http://aeronav.faa.gov/d-tpp/1204/00804AD.PDF

Espen

DavidH says:
April 13, 2012 at 3:25 am
I can’t see what the problem is. If the wind shifted and the thermometer recorded 3 degrees higher in between the reported hourly observations, then isn’t that rightly the maximum for the day?
Suppose there were nearby construction workers laying new tarmac as the wind shifted, so the spike was 10 degrees higher – still “rightly the maximum”?
As long as past brief spikes and dips in temperatures have been faithfully recorded then these 3 degrees shouldn’t be any cause forma concern
The problem is that the new mantra for alarmism-by-press-release is to count the number of new record maxima set.

Andrew

RE
Andrew says:
@ April 13, 2012 at 3:22 am
Correction: sorry, that ought to be “…northerly winds transporting jet exhaust heat from the adjacent runway….”

Roger Caiazza

David H at 3;25AM
The problem is related to “representativeness”. Our concern is just how much of the observed temperatures are caused by the increase in GHG concentrations. Temperatures that represent or can be used to calculate that effect should not be affected by local conditions which can change irrespective of changes in the atmosphere. As Anthony has been trying to point out, airport measurements poorly represent temperatures to be used for GHG attribution calculations and this example shows definitively that local conditions at airports affect temperature.
There is another problem illustrated. The new meteorological sensing systems collect one-minute data averages and those data are being used to set the daily maximum values. At some point in the past, the data were collected with manual observations. Clearly there is a much greater change of higher maxima and lower minima now that we have continuous data.

Would the new weather stations with the wind screens have prevented that problem/false reading?

SandyInDerby

Steve Mosher
are you saying that if it’s windy then the UHI doesn’t exist? In very simple terms surely the heat is spread round over a larger area with a lower increase in temperature. I think of it like a fan blowing on an auto’s radiator the amount of heat (or energy or whatever you want to call it) remains the same in the whole system, its just that different things and volumes are warmer/cooler. If you only measure the temperature of the radiator then you’re mislead, no?
To my simple mind on windy days UHI is spread further down wind, the windier the day the further down wind it goes and, perhaps, becomes harder to measure.
Thanks

Chuck Nolan

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Gail Combs

I thought this set of paired temperature data does a bang-up job of showing how airports are rotten for gathering the accurate temperature data
The city is on the North Carolina/Virgina border and right on the ocean. Not that far from Baltimore (a 230 mile drive). Take a look at the city vs the airport! Norfolk City and
Norfolk International Airport
Other Coastal Cities in North Carolina:
Elisabeth City
Wilmington NC
Here is the raw 1856 to current Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation Amazing how the temperatures follow the Atlantic ocean oscillation as long as the weather station is not sitting at an airport isn’t it?

BarryW

BWI, was originally called Friendship airport and dates from the early 1950’s. It’s expansion has been huge, now having more traffic than Washington National. With all the asphalt and concrete that has been laid, it’s got to have it’s own mini UHI issues. Wiki says that the expansions started in the 70’s. Interesting coincidence.

shrnfr

I really, really like having weather stations at the airport. They provide the information that can be used to have the pilot take off and land their aircraft safely. However, they are only indicative of the “climate” at the airport. To use them for anything else is foolish, but sadly we have many fools among us.

James

Sorry, I’m not buying this. Theres a more logical reason for this. Notices in those obs that the winds were 10 mph gusting to 18. That is PLENTY of wind to mix out that heat coming from that tarmac. This article acts if while the ASOS station had NW winds the tarmac to its west has no/ calm winds. It doesn’t work like that. Those NW winds were blowing over that tarmac and mixing out. So what caused the jump?
If you have ever looked at a topographical map for the BWI area there is the MD fall line about 3 miles to the west of the airport. Its a fall of 300-600 feet over 2 miles. I’ve noticed even at my house (which is 9 miles away and in a wooded area) that when the wind blows from the west you get an increased jump in temperatures due to downsloping from the fall line. Thats NOT an ASOS placing problem, it’s natural and has been there way before the airport ever existed.

rgbatduke

This happens at RDU as well. An interesting consequence of this is appearing. I subscribe to Weather Underground and keep its page open in a browser panel all day. Recently I’ve noted an interesting discrepancy between the NWS forecasts for RDU and reality. First, the forecast is almost always high compared to what the day turns out to be, on average in the area. Second (and perhaps more interesting) it often remains high even well into the day of the forecast as the temperatures are obviously not going to make the mark, perhaps because there is unexpected cloud cover and the temperature is in no way going to make 84, it will be lucky to make 78. Third, weather underground actually has a regularly updated local forecast one can click through too with the expected temperature every four hours, and this will often have reasonable predictions that aren’t aligned with the NWS forecast. Fourth, the minimum temperature predictions for a day are often absurdly incorrect, but in a way that again almost always makes them higher.
For example, on the Weather Underground page for Durham, NC right now the low temperature prediction for Friday is given as 41F. The temperature outside right now is 41F. However, at 5 am, the temperature outside was 35 F — a few short degrees away from a disastrous frost (that for some reason they failed to warn of yesterday). The Weather Underground’s hourly report (that you have to click through to see) clearly shows the drop to 35 around 5 am, but the NWS forecast is what they put up on their main page and it is already absurdly wrong. What’s up with that?
One thing that’s “up” is that somebody who just looks at the NWS numbers and doesn’t actually track temperature is left with the impression that the minimum temperature of the day is some 3K/6F warmer than it really is/was. When they do the same thing on the warm side with the high temperature, the whole day appears warmer than it is, was, or will be. Since most people do not track the actual temperature but instead look only at the forecasted temperatures in the newspapers or on weather sites, by posting consistently high forecasts the NWS effectively shifts reality several degrees warmer everywhere in the minds of the people. After all, nobody posts the maximum and minimum temperature actually observed yesterday so nobody knows how accurate the forecasts were or what the high and low really were unless they look!
I would bet that even a cursory examination of NWS forecasts would reveal the high bias — it is quite pronounced in Durham and I have no reason to believe that it isn’t as obvious elsewhere. Sadly, today isn’t even an unusual case — a low forecast higher than the already observed low for the day.
The big question then is, why? I’m not one for conspiracy theories — I find it difficult to believe that there is a fiendish person in the NWS who has coded “add 3F to all forecast numbers” into their computers. Perhaps it is just this phenomenon at work. The “official” Raleigh/Durham temperature site is generally taken to be RDU (the airport). Never mind that the airport is flanked by three roads that carry several million cars past the airport every day, maintaining a blanket of local CO_2 and H_2O from the car exhaust over the airport itself. Never mind that (as a busy airport hub) it has jets idling and landing and taking off every few minutes all day long, dumping equally huge amounts of CO_2 and H_2O from burned jet fuel out in the sky directly overhead (in case the cars alone weren’t enough). Never mind that 40 years ago when I first arrived in Durham to go to Duke, the entire airport was the size of a small-town bus terminal with a dozen planes a day and a tenth of the car traffic going anywhere nearby. Never mind that today Raleigh, Durham, Morrisville, and Cary have grown out to surround the airport with city and stores so that the haze and greenhouse gases of the entire urban area continue to blanket it no matter what direction the wind blows. And then yeah, it has a lot of runways, all black tarmac, and I’m quite certain that when the wind blows just right it spills all that extra heat right onto its weather station(s). It could well be that its peak temperature is several degrees warmer in spikes, that it stores enough heat in its runways and traps it with the local greenhouse blanket at night to keep is lows several degrees higher than they are ten or fifteen miles away on the outside of the urban ring that surrounds it. Maybe NWS forecasts are just (correctly) forecasting spurious temperature readings caused by siting the area’s official temperature at a flawed site.
The big question at this point is — why bother? We don’t need to make any single weather site “the” official site for an area any more. Weather Underground also accepts input from citizen-owned weather stations and makes them available in a standard web format to anybody that clicks through to them. There are dozens of them in Durham and the surrounding area. There are rural sites and urban sites. All of them record the temperature all day long (and the wind and rainfall) so that graphs of them are instantly available, and all of them have history automatically stored so you can see the record of any station on any given day since the station was established (or various averages).
Of course this is horribly unscientific. People site their stations (I’m sure) wherever they like on their property, more often at a location dictated by esthetics or a need to cable it up than by weather measurement perfection. Some are in the woods, some in open fields, some on the sunny side of the house, some on the shady side, some are urban and some are rural, some sit on hills and some in valleys, and all of these things will cause the local readings to be a few degrees warmer or cooler than the readings that would have been obtained as close as the other side of the house. Still, doing a flat average of all of these sites, “sight unseen”, within a given radius around RDU would beat the hell out of using RDU alone simply because one could hope quite reasonably for these variations to correctly average out to a meaningful average temperature.
Better still would be to locate not a single official station but a web of official stations at selected urban, suburban, rural farmland and rural woodland sites in a 30 mile circle around RDU and use an average of them all. The record of them all would also provide meaningful data on the UHI effect and quite aside from “UHI” per se on the actual spatial granularity of temperature variation on the ground. My own belief is that “weather station measured” temperatures vary by degrees F over lateral distances as little as tens of meters, and that much of that variations is highly systematic and consistent.
Still, I think it would be very interesting to write a top article on the possibly inadvertent “NWS Prediction Fraud”, if one could obtain the records that would clearly demonstrate it. Given that the NWS predictions are the reality for most people, a systematic bias in those predictions is all that is needed to provide the illusion of warming in the United States.
rgb

JT

A few years ago, WUWT did a piece on the same subject. I took it to heart and drove to BWI on a sunny day with a slight NW breeze. There is a road that completly circles the airport. I drove the circle twice and observed that that temp was ~3 degrees warmer downwind of the airport compared to upwind. On the downwind side (near the park on Dorsey Road) the runway is only a few hundred feet from the road. This spot had one of the highest recorded temps according to my car thermometer.
Accurate for landing a Jet, not so good for recording high and low regional temperature records.

exNOAAman

Here you will notice the temp for the Baltimore Science Center, (in the heart of downtown), was also 62F:
http://www.weather.gov/data/obhistory/KDMH.html
But…take a close look and note that it is a reasonable climb from 61.
And, as I have written before; BWI normally runs a few degrees cooler than Balto city. BWI expanded a few years back and made things even hotter.
Here also is the UMBC station, 6 miles away, near my office.: http://weather.umbc.edu/
Unfortunately, their site often malfunctions, and I can’t get it to give up yesterday’s plot. Maybe someone else here could? I watch it all day, and it never got out of the 50s yesterday…unless it sneaked by me.

Dr. Elliott Althouse

I have never understood why average daily temperatures are not calculated by averaging readings made every ten minutes throughout a 24 hour day. In Southeastern Virginia, my home, we have many instances of warm air at night ahead of cold fronts in the winter that yield a daily high temperature in the 60s even though the temperature was in the 60s for under one hour and was under 40 for the following twenty three, yet the daily average temperature is listed as 50. This happens at least three times each winter, and has happened more than once in the same week. Since there are no warm fronts that are as starkly temperature contrasted as cold fronts, nor as numerous, There would always be an overall warm bias in these averages.

Gail Combs says:
April 13, 2012 at 5:21 am
I thought this set of paired temperature data does a bang-up job of showing how airports are rotten for gathering the accurate temperature data.

The ASOS stations are for reporting conditions at the airport. Period.
Using the readings as proxies for the surrounding area is foolhardy. I’ve seen temperature differences of +5°C between what the tower was reporting and what I was reading on my free air temp gauge at my location just outside the control zone. And at my altitude (500 feet AGL), the adiabatic lapse rate only accounted for one degree of the difference.

Corey S.

Mosher,
“Its not a big mystery why UHI is real and why it doesnt show up in the record.”
Didn’t it just show up in this record? It may not show up all the time in the record, but it looks as though it does show in some of the record. As you say, ‘conditions have to be right’…and they were.

Don

Statistical analysis shows that this is not an “open and shut case.” The following are some standard deviations (2000-2010) for daily high temperatures:
BWI: 18.292°
DCA: 17.949°
MD Science Center: 18.653°
National Arboretum: 18.651°
Vienna: 17.095°
If there were a problem with the siting of the ASOS, one would expect a much larger difference in the variability of high temperatures between the Maryland Science Center and BWI. If one expands the area to include the Washington, DC area, one finds greater variability among sites in and around Washington, DC than between the Maryland Science Center and BWI.
In the end, what very likely happened was that downsloping, not heat from the airport runway led to the brief bounce in BWI’s temperature.

Dr. Elliott Althouse

Don- If the temperature was consistently higher there would be no impact on deviation. Only if it was a sporadic event would you see statistical evidence. On non-windy days, heated jet exhaust will at some point waft past the station, yielding the temprary high temperature. This is why airports are lousy station sites.

Corey S. says:
April 13, 2012 at 7:02 am
Didn’t it just show up in this record? It may not show up all the time in the record, but it looks as though it does show in some of the record. As you say, ‘conditions have to be right’…and they were.
======================================================================
If the above example is correct, would you actually call it “UHI”?
This is just a siting issue

eric1skeptic

Similar problem at nearby DCA (Reagan National). The area around the ASOS station is covered in dark gray gravel. Anthony noted it in 2010 when it was running hot: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/01/hot-air-in-washington-dc-more-asos-failures/
Believe it or not, they have added more gravel since then. I took this google capture about a year ago (it’s still the same currently) http://i433.photobucket.com/albums/qq51/palmer2/national-asos.jpg Left is from Anthony’s post, right is current.

Steven Mosher says:
April 13, 2012 at 2:35 am
omnologos says:
April 13, 2012 at 12:24 am (Edit)
UHI, as it’s well known, is a phenomenon that happens locally everywhere but, as if by magic, globally nowhere.
#############
its rather easy to understand
1. Its a function of windspeed and direction. Note the temperature changed for 10 minutes
when the wind changed.
2. Its a function of timing. If that wind change happens at 19:54.. no change to TMAX
Its not a big mystery why UHI is real and why it doesnt show up in the record.

And the cloud cover at each recorded event, and the moisture content in air, the physical change(s) for different recorded events, and more.
It is entirely possible that every improperly sited station would need it’s own unique highly tuned adjustments as no two recording events would be under the exact repeated circumstances.
We know there is a UHI/LHI effect but has any site been shown to have been properly adjusted, let alone the entire network?

Pamela Gray

However, to be succinctly correct, one would have to say that in this instance, man-made warming was caused by the burning of fossil fuels.
Instead of carbon exchanges and hidden taxes, let’s shut down transportation and see how the greenies like THAT one! How will they get to their next conference in Cancun?????

John F. Hultquist

mfo says:
April 13, 2012 at 3:37 am
“It seems very odd to locate a weather station just south of that part of the runway from where aircraft are taking off, . . .

It might be odd if the purpose was a long term study of climate. For the pilot about to lift-off along that ribbon of concrete the “real close” measurements are just fine. Weather data from a irrigated green park a few miles away are not superior.
————————————————–
Anthony placed a table from BWI in his report. Notice it does begin with the heading “CLIMATE REPORT.”
The “climate” seems to be a lot colder this Apr. 13th than in 2011. !!

Seems to me if a thermometer is anywhere near pavement of any sort, then it will manifest UHI. The severity of this UHI would depend upon the prevailing winds. Trying to correct this thermometer data would be pure guesswork.

Rod

I concur with rgbatduke that this has been a problem at RDU ever since they moved the location of obs equipment from the NE sector of the airport to the current ASOS site in the NW sector near the north end of the 10K ft runway in 1994.

Don

Standard deviation is fluctuation. If the Airport had a siting issue with the kind of problem alleged in the opening message, one would expect larger variability from high temperatures due to runway-related spikes. That isn’t the case. BWI’s high temperature variability is similar to that of nearby sites. It is highly unlikely that the Airport is suffering from runway-induced temperature spikes that distort its overall temperature record.
Consistent warmth e.g., UHI, would lead to a higher temperature average and particularly less variability in low temperatures.

Don

Also, just so my point is clearer, I’m not saying that the runway has no impact. I’m suggesting that its impact is so small that it cannot explain the temperature bounce in question. Downsloping winds can lead to such scenarios and I believe that is what happened at BWI.