New paper on the quality of USHCN station siting

Bartow_080478_West_02.JPG

USHCN thermometer at Bartow, FL city fire station in 2007, provided by www.surfacestations.org volunteer surveyor Don Kostuch.

Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. draws attention today to a new study that cites Fall et al. 2011 aka the “Surfacestations Paper” that I co-authored, which was a follow up to my original surveys published in Watts 2009. The new paper is:

Martinez, C.J., Maleski, J.J., Miller, M.F, 2012: Trends in precipitation and temperature in Florida, USA. Journal of Hydrology. volume 452-453, issue , year 2012, pp. 259 – 281

They took a look at USHCN stations in Florida, and found some problems, such as trend aberrations introduced in the conversion from Cotton Region Shelters to MMTS starting in the 1980’s that aren’t fully removed by the Menne et al USHCN v2 adjustments.

Dr. Pielke writes: 

they conclude  in their paper

This work provides a preliminary analysis of historical trends in the climate record in the state of Florida. While this work did not attempt to fully attribute the cause of observed trends, it provides a first step in future attribution to possible causes including multidecadal climate variability, long term regional temperature trends, and potential errors caused by station siting, regional land use/land cover, and data homogenization.

We need more such detailed analyses, in order to further examine the multitude of issues with the USHCN and GHCN analyses of long term temperature and precipitation trends. Despite what is written on the NCDC website for the USHCN website; i.e. that

The U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN, Karl et al. 1990) is a high-quality moderate sized data set of monthly averaged maximum, minimum, and mean temperature and total monthly precipitation developed to assist in the detection of regional climate change.

they are really not as of as high a quality as claimed.

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gator69

At least that MMTS sensor is not black, like the sensor I photographed last year. Not only was it black, but it was located in an enclosure with air conditioning units. Geesh!

“potential errors caused by station siting, regional land use/land cover, and data homogenization.”
At least that’s getting more attention in the science

Dickens Goes Metro

If every adjustment introduces an error, and if the adjustments are done sequentially, does not the overall adjustment process amplify errors and especially those that were introduced at the beginning of the sequence?

Entropic man

I was browsing the station site a while back and something puzzled me. I could not identify from the data onsite , when car parks, air conditioners, etc were installed.
An abrupt additional heat input to the vicinity of a surface station should cause a step in the temperature graph for that station, with the slope before and after the installation unchanged. Instead, my impression was that sites with air conditioners showed steeper graphs than sites without. Do air conditioners get more powerful with time?

highflight56433

Maybe they hired the same person that located the thermostat in my home on a wall that faces the south, allowing direct sunlight in winter months to shine its warmth upon it. Simple solution is too obvious?

manicbeancounter

In most areas where data analysis is important, there are independent audits to laid down standards. For instance in establishing the efficacy of a new pharmaceutical, the accounting information before a business is brought to the stock market, or mining exploration data.
Yet the means by which average temperatures are calculated – used to promote the biggest ever public policy – the standard; statistical method; data selection; data adjustments; and results interpretation are in the control of those who are most vigorously promoting the policies. In any other area, there would be questions about conflicts of interest.

Hey, they noticed! How robust of them!

John Whitman

Anthony’s original interest in temperature measuring sites has seeded a broadening interest in the scientific community.
John

Crispin in Waterloo

A few days ago, Waterloo recorded a new high temperature record for the date of 35 C at: the newly expanded, freshly tarred airport!

Matt

Why no comments on the posting susspension announcement? I was looking forward to reading amusing speculations about what the upcomming Sunday anouncement will be.
My contribution: Watts running for president as an independent.

Theo Goodwin

Entropic man says:
July 27, 2012 at 8:23 am
“An abrupt additional heat input to the vicinity of a surface station should cause a step in the temperature graph for that station, with the slope before and after the installation unchanged.”
I do not think that we should assume that installation of an air conditioner presents a change in temperature that is constant. Any temperature change that might occur depends on who is operating the air conditioner. Anthony has photos of temperature stations that are located next to air conditioners that appear to be window units in rundown garages or greasy spoons.

Jim G

AGW is for sure happening in the cities but it is not because of CO2, but rather due to pavement, rooftops and exhaust and heat from furnaces, air conditioners and machinery of all kinds.

Alan S. Blue

I still say the largest ignored error is the step between the point-source measurement error and the restatement thereof as the gridcell measurement error.
A single thermometer of 0.1C error does -not- provide a measurement of a gridcell with an error of 0.1C.
It’s making the step from a direct measurement to a proxy … but then calling the proxy a measurement. It just isn’t.

Darrin

Entropic man, in essence as an AC unit ages it doesn’t become more powerful but does usually end up working harder. Most the reasons for this boils down to people not doing proper maintenance on units so they lose effeciency.

Dave Worley

Watt’s Up With That?
Suspending the blog?
This is deliciously intriguing……
I smell something humorous but we’ll see.

Jeremy

Ah, I hope Anthony isn’t abandoning blogging. 🙁
I confess I haven’t visited here or commented much at WUWT in the past year. But mostly that’s because global warming has become such a joke, it’s hard to believe anyone dogmatically believes in CAGW anymore.

John Whitman

BH has a post up for discussion of what are the possibilities wrt what Anthony will reveal @ WUWT at ~noon (PDT) on Sunday, July 29.
John

MarkW

“Do air conditioners get more powerful with time?”
========
Depends on if the air conditioning units all get installed at the same time.
Additionally, in many instances, the AC unit is just one instance of bad siting. Not every thing is changed at once.

Gail Combs

Entropic man says:
July 27, 2012 at 8:23 am
I was browsing the station site a while back and something puzzled me. I could not identify from the data onsite , when car parks, air conditioners, etc were installed.
An abrupt additional heat input to the vicinity of a surface station should cause a step in the temperature graph for that station, with the slope before and after the installation unchanged. Instead, my impression was that sites with air conditioners showed steeper graphs than sites without. Do air conditioners get more powerful with time?
_______________________________
Day to day temp data is “noisy” to begin with. The effect of an A/C unit or black top or car emissions would not be a constant but would also be sporadic. Urbanization normally does not occur over night but over a period of time.
Here are two near by stations, one an airport and some other stations plus the Atlantic SST.
The city is on the North Carolina/Virgina border and right on the ocean. Take a look at the city vs the airport! Norfolk City and
Norfolk International Airport
North to south thru the middle of the state of NC
North – Raleigh NC
Chapel Hill which is just west of Raleigh.
Large city in the middle of NC – Fayetteville NC
South – Lumberton NC
Other Coastal Cities:
North – Elisabeth City
South – Wilmington NC
Rural
North – Louisburg
North – Louisburg
South – Southport
South – Southport
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?

Entropic man

Theo Goodwin says:
July 27, 2012 at 10:03 am
“I do not think that we should assume that installation of an air conditioner presents a change in temperature that is constant.”
Fair enough. A greasy spoon just opening would produce an upward step , followed by a decline in average temperature at the site as it gradually ran down again.
Perhaps someone familiar with the station website could link graphs illustrating the effect of installing an air conditioner, and the effect of different patterns of air conditioner use, on the temperature record of the sites alongside.

I believe most new heat records are due to the UHI and improper heat sensors.
I hope Anthony’s health is good! Please set up comments for this ‘suspension’.

Anyone want to lay down bets as to what the announcement will be?

Oh, come on now, Anthony… “high” is relatively. Anything above absolute junk could be “high-quality.” And in the case of HCN, well, that might be what we’ve got, something better than junk.

Perhaps FOIA’s password for the Climategate 3.0 leak has been ‘guessed’ (i.e. brute force discovered)? Was in “Mann Handled” spelled backwards? Was in “Penn State Hockey same as Penn State Football” spelled backwards? with or without spaces?
Perhaps Heartland has settled out of court with confessed interstate identity thief Peter Gleick? The out-of-court Fakegate settlement being: read a court approved apology aloud at next Heartland conference, engage in a vigorous intellectual 3-hour long debate against someone of equal/greater credentials, pay his own way to/from the Heartland conference?

Jimbo

Has WUWT been hacked I wonder?

JJ

Entropic man says:
“An abrupt additional heat input to the vicinity of a surface station should cause a step in the temperature graph for that station, with the slope before and after the installation unchanged.”

That is one of those statements whose truth depends on numerous unstated assumptions. Investigate those assumptions, and you will find that many are not necessarily true. In fact, if you ask yourself why you believe your two primary conclusions (that installation of an air conditioner would cause a dramatic step change and that the slope of any trend before and after would be the same for the life of the station) you will probably be able to imagine circunmstances under which neither of those would happen.

WLF15Y

Re: suspension of publishing; Cimategate 3.0?

Keith Pearson, Formerly bikermailman, Anon No Longer

Matt on July 27, 2012 at 9:52 am My contribution: Watts running for president as an independent.
While Romney, Johnson,or my dog Jake would be a vast improvement over the current occupier…er, occupant, Anthony would get my vote over all of them. Well, not over Jake, he’s kind of special to me.

u.k.(us)

“First, I am well. This isn’t a health issue for me or my family.”
==========
Thank you Anthony, now our thoughts turn to lesser concerns.

Entropic man

JJ says:
July 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm
Entropic man says:
“An abrupt additional heat input to the vicinity of a surface station should cause a step in the temperature graph for that station, with the slope before and after the installation unchanged.”
You reply “That is one of those statements whose truth depends on numerous unstated assumptions.”
“ask yourself why you believe your two primary conclusions (that installation of an air conditioner would cause a dramatic step change and that the slope of any trend before and after would be the same for the life of the station)”
If my two primary conclusions are wrong then the whole premise on which the stations website is based is also wrong.
I still havent had much data. Gail Combes has suggested graphs, but left me to do the legwork myself, assuming her point is immediately obvious, which it is not.
Without knowing more about the history of the airport station, such as when it was built, paved and repaved and when its surroundings became urbanised , how can I properly interpret the graph?

kwinterkorn

What would make my day on Sunday is to learn that the Romney campaign is announcing that Anthony Watts will be their official advisor on weather and climate issues.

SteveSadlov

Drum rolllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll ……………………

LazyTeenager

Dickens Goes Metro on July 27, 2012 at 8:04 am
If every adjustment introduces an error, and if the adjustments are done sequentially, does not the overall adjustment process amplify errors and especially those that were introduced at the beginning of the sequence?
————
No.
The adjustments are intended to remove some forms of error.
While its possible that the adjustments introduce errors of their own those errors are not necessarily all biassed in the same direction and in fact are likely to cancel out to some extent.

lol – the speculation and mystery around the upcoming announcement…
reminds of when my wife says “Um – we have something real important we need to talk about… but you go ahead and do what you need to do first.”
ARRRGHH!!! How can I do anything with that kind of thing hanging over my head????
and then it turns out to be whether we should change the landscaping or something.

Gdn

Do air conditioners get more powerful with time?
Context is everything.
Air conditioners tend to get used more often over time, though the rate at which they do so tends to be related to what they are being used for. A restaurant accumulating electronic devices or customers tends to need more to maintain the same temperature. A new datacenter tends to be only moderately filled, and over time every nook and cranny gets filled with heat-producing devices…until they get ripped out and replaced and the process begins again.

Gail Combs

Entropic man says:
July 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm
…I still havent had much data. Gail Combes has suggested graphs, but left me to do the legwork myself, assuming her point is immediately obvious, which it is not.
________________________________
SIGHhhh
Here is the Norfolk International Airport History complete with time line beginning in 1903 and with commercial flight starting in April 7, 1938

As early as 1903, Hampton Roads was making a connection with aviation. The Virginian-Pilot based in Norfolk, Virginia was one of the first newspapers in the country to publish an eyewitness account of the Wright Brothers’ historic first flight….

I really hate writing a book in a comment

Keith Pearson, formerly bikermailman, Anonymous no longer

C’mon mods, everyone knows that the original source of that Heartland thing is George Soros. Will entropic man acknowledge this?

Dave Worley

Maybe Kenji has been appointed chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Either that or he has won a Nobel Peace Prize.

Matt says: My contribution: Watts running for president as an independent.
Great!

Alan Wilkinson

One “as” too many in last line.

Entropic man

Keith Pearson, formerly bikermailman, Anonymous no longer says:
July 27, 2012 at 6:52 pm
“C’mon mods, everyone knows that the original source of that Heartland thing is George Soros. Will entropic man acknowledge this”
I dont know where it came from.
[snip – rather than propagate inaccuracies after which the story moved on, jove ~Mod]

Entropic man

Gail Combs says:
July 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm
Entropic man says:
July 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm
…I still havent had much data. Gail Combes has suggested graphs, but left me to do the legwork myself, assuming her point is immediately obvious, which it is not.
________________________________
SIGHhhh
Here is the Norfolk International Airport History complete with time line.
I really hate writing a book in a comment
Thank you for the dates. Now I can analyse the graph better.
I’m afraid this is how a scientific debate should work. If you want to persuade an opponent, you have to do the persuading.

Entropic man

[SNIP: Your continued efforts to present forged documents as “evidence” is wearing thin. You do NOT have a right to comment here and if you keep this up the privilege will be revoked. -REP]

petermue

Gail Combs says:
July 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm
Here is the Norfolk International Airport History complete with time line beginning in 1903 and with commercial flight starting in April 7, 1938
————————————————————-
Wrong link?

Entropic man

Gdn says:
July 27, 2012 at 5:48 pm
Do air conditioners get more powerful with time?
Context is everything.
Air conditioners tend to get used more often over time, though the rate at which they do so tends to be related to what they are being used for. A restaurant accumulating electronic devices or customers tends to need more to maintain the same temperature. A new datacenter tends to be only moderately filled, and over time every nook and cranny gets filled with heat-producing devices…until they get ripped out and replaced and the process begins again.
Perhaps the station website should go into more detail regarding the context of the stations it condemms.

I would have thought that after the survey and the surrounding publicity at least the worst positioned stations would have been relocated to better places. Or am I too simple not to grasp the full implications of keeping this data as poor as it now is?

Entropic man

John Marshall says:
July 28, 2012 at 3:16 am
“I would have thought that after the survey and the surrounding publicity at least the worst positioned stations would have been relocated to better places. Or am I too simple not to grasp the full implications of keeping this data as poor as it now is?”
For the meteoroologists this is a no win situation. If you leave the station where it is, you get degraded data because of the development.
If you move to a new site, with a new microclimate, you lose the continuous record which is important for assessing long term trends.
One solution would be a law banning any development liable to distort the data from a weather station, though I doubt that the general population would stand for it.

Entropic man

Moderator, would you please stop removing my posts regarding the Heartland Institute and Mr. Watts. When I arrived on this site a few days ago a moderator assured me that you had an open moderation policy, and any inaccurate statements would be corrected by your posters.
Now you are censoring me!
[REPLY: Richard, an open moderating policy does not mean that you can post false and malicious information. Your continued efforts to do so reek of dishonesty and will not be tolerated. I have no intention of arguing this with you. -REP]

Entropic man

Close to my home is a station in a frost hollow, which gives the lowest winter temperatures for 200 miles. The meteorologists are reluctant to move it after 132 years in place, and have learned to correct for its minor eccentricity.

Entropic man

Entropic man says:
July 28, 2012 at 2:40 am
[SNIP: Your continued efforts to present forged documents as “evidence” is wearing thin. You do NOT have a right to comment here and if you keep this up the privilege will be revoked. -REP]
YOU asked ME to document a guess regarding the Sunday announcement being discussed here, and then removed my response. This is not the open moderation you promised me a couple of days ago.
[REPLY: Nice try, but don’t try it again. If you have links, post them. Expect criticism if they really are untrustworthy. Expect argument if the descriptions are shonky. Very little gets snipped here and it has to be pretty egregious. The moderators will let you know if it is. Stay civil, obey site policy, and everything will be fine. Casting aspersions is a cause to be snipped. Please don’t do it again. -REP]
[Reply – since you are new here – your guess about the announcement was OK but the links were not and some of the ‘facts’ were wrong. To allow you to post this and have have other commentors correct you would have taken the thread off topic which we try to avoid. Regulars here know the story was well covered at the time including the links you provided – here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/15/some-notes-on-the-heartland-leak/ and corrections. jove, mod]
[REPLY: “open moderation” is for people who are honest. You do not have the right to post to false and forged documents. -REP]