Apparently Governor Brown, you've never visited the weather station at Lake Tahoe

I had to laugh. Governor Jerry “moonbeam” Brown has created a comical clone of the Skeptical Science website at his state office website, and announced it today in lake Tahoe with this missive via the Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert:

The Democratic governor, in Stateline, Nev., for the annual Tahoe Summit, has long been frustrated by conservative politicians who say the effect of global warming is overstated, or who argue government intervention to address climate change is a drag on the economy.

“Global warming’s impact on Lake Tahoe is well documented. It is just one example of how, after decades of pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, humanity is getting dangerously close to the point of no return,” Brown said in a prepared statement. “Those who still deny global warming’s existence should wake up and honestly face the facts.”

Well documented? I suppose Gov. Brown has never seen the kind of problems associated with the official NOAA weather stations, like this one I documented at Lake Tahoe with a trash burn barrel nearby:

No wonder the data looks steep:

Tahoe City, CA temperature plot – courtesy NASA GISS

And when you look at other nearby data at properly sited weather stations, you have to ask, where’s the warming? Russ Steele has the story:

by Russ Steele (from Is it 2012 In Nevada County yet?)

In Part I of this fact checking project, I will start with the section titled California’s Changing Climate.  The first sentence set off my alarm bells right away,  as I have been studying the climate change in the Sierra since 2004.

Observed changes over the last several decades across the western United States reveal clear signals of climate change. Statewide average temperatures increased by about 1.7°F from 1895 to 2011, and warming has been greatest in the Sierra Nevada.

I have not see any great changes in the Sierra temperatures over the last several decades except at one Lake Tahoe Surface Station. This station neighbors include  a tennis court, and for a while a trash burn barrel. More on this site later in the analysis.

There was no indication in the report where the Sierra temperatures were measured. But in previous reports there was a high dependence on the COOP station at Lake Tahoe, as it had the longest record in the basin.

As you can see there was a significant jump in temperature starting around 1980.  A jump that is not evident in other sites around Lake Tahoe and the Sierra.  Some investigation revealed that 1980 was about the time a concrete tennis court was installed next to the surface station.  According to the condo property manager that an investigator spoke to said the court was installed in the “early 80′s”, though she was not there at the time.  This tennis court heats up during the day and gives up energy at night, warming the area. According the grounds keeper, he picked up trash during the day and burned it at the end of the shift, leaving a warm burn barrel to increase the night time temperatures.

Starting in the late 1980s the Forest Service started installing remote automated weather stations (RAWS) well way from built up areas with potential heat sources like the Tahoe tennis court.  These remote rural sites do not show any significant Sierra warming.

Owens Camp, El Dorado National Forest, near Kyburz was one of this RAWS sites.

There is a modest increase in the night time temperatures and a decline in the day time temperatures, which average out to no average change.

Quincy Ranger Station, Tahoe National Forest, is another RAWS station

As you can see the temperatures vary from year to year, but according to the regression analysis the temperatures are essentially flat for the 19 years examined. It appears that from about 2002 to 2010 the temperatures have been in declining year over year.

There is also a COOP station in Truckee with recored that goes back several decades that is only 15 miles from the Tahoe station.

As you can see there is no significant warming just 15 miles away from the COOP site at Lake Tahoe.  No significant jump in 1980.

There you have it, three Sierra sites that do not show any significant warming. So, where did the scientist at the Climate Change Center find the Sierra warming data?  If they only used the Tahoe Site, they were fooled by a poorly sited weather station. Real scientist would not use a single site, but look at the whole Sierra.  This report appears to be more the work of political hacks than scientists.  Here is the lead authors web site:   You decide?


h/t to Marc Morano for the Sac Bee alert


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Ken Howard

Journal: Bulletin of the AMS Early Online Release (8/8/12)
Authors: Kenneth Kunkel (NOAA CICS NCDC), Thomas Karl (NCDC), Harold Brooks (NSSL), James Kossin (NCDC), Jay Lawrimore (NCDC), Derek Arndt (NCDC), Lance Bosart (State University of New York – Albany), David Chagnon (Northern Illinois University), Susan Cutter (University of South Carolina), Nolan Doesken (Colorado State University), Kerry Emanuel (MIT), Pavel Ya. Groisman (NCDC), Richard Katz (NCAR), Thomas Knutson (GFDL), James O’Brien (Florida State University), Christopher Paciorek (UC-Berkeley), Thomas Peterson (NCDC), Kelly Redmond (Desert Research Institute), David Robinson (Rutgers University), Jeff Trapp (Purdue University), Russell Vose (NCDC), Scott Weaver (NOAA CPC), Michael Wehner (Lawrency Berkeley National Laboratory), Klaus Wolter (CIRES/ESRL), Donald Wuebbles (University of Illinois)
The state of knowledge regarding trends and an understanding of their causes is presented for severe convective storms, extreme precipitation, hurricanes and typhoons, and severe snowstorms and ice storms.
Important conclusions:
Overall, changes in the frequency of environments favorable for severe thunderstorms have not been statistically significant. For extreme precipitation, there is strong evidence for a nationally-averaged upward trend in the frequency and intensity of events. For hurricanes and typhoons attribution of trends to anthropogenic forcing remains controversial. There are no significant multi-decadal trends in the areal percentage of the contiguous U.S. impacted by extreme seasonal snowfall amounts since 1900. There is no distinguishable trend in the frequency of ice storms for the U.S. as a whole since 1950.


I love it when this happens. I know far too many people that believe UHI is some kind of conspiracy excuse. Or that regional land use could never influence “global” temperature records. I am sure this site is just averaged in with the good sites. Yep, no influence at all….

Dave N

When a site has a main link with the word “consensus” and others with the d word, you know it’s not going to be about “facts”, and definitely not about science.

Pamela Gray

She studies effective communication on climate change and offers training to help us all improve how we communicate. OOOKKKAAYYYYYYY then! This pile…er…piece of sh…. er…work will look good on her resume doncha think?

Andrew Newberg

Excess Moonbeams…that’s the problem.

Why wouldn’t you listen to Gov Brown and the other California politicians on global warming? They’re smart enough to spend $100 billion on high-speed rail when the state is already broke.

trash burn barrel nearby
Was the trash burn barrel put there in 1980? Otherwise it is irrelevant for the jump in temps in 1980.
REPLY I know it was there for several years and now removed after we pointed it out, but if you’ll check the article, the temperature spike correlates with building of the apartment complex and tennis court nearby. The burn barrel would make short term peaks in the daily temps. – Anthony

Dear Anthony, that’s quite a synergy! The perception that the governor’s website is an imitation of Cook’s website was the first thing it made me think! 🙂

I guess that Governor Brown didn’t read the studies that show that the clarity of Tahoe’s water has been improving.
This surprised the scientists who have been studying the water there.
And one of the reasons these scientists give for the improving clarity???
… cplimate change.


This is what I get when I checked Tahoe City.
Can anyone explain the discrepancy? No warming here.


The author is committed to the climate change/social change movement, by her own description. Misleading, prevaricating, selective evidence withholding, lying——all in a days work for someone dedicated to and excused by a noble cause.


From Office of Planning:
“Many of the deniers share some traits:
” Many have little or no expertise in climate science. While some have some science background, their training often is unrelated to climate science and they have not published “peer-reviewed” scientific work in climate or atmospheric science. ”
Apparently, Brown is an expert with extensive climate science background and …. training, thus having the “traits” and authority to publish his “peer-reviewed” web propaganda.
Soon, it will be unlawful to disagree with the state, on any issue. After all, they are the experts who decide who else are experts.

Doug Huffman

The mere existence of a burn barrel in California is quite amazing.


Leif Svalgaard says:
August 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm
trash burn barrel nearby
Was the trash burn barrel put there in 1980? Otherwise it is irrelevant for the jump in temps in 1980.
The burn barrel nearby is an example of shoddy care in making the site legitimate. Pretty obvious, the site is surround by gravel, next to tennis courts, and receives reflective energy from the buildings.


It seems I now get an internal service area on above link to a ‘non-warming’ Tahoe City. So I found this one. I wonder if this one will ‘disappear’.


Again it’s happened. Try this
Tahoe city.webarchive


No. Doesn’t work either. I give up.


just a minor point of observation – the trash burner is set onto a wooden pallet – which clearly shows no evidence of scorching? I’d surmise the trash burner is moved from that location before actual use (possibly even closer to the screen! LOL) or even that the pallets are for ‘future’ burning?
It matters not though – clearly this site is in the dumps!


I meant the station site – not WUWT !!! (thought I’d better add that in case anyone gets the wrong idea)

Werner Brozek

Those who still deny global warming’s existence should wake up and honestly face the facts.
Which facts would those be? While it has been warm for the last 15 years, it is important that we not confuse “been warm” with “warming” as many alarmists do. RSS has now gone 15 years and 8 months with a totally flat slope. This is 188/204 or 92.2% of the way to Santer’s 17 years. See:

Theo Goodwin

Leif Svalgaard says:
August 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm
“trash burn barrel nearby
Was the trash burn barrel put there in 1980? Otherwise it is irrelevant for the jump in temps in 1980.”
When offering photos of trash burn barrels and such, Anthony is not trying to create an argument about specific temperature readings. He is trying to show that management of the temperature station was non-existent if not worse. Who knows whether the station manager placed the trash burn barrel there? Such clear evidence of non-existent station management should invalidate all readings from that station. Or maybe you want to excuse such management? In my humble opinion, our government, such as it is, should be paying big time for its sloppiness in managing temperature data and its stonewalling of criticisms.

California is desperate for more of other people’s money.
It isn’t the science, it’s the taxes.

Jim Steele

I you compare USHCN maximum and minimum temperatures at Tahoe City the maximum has never exceeded the 1930’s. Only the minimum temperature spiked higher and typically minimum are very sensitive to surface changes

Alan S. Blue

Are the data for the RAWS instruments available for compilation? They don’t appear to be “CRN1-2” based on vegetation. But it would still be interesting to see the pure-rural/wild station data as a compiled set.

I was quite ticked off that they had a Section called “DENIERS”. I felt it was inappropriate and sent an email to Ken Alex who is listed as the man in charge of this project.
As someone who is very skeptical of the science and motives behind the promotion of CAGW I have to tell you I’m quite perturbed to be called a “Denier” by the very state I choose to reside in. That term is offensive; it’s a transparent effort to link the skeptical side, to which a good portion of California’s constituency are, to Holocaust deniers. Now perhaps you may think it’s a good idea to denigrate a good portion of the population but I can assure you that’s not the case. We do care.
An as an aside, perhaps you’re not aware just how flimsy the evidence is behind CAGW. The entire case is built upon computer modeling and that there will be a positive feedback to CO2 in the other greenhouse gases, namely water vapor. This is the theory despite the fact for the vast majority of earth’s existence the CO2 level has been several times higher than it is today and there was no positive feedback or runaway warming, otherwise earth today would be much hotter because there’s no mechanism to halt or reverse warming in the face of positive feedback. Obviously negative feedbacks have always been the case in the past and there’s no reason to believe it will be different now. Computer models simply show the preconceptions of the programmer and are should always be considered subject to “GIGO” (garbage in, garbage out). If the modeler wants to show warming all he has to do is program it in (and they do).
Couple this with the fact that there has been no warming in the past fifteen years despite rising levels of CO2 (which the computer models say is impossible) and that according to satellite measurement sea level rise has actually slowed in recent years (also impossible according to the models), there is no observed evidence that the CAGW theory is correct. So perhaps you can tone down the rhetoric on your new website and perhaps even give both sides of the argument instead of ticking off a good portion of California voters.

Usual alarm. A couple of points: those automatic weather stations don’t look to be very well sited either- far too close to trees and shrubs which hinder night time cooling and possibly shade too close during the day. While the incinerator would provide rapid heating when alight, it should cool rapidly as well, and shouldn’t affect minima unless lit up in the early morning. The tennis court on the other hand would make considerable difference.


Obviously that barrel is not used for burning anything at its current location. Besides at that distance, if it was used, you would see much more than a degree or to change in the data. I would look to the tennis courts and the houses behind it in the picture as changing the micro-climate of that area. I would bet the housing development was put in sometime right before you start to see the temperature rise. Cutting the trees, changing wind patterns due to housing construction, and putting in roads, and tennis courts are going to change the temp much more than an empty barrel placed a few feet away.

Ian H

The changes observed at the RAWS stations – an increase in night-time minima and decrease in daytime maxima averaging out to no change – is precisely what you would expect to see from the growth of vegetation, in particular trees, in the area surrounding the measurement site.
If the area is natural then yes – vegetation will be growing there until the next forest fire sweeps through and clears it all and the cycle starts over again. You would expect to see a step change in the temperature record when that happens. And of course there is likley to be an almighty record for the daily high temp on the day of the fire itself :-). How do they deal with these kinds of natural changes to the measurement site? You can’t stop the cycle of trees growing and being cleared by fire – at least not without managing the site thereby rendering the environment unnatural.

John F. Hultquist

A friend from South Lake Tahoe, CA passed through this week and during breakfast mentioned the declining number of full-time residents. So I looked it up:
The number of people living in the city dropped by more than 10 percent, from 23,609 to 21,403, between 2000 and 2010, according to statistics released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
During the same time frame, the city’s total housing units rose from 14,005 to 15,087, while occupied housing units dropped from 9,410 to 8,918, according to the statistics.

I wonder if Jerry “moonbeam” Brown considers this good or bad?

It is not surprising that the “greens” missed the impact of the tennis court and other buildings in the area. I read that a “green” in England wants to rip out all the lawns and replace them with perennial plants, rocks or concrete to save water and the annoying sound of one’s neighbors mowing. He has no idea how much concrete lawns would raise the temperatures of the areas. Even rock would cause a significant difference. I guess when the solar ideas of the past decades involving greenhouses with concrete floor that passively radiated heat over night were posting, these people were busy saving polar bears or something. It’s truly frightening.


Look at how that Tahoe heat chart starts rising before well before 1980. According to correlation serving as causation of AGW it started the day California Gov. J. Brown sang along with The Trammps’ 1976 song “Disco Inferno” :
“…satisfaction came in a chain reaction – Do you hear?
I couldn’t get enough, so I had to self destruct,
The heat was on, rising to the top
Everybody’s goin’ strong
That is when my spark got hot
I heard somebody say –
Burn baby burn! – Disco inferno! …”

Reblogged this on Is it 2012 in Nevada County Yet? and commented:
Anthony has linked my analysis of the Tahoe Surface Station for this report.

I get a chuckle every time I here about Gov “Moonbeam”. Back when he was running for President in ’92, I was at a bachelor party at a bar. When I went into the mens room, there was “Brown for President” flier. I put it in the urinal and for the rest of the night whenever someone needed to use the head, they said ” I’m going to vote for Gov Brown”.


One minor quibble. The Quincy Ranger Station is on the Plumas National Forest.

Darren Potter

The lead author’s website says all one needs to know to dismiss her as un-credible: “Social Science for Climate Change”**.
**(Is that code for – extreme tree-hugging political activist?)


The governor’s press release talks specifically about the observed warming trend in lake temperatures.

Ah, Governor Moonbeam… When we desperately needed a new chunk of freeway to bypass 280, he sold the right of way. Couple of decades later all those newly build houses had to be bulldozed (AFTER buying them back at higher prices) and 85 was finally built.
For a decade or two we had a marvelous “High Rise” overpass interchange where 280 and 101 intersect. Just no ramps to it. It was dozens of feet up in the air with no way to get to it. Jerry had cancelled the project.
The south bay got to suffer through about 20 years of horrific traffic thanks to old Moonbeam…
Now he’s building a “Train To Nowhere”. Out in the Central Valley just were we don’t need a train. Connecting er, um, “nothing” to “more nothing”. But the land is flat and buying the right of way is easy… (Putting new train right of way over the mountains and through densely populated areas is painfully expensive and hard… so don’t bother…)
Oh, and since voters have several times voted down a Peripheral Canal to take the Sacramento River from the north side of the delta to the south for shipment to The L.A. Basin, he’s now also promoting a multi $Billion “hole in the ground”. They want to put the river in a tunnel UNDER the delta…
I gotta get a job in another State…


Makes you wonder how the Forest Service managed to avoid the idiocy. Somewhere in that agency there must be a bureaucrat with a true respect for science and facts.
My first thought was “Give that man a prize!” … but that would only get him fired by the ordinary status-seeking bureaucrats. Better to just quietly appreciate his anonymous nobility, and pray for long life.


Bob Johnston says:
August 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm
“I was quite ticked off that they had a Section called “DENIERS.”
How classless and base. They do it freely without shame. Those who elect them are equal in moral stature.


One has to wonder WHY a trash burner is placed near a thermometer (or is it the other way round?) Was this deliberate?
Furthermore, doesn’t all that metal fencing give off heat during the evening? What about the metalic looking stand for the thermometer?

Former Forecaster

The governor does not care about the quality of Lake Tahoe weather data, or any data, for that matter. All that matters is his agenda. That’s pretty obvious by the fact that he and his cronies voted to borrow tens of billions of dollars to build a train that no one wants, at a time when the state is dead broke and digging itself deeper.
What truly is the agenda?


[snip. You know why. ~dbs, mod.]

Theo Goodwin

Werner Brozek says:
August 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm
“RSS has now gone 15 years and 8 months with a totally flat slope. This is 188/204 or 92.2% of the way to Santer’s 17 years. See:”
What does Santer do at 204/204? Has he indicated what he might do?


You’re no good, you’re no good, you’re no good, baby you’re no good………


You would have thought the Governor would have learned his lesson with ENRON.


This is really no surprise. When Brown was in office before he was called The Fruit Fly – because of the way he handled a fruit fly problem!

Pieter Folkens

The Governor’s web site is peppered with “deniers” and “denialists” over and over and over again. Is it now fair to refer to his fanatic followers as “Brown shirts”?

Werner Brozek

Theo Goodwin says:
August 13, 2012 at 6:15 pm
What does Santer do at 204/204? Has he indicated what he might do?

Excellent questions! Will he say the warming is NOT catastrophic? Or will he say he was wrong about the 17 years and move the goal posts? Time will tell.

Brown has been pushing the idea of a bullet train to nowhere in California just to game ia few federal dollars. He’s just one of many cash for clunkers social economists in the state that can never see anything except through a pink lens of Leftist politics and the entire state is going down the drain because of it… several California cities have already filed for bankruptcy. It was reported just a few days ago the the Poway School District was prepared to spend $1 Billion to Borrow $100 Million. It is not surprising that these sorts of folks believe in global warming.

Bob Gegg

Are we sure this is a burning trash barrel? Looking at the picture I do no see a standard 8″ rain gage. But the ‘stack’ coming out of the barrel sure looks like one. Maybe the barrel is a holder for the standard 8″ gage and keeps it off the ground higher.
REPLY: I was there. Burn barrel. – Anthony