The heat is on: the UK SurfaceStations effort

They say “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, so color me flattered. I’ve been remiss in writing about this effort by Roger Tattersall (aka Tallbloke) and his colleague Tim Channon, but a tip from WUWT reader David Schofield brought me to think this would be good to mention it, so they can make comparisons.  First, as you may know, they have an ongoing effort to catalog  UK surface measurement stations. Details here.

They are using the Leroy 2010 methods as I use in Watts et al 2012, for example here.

A recent post talks about 20 UK CLIMAT stations, which are used to report to GHCN. It might be interesting to see where those stations are located in relation to this:

This is an official output from the UK DECC website called “The National Heatmap”:

http://ceo.decc.gov.uk/nationalheatmap/

The plot is generated by turning on layers using the interface. TB’s stations that he has surveyed could easily be added since this is a Google Earth product. All he has to do is get the source data from DECC. Or, some manual overlays could be tried.

Given the recent paper highlighted on WUWT about heat density/UHI in China versus surface temperature, this would seem to be a good exercise.

Here’s a closeup of London, showing the heat map along with power station locations plotted.

The station that got all this started with an errant temperature, Gravesend, is east of London along the Thames. I theorized then that that Thames itself might be a source of heat for that station, and given the density of power plants along it shown above, there might be some truth to that theory.

Broadness Radar. Swanscombe, Kent, Great Britain. This is the shipping radar station at broadness helping keep river traffic safe Date: 4 September 2005. Photo by Glyn Baker via Wikimedia Commons and Geograph. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Broadness_Radar_-_geograph.org.uk_-_48941.jpg

Look at the location located by Tim Channon:

graves-1

That spit of land juts into the Thames. If the Thames is warmed by power plant cooling outlets putting out waste heat upstream, I would think this station is getting a huge dose of the heat seen in the national heat map.

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Anthony, something puzzles me about the whole “heat islands” thing. I can see where a thermometer in Las Vegas might be registering considerably more heat in 2012 than in 1952 due to urbanization, but shouldn’t there be at least a few dozen or hundred weather stations around the world with decent records and that are still sitting 50 miles from the nearest McDonald’s? Aren’t there enough stations like that to record the changes/lack-of-changes accurately or are the changes being looked for so small that they get lost in the noise without many hundreds of data gathering points?
😕
MJM

The met office make an allowance of 0,2c for uhi as regards CET. Some people would argue that this is insufficient for a small country that is in effect one big heat island.
Would it be possible to overlay the triangulation of the CET area on to the first map which seems to illustrate this heat island effect neatly?
Tonyb

This is just a hunch, but isn’t there a built-in bias in locating temp stations, since so many seem to be placed where they are easily got at (next to roads, building, etc) and where they can obtain
the power necessary to operate? With batteries and solar panels, one would think that power from the grid would no longer be required, nor comm lines to report data. Today’s technology
should allow stations to be placed where they make logical sense.

Tony McGough

The BBC TV weather forecasts now regularly point out that “these temperatures are for the cities; in the country they may be …” and quote figures that are up to 3 or 4 degrees C colder.
This seems to be an explicit acknowledgement of the urban heat island effect, and a generously large one. So is the CET area (with only 0.2 degrees C) largely countryside? Doesn’t it include chunks of Lancashire and the industrial midlands?
Puzzled …

Jenn Oates

My daughter lives in all blue blue blue, far from any huge UHI effect, far from any large urban area. Life is good, until a hard winter when it’s nice to be a bit warmer.

James

What I have found surprising about the work carried out by Tallbloke and Tim is how circumspect the majority of the Met office’s weather stations are.
I had thought that they would be the global gold standard but it seems that most have serious flaws in their present day locations which give rise to temperatures which are artificially high.
Given that the data from these stations is being used not only for political means but also national energy policy this is a disgrace. Garbage in, Garbage out.

SadButMadLad

That Gravesend station could have lots more problems in the future if Paramount Pictures gets to set up it’s new theme park there.
http://www.gravesendreporter.co.uk/news/hollywood_theme_park_to_rival_disney_planned_for_swanscombe_1_1578470

Congratulations to Tim for his excellent open approach.
1. I hope that he keeps records of all his classifications as well as the source material required
to check and verify his work. Otherwise, it’s not reproduceable and not science.
2. He really should automate the process to remove the potential for “rater” bias. That can of course include a final human judgement where pixels are sometimes hard to classify automatically.
3. Its great that he publishes data as he gets it.
The interesting thing of course will be to understand the scientific basis of the rating system itself. That is, get the field test reports which determine that this is something more than a rule of thumb. There are some studies of temperature gradiants as you move away from paved surfaces that bear looking into. Where is Geiger when you need him.

Matt

@michaeljmcfadden,
One thing that has been blogged about here before is the dropping number of stations in the global land surface temp products particularly GISS.
People here looked into it and discovered that many of the missing stations are still to this day reporting data.
They also found that the stations dropping out where overwhelmingly rural, making the global products much more heavily weighted towards urban temps in recent years.
They even had a video clip of an animation showing the change in stations / station distribution over time. I don’t remember which articles it was on, maybe one of the mods here can look it up for you.

P. Solar

Having read through all the issues at this site in the 18th Aug post, I wondered whether the nearby radar emitter would not also have an effect. I’m guessing this is a thermistor sensor. Thermistors are semi-conductors, the powerful radar emitter could be inducing small currents in the device or its wiring or physically heating the sensor.
A typical resistance of a thermistor is in the kilohm range and the small thermal mass of thermistors makes them very sensitive to joule heating.
The screen is well off-axis w.r.t. the radar beam but it’s close enough to still receive a fair amount of power. This looks like a short range, high frequency Surface Movement Radar (SMR) . They operate in K-band , around 20GHz.
Assuming that the sensor is standard weather station equipment, the shielding my not be adequate for that sort of environment.
For major heat sources around late afternoon, I would expect the power stations to be spinning up for max daily load 5pm-6pm. If one is oil burning , this is probably exactly when it will be called into service.

Ben

Typo at the end: huge dose vs “a huge does of the heat seen in the national heat map.”
Good info as always.
[Fixed. Thank you. Mod]

I have been following Tim’s work, his methodical approach shows how science should be done, considered and without prejudice.
I still think Met-Office does a good job, not that I understand what they do, but because I assume that the early data (1690-1750) data was more or less fixed decades ago, and then we have current records.
The biggest surprise is that two are, for all practical purposes near identical if you assume that UHI and modern instrumentation has increased values by mere 0.6C some 270 years later.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET1690-1960.htm
Add to this high correlation of the Northern hemisphere to the CET, than if one is a honest devotee of the AGW, than one has to sit down and ask :how come?

Pingo

One of the big problems with the UK is our weather stations are often locked away in RAF sites, eg Church Fenton, and completely inaccessible.

P. Solar

re. radar inducing heating in the Gravesend sensor: I’ve never seen the inside of a meteo thermistor sensor, but I’m guessing that in order to be a sensitive as possible to changes in air temp , the thermistor is probably not inside any kind of metallic shielding. Maybe our host could comment. I’d guess he’s seen a few 😉

Gunga Din

This is good. Just like what Anthony (and the “et al”) have done, I’m surprised that anyone, anyone trying to learn the temperature of the globe would raise any objections or obstructions to the efforts.
If they want us to change the worlds’ economies based on the hypothosis of CAGW, doesn’t it make sense that they’d want to be sure the numbers they are using are accurate?
(Unless, of course, the the goal isn’t to save us from CAGW but rather to gather more cash and control.)

Richard111

Just one thermometer in the middle of a remote unpopulated desert recording MINIMUM clear sky night time temperatures might indicate global warming IF it is happening.

You should be aware that DECC is about as credible as the IPCC. The new head of DECC, John Gummer aka Lord Deben, once famously fed his daughter a hamburger during the BSE crisis when his remit was food safety.
He has interests in ye olde climate change……
Veolia Environmental and water
Sancroft International – specialises is advising businesses on how to make money from policies enacted to combat global warming.
Chairman of Forewind, a consortium trying to build thousands of turbines in the North Sea’s Dogger Bank.
See Bishop Hill – http://www.bishop-hill.net/
Corruption is the name of the game.

NB Gummer chairs the Climate Change Committee

Gunga Din

Kent Beuchert says:
October 10, 2012 at 12:24 pm
This is just a hunch, but isn’t there a built-in bias in locating temp stations, since so many seem to be placed where they are easily got at (next to roads, building, etc) and where they can obtain
the power necessary to operate? With batteries and solar panels, one would think that power from the grid would no longer be required, nor comm lines to report data. Today’s technology
should allow stations to be placed where they make logical sense.
=====================================================================
I would think that easy access and security issues would also be involved.
The closer they are to people, the easier they are check.
The closer they are to people, the more access needs to be restricted.
So accurate temperature measurement suffers because to meet those requirements, stations will tend to placed where people or enclosures already exist.

May I be serious for a moment?
Here’s a question I have often asked but have never received a satisfactory reply to;
Given that few machines even approach 100% efficiency and that every machine generates excess heat and that we ‘burn’ gigatons of fossil fuels as well as utilise nuclear, hydro, wind power etc….has anyone ever tried to calculate how much ‘heat’ is added to the atmosphere in a generalised way (as opposed to measurable UHI effects)?
If the Alarmists claim to be able to measure fractions of a degree’s warming due to PPM of CO2 in the atmosphere, it surprises me that no-one talks much about the actual waste heat that we produce and its effects on ambient temps.
Any explanations welcome.
Be gentle.

SandyInLimousin

Tony McGough says:
October 10, 2012 at 12:31 pm
I posted a similar comment on a previous article here, East Midlands weather tacitly assume +3’C for towns (Derby, Nottingham and Leicester).
MJM
October 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm
Try this
http://www.wunderground.com/about/faq/international_cities.asp
From this list I’d say these were far from anywhere
Muckle Flugga UK 60.85 -0.88 0 03001
Baltasound UK 60.75 -0.85 15 03002
Sella Ness UK EGPM 60.45 -1.27 8 03006
Muckle Holm UK 60.58 -1.27 22 03007
Fair Isle UK 59.53 -1.63 59 03008
North Ronaldsay UK 59.37 -2.42 11 03009
Sule Skerry UK 59.08 -4.40 16 03010
North Rona UK 59.12 -5.82 98 03011
Foula UK 60.15 -2.07 22 03013
Foula UK 60.12 -2.07 13 03014
Benbecula UK EGPL 57.47 -7.37 6 03022
South Uist Range UK 57.33 -7.37 10 03023
Butt Of Lewis UK 58.52 -6.27 23 03025
Waterstein UK 57.43 -6.77 92 03027
Loch Glascanoch UK 57.72 -4.88 265 03031
Aultbea UK 57.87 -5.63 11 03034
Barra UK 57.03 -7.45 3 03035
Kilmory UK 56.77 -6.05 45 03040
Aonach Mor UK 56.82 -4.97 1130 03041
Altnaharra UK 58.28 -4.43 80 03044
Tulloch Bridge UK 56.87 -4.70 237 03047
Cape Wrath UK 58.63 -5.00 112 03049

Stephen Skinner

The Heat Density map shows very clearly urban heat. All the main urban areas are clearly visible. Considering that in the space of about 100 years the number of cities of over 1,000,000 people has grown by several 1000%. On this map there are many towns of much less than a 1,000,000 and they show up clearly also.

Scute

When I commented (at the Talkshop a couple of months ago) about the Littlebrook power station waste heat outflow at Gravesend, I made some rough calculations of the possible temperature rise in the river on the bend around the weather station. I didn’t put these in the comment because I was playing around with inputs and don’t know the turbulence behaviour in the Thames, not to mention the tides, which Tim discussed briefly. I thought it too speculative in the context at the time. But what the heck, I’ll throw it in here. It was between 0.4 and 0.8 C if concentrated in a surface layer of 500mm and a couple of hundred metres wide. The UK record in 2003 from this station (one of the reasons for that blog post by Tim) was 100.8F and it was that ‘.8’which captured the public’s imagination because we had breached the 100F point. So a warming of the river of 0.4C to 0.8C just might have caused the media frenzy that followed.

mfo

The UK Met office is complicating matters by cobbling together a more extensive meteorological network of weather data from private observers as part of the Weather Observations Website (WOW) project which was launched in 2011.
http://www.weatherstations.co.uk/wow.htm
The map of the UK Met Office weather stations is here:
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/networks/
The dodgy station at Gravesend (Broadness radar) shows (22.25 GMT) Air Temperature 8.8 °C, Wind Speed 6.0 mph, Relative Humidity 84.0 %, Wind Direction 90 °.
The WOW station in Gravesend shows (22.25 GMT) Air Temperature 9.9 °C, Wind Speed 2.5 mph, Relative Humidity 77.0 %, Wind Direction 138 °.
http://wow.metoffice.gov.uk/home
Presumably they’ll concoct a model to homogenize the data, especially as there is a rather curious site named, S.L.O. Maidenhead Weather (30641083) (Org. / School name: S.L.O. Maidenhead Berkshire England) where, at local time 22:35 on 10 October 2012, the air temperature was…
24.5 °C (Apparent Temperature 12.0 °C).
http://www.maidenhead-weather.co.uk/
http://wow.metoffice.gov.uk/sitehandlerservlet?requestedAction=READ&siteID=30641083

I agree with Gunga Din. It’s always puzzeled me who good news such as less warming is always ignored, while bad news like fewer poly bears etc becomes front page news. Surely the possibility of the planet not having to endure CAGW is something to be happy about.

Garethman

Cardiff, Swansea? Edinburgh, Glasgow? Belfast ? no sensors. How come only English areas are recorded, Do Wales Scotland and Ireland not count?

Matt says:
October 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm
@michaeljmcfadden,
One thing that has been blogged about here before is the dropping number of stations in the global land surface temp products particularly GISS.
======================================================================
1940 there were some thousands of stations:
http://bacontime.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/climate_and_man_002.jpg

D. J. Hawkins

Charles Gerard Nelson says:
October 10, 2012 at 2:09 pm
May I be serious for a moment?
Here’s a question I have often asked but have never received a satisfactory reply to;
Given that few machines even approach 100% efficiency and that every machine generates excess heat and that we ‘burn’ gigatons of fossil fuels as well as utilise nuclear, hydro, wind power etc….has anyone ever tried to calculate how much ‘heat’ is added to the atmosphere in a generalised way (as opposed to measurable UHI effects)?
If the Alarmists claim to be able to measure fractions of a degree’s warming due to PPM of CO2 in the atmosphere, it surprises me that no-one talks much about the actual waste heat that we produce and its effects on ambient temps.
Any explanations welcome.
Be gentle.

Please see this link for more details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy
Basically, all human energy producing activities per annum amount to less than one (1) hour’s worth of energy from the sun.

Which are the 20 UK Climat surface stations, please?

anthony holmes

Its a shame the heat island effects havn’t saved the crops in Britain this year , lack of warm sunshine and cold rain has done for the farmers . The grape crops have just been left on the vines as they are not worth picking . Who would have thought there would be widespread crop failures due to cold in this ever warming world ?

The National Heat Map is built from a bottom-up address level model of heat demand in England. The model estimates the total heat demand of every address in England, but based on published sub-national energy consumption statistics and without making use of metered energy readings.
The map is of essentially waste heat, not temperatures as some have assumed. Some studies show waste heat contributes minimally to UHI. Other studies suggest it can be a significant factor.
And, I and some others concluded that the reason for the high temperatures at the Gravesend site is the low albedo (dark) mudflats that surround it on 3 sides.

wsbriggs

There are two things competing with temperatures. One is the actual temperature in an undisturbed, pristine environment. The other is the temperature experienced by residents of a town, city, or metropolis. Both of them should be actually measurements of enthalpy, with humidity taken into the computation.
The first is the only true measure of what the pristine planet is doing, provided only pristine measuring sites are used in determining enthalpy – this would include temperatures/humidity at the same height over a body of water, not just land. There should be rigorous standards for measuring these quantities, and there should be significant oversampling, both spatially, and temporally.
The second can’t have the same rigor applied, as the temperatures/humidities experienced by the residents are comprised of the varied environmental modulations of the base temperature/humidity (that of a now fictional pristine site). These measurements are just the actual life experiences of those residents. Some weather broadcasts are now including the “Feels like” temperature, which includes the humidity. I personally would love to hear a report saying, “Tomorrow’s enthalpy will be…, so get out your (fill in the blank).”

Matt

@ Matthew W
That is not the image I was looking for. There was an animation that showed the locations of temp stations globally from something like 1890 to ~2000.

D Böehm
clipe

small quibble
David Schofield brought me to think this would be [a] good [time] to mention it,

Matt

@ Matthew W & michaeljmcfadden
Here is the article I was refering to. Go watch the video
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/03/06/weather-stations-disappearing-worldwide/

shenington

It’s not a heat map.
Check out Didcot power station – it produces no heat. Neither does one of the largest users of electricity in the country, which is situated just down the road in Culham. Nearby houses produce more heat according to theis DECC product.
It’s a utilities bill map, which ignores real sources of heat, and users of oil, lpg, coal, wood, and those with special deals with power stations.

thelastdemocrat

Charles Nelson – yes, we are generating more heat than ever before. But it goes somewhere. It radiates into space. The amazing thing we have learned about our planet is that the atmosphere keeps the planet atmosphere temp in a certain range, allowing us to live. The overall temp can vary, but across shorter terms, say decades, if we geenrate more heat, it heats the atmosphere, then radiates into space.
The global warming hypothesis is that one part of the regulatory system, the atmosphere, is itself changing. The carbon dioxide added does not leave, and its addition holds more heat in, overall. If the carbon dioxide global warming hypothesis is true, we would be getting a warmer planet even if all of our heat-generating human activity were at a steady state – we would generate more heat, but a greater portion would be retained.

“marchesarosa says:
October 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm
Which are the 20 UK Climat surface stations, please?”
Goodness knows if this will post, copied from an actual source file.

local stations={ { wmo=3005, name='Lerwick', lat=60.1391666666667, long=-1.18472222222222},
	{ wmo=3017, name='Kirkwall Airport', lat=58.95352188819607, long=-2.901431693510928},
	{ wmo=3026, name='Stornoway', lat=58.21361824254632, long=-6.318955738311116},
	{ wmo=3066, name='Kinloss', lat=57.6456067915196, long=-3.563464535150946},
	{ wmo=3091, name='Aberdeen / Dyce', lat=57.20497061327473, long=-2.205313861954394},
	{ wmo=3100, name='Tiree', lat=56.50001018774803, long=-6.880803487104119},
	{ wmo=3162, name='Eskdalemuir', lat=55.31209027497275, long=-3.206307301991473},
	{ wmo=3171, name='Leuchars', lat=56.37735298771637, long=-2.86192902784711},
	{ wmo=3257, name='Leeming', lat=54.29698920443254, long=-1.533062211300392},
	{ wmo=3302, name='Valley', lat=53.25267670440459, long=-4.53652739944032},
	{ wmo=3377, name='Waddington', lat=53.17535595567492, long=-0.5233386419626107},
	{ wmo=3414, name='Shawbury', lat=52.79469108656707, long=-2.664777635006615},
	{ wmo=3502, name='Aberporth', lat=52.13947375127079, long=-4.571154152607138},
	{ wmo=3590, name='Wattisham', lat=52.13947375127079, long=-4.571154152607138},
	{ wmo=3740, name='Lyneham', lat=51.50313207002159, long=-1.992399086381173},
	{ wmo=3772, name='London, Heathrow', lat=51.47916444653322, long=-0.4505671614755646},
	{ wmo=3797, name='Manston', lat=51.3463666867272, long=1.335387206040604},
	{ wmo=3808, name='Camborne', lat=50.21831496050969, long=-5.327559840358448},
	{ wmo=3862, name='Hurn, Bournmouth Airport', lat=50.77935751853183, long=-1.836177830278091},
	{ wmo=3917, name='Belfast, Aldergrove', lat=54.66377729916611, long=-6.22513985034386}
	}
David A. Evans

Is Durham used?
a) I’m close.
b) I know where it is.
c) I know there has been a big housing estate built nearby.
DaveE.

clipe

shenington says:
October 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm
It’s not a heat map.
It’s a utilities bill map

It’s a map of space heating demand. And assuming those spaces are heated on average the same amount, a map of waste heat from buildings. Although lacking some sources of waste heat, such as electronics. Because they are true climatists, they don’t tell you how they did the calculation, but presumably its derived from the interior space of buildings.

kh1234567890

At last someone is having a good look at the station locations. I’d always thought some to be a bit bizzarre to say the least – this was (and probably still is) one near to me in Manchester : http://www.flickr.com/photos/kh1234567890/sets/72157622974758406/

David A. Evans

Forgot d.
Never received a reply when I asked If I could go and check it.
DaveE.

Mark Cooper

I have photocopies of the original hand-written thermometer records for the first ever weather station in the world, at Durham, UK. The actual written data for the early 1700’s is between 5 and 10 deg C cooler than the Met Office quoted temperatures derived from the same records. I have emailed the Met Office several times over the last 5 years for clarification on the differences and have been ignored. Since I am busy making a living I have not chased this up vigorously, especial as it looked like the sceptics had “won the argument”.The other interesting thing I found out while accessing the historical records is that even up until 2011, no calibration data of the instruments at Durham university have been archived/stored/ are available…

There have been kind words, thank you.

David A. Evans says:
October 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm
Is Durham used?
It is marked as active. Not seen that one in ages and IIRC was a CET station removed because of UHI yet why so? Not wonderful, but fair enough, however, play with Google Earth history, ouch.
Roughly 54.768, -1.58612
Changes like that ought to be clearly mentioned in the formal records.
Not seen it mentioned in extremes so I’ve not paid attention. (quite a few are known but not yet posted as articles, in part because I am trying to avoid deluging someone else’s blog)

Robert of Ottawa

Leroy’s rating of the quality of location of atmospheric measurement stations is very good. Have you published it, Anthony? It would make a good post by itself.
This French guy, Leroy, has spent many years on assessing the quality of weather station sites. I translated a 1990’s paper by him for Anthony. He is quite meticulous. That French love for Cartesian logic does not allow Warmista Wibblyism.
What is most interesting is that he provides strict criteria for the ACCURACY of a weather station’s different measurements. Thus, under this condition, the error bar will be this much; under that condition, the error bar of that measurement will be this much. And, the error bars are different for each type of measurement in each environment.

kh1234567890 says:
October 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm
At last someone is having a good look at the station locations. I’d always thought some to be a bit bizzarre to say the least – this was (and probably still is) one near to me in Manchester ”
There is one marked as current at 53.4668,-2.25152, sheesh, although it might not be accurate.
The Google Earth history is unusual, from 2000, see a building rise but this poses a problem: the data starts 1996 when the new building was not there. Maybe it was on the old library. A quick look I can’t see a screen in Hulme Park which is opposite and a more typical location.

Steve Keohane

Matt says:October 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm
Is this the animated GIF you are referring to?
http://i44.tinypic.com/23vjjug.jpg