Via experiment, NOAA establishes a fact about station siting: 'nighttime temperatures are indeed higher closer to the laboratory'

WUWT readers may recall that I wrote about this experiment being performed at Oak Ridge national Laboratory to test the issues related to station siting that I have long written about.

NOAA’s ‘Janus moment’ – while claiming ‘The American public can be confident in NOAA’s long-standing surface temperature record’, they fund an experiment to investigate the effects of station siting and heat sinks/sources on temperature data

This effort promises to be greatly useful to understanding climate quality temperature measurements and how they can be influenced by the station site environment.

From the USCRN Annual Report: http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/uscrn/publications/annual_reports/FY11_USCRN_Annual_Report.pdf

Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon writes about the the first results of this experiment presented at the recent AMS meeting in Austin, TX. The early results confirm what we have learned from the Surface Stations project. Nighttime temperatures are affected the most.

Two talks that caught my eye were on the land surface temperature record.  They attacked the problem of land surface temperature accuracy in two completely different, but complementary ways.

One, by John Kochendorfer of NOAA at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is a direct test of the importance of siting.  They’ve installed four temperature sensors at varying distances across a field from the laboratory complex.  The experiment has only been running since October, but already they’ve found out a couple of interesting things.  First, the nighttime temperatures are indeed higher closer to the laboratory.  Second, this is true whether the wind is blowing toward or away from the laboratory.

It’ll take a lot more data to sort out the various temperature effects.  One way the buildings might affect the nighttime temperature even when the sensor is upwind of the buildings is infrared radiation: the heated buildings emit radiation that’s stronger than what would be emitted by the open sky or nearby hills.

More here: http://blog.chron.com/climateabyss/2013/01/dispatch-from-ams-looking-at-land-surface-temperatures/

Biases Associated with Air Temperature Measurements near Roadways and Buildings

Wednesday, 9 January 2013: 9:15 AM Room 15 (Austin Convention Center)

John Kochendorfer, NOAA, Oak Ridge, TN; and C. B. Baker, E. J. Dumas Jr., D. L. Senn, M. Heuer, M. E. Hall, and T. P. Meyers

Abstract

Proximity to buildings and paved surfaces can affect the measured air temperature. When buildings and roadways are constructed near an existing meteorological site, this can affect the long-term temperature trend. Homogenization of the national temperature records is required to account for the effects of urbanization and changes in sensor technology. Homogenization is largely based on statistical techniques, however, and contributes to uncertainty in the measured U.S. surface-temperature record. To provide some physical basis for the ongoing controversy focused on the U.S. surface temperature record, an experiment is being performed to evaluate the effects of artificial heat sources such as buildings and parking lots on air temperature. Air temperature measurements within a grassy field, located at varying distances from artificial heat sources at the edge of the field, are being recorded using both the NOAA US Climate Reference Network methodology and the National Weather Service Maximum Minimum Temperature Sensor system. The effects of the roadways and buildings are quantified by comparing the air temperature measured close to the artificial heat sources to the air temperature measured well-within the grassy field, over 200 m downwind of the artificial heat sources.

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

Early results of what has been learned in the surface stations project can be seen here:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/29/press-release-2/

h/t to Dr. Roger Pielke Sr.

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Big D in TX

Sweet, sweet vindication, eh?

temp

dog bites man science from NASA….after the video of said dog and man was repeatedly played on national TV, they claimed it was a hoax and then decided maybe they should looked into it.

tom streck

Can’t believe this experiment wasn’t done many years ago. After all, there is siting criteria for stations. Didn’t they experiment at that time to come up with good siting conditions??

After a while, they re-invent the wheel

For clarity, the four stations are what classes under each of the classification systems: NOAA USHCN, Leroy 1999, Leroy 2010?

Nick in Vancouver

Facepalm

Little by little, day by day, the long walk back continues.

Jeremy

The testing will continue until results meet expectations.

davidmhoffer

First, the nighttime temperatures are indeed higher closer to the laboratory. Second, this is true whether the wind is blowing toward or away from the laboratory.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Well duh! Uber duh!
The buildings have vertical surfaces which means they radiate predominantly horizontal instead of vertical. Then to add to their analysis they come up with this utterly brilliant observation:
the heated buildings emit radiation that’s stronger than what would be emitted by the open sky or nearby hills.
Which physics classes did these bozos fail to attend since simply flunking them isn’t a good enough explanation for the stupidity of this remark? Both the open sky and the nearby hills radiate predominantly down and up. The vertical walls of the building radiate predominantly “sideways” or straight AT the nearby sensors. It isn’t the strength of the emission it is the DIRECTION of the emission.

Joe

tom streck says:
January 20, 2013 at 12:43 pm
Can’t believe this experiment wasn’t done many years ago. After all, there is siting criteria for stations. Didn’t they experiment at that time to come up with good siting conditions??
_____________
This^^^
How on earth has no-one thought to do this, and obtained funding, before? Especially considering how vital the record is to justifying saving the planet, surely understanding the effects of these things in detail should have been a very first step? Otherwise, if you try to adjust for them, you’re not “homogenising”, you’re just guessing!
Unless, of course, you worry that the results of such an experiment, when explored fully, might weaken your case. In which case faiing to do it would be entirely understandable.

milodonharlani

In attempting the perhaps futile task of taking the earth’s past & present temperature, it appears that proxy data are almost (if not more, since possibly less subject to “adjustment”) important during the thermometer period as before it.
For the repeatedly falsified CAGW hypothesis, shouldn’t lower tropospheric temperature be most significant, anyway? Or sea surface temperature or ocean heat content, rather than the easily faked land stations?

mpainter

A worthy study but, does it not confirm what we already know? Somebody please explain if this study adds anything new.

They might have to re-do all of their temperature ‘adjustments’ I think, on the basis of this.

IanH

@tom
Probably, then they decided they don’t like those results, so we’ll ignore the issue as it helps their agenda.

DocMartyn

Shocked, shocked by the surrender of the modellers to the experimentalists.
Just what the hell do they think they are doing, science?

Pamela Gray

I so want to know how much I spent on this incredulously fantastic woulda thunk it possible discovery!!!!

Doug Huffman

In re experimentally confirmed siting requirements; no, the conspiracy of ignorance masquerades as common sense. In a word, when two of the millions of Internet-monkeys agree, as they blog-chatter randomly, they have confirmed each other’s hypothesis and it becomes commonsensical.

the heated buildings emit radiation that’s stronger than what would be emitted by the open sky or nearby hills
It’s not so much the radiation is stronger (although it could be), rather it’s because it’s being emitted from a vertical surface, and more will reach a nearby object near the surface.
It’s called the Urban Canyon Effect and a is a major source of UHI.
It’s a pity they didn’t do the same experiment on the west side as well, as that would allow a quantification of the solar heating component versus internally generated heat in the building.

Barb R.

I am in no way, shape or form a scientist or climatologist, but even I can say without a shred of doubt: DUH.
The Emperor wears no clothes.

Mike in Tassie

That this work had not been done DECADES ago by the NOAA/CRU/GISS mob is utterly bizarre because the level of knowledge required to appreciate the basic issue is high school physics and in any case is reflected in the siting criteria!!.
And they wonder why there are skeptics out there.
Methinks 2013 could be a good year for skepticism and we might even see the AGW bubble burst.
Anthony, can you organise an on line store for hazmat suits because the doodoo will go everywhere when it hits the fan and many of us will just want to watch.

George A

NOAA Appoints New Administrator : Captain Obvious.

starzmom

So it takes a long overdue, sophisticated scientific experiment to convince scientists that what lay people experience is actually happening?? All I can say is “DUH!!” One wonders whether these folks have ever been outside at night, anywhere, anytime.

starzmom

P.S. I apologize if I have insulted anyone. But sometimes I just throw my hands up in despair.

wolfman

Anthony, This seems entirely intuitive to me. Have you ever received any commentary from NASA or the weather service on the major differences between the reported US temperatures and the group of well-sited and technologically sound stations that began to collect data in 2009 (if I recall correctly)?

Ian W

First, the nighttime temperatures are indeed higher closer to the laboratory. Second, this is true whether the wind is blowing toward or away from the laboratory.
So this invalidates the claims against UHI that used wind direction as a metric with the logic that wind blowing toward the UHI would reduce the night time temperature if UHI was significant. Looks like some major reassessments will need to be done.

Billy Ruff'n

Nothing of any importance to see here…..let’s just move on.

Schrodinger's Cat

Over the years I seem to recall that warming often occurs with night time temperatrures while daytime temperatures seem normal. Maybe this is a signature of UHI as well as badly sited individual thermometers. It is the storage radiator effect, i.e. heat stored in concrete by day keeps the place warm by night.

JohnS

I might be missing something, but the installation in Fig 7 appears to be “it” — i.e., the whole experimental design. If so, I’d be hesitant to call it an experiment; more like a demonstration. I’d want to have more than one transect at the site, perhaps with the replicates arranged radially (to capture varying wind direction), and replicate the site design at several locations. Sure, it will probably show what everyone (here) expects, but I can’t see n = 1 being sufficient for a defensible analysis of any kind.

David Schofield

Look for a new round of adjustments.

Dickens Goes Metro

Aren’t experiments like this already in the literature? I don’t see how they are just figuring this out in the 21st century. This is goofy.
Also, what about airports? Has anyone done similar experiments for runways? A heat sink is a heat sink whether it is a brick building or a slab of concrete.

Konrad

“Nighttime temperatures are affected the most.”
As I recall, warming that showed a greater rise in Tmin than the rise in Tmax was supposed to be the “Signature of CO2 induced AGW”.
This study appears to confirm what Anthony’s work has shown. Warming that showed a greater rise in Tmin than the rise in Tmax is the signature of poor station siting induced ALW (anthropogenic local warming)
However I’m sure however the BEST team will be able to re-establish the signature of AGW through playing with anomalies and homogenisation. There should be absolutely no need to get out of the office and make individual station record corrections based on individual station metadata and site conditions. /sarc

Theo Goodwin

I have been jumping up and down and screaming for years about how climate scientists have no instinct for the empirical. The obvious failure revealed in the post under discussion is the same failure that undermined paleoclimatology: you cannot simply pop sensors (select proxies) down across the globe and assume that their readings are comparable. You have to do empirical research on the environment of each and every sensor before you can know that they are comparable.
Now that some climate scientists have discovered this fundamental truth of scientific method, my guess is that they will conclude that the necessary work is so tedious and dirty that they would rather give up climate science. I encourage them to do so. There is not one among them who shows the capacity necessary to do what Professor Watson (of Crick and Watson fame) did over many decades. Every day he went into the lab and immersed his arms in vats of chemicals, day after day after day. Watson’s work, which is ongoing though the good Dr. is deceased, is the empirical grounding of the Double Helix. In any science, someone has to do that work.

Ben D.

Does this mean a readjustment downwards will be undertaken once the effect can be accurately quantified?

Jeff L

I hope this duplicating older experiments because this is soooo obvious.
But if not, it’s about time.
Now, the next step is to set up a similar (but much larger ) array around multiple cities of different sizes to start to better quantify UHI effect.
With a station correction & UHI correction, maybe we can derive a surface temp data set that is more meaningful (but it will be an interpretive product regardless , due to the above effects being in the raw data).

Jer0me

As has been pointed out, why have we spent so many billions of dollars ‘proving’ Global Warming, without making this simple test. In addition, sceptics have been claiming this is a probable factor for years, and it has been brushed aside as irrelevant, and data ‘adjusted’ to preconceived ideas without said tests being made.
As I recall (perhaps poorly) the majority of Global Warming is in higher nighttime lows rather than daytime highs. If that is true, is it possible that even that is a crock, and there is really no warming whatsoever? That would be the very last leg of the whole CAGW hypothesis, and it should then be abandoned unless some proof appears.
I predict that my taxes will not go down, however, and neither will the shill squealing of the alarmist abate.

Jer0me

^^ “shrill squealing”, although maybe “shill” was a Freudian slip….

Jim Clarke

Station siting criteria have been around since before we were born, just for this reason. This stuff has been known for a long time. It has only been in the AGW era that some of these basics have been purposely forgotten: station siting, natural climate variability, the billions of years of earthly climate without a runaway greenhouse effect, and so on.

knr

The back story to this is simply , for most of the time poor sitting in reality did not matter to much . No one thought you could really give accurate figuers to two decimal places and thanks to the chaotic nature of weather its was accepted that forecast of all forms , temperature being just one , would be a bit and miss . And to that the lack of funding and you can see why the details of there position where not given a high priority. AGW changed all that suddenly they were claiming great accuracy and predictive power , so people started to look at just how good this locations really were and that’s when all hit the fan .
For example
Airport weather stations are designed to give weather for the airport and a limited area , so issues like jet wash and lots of runways were not an issue has its was still accurate for ‘the airport ‘ for the purposes it needed to be . But once it was expending into greater areas , partly to save cost , these factors became an issue , especially when they were being used in the name of ‘the cause ‘ and claimed to be a accurate way of measuring of wide areas to not subject to airport conditions.

Gail Combs

Theo Goodwin says:
January 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm
Now that some climate scientists have discovered this fundamental truth of scientific method, my guess is that they will conclude that the necessary work is so tedious and dirty that they would rather give up climate science. I encourage them to do so….In any science, someone has to do that work.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
They are too darn lazy to send their grad students or even their senior level Bachelor of Science students out to do the grunt work.

Gail Combs

Ben D. says:
January 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm
Does this mean a readjustment downwards will be undertaken once the effect can be accurately quantified?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Are you kidding? Hansen will figure out some way to use this to ADD a couple more tenths to the global and US temperature record.

The good thing about this, apart from the result, is that it is now published. If the results stand then this can be used to invalidate a whole set of interdependent data sets and subsequent dependent models. It would quite likely remove any ‘human sourced’ component… Back to the drawing board.

BioBob

About time, duh !
now all they need to do is the REST of the Frigging sampling requirments:
Replicates and random sampling.

Auto

Hey – half a dozen or so ‘good’ papers in the last couple of weeks.
‘Good’ – well, sensible.
Are the wheels on the CAGW Juggernaut starting to look a bit wobbly on their axles?
Could it be that some in the weather/climate area of science have noted that not absolutely everything published is, well, good, verifiable science?
[What about the other politically correct bodies, like the Met Office, or the American Chemistry thingy, whose brand leader is an English graduate, I read about today . . . .?]
Might the tide be starting to turn?
The costs so far have been horrific – all those [self-snip for obscenity] windmills, for a start! – but maybe we’ll see a reduction in the rate of increase. Please . . . . . . . .
Here in the UK – my local forecast is -10 C (14 F) tomorrow at 0600 Z, in the UHI called London – we need some political leadership.
Rather eliminates anyone called Clegg or Cable – or Cameron.
And I don’t think the Millipede chap, who started the wind-scam as Energy Minister, would recognize a hectojoule.
Auto

Duncan

I didn’t see anything about magnitude in that Oak Ridge experiment.
How big an effect are they finding for station siting?

Scott Flick

I would think it would also be nice to see how all the different levels of adjustment
(i.e. intake and homogenization) alter this data set just to see how good current process measures up to a control set of data.

Marcos

How much does the pruning of, mostly rural, temperature stations from the data set back in the 90’s come into play here?

ahem. arnt you forgetting who first pointed this experiment out to you?

Doug Huffman

About “canyon effect” and “heat sinks”, how about the radiators varying characteristics due to size and distance. I know that radiation from a point source is attenuated by R^-2, and that as the dimensionality increases from line to surface to volume and as the dimensions increase the physics gets real complicated.

Wow, an actual science experiment !!

edcaryl

Now move the experiment to the Arctic where the temperature difference is 100 degrees.