BIG NEWS – Verified by NOAA – poor weather station siting leads to artificial long term warming

I’ve been saying for years that surface temperature measurements (and long term trends) have been affected by encroachment of urbanization on the placement of weather stations used to measure surface air temperature, and track long term climate. In doing so we found some hilariously bad examples of climate science in action, such as the official USHCN climate monitoring station at the University of Arizona, Tucson:

USHCN weather station in a parking lot. University of Arizona, Tucson

I have published on the topic in the scientific literature, and found this to be true based on the science we’ve done of examining the USHCN and applying the siting methodology of Leroy 2010.

In Fall et al, 2011 we discovered that there was a change to the diurnal temperature range (DTR). It decreased where stations had been encroached upon, because of the heat sink effect of man-made materials (asphalt, concrete, bricks, etc.) that were near stations.

For layman readers that don’t know what diurnal variation is, it is the daily variation of temperature due to the variation of incoming solar radiation from rotation of the earth on its axis.

It looks like this:

Here is what we found; in the best-sited stations, the diurnal temperature range in the lower 48 states has no century-scale trend, but the poorly sited stations had a reduction in DTR:

These results suggest that the DTR in the United States has not decreased due to global warming, and that analyses to the contrary were at least partly contaminated by station siting problems.  Indeed, DTR tended to increase when temperatures were fairly stable and tended to decrease when temperatures rose. 

Fall, S., A. Watts, J. Nielsen-Gammon, E. Jones, D. Niyogi, J. Christy, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2011: Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., in press. Copyright (2011) American Geophysical Union.

A few years back in 2012, I noted that NOAA was doing an experiment to prove or disprove what we learned.

Initial funding was provided this year by the USRCRN Program for a multi-year experiment to better understand the thermal impacts of buildings with parking lots on air temperature measurements. A site near the offices of ATDD will be instrumented to measure accurately the air temperature and other variables at multiple distances from the potential thermal heat source, corresponding to the distances from thermal sources used in classifying USCRN stations (Figure 7).

This study will have several applied and practical outcomes. Determining the downwind range of influence of a typical building will be important for understanding built environment impacts on surface air temperature measurements. Other measurements of radiation and heat fluxes will help illuminate the physical processes responsible for any detected heat transfers. Finally, this information will help influence future USCRN/USRCRN siting decisions. Additional insight is being sought by collaborating with National Weather Service (NWS) and National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) on extensions of the basic project. This effort promises to be greatly useful to understanding climate quality temperature measurements and how they can be influenced by the station site environment.

They have finally published. (h/t to Steve Mosher) Guess what? Like I’ve said all along (and been excoriated for saying so) they found exactly what we did.

Impacts of Small-Scale Urban Encroachment on Air Temperature Observations

Ronald D. Leeper, John Kochendorfer, Timothy Henderson, and Michael A. Palecki

Abstract (bold mine)

A field experiment was performed in Oak Ridge, TN, with four instrumented towers placed over grass at increasing distances (4, 30, 50, 124, and 300 m) from a built-up area. Stations were aligned in such a way to simulate the impact of small-scale encroachment on temperature observations. As expected, temperature observations were warmest for the site closest to the built environment with an average temperature difference of 0.31 and 0.24 °C for aspirated and unaspirated sensors respectively. Mean aspirated temperature differences were greater during the evening (0.47 °C) than day (0.16 °C). This was particularly true for evenings following greater daytime solar insolation (20+ MJDay−1) with surface winds from the direction of the built environment where mean differences exceeded 0.80 °C. The impact of the built environment on air temperature diminished with distance with a warm bias only detectable out to tower-B’ located 50 meters away.

The experimental findings were comparable to a known case of urban encroachment at a U. S. Climate Reference Network station in Kingston, RI. The experimental and operational results both lead to reductions in the diurnal temperature range of ~0.39 °C for fan aspirated sensors. Interestingly, the unaspirated sensor had a larger reduction in DTR of 0.48 °C. These results suggest that small-scale urban encroachment within 50 meters of a station can have important impacts on daily temperature extrema (maximum and minimum) with the magnitude of these differences dependent upon prevailing environmental conditions and sensing technology.

And, we’ve published at AGU on the effects of siting on 30 year temperature trends:

The quality of temperature station siting matters for temperature trends

Anthony Watts / December 17, 2015

30 year trends of temperature are shown to be lower, using well-sited high quality NOAA weather stations that do not require adjustments to the data.



Figure 4 – Comparisons of 30 year trend for compliant Class 1,2 USHCN stations to non-compliant, Class 3,4,5 USHCN stations to NOAA final adjusted V2.5 USHCN data in the Continental United States

EMBARGOED UNTIL 13:30 PST (16:30 EST) December 17th, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A new study about the surface temperature record presented at the 2015 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union suggests that the 30-year trend of temperatures for the Continental United States (CONUS) since 1979 are about two thirds as strong as officially NOAA temperature trends.

Figure 3 - Comparisons of well sited (compliant Class 1&2) USHCN stations to poorly sited USHCN stations (non-compliant, Classes 3,4,&5) by CONUS and region to official NOAA adjusted USHCN data (V2.5) for the entire (compliant and non-compliant) USHCN dataset.

Figure 3 – Tmean Comparisons of well sited (compliant Class 1&2) USHCN stations to poorly sited USHCN stations (non-compliant, Classes 3,4,&5) by CONUS and region to official NOAA adjusted USHCN data (V2.5) for the entire (compliant and non-compliant) USHCN dataset.

Using NOAA’s U.S. Historical Climatology Network, which comprises 1218 weather stations in the CONUS, the researchers were able to identify a 410 station subset of “unperturbed” stations that have not been moved, had equipment changes, or changes in time of observations, and thus require no “adjustments” to their temperature record to account for these problems. The study focuses on finding trend differences between well sited and poorly sited weather stations, based on a WMO approved metric Leroy (2010)1for classification and assessment of the quality of the measurements based on proximity to artificial heat sources and heat sinks which affect temperature measurement. An example is shown in Figure 2 below, showing the NOAA USHCN temperature sensor for Ardmore, OK.


Figure 1 – USHCN Temperature sensor located on street corner in Ardmore, OK in full viewshed of multiple heatsinks.

Dare I call this new NOAA paper vindication?

Or, by doing so will the rabble of global warming zealots led by schmucks like Dr. Michael Mann find yet another reason to label me a “Koch funded science denier”?

I could use a beer right about now. You can support the work here.

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Toby Nixon
May 3, 2019 1:12 am

Yes, you should call the NOAA paper vindication. Congratulations, Anthony.

Brent Hargreaves
Reply to  Toby Nixon
May 3, 2019 4:42 am

Hear hear!

Bryan A
Reply to  Brent Hargreaves
May 3, 2019 9:07 am

How quickly will “The Team” act to “Vanish” this paper of “Inconvenient Truth”?

Reply to  Lance Wallace
May 3, 2019 10:37 am

Thanks Lance

Big T
Reply to  Toby Nixon
May 3, 2019 7:40 am

“Any” normal person would know this just using common sense. Rocket science it ain’t.

Reply to  Big T
May 3, 2019 9:36 am

Yes, but actual data is preferable to common sense. For a long time, common sense said heavy objects fall faster than light ones. Heavier than air vehicles could never fly.
Anthony provided such hard data years ago. Now, NOAA is aware of this fact.

Reply to  KaliforniaKook
May 3, 2019 1:05 pm

Yeah, well the last thing we need now is a bunch of empirical data when we have all of the computer models to paint the picture…

john harmsworth
Reply to  KaliforniaKook
May 3, 2019 1:44 pm

The world is awash in “actual data” and “professional” scientific analysis as well as “detached” reporting from “professional” journalists. So how come it’s B.S. from top to bottom?
Science and reality have been hijacked by people who think their subjective truth makes the real facts irrelevant.

john harmsworth
Reply to  john harmsworth
May 3, 2019 1:46 pm

I note that the test towers are supposedly on “grass”. I wouldn’t turn the cows out on that if that’s what they’re calling it. It certainly doesn’t look like a natural environment to me.

nw sage
Reply to  john harmsworth
May 3, 2019 6:40 pm

Your comment “Science and reality have been hijacked by people who think their subjective truth makes the real facts irrelevant.” is true but needs a bit more explanation: Scientists – at least some of them who call themselves that – have fallen into the trap the media created. For years now the media have learned to assume that if any one of them reported something, it must be true. If something is reported as fact, no one else thinks they need to check.
So this happens: A “scientist’ says something. If the media reports it – even if they miss-report the statement – other media pick up on it and repeat the error. Within about 10 seconds it becomes ‘fact’ and ‘consensus’.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  john harmsworth
May 3, 2019 11:42 pm

The challenge is to get the TV indoctrinated to realize what both of you have iterated. “Most visited website on climate change” can’t quite compete with network TV.

Reply to  KaliforniaKook
May 4, 2019 3:41 pm

I am sure NOAA was aware years ago…just could not find a reliable way to disappear it.

Reply to  Big T
May 4, 2019 3:05 am

It is difficult for these zealots to grasp common sense when they are invested so heavily in a fraud, just look at all the Democrats running to gain the Democrat nomination or CNN. Same widespread illness.

Ancient Wrench
Reply to  Toby Nixon
May 3, 2019 10:03 am

Vindication yes, but will there be a effort to develop a systematic way to adjust past temperature records at compromised stations to properly account for these UHI effects or should we just throw them out?

Reply to  Ancient Wrench
May 4, 2019 2:14 am

Throw them out, as whoever who makes the the adjustments to data from badly placed weather stations controls the results according to their expectations.
There needs to be a new series of measuring stations based N,N,E and W of UHIs at a range of distances to measure the effect of distance from the UHI as well as seeing what the effect of prevailing wind on temperature is.
The cost should not be too great in comparison to building windmills or solar farms, and we would at least have some firm data.
The local weather forecasters over here in the UK always finish their evening forecasts with ‘ the temperature in rural areas will be a degree or two lower than their previous forecast which is based on urban areas ‘.

Steve Keppel-Jones
Reply to  StephenP
May 6, 2019 10:01 am

I compared the unadjusted readings over the last 70 years or so between Sao Paolo in Brazil vs. Curitiba just down the coast. Curitiba does not show any warming pattern. Sao Paolo, on the other hand, is a good 3-4 degrees C warmer today than it was in the 1950s. So I will go out on a bit of a limb and assert that UHI is in the 3-4 degree range for the largest cities, not just fractions of a degree.

Reply to  StephenP
May 6, 2019 11:18 am
Reply to  Ancient Wrench
May 4, 2019 3:12 am

Yes, they will adjust the highs upward at poorly sited stations to match the diurnal at well sited stations

Reply to  Toby Nixon
May 16, 2019 1:46 pm

BS! I talked to a farmer this week that said they have to buy different seed now because its so late and the ground is still too cold to germinate the usual seed!

mario lento
Reply to  Tory
May 16, 2019 3:13 pm

And this is because of Global Warming?

May 3, 2019 1:13 am

This new NOAA paper investigation is certainly a resounding vindication of the great work carried out by Anthony Watts over so many years. When even NOAA admits this, the message is finally getting through.

Dave Ward
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
May 3, 2019 2:21 am

“When even NOAA admits this, the message is finally getting through”

When it gets through the thick head of “Lord Deben”, aka John Selwyn Gummer of the UK’s Climate Change Committee, I might feel a little less depressed.

“The deniers have lost the battle because the science is fundamentally clear”

He might be right about “Crap” houses, but still wrong about everything else.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
May 3, 2019 6:47 am

“Dare I call this new NOAA paper vindication?”

What Toby, Brent, Nicholas Tesdorf and many many others all loudly agree, a very resounding vindication!
With a hearty “Well Done!!”

Now,if we can get NOAA to cease cooling the past and remove their rampant adjustments!

Reply to  ATheoK
May 3, 2019 7:49 am

exactly……without their adjusting the past down….there would be no global warming at all

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
May 3, 2019 7:25 am

I will be charitable and presume that NOAA is looking for a graceful retreat from an untenable scientific position. This will allow them to ‘re-examine’ their past records and pronouncements with a plausible excuse of mere sloppiness and laxity.
Perhaps an Emily Latella moment?

Rich Davis
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
May 3, 2019 6:56 pm

Who would have suspected that NOAA was being funded by nefarious oil interests? Shocking!

May 3, 2019 1:15 am

Cheers, well done

May 3, 2019 1:16 am

Big congrats Anthony!

May 3, 2019 1:17 am

Enjoy that beer . . .

May 3, 2019 1:22 am

Thank you Anthony! This Bud is for you!

Larry in Texas
May 3, 2019 1:29 am

Anthony, I’ve always had faith in your work on the siting of surface temperature stations. Every photo of a station that you have given as examples of the distortion caused by station siting has turned out to be validated by data derived in this latest study. You have every reason to say “I told you so.” Congratulations!

In the wake of this result, it appears that the entire temperature record used by NOAA and GISS has been significantly overstated. It also appears to me that some of the warming that has been shown is more characteristic of UHI than of carbon dioxide. But will this quell the doomsayers? Probably not. Because this has always been more about power and control over human affairs than about climate.

Reply to  Larry in Texas
May 3, 2019 6:25 am

There are a lot of stations a lot worse then the sample used in this experiment.

Ernest Bush
Reply to  Larry in Texas
May 5, 2019 6:01 pm

Those of us living out here in Realville stopped listening to doomsayers a long time ago. When Democrat Socialists (they finally came out of the closet) are selling global warming instinct tells us it’s all about power and control over our lives. Also, I have noticed that where I live in Southern Arizona the summer highs have been slowly dropping since 1991. The lows have been getting slightly warmer due to increased moisture from the warm Pacific. This has been real climate change.

May 3, 2019 1:37 am


May 3, 2019 1:45 am

Berkley Earth looked at tens of thousands of weather stations and concluded that urban heat wasn’t distorting the overall figures and that there was a clear warming trend.

continuing to cherry pick urban weather stations and claiming this shows the evidence is not there for warming is not science or an adequate refutation of the scientific evidence.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 7:50 am

+42 x 1042

You made Diet Coke shoot out of my nose, I laughed so hard!

J Mac
Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 10:06 am

Well deserved!

Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 15, 2019 8:33 am

Yeah, griff deserved that — trying to lecture you of all people about temp measurement. Even patient people have limits of tolerance.

Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 2:16 am

Oh Griff PLEASE… Where exactly in this article did you read someone “claiming this shows the evidence is not there for warming”?

Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 3:20 am

Can we dance on the metaphorical grave?

Joel Snider
Reply to  Archer
May 3, 2019 8:11 am

There might be a little ‘fertilizer’ on the site.

Anthony – you might be the most patient, armor-skinned human being I’ve ever come to be aware of.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 3:28 am

Dammit! You booting griff the troll just FORCED me to donate $20 to your cause of ridding WUWT of trolls.

Thank you for the work you’ve done and the work you continue to do. Like I said above, this Bud is for you!

Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 4:26 am

Never thought I would see this day! NOAA doing actual science to check their surface station networks accuracy followed by an admission that it has a bias that runs counter to the warming meme? Then Anthony throwing the Grifftard off his site? Somebody wake me up, I must be dreaming!

Reply to  rah
May 3, 2019 5:52 am

Most of the time I just laugh at Griff’s non sequiturs and carry on reading down the line. For a while I was almost looking forward to his chiming in with the lamest of warmunist positions just so I could laugh and move on. Lately though, he has gotten just bothersome.

We do need some pure doctrinal warmunists on the site though. Sometimes there is more good information in the rebuttals given by other commenters than there was in the original article. (Many of the articles, while informative, are on aspects of the problem I’ve already looked at, while the comments provide sources I’ve sometimes never seen.)

Reply to  OweninGA
May 3, 2019 6:39 am

We still have Mosh and Nick, though Mosh has been reduced to drive by’s lately and Nick isn’t showing up very often.

Reply to  OweninGA
May 3, 2019 7:13 am

I also do not want to see skeptic purity enforced as alarmist purity is enforced with an iron hand at various alarmists sites and “news” organs. However there is a big difference between thoughtful and informed counterpoints or just posting a joke on the subject at hand and the just plain ridged ideological bull hockey that Griff spouts. It is already difficult enough to sift through the chaff to get to the wheat in the comments in some places. Dr. Spencer’s otherwise excellent blog being a case in point where a few wackos inundate the site with their never ending arguments over the same points over and over and over again on most every post.

michael hart
Reply to  OweninGA
May 3, 2019 7:45 am

Yes, I could almost miss Griff. It’s the high-volume spammers like David Appell who can make a good blog like Roy Spencer’s become almost unreadable.

Reply to  OweninGA
May 3, 2019 9:30 am

May 3, 2019 at 6:39 am

We still have Mosh and Nick, though Mosh has been reduced to drive by’s lately and Nick isn’t showing up very often.

To be fair, Steven and Nick have their own sites and work to do, which I’m sure occupies a lot of their time. How many of us here have spent much time on their sites to see what they’re up to, and comment on their work on their home ground?

Sometimes they don’t get treated very well here, and there’s a bit of name-calling and insinuation that I’d rather not see directed toward people who are doing serious work. I know I’d trust results from them more than I would from Mann or The Gang.

But this is Anthony’s Day of Affirmation, and a hearty congratulations to him and everyone who worked on that effort. A great job all around!

Reply to  OweninGA
May 3, 2019 9:51 am

I’m with you, Owen. His comments were usually silly, and provided a guffaw. I also agree we need serious rebuttal consisting of real logic. Mosh is not bad at this, although his arguments have not been sufficient to do more than make me do more research – and conclude his comments were either inadequate of just misleading.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  OweninGA
May 3, 2019 7:39 pm

“…To be fair, Steven and Nick have their own sites and work to do, which I’m sure occupies a lot of their time. How many of us here have spent much time on their sites to see what they’re up to, and comment on their work on their home ground?…”

They historically have posted frequently on any number of sites. Seems like Nick’s full-time hobby was posting 99% on sites other than his own.

I have visited it many times. Usually he takes an argument he is losing here and spins it to his echo chamber to make it appear the opposite. At least he has not recently claimed that Anthony was deleting his posts here and swearing to never return here. “Comment on their work on their home ground?” Lol, give it a shot.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 7:23 am

Thank you Anthony, again!

Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 7:25 am

Good riddance to brain-dead fools!

Bob boder
Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 7:35 am

Here, here! Griff should have been booted a long ago after he slandered Dr Crockford and Willie Soon! He is a slime and does not deserve any time on any site.

Anthony koodos for your continuing efforts to try a hold back the hoards of crazies from taking over this world and for constantly trying to bring reason, facts and integrity to the debate.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 8:01 am

He’s not incapable of assimilating new information, he is unwilling to; especially new information that might not confirm his existing bias.

Walt D.
Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 8:08 am

Anthony – you should “Suffer fools gladly”. Otherwise, we risk becoming as closed minded as the climate alarmists.

Bob boder
Reply to  Walt D.
May 3, 2019 11:36 am

How about suffering slanderers?

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Walt D.
May 4, 2019 5:06 pm

Griff is not a simple fool, he is either willfully ignorant, or more likely, here to disrupt serious conversation with outright lies and slander. Either way, I think we have all suffered him long enough.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 8:09 am

He’s not ‘dense’ – he’s a deliberate hack and he damn well knows it.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Joel Snider
May 3, 2019 11:54 pm

Perhaps Griff is a lesson in Orwellian doublespeak. I think he should stay as an exercise of our critical thinking skills.

Frederick Michael
Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 8:32 am

While I can’t recall ever agreeing with (or even respecting) anything Griff has posted, I think having people like him here is a good thing. If nothing else, it highlights our willingness to hear the other side.

Of course, it also puts the other side on display, which is often laughable.

Reply to  Frederick Michael
May 3, 2019 9:56 am

It’s true, Anthony. If Griff provides the best arguments for CAGW, then it is obvious to all what a waste that belief is.

Ron Long
Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 10:15 am


Reply to  Ron Long
May 3, 2019 9:24 pm

Now if Dr Spencer would just boot appel from his site reading the comments might be just that nicer !

Terry Gednalske
Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 12:35 pm

Spoken like “The Great One” Mark Levin, who is known for telling obnoxious callers to his talk radio program; “get off my phone, you big jerk!” Griff deserves it.

Michael C. Roberts
Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 3:40 pm

Anthony – Thank you for your final decision regarding ‘ole Griff (and thanks for the insider info in that he is in fact a he – I think the kids have a word for this – ‘Doxxing”? Did I get that right?). Over the years, Griffy-baby and I have have a few back-and-forths over his inane stances on most things regarding ‘sustainability’ (such as bio-fuel usage by the US Armed Forces during a future wartime situation) and a number of his dig-in-your-heels views on CAGW.

However, on some level I will miss taking him out to the verbal woodshed from time to time. But, for the sanity of all concerned, probably best that he is gone.



Jerry Palmer
Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 7:04 pm

awww, don’t ban griff.. what will we do for laughs?

Reply to  Jerry Palmer
May 15, 2019 5:55 am

I’ll do what I can

Cliff Hilton
Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 7:41 pm

God Bless you Anthony Watts. You took time to help your staff and neighbors through the fires and all of us Americans who love liberty and truth by looking for the warming trend in plain site. Be not weary in well doing.

Michael Lemaire
Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 3, 2019 10:08 pm

Griff is so funny! Don’t kick him out please. His hilarious statements always spark interesting reactions. I understand your frustration, but why should you think he will ever change?

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Michael Lemaire
May 4, 2019 12:00 am

He’s an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 4, 2019 2:23 am

How sad. He was our village idiot.

Flavio Capelli
Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 2:33 am

This work demonstrates that not only urban stations but also rural stations can be influenced by small-scale urban encroachment.

Reply to  Flavio Capelli
May 3, 2019 6:29 am

Indeed small-scale. But it is not only that. Small scale stuff other that buildings affect temperature. When a building is built, anomaly increases. When it is demolished the anomaly decreases. A statistical processing meant to remove these artifacts might actually end up detecting only one half (like painting the wall, fast process), but not the other half (paint slowly deteriorating). Which way these asymmetrical changes work, I have no idea. Stevenson screens at least would be affected.

Reply to  Hugs
May 3, 2019 7:23 am

That’s why the proper response when discovering such a problem is to increase the error bars. Not try to fix the data. Whenever you start fiddling with the data, you might make the data “better” for some periods, but you will end up making it worse for others.
Beyond that, there will always be questions of timing as you point out.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  MarkW
May 3, 2019 11:16 am

The problem is, ‘climatologists’ rarely even use error bars. And, the general Rule of Thumb is that in adding numbers with different precision, all the numbers in the data set should be rounded off to the same precision as the least precise. That creates a whole lot of trouble for those trying to push two or three orders of magnitude greater precision for averages than the actual readings.

Reply to  Hugs
May 3, 2019 12:28 pm

Hugs, your “detecting only one half” argument is one of the two objections I have to the Berkeley Earth process. As highlighted in one post from 2015,, we discussed how the scalpel could, ne should, cut a temperature at the rapid change of conditions at a station site, yet treat the gradual change (deteriorating paint, growth of nearby bushes and trees, population growth nearby) as real climate signal. However, the instances of site recalibration (replacement of thermometers, repainting, plant trimming), would be seen as discontinuities rather than vital recalibration information .

The other half of my objection is firmly in the Fourier Space information content argument. A scalpel is a low cut filter — it removes low frequency information content. High frequency information content cannot be used to predict low frequency content. Climate is a low frequency signal. Therefore the BEST process removes the most critical information from the records before homogenizing.

MarkW: Amen, Brother! It is amazing how many people forget that a “correction” is the addition of a signed value which itself has uncertainty. Errors always add. Covariance can mitigate, but variance adds! With every correction, the error bars must increase without very strong evidence.

Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 2:45 am

“there was a clear warming trend.”

The question is not if there is a warming trend. At least if you get your science from scientists. The question is (according to the IPCC) if the trend is 4.5C per doubling or 1.5C per doubling. That’s is a big difference. At the moment, it appears theory (models) give higher numbers. This finding lowers observed “real” temperatures where people live, which gives us more certainty that the models are just too sensitive and the warming is less than 3C per doubling. That means a lot when impacts of 3C is unknown, but in the end, we are talking about this not because we disagree on warming or impacts, but because we disagree on climate politics: the amount of money used and how that money is used to tackle climate issues.

My take is that money is best used to adapt. We can’t stop using energy because that would be an economical disaster, and eventually, a disaster in non-economical terms.

Reply to  Hugs
May 3, 2019 6:37 am

There never has been a question about our current warming trend. The questions would be. Is the trend unprecedented or unusual, is the duration long enough to be significant, is the warming trend likely to continue, accelerate or decelerate, and are there any dangers associated with this extent of warming.
Related questions are. Is the warming caused by humanity and is CO2 the primary driver, and is it necessary, possible, or desirable for warming to be stopped or lessened.
Clearly the political will for action is evident in only a few jurisdictions and their combined actions are not likely to have a significant effect, if any.
If someone is a true believer in CAGW, I would suggest they take action to reduce their own vulnerability rather than waste time and energy trying to change the world.

Reply to  Rick
May 3, 2019 7:56 am

Some of the warming is caused by the humanity. More than 50 % since 1950 says the IPCC. Could be near 100 per cent, Gavin says over 100%.

But even if it is 150%, it appears not to be a reason to panic. Humanity can adapt. It must adapt since we don’t have an ongoing energy revolution. Cheap solar is not here, only worthless solar. And that’s the fact.

mike the morlock
Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 2:55 am

griff May 3, 2019 at 1:45 am

Actually griff ,,, it is scientific . Game over

Reg Nelson
Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 3:22 am

BEST never went out in the field and tested this. Complete misleading BS.

Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 3:33 am

Might be useful if you read the Fall and Watts paper.

Reply to  Terry
May 3, 2019 7:45 am

I did a study of 2013 records from the CRN top rated US surface stations, as rated by It was published Aug. 20, 2014 at No Tricks Zone. Most remarkable about these records is the extensive local climate diversity that appears when station sites are relatively free of urban heat sources. 35% (8 of 23) of the stations reported cooling over the century. Indeed, if we remove the 8 warmest records, the average rate flips from +0.16°C to -0.14°C. In order to respect the intrinsic quality of temperatures, I calculated monthly slopes for each station, and averaged them for station trends.

Later I updated that study with 2014 data and compared adjusted to unadjusted records. The analysis shows the effect of GHCN adjustments on each of the 23 stations in the sample. The average station was warmed by +0.58 C/Century, from +.18 to +.76, comparing adjusted to unadjusted records. 19 station records were warmed, 6 of them by more than +1 C/century. 4 stations were cooled, most of the total cooling coming at one station, Tallahassee. So for this set of stations, the chance of adjustments producing warming is 19/23 or 83%.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Ron Clutz
May 3, 2019 11:21 am

Do I understand correctly that your analysis showed greater variance in the high quality stations than those influenced (buffered) by thermal ballast?

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 4, 2019 6:36 am

Clyde, not sure what you mean by “thermal ballast.” It is the case that the well-sited stations records (uncontaminated by UHI) displayed local climate diversity, until of course that was adjusted away.

Reply to  Terry
May 3, 2019 7:48 am

I should have added, the results from the unadjusted data confirmed the trends in the Fall and Watts paper.

Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 4:00 am


Berkley Earth sorted urban and rural stations by use of satellite measurements of nigh time lights. They provide no information regarding the validity of that means of sorting. For example a temperature station to a building which operates during the day and is closed at night may have few lights a night but would remain a source of man-made heat nonetheless. They concluded from this work that the urban effect is small. What NOAA has shown by running an experiment whereby temperature stations were placed at increasing distances from a known building heat source is that the urban effect is quite large.

I’ll have to go with NOAA on this one. It seems that Berkley Earth, despite being at a great university, is simply careless.

Reply to  DHR
May 3, 2019 9:37 am

This site would have counted as rural under the Berkeley Earth standard.

Reply to  DHR
May 3, 2019 11:06 am

I’ve checked the “night-light” method for Swedish GHCN sites. It’s completely useless. The GHCN coordinates are not nearly precise enough. They can be off by anything up to several kilometers.

You have to verify the coordinates by actually finding the measurement site on air/satellite photos, plus have access to reliable metadata about site shifts.

William Baikie
Reply to  DHR
May 3, 2019 12:22 pm

Berkeley Earth isn’t Berkeley U. Berkeley Earth is an independent non-profit.Note this one donor: Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation ($150,000)

Reply to  William Baikie
May 3, 2019 4:44 pm

Even rich guys can get fooled by charlatans.

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 4:01 am

Berkley Earth looked at tens of thousands of weather stations and concluded that …

Griff – do you have a real study here written by people? If so, cite it. At least give us the year and lead or corresponding author’s name so we don’t get confused with some other Berkley Earth study, of which there are many.

Why do I suspect “confusing us” is exactly your aim?

Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 5:18 am

I live a mile outside of a small 6,000 person rural town. On cold mornings in the winter I’ve seen the temperature 12 degrees Fahrenheit cooler where I live than in town. Yes I’m using the thermometer from my car dash, but it goes up as I go into town and down when I leave town. Most days there is no real noticeable difference but on some of those cold winter days there is a big difference and all that UHI is caused by a small rural town that grew from from 700 people in 1880 to 6,000 today.

Reply to  Jared
May 3, 2019 5:57 am

…and Berkley adjusts 0.2 degrees for UHI

and get to claim adjustments lower the temp

Tom Schaefer
Reply to  Latitude
May 3, 2019 8:22 am

Serious question: Does anyone know what the surface pixel size of the satellite temperature data is? If it is ~100 meters or less (10 ideally), I propose the following experiment: Every time the satellite flies over a weather station (that is not blocked by clouds), the data from the satellite is recorded with the weather station’s temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, along with the satellite temperature for the pixels going out a kilometer or so. After a while, with variable winds directions and speeds, a good map of the transported UHI heat at various times of day and lighting (or night) conditions would be created that would allow the clever to put the weather station temperature record in much better calibration and context. (I use to work for an organization that was developing space based sub-ten meter multi-spectral imaging sensor.)

Reply to  Jared
May 3, 2019 7:54 am

I agree, but remember…it is the change over time of urban development around a sensor that is key to the ‘trendline’. If the sensor was always there and no further development occurred than we might be able to use its trend with some sort of confidence, but if development increased over time then we cannot have confidence and in most cases, development has increased or sensors were moved etc…

John VC
Reply to  Jared
May 3, 2019 8:55 am

My place is about 5 miles northwest as the crow flies from the closest town, which also is a small (less than 5000) country community. Lately, I have been using weather underground for my local forecast. There is a PWS in the town,near thew school complex, and another PWS about a mile due west of me. There is a consistent temperature difference of 3-5 degrees (f) every time I go to the site and toggle between the 2 stations. It should be obvious to anyone open minded that even small rural development has more of an effect on temperature than CO2 ever can.

Reply to  Jared
May 4, 2019 2:47 pm

In the Phoenix area in summer nighttime temperatures vary greatly: hot in the metro areas, warm in the desert, and cool in the groves and fields. Placement is everything.

Steve O
Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 6:05 am

I wonder what Berkley Earth and NOAA did differently that the NOAA concluded that temperature trends ARE being distorted. And by that I mean, what did Berkley Earth NOT do that they failed to identify what was going on?

Reply to  Steve O
May 3, 2019 7:56 am

See post above….they did not inspect each site’s location directly, they used satellite ‘night light’.

Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 6:27 am

Griff, what is it about you acolytes that you insist on lying about what others are saying.
Nobody is saying that there is NO warming. What we are saying is that the tiny amount of real warming (as opposed to the artificially generated warming) is well within the range of normal and is not in any way dangerous.

The problems with Berkeley Earth and there well cooked and seasoned books has been documented over and over again.

Joel Snider
Reply to  MarkW
May 3, 2019 9:14 am

I’ve used this quote from Richard Lindzen innumerable times:

“Stated briefly, I will simply try to clarify what the debate over climate change is really about. It most certainly is not about whether climate is changing: it always is. It is not about whether CO2 is increasing: it clearly is. It is not about whether the increase in CO2, by itself, will lead to some warming: it should. The debate is simply over the matter of how much warming the increase in CO2 can lead to, and the connection of such warming to the innumerable claimed catastrophes. The evidence is that the increase in CO2 will lead to very little warming, and that the connection of this minimal warming (or even significant warming) to the purported catastrophes is also minimal. The arguments on which the catastrophic claims are made are extremely weak – and commonly acknowledged as such. They are sometimes overtly dishonest.”

But the marching brooms just pause… and then just keep right on going.

Dennis Sandberg
Reply to  Joel Snider
May 3, 2019 8:14 pm

Not to hurt anyone’s feelings, including the knowledgeable scientists contributing to this site, but Richard Lindzen, years ago, had already told us everything we need to know about global warming, CO2 and unworkable biofuels, wind and solar. Continuing to beat this dead horse is a gross waste of time and money-including me reading almost every word of every posting on WUWT. I’m retired so me wasting my time on these subjects is no different than reading fiction. But to continue to waste tax $billions studying this “dead horse” and subsidizing building monuments of stupidity: Ethanol plants, wind towers, and solar panels is senseless. I’d love to be wrong. Please tell me any meaningful, significant new finding that disputes Lindzen.

Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 7:36 am

You-Are-an-ID EEE IT!

Reply to  Cosmic
May 3, 2019 12:22 pm

His computer likely has an ID-10t operator issue; The IT people tell me that this problem is (after initial investigation) somewhat easy to diagnose, but it is very difficult to correct.

(they gave up trying to fix mine & told me I just have to live with it.)

Russ R.
Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 8:02 am

The “real warming” is more accurately represented by the compliant stations that it is by the non-complaint stations.
What part of THAT statement do you want to take issue with, Griff?

The temperatures of non-complaint stations are influenced by their surrounding environment to show a warming trend. This warming trend is of a greater magnitude in non-compliant stations than in complaint stations!
Once you accept what the data is telling you, then wisdom can find a home between your ears.

ferd berple
Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 8:30 am

Actually, Berkeley was rejected because they failed to consider that delta T varies as delta Urbanization.

Instead Berkeley looked at delta T versus sum(delta Urbanization).

Berkeley made the classic mistake of comparing acceleration to distance rather than speed and thus missed the correlation.

When looking for correlations you must consider derivatives and integrals. Otherwise Time can obscure the relationship.

Pat Frank
Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 8:31 am

Berkeley Earth doesn’t even know to include the resolution limits of the historical instruments. That is a freshman mistake. They are literally inventing data out of thin air.

Also, the USHCN sensors are unaspirated. Even well-sited stations will have an uncertainty range of about ±0.4 C, because of uncompensated irradiance and wind-speed effects.

The global average air temperature record is a monument to false precision. The people involved are incompetent.

Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 9:34 am

Griff, BEST looked a urban vs. non-urban but many non-urban stations have been effected by artificial changes to the local environment.

Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 9:51 am


it appears you forgot a few things, you didn’t post the source, failed to back up your cherrypick claims, not address the post, and that you show no intention to be involved in a meaningful debate with anyone.

This means you will NOT be missed around here.

Andrew Burnette
Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 11:27 am

It’s funny when you call picking unbiased sites “cherry picking.” Also ironic.

Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 11:53 am

Berkley Earth looked at tens of thousands of weather stations and concluded that urban heat wasn’t distorting the overall figures and that there was a clear warming trend.

Thank you, Griff, for demonstrating through your insightful comment that the Berkley Earth analysis is dishonest and not to be trusted.

I take this message to heart. Although, in truth, it has been demonstrated before, it really must be given even more credence when a catastrophist admits it.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle (@DeHavelle)

Reply to  griff
May 3, 2019 2:39 pm


The UK met office recognises UHI. They make an allowance for it in CEntral England temperature dating to 1659 . The general records they use dating to 1910 Do not allow for it which is why they generally run too high and temperatures break records sometimes

We are a very small country with 65 million people. Of course millions of buildings and road will make a difference. The impact of UHI was recognised in ancient Rome

May 3, 2019 1:55 am

It took NOAA long enough, but the wait was worth it.

Congrats, Anthony, et al.


Reply to  Bob Tisdale
May 3, 2019 2:35 am

It will take griff considerably longer…

John Endicott
Reply to  Dennisa
May 3, 2019 6:34 am

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Bryan A
Reply to  John Endicott
May 3, 2019 9:19 am

Like a Black Hole…The denser the object, the harder it is to escape

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
May 3, 2019 6:00 am

In their defense, to do this study right would take 10 years or more to get enough data to make statistical significance determinations.

Kudos to them for finally undertaking a real scientific experiment to quantify the effect. I have a feeling this will have to run for quite a while to nail the numbers down with any precision. Also they will probably need to do the same sort of thing for station siting near asphalt paved surface and various field plantings and irrigation setups. (I don’t think doing it for burn barrel positioning is really needed, that one was always one of my favorites.)

Steve O
Reply to  OweninGA
May 3, 2019 10:46 am

I don’t think it would take 10 years. If you blanket an area with hundreds of weather stations in a grid, you could quickly piece together the thermal profile of the area. If you do that in several different areas you would learn a lot within a single year. Whether that’s enough may depend on the data.

Given the stakes and the spending levels being proposed, it’s imperative that such a study be commenced immediately.

Reply to  Steve O
May 3, 2019 12:32 pm

While qualitatively you can get answers in a year, it really takes all the different seasonal types, complete with rainy years and drought years, El Nino/La Nina years, to quantify how the different weather patterns quantitatively affected the readings.

Of course if they don’t do that they need to just admit the current database is not fit for the purpose of climate assessment and start over. They probably need to do that anyway. Real adjustments will need real data that is quantified on all the various parameters of a site. Or they can wait for the USCRN to get enough data for climate use and project from there. If the Climate Reference Network is showing less warming, then likely the databases currently in use are wrong.

Steve O
Reply to  OweninGA
May 3, 2019 1:13 pm

I think after one year you’d have enough to justify a restatement of the data. Another nine years will get you more accuracy, but I suspect you’ll be 90% of the way there after a relatively short period of time.

David Baird
May 3, 2019 1:57 am

Anthony looks like vindication to me. And when ever I hear about the “official” adjustments to the temperature record, the adage “figures lie and liars figure” comes to mind. It’s always struck me that you posses that rare commodity “common sense” when you look at the AGW claims. It’$$$ pretty clear who the real “climate denier$$$ are”. I hope you enjoyed that beer, would buy you one if I could.

David Baird
May 3, 2019 2:02 am

Anthony, looks like vindication to me. Whenever I hear about the adjustments to the “official” temperature record, the adage “figures lie and liars figure” comes to mind. Wish I could buy you that beer.

May 3, 2019 2:06 am

Congratulations. Had Anthony Watts and the surfacestations project not highlighted this issue years ago, this would not have happened today. Many thanks.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Greg
May 3, 2019 5:13 am


I think we have to assume this is true. I don’t see that anyone else has put in the time to make a convincing argument. We realise there were many others participating in the citizen science reassessment of station performance. Absent that, who would have thought NOAA or other highly touted services were not doing their jobs properly, especially something as simple as recording temperatures.

I tip my hat to all those who literally went the extra mile to examine the condition of these national data-gathering assets.

Jimmy Haigh
May 3, 2019 2:09 am

Good man Anthony! I’ve just put enough for a bottle of “Vin”dication in the top jar. Cheers!

Jimmy Haigh
May 3, 2019 2:09 am


May 3, 2019 2:13 am

Science 101 , yous means of collecting data must be at least as good as the certainty of the statements you make based on that data.
Let us be honest and clear for years climate ‘science’ has got away with a ‘better then nothing ‘ standard in various areas such has oceans , proxies , land measurements etc The use of airport based system never intended to be used in this manner being merely on example while ‘magic tree rings ‘ is perhaps both the most hilarious and missed-used . Given the difficulty of accurate weather predictions for years when all of issue where near this did not matter. Now with the claims of ‘settled science’ and the demands based on this claim . This ‘better than nothing ‘ system really is a bloody problem that needs addressing , and so its oddity given the hug sums of money poured into the area and the claims of ‘most important event ever and no time to lose ‘ and the data collection system which really would allow us to understand what is going on , remains a long way below the scientific standard required to take measurements in a meaningful way .

Jacques Klok
May 3, 2019 2:14 am

You have earned that beer!

Eric Harpham
May 3, 2019 2:15 am

I’ve been following this since the beginning and always knew you were right. I live just outside of a small town and , particularly in winter, when I drive the mile into town the car’s external thermometer always increases by 1 or 2 degrees C. Congratulations.

Reply to  Eric Harpham
May 3, 2019 5:24 am

Same for me. I live outside a small rural town. Typically in winter it’s a few degrees Fahrenheit warmer in town than outside of town. I’ve seen it up to 12 degrees F warmer in town than just outside of town on extremely cold winter mornings. Just a small 6,000 person rural town.

May 3, 2019 2:17 am

There’s a reason they call it “Berzerkly”………

May 3, 2019 2:32 am


Just about all I can say.

May 3, 2019 2:44 am

very good stuff!

despite the lack of an x-axis, the trends in Fig4 are also appear interesting – the “pause” and recent downward trends might be worthy of comment….

May 3, 2019 2:47 am

yup thats vindication in spades!! 😉
it was damned obvious and your work really showed it up.

as for griffs comment… facepalm mate! Anthonys proved correct and sometimes you should man up and admit that the clisci mob are WRONG

May 3, 2019 2:52 am

Congratulations, Anthony! The Griffs of the world are groaning…

old construction worker
May 3, 2019 3:01 am

Surface Station rules! Congratulation. But didn’t adjustments take care of poor locations. LOL

Steven Mosher
May 3, 2019 3:09 am

Not so fast

‘The impact of the built environment on air temperature diminished with distance with a warm bias only detectable out to tower-B’ located 50 meters away.”

Now, one major problem with the Le Roy standard that anthony has used is the the Le Roy
standard ( CRN 1,2,3,4,5) was never FIELD TESTED.

So now we have a good first test of how far away from a built structure you should be.

50 meters at least.

So this is just the beginning. But its good news because the Le Roy standard has never been tested.
and now it would be a good time to go revist all of the station ratings

Sceptical Sam
Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 3, 2019 4:46 am

And, how many of your other givens have never been field tested?

Here’s one:

And here’s another:

Time to review all your beliefs, my boy.

Thomas Homer
Reply to  Sceptical Sam
May 3, 2019 5:27 am

Sceptical Sam – “And, how many of [Steven Mosher’s] other givens have never been field tested?

Steven Mosher commented on a recent article here, and in an effort to imply that CO2 can be dangerous at high concentrations, he said water becomes toxic at high concentrations. I’m curious if Steven Mosher is aware of the marine ecosystem.

ferd berple
Reply to  Thomas Homer
May 3, 2019 8:42 am

Food is lethal over time if you eat too little or too much.

We need a food tax to fix this.

Reply to  ferd berple
May 3, 2019 10:34 am

Research on bread indicates that:

1. More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.
2. Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.
3. In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, and influenza ravaged whole nations.
4. More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.
5. Bread is made from a substance called “dough.” It has been proven that as little as one pound of dough can be used to suffocate a mouse. The average American eats more bread than that in one month!
6. Primitive tribal societies that have no bread exhibit a low incidence of cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and osteoporosis.
7. Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat begged for bread after as little as two days.
8. Bread is often a “gateway” food item, leading the user to “harder” items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter, and even cold cuts.
9. Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey bread-pudding person.
10. Newborn babies can choke on bread.
11. Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit! That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than one minute.
12. Most American bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.

In light of these frightening statistics, it has been proposed that the following bread restrictions be made:

1. No sale of bread to minors.
2. A nationwide “Just Say No To Toast” campaign, complete celebrity TV spots and bumper stickers.
3. A 300 percent federal tax on all bread to pay for all the societal ills we might associate with bread.
4. No animal or human images, nor any primary colors (which may appeal to children) may be used to promote bread usage.
5. The establishment of “Bread-free” zones around schools.

Reply to  Thomas Homer
May 3, 2019 10:37 am

But the dangers of dehydrogenase monoxide are well recognized.

John Endicott
Reply to  Taphonomic
May 3, 2019 12:44 pm

You mean Dihydrogen Monoxide.

dehydrogenase is an enzyme.

Reply to  Thomas Homer
May 3, 2019 12:59 pm

Have you ever read the Safety Data Sheet for DiHydrogen Oxide? You would never touch another drop of that stuff its so hazardous. Especially dangerous are the acute respirational effects and excessive ingestion leading to the thinning of vascular electrolytes. Bad stuff.

Reply to  Buckeyebob
May 3, 2019 7:19 pm

Did you know that fresh dihydrogen Monoxide is some 1800% more acidic than sea water !!

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 3, 2019 5:12 am

‘The impact of the built environment on air temperature diminished with distance with a warm bias only detectable out to tower-B’ located 50 meters away.”

That is the impact from a building at only one quadrant. What happens when encroachment occurs on one or more other sides, as towns and roads are built? The second parking lot will have less of an impact as the first, but nevertheless, detection of a warming bias well past 50 meters away seems logical. Few stations will be unaffected by UHI bias for 100 years. Anthony has been on the right track all along. There is undoubtedly a warm bias in the official record, probably significant.

Richard Rounds
Reply to  BobM
May 3, 2019 7:34 am

Great news – well done. I flashed back to the NOAA/NASA warmest year ever press release a few years ago (2015?). The global temp was 0.04C higher, with a 38% probably. One can only imagine how badly located many of the “global sites” used are (and homogenized, pasteurized etc). Surely the location of a sensor could easily result in a 0.04 difference. When records and averages are based on 0.001, 0.01 and 0.10Ts, results and press releases are meaningless. Every government and academic “scientist” should take a course in the climate near the ground based on Geiger’s classic text.

Reply to  Richard Rounds
May 3, 2019 5:25 pm

with a 38% probably….and no gamble would bet on those odds

Reply to  BobM
May 3, 2019 7:45 am

Seconding BobM’s observation!

“This study will have several applied and practical outcomes. Determining the downwind range of influence of a typical building will be important for understanding built environment impacts on surface air temperature measurements.”

N.B. The picture demonstrates this with a single almost linear line of stations in one direction out of 360+ directions.
downwind” is only valid when downwind happens to align with USRCRN’s feeble attempt to assess downwind UHI temperature influences.
An attempt that is so feeble that one can be surprised USRCRN admitted any UHI influences as the research experiment appears to minimize ability to assess downwind exposures.

Why didn’t NOAA install an array of sensors around their somewhat UHI isolated building? An array that should have thoroughly covered 360° of downwind influences.

Leaving us with an emphasis upon USRCRN’s “small-scale encroachment on temperature observations”!
That is; these research observations are strictly for small building complexes.

Undetermined are those UHI influences for small towns up through urban centers and airports. Small-scale encroachment on temperature observations should be considered the minimum UHI possible.

These results clarify the need for USRCRN to fully and properly investigate UHI throughout the range of human developments.

J Mac
Reply to  ATheoK
May 3, 2019 10:28 am

RE: “Undetermined are those UHI influences for small towns up through urban centers and airports. Small-scale encroachment on temperature observations should be considered the minimum UHI possible.”

As I was reading Anthony’s article and the related posts and comments, I came to the same conclusions that you so succinctly stated above.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 3, 2019 5:38 am

The Le Roy Standards: Class 1 > 100m from heat sources, Class 2 > 30m

Class 1 • Flat, horizontal land, surrounded by an open space, slope less than 1/3 (19°). • Ground covered with natural and low vegetation (< 10 cm) representative of the region. • Measurement point situated: o at more than 100 m from heat sources or reflective surfaces (buildings, concrete surfaces, car parks etc.) o at more than 100 m from an expanse of water (unless significant of the region) o away from all projected shade when the Sun is higher than 5°. A source of heat (or expanse of water) is considered to have an impact if it occupies more than 10 % of the surface within a circular area of 100 m surrounding the screen, makes up 5% of an annulus of 10m-30m, or covers 1% of a 10 m circle.

Class 2 • Flat, horizontal land, surrounded by an open space, slope inclination less than 1/3 (19°). • Ground covered with natural and low vegetation ( 10m, Class 4 “close” to sources, Class 5 everything not included in Class 4…

So this study shows that even Le Roy Class 2 stations have some warming bias, and Anthony’s study using Class 1 and 2 may be understating the actual bias.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 3, 2019 6:30 am

Steven Mosher, you’re absolutely correct. Now let’s test the impact of different size communities. If 1 building is 50 meters how about a small 6,000 person community? Or …

Anyone living in a rural environment knows there’s a significant difference, now let’s put some some numbers to “significant” and apply them to the current stations.

One thing it does do is prove mankind’s BIGGEST impact on temperature is LAND USE, but adds a series of questions to the science as currently practiced.

Steve O
Reply to  CoRev
May 3, 2019 7:41 am

Exactly. The next phase of study should be to select a test area to blanket with weather stations to measure all those various impacts.

Politicians are proposing to spend trillions of dollars. Any funds expended here will be money well spent.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 3, 2019 6:44 am

My understanding is the experiment assessed the presence of a building. Were a big city adjacent to the to the building out of the picture, it would have an effect beyond 50m.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 3, 2019 11:33 am

Yes, Dale Quotrochi (NASA remote sensing scientist) studied Atlanta and found evidence that weather was being affected out to 20 miles (if I remember correctly) downwind. I would guess that the affected distance is proportional to the size of the city, and may vary with the climate.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 3, 2019 6:51 am

That was a small building and parking lot. Many of the stations are being encroached by much bigger buildings and parking lots, and on multiple sides as well. Many have been surrounded as well.

The well documented trend difference between stations that actually are well sited vs the rest is well documented and can’t be explained away with your standard wishful thinking.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 3, 2019 6:53 am

Secondly, there’s a big gap between the second station and the third. 50 meters to 124 meters.

An honest scientist would say that the difference is not detectable at 124 meters.
A dishonest scientist would say, as Steve does, that the difference isn’t detected past 50 meters.

Bob boder
Reply to  MarkW
May 3, 2019 7:41 am

Correct the first measurement you see no change at is the one that should be used as the standard

J Mac
Reply to  MarkW
May 3, 2019 10:32 am


Analog Design Engineer
Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 3, 2019 7:21 am

Now would also be the time to specify the measurement uncertainty at the 95% confidence limit for all stations used all over the world. Now would be the time to demonstrate how these uncertainties would be combined. Now would be the time to include the combined uncertainty in all temperature graphs as upper and lower bounds. Now would also be the time to demonstrate how these uncertainties are calculated and publish the methods for critical examination by other scientists, mathematicians, engineers and metrologists.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 3, 2019 7:27 am

Mr. Mosher:

I just wanted to thank you for bringing this NOAA study to Mr. Watts attention. I agree with you that “now it would be a good time to go revisit all of the station ratings”. Also, I agree with Sceptical Sam that it would also be a good time to review all of the assumption that go into the theory of Global Warming.

Steve O
Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 3, 2019 7:32 am

“So now we have a good first test of how far away from a built structure you should be.”

Certainly, this is just a first step to determining what sort of adjustments need to be made to the data.

As a first pass, could we simply discard all the data from all the stations that became compromised over time? The difference between the temperature rise of the uncompromised stations and the discarded stations should be close to the average required downward adjustment.

Weylan McAnally
Reply to  Steve O
May 3, 2019 12:39 pm

I have thought for many years that statistical outliers due to UHI should be removed from the temperature calculations instead of adjusted and subsequently averaged back. There has never been any real attempt to calculate an accurate UHI for any site, only estimates and conjecture. Without a highly reliable downward adjustment, those data points are useless for any purpose. The data points should be excluded from any calculation. Inclusion of any data that is known to be incorrect is poor procedure and produces a specious result. Guessing at an adjustment and then using the data anyway is fraud.

Steve O
Reply to  Weylan McAnally
May 3, 2019 1:23 pm


mario lento
Reply to  Weylan McAnally
May 3, 2019 3:09 pm

I found on the NOAA site, in 2010, information describing how they handle and compensate for what they call “Urbanization Effects.”

The link I saved is no longer active. I wonder why!

I wish that I would have captured the text, but assumed the link would be preserved.
NOAA explained that temperatures which are used (and then called data) go through “several algorithms” to give the results. The algorithms adjusted for population change and some other indirect measurements to improve the data. There was a statement in there that they knew the algorithms worked because the results were what they expected.

David Behrens
Reply to  mario lento
May 9, 2019 6:42 am

Send a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to NOAA and they will send you the paper.

mario lento
Reply to  David Behrens
May 9, 2019 11:41 am

I’d like more help on this.

Janice Moore
Reply to  mario lento
May 12, 2019 1:56 pm

I found this, Mario. Hope you find it helpful…

In the fourth paragraph from the top, “urbanization effects” are mentioned. While this is only the “Introduction,” it may provide you with papers/search terms to find out more.

That Karl guy, as you likely recall, proved to be a shyster. See WUWT articles about him — you can find some by searching for “Karl” in Watts Up With That and the Battle for Science — The First Ten Years , compiled and edited by me and offered as a donation to Anthony to raise money for WUWT and to celebrate in 2016. I don’t think he is making it available anymore — no mention of it or link to it anywhere on WUWT that I could find, so, here is the link to the 2016 page where the pdf is linked to:

I hope this was helpful. You did ask for Moore help, didn’t you? What??? Oh. (smile)

mario lento
Reply to  mario lento
May 12, 2019 9:27 pm

I am looking for the specific article which spoke to several algorithms to give the results. In that article, NOAA explained that they knew the algorithms were correct because the results were as expected.

Janice Moore
Reply to  mario lento
May 13, 2019 3:13 pm

Sorry that wasn’t helpful, Mario.

When I go to my mom’s apartment where my laptop is, I will use her wifi and try to find that article for you.

If this thread is closed before I can do that, I will try to find you somewhere else on WUWT.

Janice Moore
Reply to  mario lento
May 14, 2019 4:07 pm

Dear Mario,

I’m writing this little note to let you know that I’ve tried and tried for hours today here at my mom’s apartment to find that NOAA quote. I can only find related articles and blog entries and some “Page Not Found” Error messages. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but, I am giving up. So bummed… I really wanted to find that for you. Grr. I think I will swear like that old loser, Nye — NOT 🙂

Rather, I will focus on the positive: I learned quite a bit from all that reading! 🙂

I hope that all is well with you.


mario lento
Reply to  Janice Moore
May 14, 2019 4:11 pm

I think NOAA disappeared the evidence of their hokum.

Janice Moore
Reply to  mario lento
May 14, 2019 4:09 pm

Dear Mario,

I’m writing this little note to let you know that I’ve tried and tried for hours today here at my mom’s apartment to find that NOAA quote. I can only find related articles and blog entries and some “Page Not Found” Error messages. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but, I am giving up. So bummed… I really wanted to find that for you. Grr. I think I will swear like that old loser, N.y.e. — NOT 🙂

Rather, I will focus on the positive: I learned quite a bit from all that reading! 🙂

I hope that all is well with you.


Janice Moore
Reply to  mario lento
May 14, 2019 4:16 pm

Dear Mario (P.S. I left a lot out of this third attempt — trying to get past spm bin!)

I’m writing this little note to let you know that I’ve tried and tried for hours today here at my mom’s apartment to find that quote. I can only find related articles and blog entries and other stuff. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but, I am giving up. So bummed… I really wanted to find that for you. Grr. I think I will swear like that old loser, N-word (heh) — NOT 🙂

Rather, I will focus on the positive: I learned quite a bit from all that reading! 🙂

I hope that all is well with you.


Pamela Gray
Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 3, 2019 7:59 am

Now that’s funny. Usually, if necessary, you put lipstick on a pig that is not of your own face. Mosher says “ Not so fast”, then goes on to say positive things about the study. Ergo, lipstick on a pig.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 3, 2019 11:26 am

Well now, if we take many readings over a long period of time we can add another one or two significant figures and we might well discern an influence (albeit small) out to Station C! After all, what is what is done routinely for reporting global averages. /sarc

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 3, 2019 1:57 pm

The time to review the station ratings was long ago when they were chosen as being representative of global trends.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 3, 2019 2:27 pm

That works fine for me. I placed my VPII 300 feet away. The other problem this doesn’t deal with is rapid build out in local cities that become a much larger heat sink than a single building.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 3, 2019 11:18 pm

Unfortunately all we have learned is that an otherwise pristine site needs to be further than 50 metres from any new building. This in no way provides guidance on how much we can rely on any sites that are located near larger build structures, like for example airports, new developments, cities etc. It is likely that the influence is far greater that 50m for larger thermal sinks like airports.
Attempting to claim that the limit is a minimum of 50m is ignoring the fact that size of the built structure is likely very important.

What it does say is that there are very few sites that are currently in use that aren’t adversely affected by development.

May 3, 2019 3:10 am

I will crack a beer in your honour Anthony. You deserve the accolades. Does anyone have a link to the paper…..It is paywalled.

Louis Hooffstetter
May 3, 2019 3:13 am

Anthony, congratulations on being totally vindicated!
You should change “BIG NEWS” in the title to “NO SHIT SHERLOCK!”
Did they credit you or your work in their study?

gerald the Mole
May 3, 2019 3:25 am

Well done Anthony. When will the powers that be start taking an interest in what individual well sited and well maintained temperature recording stations are showing? Mixing junk with good stuff and then using statistics to try and get reliable figures never seemed a good idea to me.

Roy W. Spencer
May 3, 2019 3:40 am

I have always considered this to be very important work, Anthony. I am convinced the global land temperature record has a warming bias, especially when we go back 100+ years since previous studies have shown that the UHI effect comes on the strongest at the start of urbanization.

Reply to  Roy W. Spencer
May 3, 2019 6:13 am

Doesn’t global warming theory say night time temps would increase the most?…

“Mean aspirated temperature differences were greater during the evening”

…now, isn’t that convenient

May 3, 2019 3:41 am

What this suggests to me is that the problem is so complex, with so many variables, that it’s meaningless, or can mean anything you want, which is a shame, considering the $$$$s spent on dealing with the claimed reasons.

M Courtney
May 3, 2019 3:41 am

It always looked like you were right but to actually have it proven is a big deal.

Frankly, considering the profile of climate change and the importance attached to temperature trends it looks like you should attract the attention of Oslo.
But you won’t, of course.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  M Courtney
May 3, 2019 10:02 am

MC: I think the elite global gov folk have a lock on the Nobel Committee. Obama got a prize as a bribe to go with totalitarian plans. As it turned out he didn’t need an inducement anyway. But some of the recent clowns and reprobates that have received Nobel Ps have compromised the meaning of it. Greta will get the prize and that will be the final degradation of its value.

Virtually all universities and scholarship in general has been perhaps irredeemably impaired. We probably need to just make new smaller universities of very high standards and let the rest be starved out.

Sceptical Sam
May 3, 2019 3:45 am

A beer?
Never stop at one.
I’ve bought you a carton.
Now, what’s next?

May 3, 2019 4:34 am


Berkley Earth sorted urban and rural stations by use of satellite measurements of nigh time lights. They provide no information regarding the validity of that means of sorting. For example a temperature station next to a building which operates during the day and is closed at night may have few lights a night but would remain a source of man-made heat nonetheless. They concluded from this work that the urban effect is small. What NOAA has shown by running an experiment whereby temperature stations were placed at increasing distances from a known building heat source is that the urban effect is quite large.

I’ll have to go with NOAA on this one. It seems that Berkley Earth, despite being at a great university, is simply careless.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  DHR
May 3, 2019 11:46 am

Lights make for a good first-order proxy for urban areas, but there are many things that can impact the accuracy. The important actual influences are impervious surfaces, waste heat from cars, heating, and air-conditioning. Humidity plays a role in moderating temperature changes. I have observed that some areas in the mid-west are abnormally bright with lights in areas that are little built up. On the other hand, some suburban areas that are more ‘enlightened’ may work harder at suppressing stray light up into the sky. Older communities tend not to be as well lit along streets as newer ones. There are far too many variables to give credence to lights as being the best indicator of urbanization. I think that a better approach would be the use of GIS shape files that are based on thematic classification of impervious surfaces.

Eyal Porat
May 3, 2019 4:42 am

what’s really amazing is that this should surprise anybody with a mind of his own.
Anybody who ever dealt with temp. measurements knows this problem for years.

Joe Born
May 3, 2019 4:45 am

Congratulations to Mr. Watts.

NOAA temperature data for my region clearly show a downward trend in diurnal temperature range over the past century.

May 3, 2019 4:47 am

This is a huge win by Anthony Watts. It will be interesting to see how Big Green responds as yet another of its lies is exposed.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Graemethecat
May 3, 2019 7:59 am

They will handwave it away with “extreme weather”, “polar ice meltdown”, “hottest year EVAH”, SLR “acceleration”, and their latest claim of “species extinction”. Plus others, I’m sure. It’s like playing whack-a-mole with the Climate Liars.

Joe Born
May 3, 2019 4:51 am

Pardon the following off-topic question, which this temperature-record post suggested to me. It’s about “Steve Goddard’s” data. Obviously, there’s nothing that would insulate those data from the siting-caused reduction in diurnal temperature range to which the head post is directed.

But does anyone have a good sense of whether those data are what they purport to be: the longest records from US stations that haven’t moved?

I’m inclined to believe that the data are what Tony Heller says they are. But Mr. Heller’s obvious errors in theory, and his general prickliness, give me pause.

Joe Born
May 3, 2019 4:56 am

Just a related comment : Isn’t there reason to expect that diurnal-temperature-range reduction can additionally be caused by increased CO2 concentration, independently of siting effects? I.e., wouldn’t CO2’s radiation effects would be more pronounced under low-absolute-humidity conditions than under high ones?

Reply to  Joe Born
May 3, 2019 8:40 am

DTR would absolutely be impacted by higher CO2. Even by its direct specific heat properties. It is also actually capable of slowing cooling modestly, which keeps moisture in the air longer. This result would be much much more pronounced at night.

If the site can cool to its baseline over night, though, CO2 will have had no net effect on daytime temperatures. If the site can’t cool to baseline by sunrise, then CO2 will have induced some daytime warming.

Night time warming, though, is almost exclusively beneficial – loss of dew excepting.

May 3, 2019 5:00 am

When I came across your station research years ago it was one of the first cracks in my then trust in climate science.

Nice to see you vindicated.

May 3, 2019 5:05 am

So far, the adjustments have been the opposite of what they should have been.

INSTEAD of ‘adjusting’ out the 1-3C differences between urban and rural station data in the latter half of 20th century raw data, agencies like NASA GISS are cooling the past, namely the as warm 1930’s as seen in the US T-max temps in this post. The exact opposite of the adjustments that they should be making to correct UHI caused by urban sprawl. link

I’m not at all confident that the acknowledgement of UHI will have any effect on the adjustments.

Reply to  commieBob
May 3, 2019 6:34 am

“I’m not at all confident that the acknowledgement of UHI will have any effect on the adjustments.” On the adjustments”???? How about on the actual average ADJUSTED temperatures by locale?

John Peter
May 3, 2019 5:07 am

Just sent $50 from Scotland. Keep up the good work.

May 3, 2019 5:16 am

Enjoy the moment. Bask in it. Roll it over in your mouth and taste it. No one will blame you.

May 3, 2019 5:21 am

It is heartening that NOAA has done this. Now to get the so-called Climate Science community to stop using flawed data, and to stop guessing when there is no data at all because of lack of any temperature records.
Willie Sing has gone one step further and only uses the highs for well sited rural thermometers. He reports a strong (but not perfect) correlation between TSI (Total Solar Irradiance) and daylight highs. This would indicated that TSI is a large factor, but not the whole picture.

May 3, 2019 5:31 am

Outrageous !!!
Actual science being used?? (Oak Rridge experiment)

Dr Deanster
May 3, 2019 5:41 am

???? …. how is it that in Wyoming, the good stations are light green, the bad stations are yellow, but the official record is even hotter than the bad stations at orange?

Trentberth’s missing heat?

Bob Thompson
May 3, 2019 5:48 am

Congratulations Anthony. You were right all along and it only took NOAA 15 years to admit it. Surfacestations rules!

May 3, 2019 5:57 am

So, once all land is developed into civilized structures, will there even be such a thing as a temperature reading not affected by human structures?

If most of our lives are lived in or in the vicinity of such structures, then isn’t the temperature of interest the temperature in which humans actually live? Non-human-influenced temperatures, thus, become a fantasy, irrelevant to daily life, especially in the range of less than one degree, seemingly.

Joe Born
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
May 3, 2019 7:10 am

“Isn’t the temperature of interest the temperature in which humans actually live?”

Yes, but what causes it affects what, if anything, we should do about it.

Average temperatures may be trending upward in some region, so “planners” conclude that heat-related deaths will become a bigger problem. Because of the reduction in diurnal temperature range, though, summer highs may actually be trending downward.

Reply to  Joe Born
May 3, 2019 8:14 am

… air conditioning, limited exposure during critical parts of the day, drink enough water, … what we already do about it.

Many people in developed countries rarely experience outdoor temperatures for any duration — they move about from one climate-controlled container to another.

Joe Born
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
May 3, 2019 9:27 am

We’re probably just talking past each other.

I was just trying to make the point, which you probably are not disputing, that failure to appreciate the DTR effects can result in poor public-policy decisions. Basing this
plan’s page-19 actions on an inference drawn from its page-17 temperature observations may be misguided it seems to rely on the incorrect implicit assumption that summertime highs have similarly increased.

May 3, 2019 6:07 am

For the curious, especially those who might wonder what else is close by, and what else the terrain is doing nearby, here is the location of the experiment in Oak Ridge. (35.9832292, -84.2199978)

May 3, 2019 6:08 am

Nice results 🙂
It is not enough to know whether a weather station has not been moved or is in a rural environment. What matters is did land use change during it’s operational period. Even a transition from natural to agricultural will rise temperatures. If you search for weather stations with a long track record and always in a natural environment you will notice that it is hard to find a rising temperature trend. As soon a agricultural activity is employed near a station, temperature trends rise. A century ago 70% of land use was natural, today it is about 30% (following a sigmoid like pattern, hint ?). Human activity changes the rate at which moister can be exchanged between soil and air. And thus hindering cooling by convection. Human activity also changes the emissivity of the ground, mostly towards 1 thus capturing more heat. Heat as a product of energy consumption can be neglected.

May 3, 2019 6:13 am

Vindication for Anthony, acceptance of the true state of land temperature monitoring stations for the scientific community.

Yes, there’s been warming since the end of the LIA but there isn’t certainty regarding how much since even the “pristine” stations’ data collection has an error range.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  JohnWho
May 3, 2019 7:53 am


May 3, 2019 6:17 am

Xcellent, congrats.

Steve O
May 3, 2019 6:20 am

It will be interesting to see what adjustments to the data scientists believe are appropriate and whether scientists in other countries will perform similar reviews of their own weather stations.

If one-third of the warming is attributable to bad data, you can imagine the impact the corrections will have an on all the models.

May 3, 2019 6:23 am

“increasing distances (4, 30, 50, 124, and 300 m)”

Idle question. Was there something at 125 meters that caused them to move the sensor 1 meter closer, or is there a mathematical reason for choosing that distance.

Reply to  MarkW
May 3, 2019 7:47 am

Maybe ft´s to m.

Reply to  MarkW
May 3, 2019 8:03 am

The guy/gal who did the hard work did a mistake which was accounted for by measuring the distance afterwards.

John Endicott
Reply to  MarkW
May 3, 2019 12:50 pm

Clearly they homogenized the results from the 100m and 150m sensors to get the 124 m one /sarc

May 3, 2019 6:29 am

Great to see your work validated

May 3, 2019 6:29 am

So in the distant future climate science and public policy derived from climate science discovers the obvious after years of struggle. How pathetic.

RIchard Ilfeld
May 3, 2019 6:33 am

A problem with this finding, though splendid for confirmation of Athony’s work over many years, is that it simply tempts authority to add another set of adjustments & carry merrily on, or certain others to go back to raw measurements & surface station siting records and adjust there.

I really don’t like data adjustments here, as opposed to limiting records to prisine stations, even if they are few.
Absent perfect data, thinking about global statements, I would rather deal with to few good data points but generally god data than adjusted data.

It seem to me that the longest, most accurate record we have of ‘climate’ is the planting & harvest data from around the world….crop selections, yields, last & first frost. We love our proxies where we have no instrument data; why not love them even when we have instrument data. We are not really going to measure anything even to the nearest whole degree with much accuracy, and the temptation to do math on streams of numbers has been the source of much angst.

Perahaps, as a casual observer I’ve missed the obvious…is anyone running proxies into the present? We often cite agriculture records as evidence of the MWP….how do we compare today? Can we farm in Greenland where the VIkings did?

Gary Pearse
Reply to  RIchard Ilfeld
May 3, 2019 6:56 am

Farm in Greenland. Not yet!

R.S. Brown
Reply to  RIchard Ilfeld
May 3, 2019 8:02 am


Your first paragraph regarding the new NOAA study results justifying
yet more rounds of sloppy, warm-infested “adjustments” to the record
is spot on.

The study results need to be inserted into the Congressional debates,
even though many “climate emergency” advocates will claim it to be a
one-off case. Otherwise, we’ll get more of the “nothing to see here”
comments from the conductors as the climate train keeps on rolling.

Bill Parsons
Reply to  RIchard Ilfeld
May 3, 2019 8:41 am

Phenology has its adherents here. Not very vocal, though.

May 3, 2019 6:39 am

Having observed from the air, the boundary of snow/melt to a small community of sparsely built-up semi-rural farms–whilst flying to Toronto one spring–I’d venture the real boundary is further than 50 meters, depending on other conditions.

Reply to  Michael
May 3, 2019 7:29 am

All we can say from this experiment is that for a building/parking lot of this size, the boundary is between 50 meters and 124 meters.
That we can’t detect a difference at 124 meters is not evidence that the difference stopped at the 50 meter mark. Only someone completely ignorant, or who doesn’t care about telling the truth would make the claim that the affect actually stopped at 50 meters.

Steve Reddish
Reply to  MarkW
May 3, 2019 9:31 am

I 2nd MarkW’s comment. Additionally, there should have been sensors placed all around that building, not just in a line in the direction of average air flow:

“Mean aspirated temperature differences were greater during the evening (0.47 °C) than day (0.16 °C). This was particularly true for evenings following greater daytime solar insolation (20+ MJDay−1) with surface winds from the direction of the built environment”

If winds only carried the building’s heat to the sensors 60% of the time, 40% of its influence went undetected.

This one test is good for confirmation that UHI exists and has affected official temperature records, but does not reveal the full extent of that effect.


Reply to  Steve Reddish
May 3, 2019 1:53 pm

Indeed, this one good test has shown that UHI is
a) not zero, and
b) bigger than hypothesized.
It does not help estimate a new “adjustment” factor, for there are far too many “degrees’ of freedom to corral any such beast with the limited scientific test they employed.

It HAS established that ALL UHI correction factors used to date are WRONG. Hopelessly, unrepairably wrong.

May 3, 2019 6:41 am

How about a UA campus resolution by faculty calling for good science practice and a campus review of how the climate station ended up so poorly sited and ignored and students, faculty, and administrators?

David E
Reply to  ResourceGuy
May 3, 2019 8:06 pm

Not hard to figure out why. The poor siting helped support the position that the people at NOAA wanted to support. If you look at the downward adjustments to temperature in prior years, it is clear that NOAA has no interest in doing legitimate analysis.

Clay Sanborn
May 3, 2019 6:54 am

It was Anthony’s case study and findings about disqualifying Stevenson screens siting that convinced me that something was terribly wrong with the early IPCC reports. As I recall, none of some 88 or 89 screens that the IPCC called the best sited screens in the US past siting muster; some were ludicrously sited – nearby A/C, brick buildings, airport taxiway, etc. etc. They had apparently not looked at a one of them. And the warmies call that “science”.

May 3, 2019 6:58 am

Some basic physics. When water or ice at the interface between air, the skin surface temperature will tend to be the dew point (saturation at 100% humidity). This is true for both evaporation and condensation. Evaporation is endothermic and keeps the surface cool. Hard surfaces such as concrete and asphalt that contain no water or ice heat up during the day and radiate at the higher temperatures. At night, they continue to radiate and that is observed as a temperature drop at the surface. Dew and frost will occur on these surfaces when the temperature gets to the dew point. So the amount of moisture in the air at the surface is controlling the surface temperature at night. The water cycle is controlling the skin surface temperature where water or ice is present, not CO2.

Reply to  Fred Haynie
May 3, 2019 7:43 am

Indeed. I noticed that the actual overnight lows were within 1 degree Fahrenheit of the actual dew point at that spot, many years ago, under most actual conditions. You can get evaporational cooling when ground is covered in dew, like it is out here where I am most days, away from big cities, somewhat away from small cities; but suburban by population density; for the first hour or so after sunrise. If it is clear and calm, the greatest drop in temps happen within the last hour before sunset and the first hour afterwards. A graph of the temperature, if done, would look like arterial blood flow. It’d be near the low point for hours, a slow rise then a fast rise, then the rise slows, peaks, slow fall, fast fall, then a slow fall near the trough.

There is a diurnal variation in the dew point temperature, too. And vegetation matters as well as local water precipitation amounts. Actual skin temperatures vary more than the air temperature does, too. The sun facing side of a metal building can get quite warm, even when the air doesn’t. A metal roof, at/near noon, which is getting about 1KW per m^2 gets *very* hot; enough to thin tar; where I live, from April through September.

I do wish, though, people would quit talking about IR as if IR is heat. No, IR is light. Internal kinetic energy of a sample of matter is heat. Sure, you can convert one to the other; and back, yet they are *not* the same thing. Energy is energy, but the form matters; since what can be done with one isn’t necessarily what can be done with the other.

May 3, 2019 6:58 am

Anthony, were you the person who did an experiment comparing the impact of changing from white wash to white latex on temperature stations?
If I remember correctly the experiment showed that while white was and white latex were equally good at reflecting visible light, white wash was superior at reflecting infra-red.
As a result stations warmed up by about 0.1C when the white was was replaced by white latex.

May 3, 2019 7:00 am

You got my PayPal donation as a thank you for your past and present work. The role of citizen science is greatly under rated. You are a credit to the rich tradition.

May 3, 2019 7:15 am

Anyway, the diurnal variation actually looks more like arterial blood flow than the sawtooth wave depicted; unless other weather factors intervene. It’s a damped-driven system, with multiple causative factors.

May 3, 2019 7:16 am

So NOAA now is going to adjust the official temperature record downward accordingly, right?
And they are going to insist on doing the same for temperature records in other countries that have the same siting problems, right?
And then the lower data is going to be fed into the computer models that project future doomsday predictions for the IPCC, and lower those predictions considerably, right?

Or is all this just going to be ignored and nothing will change?

Gary Pearse
Reply to  TDBraun
May 3, 2019 10:26 am

TD: the same guys adjust all the worlds reporting stations. Interestingly, the actual record highs are in the late 1930s, not just in USA, but Canada, Greenland, Scandinavia and the rest of Europe in the NH, and in South Africa, Paraguay, Ecuador and other locations with long series. Here is one from Capetown that looks like the US raw temperatures:

comment image

It has been adjusted by US and UK fiddlers. See Paul Homewood’s ” Not a lot of people know” website for South American and other similar graphs that must be validation of the US unadjusted longterm set that is now unrecognizable in the fiddled “product”.

May 3, 2019 7:23 am

Donated enough for a case of cheap beer.

Colorado Wellington
May 3, 2019 7:24 am

Congratulations, Anthony, and thank you for your unrelenting work.

We know the attacks and insults from the usual suspects will continue but we also know that such parties care primarily about their positions, income and power rather than finding the truth.

Jim Gorman
May 3, 2019 7:32 am

Congratulations on showing how the very fundamental measurements used by scientists has flaws!!!!

Several of us here have been saying over the last several months that the current temperature databases are simply not fit for purpose due to several reasons. My own pet peeve is the treatment of measurement errors or perhaps I should say the lack of treatment of measurement errors. Other physical science scientists such as physicists and chemists would not be allowed to ignore this concept like climate scientists do.

I think another issue is going to be the use of Tmax – Tmin for daily temperature averages. Some recent comments have convinced me that the increase of averages is occurring because of the increase in night time temps and not daytime temps. I think this is an area ripe for examination. Is it UHI or water vapor or both.

Lastly, I am old enough to have seen a phenomena out here on the plains where storm fronts follow natural boundaries such as major rivers. They also seem follow man-made boundaries like interstate highways more often than not. In fact, weatherman quite often use the interstates when describing storm tracks. Is this coincidence or anecdotal? Maybe. But if true, I wonder why.

What all this means to me is that climate scientists have become computer gamers with no interest in doing the physical work to collect real physical data and analyze it from the ground up. All they want is some lowly person to feed them some data that they can massage into whatever virtual world they are creating. This will also let them place the blame on others should their projections be wrong. That isn’t worthwhile science or engineering in my book!

Lance Wallace
May 3, 2019 7:32 am

Two conclusions from Leeper et al are interesting:

“In summary, the field experiment supports the recommendation that air temperature
observations sites should be located over 100 m from artificial heat sources, which is in line with
WMO recommendations Leroy 1998, WMO 2014….”

My memory is that some tiny percentage (2%?) of the stations in Anthony’s Surface Stations project meet that requirement. Here we have NOAA reaching an even more stringent requirement than Anthony himself, who included Leroy Class 2 stations (within 30 m of a heat source) in his paper.

“Finally, the reported reduction in DTR due to encroachment-1 related warming of
minimum temperatures is interesting given that climatologically, over the latter half of the 20th
century, DTR has decreased due to warming minimum temperatures, especially from the 1960s
to 1980s (Liu et al. 2018, Thorne et al. 2016a, 2016b). Because this is a global signal, seen at
rural climate stations as well as urban and suburban (Thorne et al. 2016a; Vose et al. 2005; Karl
et al. 1993), the decrease in DTR has been attributed mainly to non-urban processes (i.e.,
changes in cloud cover (Xia 2013), precipitation and energy budgets (Dai et al. 1999; Dai et al.
1997) aerosols (Guo et al. 2017) and others (Kukla and Karl 1993). However, even small-scale
urban encroachment can result in asymmetric responses between daytime and nighttime air
temperatures. As a result, DTR and other temperature studies would stand to benefit from the
availability of land cover and instrumentation metadata. Other observation networks should
consider USCRN’s practice of taking land-cover photos during annual maintenance visits to
document changes in station siting.”

Another common-sense observation, made use of by Anthony’s citizen-science volunteers, but not by those who are maintaining (OK, not actually “maintaining”, just using the data from) the surface station network.

DR Healy
May 3, 2019 7:34 am

Great news. It makes all of the past effort and expense well worth it. Yes Anthony, you and the rest of us should feel vindicated. Great work and perserverence, but also a sad commentary on the professionalism , or rather lack thereof, in much of the climate science community.

May 3, 2019 7:35 am

Hats off, Mr Watts – well earned justification!!

I rather wish I’d kept a diary of my reading and musing about Goebbels Warming – some of the nonsense involved was obvious to my own eyes unprompted. But on some topics – such as the woeful siting of instruments – I needed the help of others. So three cheers for WUWT.

Hip, hip, hooray. Hip, hip, hooray. Hip, hip, hooray.

May 3, 2019 7:37 am

Congrats Mr. Watts! But my analytical, conspiratorial mind is spinning with the myriad possibilities of what this NOAA acquiescence might mean.

I was drawn to your site years ago by (what I considered to be) your rather simple notion that poor (if not intentional) weather station siting was corrupting the climate “warming” data. And in the interim, I’ve learned about temperature “smoothing” and a host of other questionable processes from our highly paid climate “intelligentsia” to explain-away your concerns. I’ve read countless articles that cast aspersions on your science, conclusions, and motives. Never once did these attacks on your character move me. Why? Because the simple LOGIC of your premise, backed up by hard data, made YOUR proposition more believable than your detractor’s beliefs. In fact, the more your detractor’s doubled-down on Watts-HATE … the more believable you’ve become.

So why now? After ALL these years … has NOAA FINALLY taken your premise seriously? The hopeful, positive, happy side of my brain suggests that the Warmists may be looking for a ‘way out’ of the corner they’ve painted themselves into. That they KNOW the public is fed up with their CAGW ruse, and are looking for a way out of the climate cul-de-sac they’ve driven themselves into. And then the sarcastic, skeptical, realistic part of my brain says HA! What a load of tosh from the ‘happy’ side of my brain. That it is far more likely NOAA is conducting their own ‘Study’ version of your long term Study in order to KILL everything you’ve claimed. But in order to thoroughly KILL it … they must first acknowledge a LITTLE sliver of TRUTH in what you claimed … so they appear unbiased and purely ‘scientific’ in their work. I fear this tiny sliver of agreement will rapidly be followed with the oh so predictable … “but none of this matters, because evil fossil fuels are STILL wrecking the planet”. “Only a worldwide central fascist government imposing communistic control over everyone will ‘save’ the planet from a fiery, hellish demise”.

All I know is that the pure LOGIC of your initial observations has made me a fan of you and your efforts. I am no scientist, but can claim a rather broad engineering-centric higher education. I suggest it is that educational background which keeps me coming back to read what you, and like-minded people here who are much smarter than I on the topic … to add to my education. Sorry Warmists, I am no slack-jawed yokel from the hinterlands that you imagine every “denier” to be. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the ‘happy side’ of my brain was right for once?

Steve Reddish