Bad Weather Station Siting – Even on #Yellowstone

As you know, I’ve covered a lot of badly sited weather stations here on WUWT, and as a rule, there are far more badly sited weather stations close to asphalt, concrete, air conditioners and other heat sinks and sources than there are properly sited stations. The ratio is about 8 to one, with the bad outnumbering the good.

Tonight, I’ve watching TV, the series “Yellowstone” on Paramount network, and a weather station caught my eye. It is a Davis Vantage Pro2 with a solar powered fan aspirated radiation shield for the temperature sensor.

Davis Weather Station – next to the road

I was a bit surprised to see it, but what came in the next scene was truly a suprise – an MMTS – The instrument used by NOAA to record the high and low temperature for the day. It’s often called a beehive. Here is an example:

MMTS sensor. Source:

Here it is in the scene:

MMTS on the pole to the right of the person – next to the road and the ground level power transformer.

Fortunately, the episode of the program repeated about two hours later, and I was able to snap the shots off my TV as you see above. The MMTS is next to the road and the ground level power transformer. One wonders how much waste heat that transformer imparts to the sensor?

The location is the Four Sixes ranch in Guthrie, Texas.

According to NOAA’s HOMR database, it is indeed at the ranch:

You can see it on Google Earth here:,-100.3371247,217m/data=!3m1!1e3

I just found it interesting that such a thing would show up in a popular TV show, and I’m probably the only one that noticed.

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November 21, 2021 10:11 pm

Two stations for the price of one. In the story line, the first image was at the Yellowstone Ranch, but the second image was representing a ranch down in Texas, I believe.

November 21, 2021 10:21 pm

Now that you’ve publicized it Anthony, its outputs will be adjusted to match those of say Denver.

Reply to  Mr.
November 22, 2021 10:16 am

Phoenix, AZ is prb’ly within the accepted range of matching.

Reply to  beng135
November 22, 2021 2:42 pm

Yeah, close enough is always good enough for climate “science”.

Andy Wilkins
Reply to  beng135
November 23, 2021 3:26 am

Nah, the Sahara is close enough for Gavin Schmidt

November 21, 2021 11:01 pm

The 6666 has a substantial and well equipped private airstrip (apparently now listed as Guthrie Airport). I wonder if it also has a weather station, and if so, how well readings from the two correlate with each other and with those from nearby DIckson, Lubbock, and the former Reese AFB. From memory, the stations I’ve noticed in those locations are not sited terribly well either, and ones near the Texas Tech campus have had a load of road construction in the vicinity in recent years. .

John Hultquist
Reply to  dk_
November 22, 2021 7:51 am

Weather stations are at airports for a reason that has nothing to do with anything except the information the pilot needs.
Wanting them to correlate with other weather stations would go contrary to that purpose. Therein lies the biggest problem with using these to inform The Climate Cult of “climate.”
But, as Mr. Watts points out, they still should be sited properly for the intended purpose — and not by a heat generator.

Reply to  John Hultquist
November 22, 2021 7:46 pm

Weather stations are at airports for a reason that has nothing to do with anything except the information the pilot needs.”

Let the airports install their own, as many as are needed to give the pilot the information they need to take off or land. Airports are bad locations to site scientific sensors.

NOAA should be siting temperature sensors where temperatures will not be modified by site conditions, asphalt, waste heat sources, etc. etc.

But then, that would mean NOAA is honestly interested in science and observation data…
…Not in the last forty five years!

November 21, 2021 11:02 pm

The ratio is about 8 to one, with the bad outnumbering the good.

The good, the bad, and the ugly

michael hart
Reply to  Redge
November 22, 2021 1:46 am

Yeah, they should have spent a few dollars more to get a proper one.

Abolition Man
Reply to  michael hart
November 22, 2021 8:10 am

I’m afraid this regime will keep throwing fistfuls of dollars at nonexistent problems until somebody (Yojimbo or Sanjuro, perhaps) hangs ‘em high!

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Abolition Man
November 22, 2021 8:44 am

I see that you are a Toshiro aficionado.

Reply to  Abolition Man
November 22, 2021 8:46 am

Go ahead. Make my day!

Andy Wilkins
Reply to  Steve Clough
November 23, 2021 3:27 am

Why? Do you feel lucky?

Reply to  michael hart
November 22, 2021 11:02 pm

A few dollars here and a few dollars there and pretty soon you have a fistful of dollars.

Rod Evans
November 21, 2021 11:07 pm

Clearly sited on a piece of open grassland away from any heat absorbing tarmac or influence from ca/lorry exhausts parked next to it.
Well it beats just making up numbers I guess……

Geoff Sherrington
November 21, 2021 11:15 pm

It would be interesting to find and show some weather stations where changes over time led to decreases of temperature, however invalid they might he. Geoff S

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
November 22, 2021 7:45 am

I’m a bit naive about such things. What would it take to decrease the temperature readings if it was properly sited originally? I’d understand if a road reverted to gravel or dirt, or if (in this case) a transformer were removed, but those would be improper original siting.

Reply to  Felix
November 22, 2021 10:19 am

Trees growing around a site & shading it would prb’ly cool the daytime temp, and warm the nighttime.

Mike Dubrasich
November 21, 2021 11:28 pm

Once a weather station detective, always a weather station detective.

Some nostalgia: the surface station project was how I originally got introduced to WUWT. My friend George Taylor, then the OR State Meteorologist, showed me slides of poorly sited stations, accompanied by his laid back funny commentary. He was a cool dude. That was 2007.

A preliminary report was issued in 2009:

The landmark paper was finally published in 2012:

PRESS RELEASE – Chico, CA July 29th, 2012 – U.S. Temperature trends show a spurious doubling due to NOAA station siting problems and post measurement adjustments. …

… Today, a new paper has been released that is the culmination of knowledge gleaned from five years of work by Anthony Watts and the many volunteers and contributors to the SurfaceStations project started in 2007.

This pre-publication draft paper, titled An area and distance weighted analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends, is co-authored by Anthony Watts of California, Evan Jones of New York, Stephen McIntyre of Toronto, Canada, and Dr. John R. Christy from the Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Alabama, Huntsville, is to be submitted for publication. ...

Bad siting = bad data = erroneous conclusions. Great work by volunteers busted NOAA. They became just another tainted agency and have never recovered their credibility.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
November 21, 2021 11:58 pm

George was State Climatologist until a pathetic Goober forced him out for being a climate realist. And he is a cool dude though health issues have slowed him down.

Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
November 22, 2021 7:47 am

Yes, GIGO.

Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
November 22, 2021 8:31 am

Yup, it’s too bad that the SurfaceStations database is down.

Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
November 22, 2021 4:31 pm

“The landmark paper was finally published in 2012”
From the quoted press release:
“is to be submitted for publication…”

November 22, 2021 12:15 am

Talking of heat island effect the state of New South Wales in Australia is banning dark coloured roofing.

M Courtney
Reply to  LdB
November 22, 2021 4:12 am

Cheaper than aircon. Why not?

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  LdB
November 22, 2021 6:48 am

You couldn’t pay me to live in one of the structures pictured in the article. Talk about claustrophobia! I thought zero lot line construction was a madness peculiar to California.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
November 22, 2021 10:25 am

Used to be called row-houses, but those were deep in crowded cities, where there might at least be some logic to it..

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  LdB
November 22, 2021 8:51 am

The buildings look like shipping containers with roofs, laid out ready to be hauled off.

Reply to  LdB
November 22, 2021 9:00 am

I remember back in the 60s auto panel beaters had a steady stream of business from car owners having their car roofs painted white.

Today they’d be turned away for fear of spreading white supremacy.

November 22, 2021 4:09 am

At least they weren’t sited next to a barbeque, burn barrel, or air conditioner. 😜

I was late to the party here at WUWT. By the time I was a regular here, Anthony was already up to number 50-something(?) in his series of posts “How Not To Measure Temperature”. I think the last post of that type was number 90-something, IIRC. (My steel-trap memory is just a little bit rusty nowadays.)

It was downright comical how many of the stations were sited next to barbeques or air conditioners. Burn barrels aren’t so common in the U.S. anymore, but it was a bit surprising how many stations were sited near the few still existing these days.

John Hultquist
Reply to  H.R.
November 22, 2021 7:56 am

” At least they weren’t sited next to a barbeque . . .”

Years ago there was such a site in Ellensburg, WA
Police Station with gravel parking and BBQ & weather station.
It had been relocated by the time the WUWT project got underway.
I learned of it, but did not get a photo.

Joseph Zorzin
November 22, 2021 4:21 am

“I just found it interesting that such a thing would show up in a popular TV show, and I’m probably the only one that noticed.”

Only a top notch “wetaher” professional would notice. :-}

November 22, 2021 4:48 am

Too funny! I spotted that right off and my first thought was “Wow, bet that gives accurate readings.”.

Reply to  2hotel9
November 22, 2021 12:57 pm

Good enough for government work. (lol)

November 22, 2021 5:04 am

Many may be badly sited, but then that isn’t really a problem as far as the narrative is concerned, the warmer, by any means, the better. And if that isn’t enough the data can still be tortured into some kind of shape.

Is there a ranking for the worst sited station? If there isn’t I would think the station by the North runway at Heathrow airport has to be a major contender. But I’m sure the competition would be stiff.

Last edited 1 year ago by strativarius
November 22, 2021 5:26 am

Good work.

Federal agencies would of course be the last to notice the siting problem. Putting it up away from the road and infrastructure might cause extra walking and unbiased results. /sarc

November 22, 2021 5:55 am

A single CO2 sample location at Mauna Loa seems to be sufficient….why not a single temp measurement there too? The tectonic plates are always in motion so it is hard to find a single anchor point for measurement of sea level.

Reply to  Anti_griff
November 22, 2021 6:09 am

Shhh! Don’t give them any ideas. They would put it on the lip of the Kilauea caldera.

Reply to  Anti_griff
November 22, 2021 6:16 am

One thing I noticed qbout Mauna Loa data is the sawtooth CO2 readings. Which are said to be seasonal variations. IF CO2 is the atmospheric temperature control knob, what or who keeps cranking the setting to 11 thus causing summer, and then turning the knob back to 1 bringing on winter. If the precesstional tilt is causing warmer temps thus increasing CO2 levels, how does this align with ice cores showing many years gap between the two measurements?

Reply to  CWinNY
November 22, 2021 6:25 am

Seasonal CO2 levels are attributed to the leaves….greening in spring and using CO2…browning in the fall and no longer using CO2.

Mumbles McGuirck
Reply to  CWinNY
November 22, 2021 8:59 am

Bingo! It is the terrestrial biosphere which determines the excess CO2 levels in the atmosphere. And air temperature controls the level of terrestrial biological activity. So Guy Callendar got it backward and we’ve been going down a dead-end alley for 85 years.
Either that or we believe that the reason summers are warm is because there’s more CO2 than winter. <facepalm>

John Hultquist
Reply to  Anti_griff
November 22, 2021 8:01 am

A single CO2 sample . . . “

I suggest folks should go to the site and read what is done there, AND how it is coordinated with similar readings. Just because this is the place that gets attention doesn’t mean it is the only place.

Also, plants grow in the ocean too!

John K. Sutherland
November 22, 2021 6:15 am

Anthony… SPELL CHECK IS YOUR ENEMA… but it would have caught ‘wetaher’ for ‘weather’.
Super work on this site… regardless. Thank you so much.

John Hultquist
Reply to  John K. Sutherland
November 22, 2021 8:02 am

Peach to text; maybe?

Abolition Man
Reply to  John K. Sutherland
November 22, 2021 8:26 am

A true enema of the peeples!

November 22, 2021 7:05 am

“wetaher stations”

That’s the worst spell of weather we’ve had in a long time…

Rich Davis
Reply to  dennisambler
November 22, 2021 7:29 am


But clever

Reply to  dennisambler
November 22, 2021 7:46 am

Too much basking in the solar radaiation can elicit temporal dyslexia

November 22, 2021 8:51 am

Gotta be careful where you put those wetaher stations.

Brian Jackson
November 22, 2021 10:04 am

” One wonders how much waste heat that transformer imparts to the sensor?”
The answer is NONE. In my community there are transformers like that about every seven or eight houses on the street. When I go walking at night, I often sit on them to rest. Trust me, they are as cold as the air is. They do hum at 60Hz.

K. McNeill
Reply to  Brian Jackson
November 22, 2021 12:14 pm

Then yours must be different somehow. The one at the end of my drive a previous residence put off enough heat to make the bushes close to it grow twice as big as the others further away

Reply to  Brian Jackson
November 23, 2021 3:18 am

Metal at 55 degrees will still feel cold to the touch when the air temp is 40 degrees. But it would still need a light breeze moving in just the right direction for the transformer’s heat to reach the weather station.

November 22, 2021 10:57 am

I can understand the permanent discontentment about all these badly located stations – not only in the US.

But I don’t like to look a photos; I prefer to look at raw data.

To compare all these ‘bad’ weather stations in the US with a ‘good’ reference, I used GHCN daily and USCRN, which is viewed as the US’ pristine station network. For a few, it’s still not good enough, but I had to learn that some people love to criticize everything – even if they aren’t able to technically contradict what they criticize.

Here is the comparison, for 2002-2021, of the currently commissioned and active, 138 USCRN stations, with all the GHCN daily stations (over 4,400) located in those 113 grid cells the USCRN stations are (the entire GHCN daily set occupies about 220 cells in the period mentioned).

1) For the Coolistas: absolute data

comment image

Trends in °C / decade
GHCN: +0.29 ± 0.89; USCRN: -0.19 ± 0.92; difference: +0.48 °C

2) For the Warmistas: departure data

comment image

Trends in °C / decade
GHCN: +0.34 ± 0.09; USCRN: +0.24 ± 0.12; difference: +0.10 °C

Do we see UHI here? No se. I don’t comment; it is up to the reader to form an opinion.

P.S. Some think anomalies ‘are supposed to measure the temperature difference caused by CO2’. Ha ha! What a nonsense.

Just a hint: the current trend for the absolute UAH 6.0 LT data during 1918-2021 is even a tiny bit higher then that for its anomaly data…

comment image

Reply to  Bindidon
November 22, 2021 11:03 am


GHCN daily:

The latter source you no longer can access using Firefox or Chrome, you need an FTP web client – or UNIX…

Reply to  Bindidon
November 22, 2021 11:09 am

Addendum: the grid size used for GHCN daily vs. USCRN is like in UAH’s data 2.5°.

Robert of Texas
November 22, 2021 2:19 pm

“One wonders how much waste heat that transformer imparts to the sensor?”

Not as much as the black asphalt road surrounding it I bet.

It would be interesting to discover if there are any sprinklers in that area and if yes, then map the sprinkler schedule against the temperature measurements. I think it would be hilarious.

Tombstone Gabby
November 22, 2021 3:38 pm

“I just found it interesting that such a thing would show up in a popular TV show, and I’m probably the only one that noticed.”

From reading comments over the past two years, visitors here who stated that they no longer watch TV, you might very well have been “… the only one that noticed.”

November 22, 2021 4:23 pm

Anthony ==> “Good Eye!” as my kids baseball coach used to shout when my son let a bad pitch pas by without a swing.

Not sure that either sensor is at the regulation height. The beehive is maybe four feet? And the taller one eight feet?

November 22, 2021 5:25 pm

Anthony, you have sharp eyes!

Joe Bastardi
November 22, 2021 8:05 pm

I saw the weather station also. I also love to see if the movie or setting makes sense Cinderella man was really good as Dec 1933 was brutal in NYC when he got laid off from fighting and they were stealing wood. The end of the Greenbook was incorrect as there was no Christmas eve snowstorm that year when they were coming back to NYC.

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