TwitterFacebook

New Study: US Weather Stations Not Biased Toward Warming

Environment • Views: 1,977

Former TV weatherman Anthony Watts has been engaged in an ongoing attack on the reliability of the US network of surface weather stations, claiming that poor placement of the stations has resulted in data that’s biased toward the warm side. Watts set up the website SurfaceStations.org to coordinate photographic evidence of problem stations, and many climatologists have applauded Watts for demonstrating the need to improve the nation’s weather monitoring system.

Typical problems identified at surfacestations.org include stations situated near the exhaust of air conditioning units, in asphalt parking lots, and on hot rooftops.

But is Watts correct when he claims that problems with the stations caused a warm bias? Jeff Masters of Wunder Blog reports on a new study from the National Climatic Data Center concluding that the problems identified by Watts and his investigators are real, all right — but that the badly situated stations tend to have a bias toward cooler temperatures: Poorly sited U.S. temperature instruments not responsible for artificial warming.

While Watts’ publication by the Heartland Institute is a valuable source of information on siting problems of the U.S. network of weather stations, the publication did not undergo peer-review—the process whereby three anonymous scientists who are experts in the field review a manuscript submitted for publication, and offer criticisms on the scientific validity of the results, resulting in revisions to the original paper or outright rejection. The Heartland Institute is an advocacy organization that accepts money from corporate benefactors such as the tobacco industry and fossil fuel industry, and publishes non-peer reviewed science that inevitably supports the interests of the groups paying for the studies. Watts did not actually analyze the data to see if taking out the poorly sited surface stations would have a significant impact on the observed 1.1°F increase in U.S. temperatures over the past century. His study would never have been publishable in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Fortunately, a proper analysis of the impact of these poorly-sited surface stations on the U.S. historical temperature record has now been done by Dr. Matthew Menne and co-authors at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). In a talk at last week’s 90th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society, Dr. Menne reported the results of their new paper just accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research titled, On the reliability of the U.S. Surface Temperature Record [PDF]. Dr. Menne’s study split the U.S. surface stations into two categories: good (rating 1 or 2) and bad (ratings 3, 4 or 5). They performed the analysis using both the rating provided by surfacestations.org, and from an independent rating provided by NOAA personnel. In general, the NOAA-provided ratings coincided with the ratings given by surfacestations.org. Of the NOAA-rated stations, only 71 stations fell into the “good” siting category, while 454 fell into the “bad” category. According to the authors, though, “the sites with good exposure, though small in number, are reasonably well distributed across the country and, as shown by Vose and Menne [2004], are of sufficient density to obtain a robust estimate of the CONUS average”. Dr. Menne’s study computed the average daily minimum and maximum temperatures from the good sites and poor sites. The results were surprising. While the poor sites had a slightly warmer average minimum temperature than the good sites (by 0.03°C), the average maximum temperature measured at the poor sites was significantly cooler (by 0.14°C) than the good sites. As a result, overall average temperatures measured at the poor sites were cooler than the good sites. This is the opposite of the conclusion reached by Anthony Watts in his 2009 Heartland Institute publication.

Figure 2. Annual average maximum and minimum unadjusted temperature change calculated using (c) maximum and (d) minimum temperatures from good and poor exposure sites (Menne 2010). Poor sites showed a cooler maximum temperature compared to good sites. For minimum temperature, the poor sites were slightly warmer. The net effect was a cool bias in poorly sited stations. The dashed lines are for stations ranked by NOAA, while the solid lines are for the stations ranked by surfacestations.org.

Andrew Revkin has more, including comments from Anthony Watts: On Weather Stations and Climate Trends.

Jump to top

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!

Contact Us LGF Pages

This button leads to the main index of LGF Pages, our user-submitted articles. You can post your own LGF Pages simply by registering a free account with us.

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2015-06-25 5:21 pm PDT

LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds
Recent Pages
FemNaziBitch
Georgia Is Segregating Troublesome Kids in Schools Used During Jim Crow - ProPublica
Georgia has been illegally and unnecessarily segregating thousands of students with behavioral issues and disabilities, isolating them in run-down facilities and providing them with subpar education, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Some of the ...

6 hours, 12 minutes ago
Views: 231 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 3 • Rating: 0
KiTA
Gawker CEO Ominously Hinted at Hogan Racist Rant Before Video Was Leaked
So on July 10th, Nick Denton, the owner of Gawker media, suggested there was a "third act" to the Hogan story. There will be a third act which we believe will center on the real story: the additional recordings held ...

8 hours, 47 minutes ago
Views: 174 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 2 • Rating: 0
Skip Intro
Windows 10 is out. Help a guy out, please.
So I downloaded the Win 10 ISO image today, and started the install. The first thing I come across is a screen asking what I want to keep, my apps, data, and program settings, my data and program settings, or ...

1 day ago
Views: 314 • Comments: 6
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Thanos
Mainline Presbyterian Members Win Lawsuit Over Control of Overland Park Church
The rest of this story is that the fundamentalist groups forming these schisms and trying to take whole churches are sometimes backed by legal groups and funding from foundations that trace back to the reclusive reconstructionist billionaire, Howard Ahmanson. In ...

1 day, 17 hours ago
Views: 370 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 2 • Rating: 2
Great White Snark
Huffington Post Arabic-Smart Outreach, Sure To Infuriate Bigots
Dirct Link: Huffington Post Arabic - Kudos! Good to see this. The link takes you right there, but for us non arabic readers, a helpful translate panel comes right up. You who do read arabic can judge the content, ...

3 days ago
Views: 631 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 18 • Rating: 1
Iwouldprefernotto
More Edited PP Videos
NYT -- More Edited PP Videos in the Pipeline The activist behind the videos, David Daleiden, has said he has enough covertly recorded footage for perhaps a dozen videos that he could release, one a week, for the next few ...

3 days, 3 hours ago
Views: 351 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
Predaka
Swedish Right Plans Gay Pride March Through Muslim Areas Of Stockholm
haaretz.com From the article: Swedish nationalists are planning a gay 'pride' march through Muslim-majority districts in the country's capital, according to media reports and a dedicated Facebook page. The march, called 'Pride Järva,' is scheduled to take place on July ...

3 days, 16 hours ago
Views: 646 • Comments: 10
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
EiMitch
Cracked: 5 Things I Learned Committing A Campus Sexual Assault
cracked.com This is a story of sexual assault told primarily from the perpetrator's perspective, using the pseudonyms "Tim" and "Vicky" for him and his victim respectively. But this isn't the story of a predator on the prowl. No, this is ...

5 days, 17 hours ago
Views: 598 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 4 • Rating: 3
Lumberhead
#BlackLivesMatter Shows There Are Problems in American Life That Can’t Be Blamed on the Rich
Democratic presidential candidates should take heed. They need to come up with a way to speak to this issue. Otherwise, in an Obama-less election, part of the Obama coalition may not be motivated to show up. Obviously, you can be ...

1 week ago
Views: 451 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
Drive By Commenter
Standing on the corner, screaming as the cars go by….
There is a long standing belief that there is no such thing as "Bad Ink..". You get ink and the name recognition, the story, the push and pull, the NEWS! So whatever Trump is, outside of his little world he ...

1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 385 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1

► LGF Headlines

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Articles

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Pages

  • Loading...

► Top 10 Comments

  • Loading...

► Bottom Comments

  • Loading...

► Recent Comments

  • Loading...

► Tools/Info

► Tag Cloud

 Frank says:

I think (Abbey Road is) the best engineered, best mastered rock and roll album ever produced...except that I take exception to stereo placement. -- From "Frank Zappa talks about Faves, Raves, and composers in their g raves" - some English publication, I think. (2 & 3 from the book, "The Lives and Times of Frank Zappa and the Mothers", some Brit thing again (got it at Blue Meanie Imports in San Diego fifteen years ago.)