How not to measure temperature - part two

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Back in June, I wrote about how many of the weather stations used to compile historical data are now being encroached by 'civilization' and as such, they are encountering an urban 'heat-island' effect. The post is here: How not to measure temperature and the link in the post is not only still there but it has been continually updated since my June visit. Last post there was August 4, 2007. Check out: Watts Up With That? Anyway, it seems that NOAA didn't like the publicity so they pulled the information about these sites from their website. From DailyTech:
New Scandal Erupts over NOAA Climate Data
The theory of global warming began to explain one simple set of facts-- surface temperature monitoring stations have shown a roughly one degree rise over the past century. But just where does these temperature readings come from? Most are reported by volunteer stations, usually no more than a thermometer inside a small wooden hut or below a roof overhang. In the US, 1,221 such stations exist, all administered by the National Climatic Data Center, a branch of the NOAA.

Two months ago, I reported on an effort to validate this network. A volunteer group headed by meteorologist Anthony Watts had found serious problems. Not only did sites fail to meet the NCDC's requirements, but encroaching development had put many in ridiculously unsuitable locations -- on hot black asphalt, next to trash burn barrels, beside heat exhaust vents, even attached to hot chimneys and above outdoor grills.

Soon thereafter, a Seattle radio station interviewed the head of the NCDC, Dr. Thomas Peterson, informed him of the effort and quizzed him about the problems. Three days later, the NCDC removed all website access to station site locations, citing "privacy concerns." Without this data (which had been public for years), the validation effort was blocked. No more stations could be located.

Scientists were quick to respond. Climatologist Roger Pielke from the University of Colorado called the act a "coverup" and said it was designed to prevent public scrutiny. More shockingly, he revealed that researchers had been for years pressuring the government to validate the network themselves, and that the NCDC had begun to do j so, but cancelled the project and refused to make the data public, presumably to avoid this sort of scandal. Joined by Watts and others, Pielke called upon the government to recant.

The resulting furor forced the NCDC to again made site locations public. But so far, they've failed to address to root of the problem, which is the wholly unsatisfactory locations of many of their recording sites, locations which make the resulting data unreliable, and compromise a dataset upon which much of US energy and environmental policy is based.
Indeed -- if this is something that we really want to track, it is really bad to have poor and biased data at the outset. I can see wanting to keep the same stations for continuity of record but you either need to offer a fudge-factor for the data or relocate the sensors to somewhere where they have a chance of yielding accurate data. And definitely, check out: Watts Up With That?

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on August 8, 2007 8:46 PM.

Kyoto unable to meet Kyoto was the previous entry in this blog.

Cool archeological find in south-central Turkey is the next entry in this blog.

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