Tuesday, October 27, 2009

136 Thermometers

The science is settled.

Oh yeah? How many thermometers are used to record the nation's temperature? Specifically, how many are included in the most important data sets used to analyze global warming - NOAA's GHCN data set that feeds the GIStemp?

It looks like weather data isn't fishy just for rural Maine, but for California as well:

Lately we’ve been told that California and the west in general had set a 115 year record for high temperatures. All Time Heat! I called “BS”.

No way was this year even a regularly warm year. My tomatoes were not setting fruit (they can not set fruit below a 50F night temperature unless you use special varieties. I had 2 of the special varieties that were setting some fruit, but far less than in prior years. Further, my Runner Beans were setting seeds. Normally in mid summer they have lots of wonderful red flowers that attract lots of hummingbirds, but they can not set seed over about 93-95 F and in July and August I expect only decoration. I got beans… So I called a big load of BS but could not point to any reason why. That has changed.

Looks like it's not just Joe Sixpack who doesn't believe that things are getting warmer - scientists are even starting to catch on. Unlike Joe Sixpack, a scientist might know where to get the data, and how to look at it. And might find something really interesting in it:
What conditions am I seeing in the GHCN data set? The Thermometer Langoliers have eaten 9/10 of the thermometers in the USA; including all the cold ones in California.
You want to show record warm temperatures? Airbrush the weather stations that don't run warm.
When I investigated, I found California has all of 4 thermometers (assuming I read the LAT and LONG correctly and recognized the place names; someone check me on this.)

San Francisco
Santa Maria
Los Angeles
San Diego

42572494000 SAN FRANCISCO 37.62 -122.38 5 102U 6253FLxxCO15A 1COASTAL EDGES C3 66
42572394000 SANTA MARIA/P 34.90 -120.45 73 120U 62HIxxCO15A 2WARM CROPS C3 23
42572295000 LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA 33.72 -118.27 -999 55U14531FLxxCO 1x-9WATER C3 32
42572290000 SAN DIEGO/LIN 32.73 -117.17 9 39U 2498FLxxCO 1A 1WATER C3 105

IIRC, Santa Maria is a nice little coastal town in Southern California. Everyone knows L.A. and San Diego from Beach Blanket Babylon, The Beach Boys, and Surfer Girl fame. That just leaves San Francisco to stand in for all the rest of Northern California.

SF is a nice beach town, with cool summers, but in winter the ocean keeps it from getting very cold at all. So all the frozen inland, all the Chico frost, Redding hail, Weed snow and all the Sierra Nevada under whatever frozen snow, well they all are represented by a nice 50F to 60F day in San Francisco. Forget Yosemite, Mount Shasta, Truckee / Tahoe, Mono Lake, Trinity and the Cascades, even the cold evenings of the Mojave Desert. It’s all just downtown LA…

In the flurry of weather station closings, it seems that we've lost 90% of our sensors. This is very likely part of the "Peace Dividend", as military bases consolidated and Civil Defense just went away in the Clinton years.

Would You Believe a Little Over 2 Thermometers Per State?

And no, that is not a “Maxwell Smart” imitation.

My “by years” tool told me there were 136 active thermometer records in the U.S.A. in 2008. For the whole thing. Including Alaska and Hawaii. But in fairness, Hawaii got three thermometers, all at airports [Emphasis in original - ed.]

So forget the difficulty in comparing the global temperature from today with that of 1200 A.D. You can't compare global temperature today with that from 1975.

RTWT, including the comments. These are people who live data, and know how to dissect it. Something is very wrong with the data underlying all you read about "warming" and "record temperatures."

UPDATE 11 November 2009 10:45: Welcome visitors from RH Junior Web Comics. There are a bunch of related posts here. A good place to start (and pretty much where I started on this topic, a year ago) is this.

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