June 6, 2009

If you can't trust the data...

Anthony Watts notes an interesting editorial in the Orange County Register, about his own work...A significant editorial on weather stations and data quality:

...Now another serious doubt has been raised concerning how much of the 1-degree centigrade increase over the past century allegedly caused by escalating emissions has even occurred.

"We can't know for sure if global warming is a problem if we can't trust the data," said Anthony Watts, veteran broadcast meteorologist, who for three years organized an extensive review of official ground temperature monitoring stations, in conjunction with Dr. Roger Pielke Sr., senior research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and professor emeritus of the Department of Atmospheric Science at the University of Colorado.

The study, recently published by the free-market Heartland Institute, inspected 860 of the 1,221 U.S. ground stations that gauge temperature changes. The findings were alarming.

They found 89 percent of stations "fail to meet the National Weather Service's own siting requirements" that say stations must be located at least 100 feet from artificial heat sources.

"We found stations located next to the exhaust fans of air conditioning units, surrounded by asphalt parking lots and roads, on blistering hot rooftops and near sidewalks and buildings that absorb and radiate heat," Mr. Watts reported.

Many stations also had added more sensitive measuring devices, heat-generating radio transmission devices and even latex paint to replace original whitewash, resulting in greater heat retention and reflection.

At one location, Mr. Watts said when he "stood next to the temperature sensor, I could feel warm exhaust air from the nearby cell phone tower equipment sheds blowing past me! I realized this official thermometer was recording the temperature of a hot zone...and other biasing influences including buildings, air conditioner vents and masonry."...

Posted by John Weidner at June 6, 2009 12:11 PM
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