Sunday, May 10, 2009

Errors in The Atmospheric Temperature Record

One of the critical questions facing all of us in this time is whether or not global warming is real, and if it is, how much, if any, is man-made.   One of the foundations of the debate is the ambient air temperature measurements that are taken in various places around the world.  A number of those temperature sites are in the United States.   One man, Mr. Anthony Watts, from Northern  California, has undertaken a massive effort to examine the sites in the U.S. and categorize them as to suitability and compliance with official standards for temperature measurement.  His work is nearing completion, with approximately 70 percent of the stations evaluated.  

For background, some scientists show temperature trends, purportedly based on actual measurements, and those trends show the air temperature increasing since about 1850.  Mr. Watts' work, however, shows that many of the measuring stations are providing, and have in the past provided, questionable data.   The screw-ups include siting the air measurement stations on areas that provide false heat, such as on or near masonry buildings, on or near paved parking areas, and near backyard barbecue pits.   This is horrible data on which to base such important decisions as carbon cap and trade, with all its ramifications.    Every elected official should see this, and understand that this is not science.  This is having the wool pulled over your eyes.  

The image below (taken from shows the extent of error in the measuring stations. 

For a complete reference on how the surveys were done and how the site rating system was arrived at, based on original work at the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) new Climate Reference Network, click on the PDF link here. (size:  4 MB) 

For more on Mr. Watts' work in this area, click here

Mr. Watts can use some help in assessing the remaining 30 percent of the sites.   The weblink above provides information for those who wish to render assistance.  This is a worthy cause.   Please, help if you are able. 

Roger E. Sowell, Esq. 

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