Thursday, 9 August 2012

NOAA/NCDC incapable of Honesty.

Prize winning photo from a volcanic eruption, superb.

Once again we witness the obvious manipulation of the facts as we once again see how vacant and unreliable NOAA/NCDC, under Hansen, has become. They have set up a superior system to detect the variation in the weather but they prefer to use the questionable and debunked old weather system which has been demonstrated to be unreliable and grossly inaccurate.

They prefer to list the highest temp from this old system as it suits their Global Warming theories the best. WUWT has done the sums and come up with an article that once again demonstrates what a farce the NOAA/NCDC has become. They are now a laughable entity not to be trusted to give even a guess at the temperature as they apparently are incapable of telling the truth. Time to either close it down or remove management. It has become a white elephant of the CAGW Hansen mentality and obvious warmistas political viewpoint.

An ‘incovenient result’ – July 2012 not a record breaker according to data from the new NOAA/NCDC U.S. Climate Reference Network

I decided to do myself something that so far NOAA has refused to do: give a CONUS average temperature for the United States from the new ‘state of the art’ United States Climate Reference Network (USCRN). After spending millions of dollars to put in this new network from 2002 to 2008, they are still giving us data from the old one when they report a U.S. national average temperature. As readers may recall, I have demonstrated that old COOP/USHCN network used to monitor U.S. climate is a mishmash of urban, semi-urban, rural, airport and non-airport stations, some of which are sited precariously in observers backyards, parking lots, near air conditioner vents, airport tarmac, and in urban heat islands. This is backed up by the 2011 GAO report spurred by my work.
Here is today’s press release from NOAA, “State of the Climate” for July 2012 where they say:
The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 77.6°F, 3.3°F above the 20th century average, marking the hottest July and the hottest month on record for the nation. The previous warmest July for the nation was July 1936 when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4°F. The warm July temperatures contributed to a record-warm first seven months of the year and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895.
OK, that average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July is easy to replicate and calculate using NOAA’s USCRN network of stations, shown below:
Map of the 114 climate stations in the USCRN, note the even distribution.
In case you aren’t familiar with his network and why it exists, let me cite NOAA/NCDC’s reasoning for its creation. From the USCRN overview page:
The U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) consists of 114 stations developed, deployed, managed, and maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the continental United States for the express purpose of detecting the national signal of climate change. The vision of the USCRN program is to maintain a sustainable high-quality climate observation network that 50 years from now can with the highest degree of confidence answer the question: How has the climate of the nation changed over the past 50 years? These stations were designed with climate science in mind. Three independent measurements of temperature and precipitation are made at each station, insuring continuity of record and maintenance of well-calibrated and highly accurate observations. The stations are placed in pristine environments expected to be free of development for many decades. Stations are monitored and maintained to high standards, and are calibrated on an annual basis. In addition to temperature and precipitation, these stations also measure solar radiation, surface skin temperature, and surface winds, and are being expanded to include triplicate measurements of soil moisture and soil temperature at five depths, as well as atmospheric relative humidity. Experimental stations have been located in Alaska since 2002 and Hawaii since 2005, providing network experience in polar and tropical regions. Deployment of a complete 29 station USCRN network into Alaska began in 2009. This project is managed by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center and operated in partnership with NOAA’s Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division.
So clearly, USCRN is an official effort, sanctioned, endorsed, and accepted by NOAA, and is of the highest quality possible. Here is what a typical USCRN station looks like:
USCRN Station at the Stroud Water Research Center, Avondale, PA
A few other points about the USCRN:
  • Temperature is measured with triple redundant air aspirated sensors (Platinum Resistance Thermometers) and averaged between all three sensors. The air aspirated shield exposure system is the best available.
  • Temperature is measured continuoisly and logged every 5 minutes, ensuring a true capture of Tmax/Tmin
  • All stations were sited per Leroy 1999 siting specs, and are Class 1 or Class 2 stations by that siting standard. (see section 2.2.1 here of the USCRN handbook PDF)
  • The data goes through quality control, to ensure an errant sensor hasn’t biased the values, but is otherwise unchanged.
  • No stations are near any cities, nor have local biases of any kind that I have observed in any of my visits to them.
  • Unlike the COOP/USHCN network where they fought me tooth and nail, NOAA provided station photographs up front to prove the “pristine” nature of the siting environment.
  • All data is transmitted digitally via satellite uplink direct from the station.
So this means that:
  1. There are no observer or transcription errors to correct.
  2. There is no time of observation bias, nor need for correction of it.
  3. There is no broad scale missing data, requiring filling in data from potentially bad surrounding stations. (FILNET)
  4. There are no needs for bias adjustments for equipment types since all equipment is identical.
  5. There are no need for urbanization adjustments, since all stations are rural and well sited.
  6. There are no regular sensor errors due to air aspiration and triple redundant lab grade sensors. Any errors detected in one sensor are identified and managed by two others, ensuring quality data.
  7. Due to the near perfect geospatial distribution of stations in the USA, there isn’t a need for gridding to get a national average temperature.
Knowing this, I wondered why NOAA has never offered a CONUS monthly temperature from this new network. So, I decided that I’d calculate one myself.
The procedure for a CONUS monthly average temperature from USCRN:
  1. Download each station data set from here: USCRN Quality Controlled Datasets.
  2. Exclude stations that are part of the USHCN-M (modernized USHCN) or USRCRN-Lite stations which are not part of the 114 station USCRN master set.
  3. Exclude stations that are not part of the CONUS (HI and AK)
  4. Load all July USCRN 114 station data into an Excel Spreadsheet, available here: CRN_CONUS_stations_July2012_V1.2
  5. Note stations that have missing monthly totals data. Three in July 2012, Elgin, AZ, (4 missing days) Avondale, PA,(5 missing days) McClellanville, SC, (7 missing days) and  set their data aside to be dealt with separately.
  6. Do sums and calculate CONUS averages for the Tmax, Tmin, Tavg and Tmean data provided for each station.
  7. Do a separate calculation to see how much difference the stations with missing/partial data make for the entire CONUS.

Here are the results:

USA Monthly Mean for July 2012:   75.72°F 
(111 stations)

USA Monthly Average for July 2012:   75.51°F 
(111 stations)
USA Monthly Mean for July 2012:   75.74°F 
(114 stations, 3 w/ partial missing data, difference  0.02)
USA Monthly Average for July 2012:   75.55°F 
(114 stations, 3 w/ partial missing data, difference  0.04)


Comparison to NOAA’s announcement today:

Using the old network, NOAA says the USA Average Temperature for July 2012 is: 77.6°F
Using the NOAA USCRN data, the USA Average Temperature for July 2012 is: 75.5°F
The difference between the old problematic network and new USCRN is 2.1°F cooler.

This puts July 2012, according to the best official climate monitoring network in the USA at 1.9°F below the  77.4°F July 1936 USA average temperature in the NOAA press release today, not a record by any measure. Dr. Roy Spencer suggested earlier today that he didn’t think so either, saying:
So, all things considered (including unresolved issues about urban heat island effects and other large corrections made to the USHCN data), I would say July was unusually warm. But the long-term integrity of the USHCN dataset depends upon so many uncertain factors, I would say it’s a stretch to to call July 2012 a “record”.
This result also strongly suggests, that a well sited network of stations, as the USCRN is designed from inception to be, is totally free of the errors, biases, adjustments, siting issues, equipment issues, and UHI effects that plague the older COOP USHCN network that is a mishmash of problems that the new USCRN was designed to solve.
It suggests Watts et al 2012 is on the right track when it comes to pointing out the temperature measurement differences between stations with and without such problems.
NOAA never mentions this new pristine USCRN network in any press releases on climate records or trends, nor do they calculate and display a CONUS value for it. Now we know why. The new “pristine” data it produces is just way too cool for them.
Look for a regular monthly feature using the USCRN data at WUWT.

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