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(Some Guy)   What does NOAA do when you try to make sure their data-gathering sites comply with NOAA's own rules and find most do not? Why, hide the list of locations of course. Silly question   (dailytech.com) divider line
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10545 clicks; posted to Main » and Fandom » on 08 Aug 2007 at 3:59 PM (14 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2007-08-08 1:10:42 PM  
From a post on 8/6/07:

Prediction: The renewed assault on modeling and surface temperature record are probably going to dominate the "skeptic" talking points for a few months at least. A lot of effort has gone into discrediting temperature readings...

I hope that any site errors are corrected, but satellite measurements have confirmed the surface measurements so this is a tempest in a teapot.
 
2007-08-08 1:24:15 PM  
Maybe so, (though I have seen other opinions on that), but the kneejerk reaction to immediately hide and cover up any possible problem that government agencies have is just so absurd.

In this case, dealing with scientific evidence, you would think it would be different. But nooooooooooooo.

If the data is good, no reason to.
If the sites comply, the data is good.
If only a few sites have problems, easy to deal with, just remove the data under question. The rest should still be ok.

But if a lot of the sites, or even a majority, are not in conpliance, that is a problem. That would mean most data is suspect and would have to be tossed out. Temporarily at least.

So why hide it?

True scientists will correct errant data or re-do an experiment based on new or corrected data.

Politics, or religion, they can not be questioned and will protect what they say, right or wrong, in the face of any opposition. Just look at the creationists and Bushies.

I guess NOAA has never heard of Google cache or the internet wayback machine. Or downloading the list before it was hidden.

Bureaucrats.

/subby
 
2007-08-08 1:25:22 PM  
Jon Snow: but satellite measurements have confirmed the surface measurements so this is a tempest in a teapot.

I don't claim to be all smart and stuff, but aren't there a number of problems associated with the temperature reporting? I heard that things like location (what was once a field is now an airport), technology (mercury thermometers versus digital versus satellite), and even the process (weather volunteer fibs a bit because he missed a reading or misreads due to lack of skill). It just seems like there are waaaaay to many variables and that we never had a reliable and accurate baseline to start with. So aren't satellite reports just another piece of complexity? How do they handle clouds, rain, urban heat, industrial heat, radiant heat, etc? But I agree, we should at least be sure that all of the data is corrected and then made public.
 
2007-08-08 1:42:06 PM  
Isn't ignoring the problem and bashing the entire concept of science still working ?
 
2007-08-08 2:08:44 PM  
I'm thinking this way, wouldn't the increase in temperature still be noticeable regardless of location? If the surface temperature has increased one degree regardless of location, it makes sense to see a similar trend in the data collection, regardless of location.

At least, that is what I'd assume.
 
2007-08-08 2:29:43 PM  
UHI effects have been documented in city environments worldwide and show that as cities become increasingly urbanised, increasing energy use, reductions in surface water (and evaporation) and increased concrete etc. tend to lead to warmer conditions than in nearby more rural areas. This is uncontroversial. However, the actual claim of IPCC is that the effects of urban heat islands effects are likely small in the gridded temperature products (such as produced by GISS and Climate Research Unit (CRU)) because of efforts to correct for those biases. For instance, GISTEMP uses satellite-derived night light observations to classify stations as rural and urban and corrects the urban stations so that they match the trends from the rural stations before gridding the data. Other techniques (such as correcting for population growth) have also been used.

How much UHI contamination remains in the global mean temperatures has been tested in papers such as Parker (2005, 2006) which found there was no effective difference in global trends if one segregates the data between windy and calm days. This makes sense because UHI effects are stronger on calm days (where there is less mixing with the wider environment), and so if an increasing UHI effect was changing the trend, one would expect stronger trends on calm days and that is not seen. Another convincing argument is that the regional trends seen simply do not resemble patterns of urbanisation, with the largest trends in the sparsely populated higher latitudes.


This is a smear campaign, nothing more.
 
2007-08-08 3:17:40 PM  
netizencain: Jon Snow: but satellite measurements have confirmed the surface measurements so this is a tempest in a teapot.

I don't claim to be all smart and stuff, but aren't there a number of problems associated with the temperature reporting?


Fortunately nowadays much of the data can be confirmed, as stated earlier, by NWS offices, satellite, and independent observations. Due to the overwhelming amount of data we have at our fingertips nowadays, you can sort out most of the errant readings simply by throwing a couple of level-15 statisticians at the data.

"I cast magic missilemonte carlo simulation!"
 
2007-08-08 4:03:34 PM  
wow, what a fair and balanced blog.

I'm bookmarking it right now.... get it, RIGHT now.....


//heh, pretty full of myself right now
 
2007-08-08 4:04:37 PM  
Why is there such corruption/irresponsibility/incompetence at every level of society today?
 
2007-08-08 4:05:45 PM  
LousyTourist: wow, what a fair and balanced blog.

I'm bookmarking it right now.... get it, RIGHT now.....


//heh, pretty full of myself right now


How is that working out for you? You know, the being clever bit.
 
2007-08-08 4:05:48 PM  
Ignore the scientists. Consume mass quantities.
 
2007-08-08 4:06:26 PM  
When you mix politics with science you get politicized science.

I cant understand why people freak out about oil funded science but somehow government funded science isnt bias.
 
2007-08-08 4:07:19 PM  
What does NOAA do when you try to make sure their data-gathering sites comply with NOAA's own rules and find most do not?

Isn't this what that whole flood thing was about?
 
2007-08-08 4:07:34 PM  
Hitler.
Now that that's out of the way, I am disappointed that the government tried to hide the list of weather stations, and wish that something would be done in the field to fix the locations of misplaced stations. However, scientists have already factored in (to some degree) errors on the reporting data. Basically, this doesn't mean that warming on Earth is not actually occurring.
 
2007-08-08 4:08:18 PM  
denounce the denouncers ASAP!
 
2007-08-08 4:09:01 PM  
I'm watching earth from my spaceship, and I'm getting a kick out of watching you idiots destroy yourselves.
 
2007-08-08 4:09:19 PM  
Christ, the anti science nutjobs are grasping at straws.

Perhaps the reason they removed the site was just what they said: Privacy concerns. The article mentioned that most of the monitoring stations are volunteer run. Maybe they were tired of whackos coming around and harassing them.
 
2007-08-08 4:10:42 PM  
I get my global warming data from the poles.
 
2007-08-08 4:11:54 PM  
Funkmonkey 2007-08-08 04:05:48 PM
Ignore the scientists. Consume mass quantities.


i140.photobucket.comView Full Size
 
2007-08-08 4:12:09 PM  
Canadian Canuck: I'm thinking this way, wouldn't the increase in temperature still be noticeable regardless of location? If the surface temperature has increased one degree regardless of location, it makes sense to see a similar trend in the data collection, regardless of location.

Of course it depends. If there really is data being extracted by a thermometer placed by a "heat exhaust vent" as the article claims, the readings are going to tell a lot more about how much the resident has been using the dryer (or whatever the vent is connected to) than local environmental temperatures. As a less obvious example, a thermometer placed next to black asphalt would exaggerate any increase in temperature due to increased radiation (i.e. greenhouse effect) because it would absorb a much higher fraction of incident radiation than most of the Earth, and release it mostly as heat.
 
2007-08-08 4:13:36 PM  
The ultimate question I have is, just how far back do these faulty sites go?

In other words, if one meter was attached to a chimney in the 70s, then it's probably safe to assume the data it has taken can be junked.

If this is true, then readings going back to the 70s must be adjusted (granted, for 1 site it's probably pointless, but if it's a lot of sites...well you get the picture)

Another question I have, how old are some of these meters and are they still reading correctly? One must calibrate one's equipment from time to time to ensure proper results (was a chemist, did this all the time)

Not only do I want to know the locations of said equipment, I want to know install dates, calibration dates, and replacement dates (stuff does wear out)

questions, questions...
 
2007-08-08 4:14:44 PM  
Meh. I'm so sick of global warming threads.
 
2007-08-08 4:14:55 PM  
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.

Neal Boortz mentioned this several weeks ago on his radio show. Being a pilot, he stated that many airport weather stations from which this type of data is gathered from were on top of FBO roofs, on asphalt or near metal hangers, making the temperatures higher that the true ambient.

I was up on Weather Underground myself earlier today looking at local personal weather station data, and I certainly hope that no one is using that data for any imperical research as there is no way to know if a backyard or school station is set up or calibrated properly.
 
2007-08-08 4:16:15 PM  
Why do most of you farkers ignore the question of whether government funding (far more ubiquitous and plentiful than private) might influence the objectivity of "pro-warming" scientists, and instead resort to an ad hominem attack on anyone who doubts that the scientific question of whether there is global warming has been settled?

There is a debate (i.e., concerning the proper role of government) which should be going on, but isn't -- that is furthermore being concealed from view by a poorly-presented scientific debate. But then, that is one of the major purposes of making such a big deal of the scientific debate.
 
2007-08-08 4:16:33 PM  
Now THAT's an inconvienient truth.

\obligatory
 
2007-08-08 4:16:57 PM  
FlyingJellyAttackConfectionary: Not only do I want to know the locations of said equipment, I want to know install dates, calibration dates, and replacement dates (stuff does wear out)

Anything the government does that is not vaguely related to national security should be so transparent it's obscene. Unfortunately as a rule that's very far from the case.
 
2007-08-08 4:21:21 PM  
Very convenient. What do you want to bet that all the "global warming data" has been based on these instruments that are stuck next to hot objects all the time? No wonder people are willing to believe all this Kioto accord crap, when the scientific establishment is busy inventing a "global warming disaster" to advance their agenda, which is apparently for us all to go back to the stone age. Except for China and the middle east of course, who can legally emit all the CO2 they want as they overrrun us.

Ah hell, I was gonna troll this, but all the real loonies have taken the fun out of it. I'm surprised they haven't already arrived, in fact.
 
2007-08-08 4:22:37 PM  
http://www.surfacestations.org/ (new window) is a great resource to look at that shows just how bad the data is. Garbage in = garbage out.

/the more you know . . .
 
2007-08-08 4:23:07 PM  
Godwin: FlyingJellyAttackConfectionary: Not only do I want to know the locations of said equipment, I want to know install dates, calibration dates, and replacement dates (stuff does wear out)

Anything the government does that is not vaguely related to national security should be so transparent it's obscene. Unfortunately as a rule that's very far from the case.


What Government? The article states that NOAA gets most of their data from unverified volunteer weather stations.
 
2007-08-08 4:23:17 PM  
Ironically NOAA probably didn't cover up for a pro-global warming agenda, they probably did it for the #1 reason any government agency does anything: money.

That is, how much would it cost to re-order all of these reporting stations to get a more accurate picture? $20M? $30M? Bueller?
 
2007-08-08 4:23:17 PM  
Ahem.

Wouldn't being on or very close to blacktop or a heater vent cause more than just a one degree difference in temperature?
 
2007-08-08 4:24:20 PM  
tomWright: True scientists will correct errant data or re-do an experiment based on new or corrected data.

Bureaucrats.


Well, as the spouse of an ex-NOAA contractor, Bandmate of a NOAA scientist, and good friend to dozens of NOAA employees from receptionists to Office Directors, I can tell you the one thing that they all agree on, and complain about.

The Bush Administration political appointees.

And some of these friends and acquaintances are Republicans, and they say the same: the political appointees have completely poisoned the scientific process, rejecting reports that don't fit the conclusions demanded from up the chain of command, altering and excising data that they don't like, harassing and intimidating their subordinates at every turn.

Dollars to donuts that's what's going on here.

(And you could hear the cheering coming from Silver Spring all the way to Capitol Hill when the Stevens investigation news hit. NOAA folk can't stand that guy.)

PS: I did say "ex-contractor". At the end of Mrs. Nuisance's last contract with NOAA she had three different offices offer her a job. Which ones? Marine Fisheries, Protected Species, National Marine Sanctuaries. This was right at the beginning of the first Bush term. When it came time to hire, all three offices had had their budgets slashed, and there was no money for contractors.

See a common thread in the three offices that put them on the chopping block? I bet you can.
 
2007-08-08 4:24:41 PM  
I'm in Florida and the heat index is 105 today. Thats friggin hot. I do not remember it being this hot a few months ago, so it has to be that darn global warming.

I'm not sure what causes global warming. Something about fascist rich companies. So I am going to sit on my couch and sweat and seethe over fascist rich companies until a politician comes along who says he is going to beat down those rich people. Because them rich people are making me hot and sweat. Even my dog is hot. Are you as hot as I am? Boy is it hot. Are you hot?
 
2007-08-08 4:27:11 PM  
Our government at work

*sigh*

/hides the aliens in the flower bed
 
2007-08-08 4:27:57 PM  
whammer: ronically NOAA probably didn't cover up for a pro-global warming agenda, they probably did it for the #1 reason any government agency does anything: money.

That is, how much would it cost to re-order all of these reporting stations to get a more accurate picture? $20M? $30M? Bueller?


Not remotely possible.

This Administration is actively hostile to NOAA. NOAA ain't getting an extra dime from this bunch, and a manager would be a damn fool to try to get any.
 
2007-08-08 4:29:23 PM  
The locations of sensors do matter. Good data is required to make good assesments. Satellite data has only been available for 26 years and what is known as of now, by NASA's own addmission is that the data from these satellites do not correspond with surface tempersture measurements. Since this addmission they have basicaly put a fudge factor in to make the data from the satellites more closely match trends indicated by surface temperature stations instead of trying to find out why the difference existed in the first place.

In present times a large percentage of these stations in the US are now in urban areas which are affected by the Urban Heat Island Effect. Most climatologists agree that this effect should not be considered when modelig or when calculating the supposed average global temperature. The errors caused by badly placed temperature sensors causes incresingly large errors in the data. If you want good science you have to have good data. If the data is flawed or skewed then the resuts or just as flawed or skewed.
 
2007-08-08 4:30:00 PM  
StrikitRich: What Government? The article states that NOAA gets most of their data from unverified volunteer weather stations.

The NOAA is a government organization. It issued a report based on the data from these weather stations. These data should be held up to a standard of transparency if they're going to be used in an official government document.

Also, these weather stations are "administered by the NCDC" (part of the NOAA) according to article. The people who do the measurements may be volunteers (as in "not getting paid") but they're still under the authority of a government organization. It's not like I can read the temperature from the thermometer in my backyard and submit it to NOAA as part of their report.
 
2007-08-08 4:31:53 PM  
Hell hath no fury like an academic threatened to lose grant funds.
 
2007-08-08 4:32:23 PM  
Deucednuisance: (And you could hear the cheering coming from Silver Spring all the way to Capitol Hill when the Stevens investigation news hit. NOAA folk can't stand that guy.)

I wouldn't like a guy who kept pointing out my job deficiencies either.
 
2007-08-08 4:34:46 PM  
ItchyMcknobster: Why is there such corruption/irresponsibility/incompetence at every level of society today?

Please point out the period in time you're referring to when those conditions were so much better. TIA.
 
2007-08-08 4:36:10 PM  
I wonder aloud: If many of the thermometers are near, for instance, asphalt paving, are the results really that skewed? I mean, hasn't the amount of asphalt and other paving which covers the ground increased as well during that time, and thusly, this would be representative of the surface temperatures around these locations?

Yeah, I know. I'm just fueling the fire, actually. We actually want ambient air temperatures near the surface which are unaffected by local non-natural formations.

/but where are you going to find that in the middle of downtown Chicago, or in Manhattan, for example?
 
2007-08-08 4:37:22 PM  
Yep, it doesn't matter what "Your" side does stupid it is they other guys that are just making a big deal out of nothing. Let us look in the past. Clinton's little trist with an intern was just Republicans making a big deal out of a little sex. Or Bush and the 8 USAG's that were fired, Dem's are just making a big deal out of a normal proccess. And now this, it's not a big deal, poluters want to discount all data as biased.

What is wrong with you people, and yes I am looking at both sides of the isle. You can't get your head out of your parties ass long enough to realize that you are being manipulated and used. The only thing either party wants is power over you and your money. So just keep on falling for the same old crap.

/yea, maybe I do have a little vag in my sand.
 
2007-08-08 4:37:53 PM  
I remember some discussion of this on one of climate blogs (not SurfaceStations). I seem to recall that NCDC was concerned that their employees were/would be harassed by aforementioned climate "auditors" prowling around the sites.

As for them "failing to address the root of the problem", the article conveniently leaves out the new Climate Reference Network which is intended to replace the existing network.
 
2007-08-08 4:38:11 PM  
Deucednuisance: And some of these friends and acquaintances are Republicans, and they say the same: the political appointees have completely poisoned the scientific process, rejecting reports that don't fit the conclusions demanded from up the chain of command, altering and excising data that they don't like, harassing and intimidating their subordinates at every turn.

Sounds a lot like what Richard Feynman found at NASA when he was the chair of the committee investigating the Challenger explosion.
 
2007-08-08 4:38:35 PM  
This article can't really claim to be about global warming because it only involves monitoring stations here in the USA. GLOBAL warming is a measurement of tens of thousands points around the globe, so even if our data is skewed, it's not enough to massively skew the results on a global basis.
 
2007-08-08 4:39:27 PM  
The location data is still available as part of a larger dataset of *all* the observation stations NOAA uses here.

Someone with more experience with the Google Maps API could probably do a mashup pretty quickly with the files from that page.

It does sound like a classic case of bureaucratic arse-covering, perhaps it is.

Then again if people have started a campaign of hiking around on private property photographing weather stations, I can see both pissed-off farmers and the Homeland Security getting peevish and asking to have the data taken down.

More interesting is the fact that no one has tried to actually discredit the data directly.

It's all available online for free here, and anyone who wanted to do an analysis of the data to see if there are actual significant problems with the data could do so.

There are standard techiques to identify spot anomolies in data sets, means to compare this to things like the satellite data set which is immune to UHI effect, stuff like that.

Instead they found all of 9 sites out of 1200 that have iffy siting (0.7%) that make great pictures, but don't actually say anything about the data.

If these people are serious about the science rather than just casting FUD (unlikely, in the case of the linked author) then they should demand an analysis.
 
2007-08-08 4:39:48 PM  
The evidence is clear, Nobody knows. Unless it's already happened, it's all postulation, speculation and extrapolation.
 
2007-08-08 4:40:29 PM  
piperdrivr: Ahem.

Wouldn't being on or very close to blacktop or a heater vent cause more than just a one degree difference in temperature?


I'm guessing that the global climate is taken as an average of all the sites. If so a few that are much higher would effect the average. The concern with this article isn't global warming. It's with verifying scientific methods.
 
2007-08-08 4:40:43 PM  
loraxxarol:

I wonder aloud: If many of the thermometers are near, for instance, asphalt paving, are the results really that skewed? I mean, hasn't the amount of asphalt and other paving which covers the ground increased as well during that time, and thusly, this would be representative of the surface temperatures around these locations?

That may be, but it's not so representative of temperatures throughout the region, unless the region is heavily urbanized.
 
2007-08-08 4:43:47 PM  
>>>As for them "failing to address the root of the problem", the article conveniently leaves out the new Climate Reference Network which is intended to replace the existing network.<<<

Fair enough, and I'm certainly happy they are going to start fresh, as it were, but then they can't keep using the old (and quite possibly incorrect) data to support their positions, now can they?

This brings up a larger question, if one 'site' (i.e. a ton of monitoring stations in a few large cities) is suspect, how many all over the world are?

Now let me present an opposite view:

Regardless of the accuracy of these 'sites', polar ice is melting at rates we haven't seen in a long time.

The question there is...man-caused, or a natural cycle?
 
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