Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?

How do we know global warming is a problem if we can't trust the U.S. temperature record?

by Anthony Watts. (Anthony Watts is a 25-year broadcast meteorology veteran and currently chief meteorologist for KPAY-AM radio. He got his start as on-air meteorologist for WLFI-TV in Lafayette, Indiana and at KHSL-TV in Chico, California. In 1987, he founded ItWorks, which supplies broadcast graphics systems to hundreds of cable television, television, and radio stations nationwide. ItWorks supplies custom weather stations, Internet servers, weather graphics content, and broadcast video equipment. In 2007, Watts founded, a Web site devoted to photographing and documenting the quality of weather stations across the U.S.)

Executive Summary

Global warming is one of the most serious issues of our times. Some experts claim the rise in temperature during the past century was "unprecedented" and proof that immediate action to reduce human greenhouse gas emissions must begin. Other experts say the warming was very modest and the case for action has yet to be made.

The reliability of data used to document temperature trends is of great importance in this debate. We can't know for sure if global warming is a problem if we can't trust the data.

The official record of temperatures in the continental United States comes from a network of 1,221 climate-monitoring stations overseen by the National Weather Service, a department of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Until now, no one had ever conducted a comprehensive review of the quality of the measurement environment of those stations. During the past few years I recruited a team of more than 650 volunteers to visually inspect and photographically document more than 860 of these temperature stations. We were shocked by what we found. 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. We found 68 stations located at wastewater treatment plants, where the process of waste digestion causes temperatures to be higher than in surrounding areas. In fact, we found that 89 percent of the stations - nearly 9 of every 10 - fail to meet the National Weather Service's own siting requirements that stations must be 30 meters (about 100 feet) or more away from an artificial heating or radiating/ reflecting heat source. In other words, 9 of every 10 stations are likely reporting higher or rising temperatures because they are badly sited.

It gets worse. We observed that changes in the technology of temperature stations over time also has caused them to report a false warming trend. We found major gaps in the data record that were filled in with data from nearby sites, a practice that propagates and compounds errors. We found that adjustments to the data by both NOAA and another government agency, NASA, cause recent temperatures to look even higher.

The conclusion is inescapable: The U.S. temperature record is unreliable. The errors in the record exceed by a wide margin the purported rise in temperature of 0.7 degrees C (about 1.2 degrees F) during the twentieth century. Consequently, this record should not be cited as evidence of any trend in temperature that may have occurred across the U.S. during the past century. Since the U.S. record is thought to be "the best in the world," it follows that the global database is likely similarly compromised and unreliable.

This report presents actual photos of more than 100 temperature stations in the U.S., many of them demonstrating vividly the siting issues we found to be rampant in the network. Photographs of all 865 stations that have been surveyed so far can be found at, where station photos can be browsed by state or searched for by name.

Much more HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Heaven+Earth on Fire: Warmism fading in the Australian parliament

That's "Heaven+Earth", the new book by Prof. Ian Plimer debunking the Global Warming Scare, now in its 5th printing. Yes, the 5th. Already. It's out-selling the most wildly optimistic estimates.

I went to a book signing at Abbey's in Sydney and had the pleasure of speaking a few words with the great man himself. The dictionary definitions of 'humble' and 'down to earth' could have a photo of this guy in the margin.

He has been meeting with all the major State and Federal politicians in Australia recently - at their invitation. He says there has been a sea-change in attitudes to the Global Warming Scare in the political sphere. As little as a year or two ago he couldn't get an audience with any politician - now they're all calling him. In response to my question as to whether it would be worth sending a copy to Malcolm Turnbull he said he has already spoken extensively with him and has given him a copy of the book. He added, with a bit of a twinkle in the eye, that he has also had long discussions with Peter Costello. The Liberals are 80% on board with us sceptics. The Nationals 100%, as we know. A large number of Labor politicians (basically most except the caucus) are as well. Things are definitely moving in our direction and away from the alarmist's.

The book, which none of the major publishers would touch, is now planned for release in the UK and the USA. (It's being published by a tiny husband and wife publishing firm. Just goes to show how stupidity opens up opportunities). Plimer's son is getting married in Canada soon, and so he will be combining that visit with a US book tour. US readers keep watch!


India Chooses Coal, Not Kyoto

With the rest of the world talking about carbon dioxide emissions and another Kyoto-style emission reductions plan, India continues to utilize the energy source that it has in abundance: coal. India gets 51.4 percent of its primary energy from coal, making it the fourth-most coal dependent country in the world. And the primacy of coal will continue for decades to come as India has enough coal reserves to last for the next 100 years.

The result of all that coal use: India's carbon emissions are rising faster than nearly every other country on the planet. Between 1980 and 2006, the country’s carbon output increased by 341 percent. That’s a greater rate of increase than that of China (312 percent), Brazil (103 percent), Indonesia (238 percent), or Pakistan (272 percent). By 2006, India was the third-largest carbon emitter in the world, with nearly 1,300 million tons of carbon dioxide, behind only the US (5,902 million tons) and China (6,017 million tons).

Given those numbers and India’s enormous population, two additional points are obvious: India’s carbon emissions are going to continue rising; and India will not be agreeing to any type of mandatory emission caps in the post-Kyoto Protocol world.

The key issue for India is electricity. The country desperately needs more electric power and coal is the cheapest and easiest way for the country to produce more electricity. About 69 percent of India's electricity is generated by coal-fired power plants. The country has over 80 coal-fired power plants and more are on the way.

Coal is the most abundant hydrocarbon in India, with reserves of some 56.5 billion tons, about 6.7 percent of the world’s known reserves. And while the country wants to increase its use of renewables and nuclear, those sources will remain small players for the foreseeable future. By 2012, India hopes to have 10 percent of its power capacity comprised of renewable sources like hydro, wind, and solar. Those sources now account for about 8 percent of the country’s capacity. Nuclear continues to be a niche player, with a 2.5 percent share of the electricity market.

Between 1990 and 2007, electricity generation in India jumped by 172 percent, making it the 14th-fastest growing electricity market in the world over that time frame. Over that same time frame, India’s coal consumption grew by 124 percent. In 2007, the latest year for which accurate data is available, India’s coal use was the equivalent of about 4.1 million barrels of oil. That was a 6.6 percent increase over 2006 levels.

One factor could restrain India’s coal plans: politics. The richest coal mining regions are in the eastern and central states of Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhatisgarh and Bihar. And some of those regions have been affected by communist rebels known as Naxalites.

Nevertheless, the Indian government has said that it wants to make electricity available to all of its citizens by 2012. If it is to achieve that goal, and keep the electricity flowing, India will be burning lots of coal.


British car emissions exceed forecasts

New roads built in the UK since 2002 have led to double the increase in carbon emissions originally forecast by the government. The data, which have not been publicised, could raise questions about official assumptions on road traffic emissions resulting from Heathrow's expansion. Norman Baker - transport spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, who obtained the data - said the figures showed government concern for climate change was "little more than greenwash".

The figures come from the Highways Agency, part of the transport department, and apply to 27 big road schemes. They show that these produced an extra 21,870 tonnes of carbon - almost twice the 11,240 predicted by the government.

Mr Baker said: "This government continues to push ahead with massive road-building schemes that cost millions more than predicted, as well as increase traffic and carbon emissions. These huge schemes are responsible for thousands of tonnes of extra carbon emissions every year."

Richard George of the Campaign for Better Transport, said the figures showed that the government was not only underestimating carbon emissions but had "no workable method" of making such forecasts. "The estimates were nowhere near what actually happened, it seems they don't know how to work out what carbon emissions will be," he said. "There were some projects where they expected an increase and there was a decrease, or vice versa. "Overall it was a massive underestimate."

The Highways Agency said the figures should be put in perspective - they only showed net changes rather than total emissions produced.

However, the data might raise concerns about the prospect of enlarging Heathrow without breaching European guidelines. There were already fears about the high level of pollutants, such as nitrogen oxide, in the air around the airport - much of which comes from cars rather than aircraft. Lord Smith, chairman of the Environment Agency, has told the Financial Times that nitrogen oxide in places near Heathrow already broke limits which were about to become statutory. A report by BAA, which owns the airport, has estimated that a third runway would generate more than 10m extra car and taxi journeys each year.

Mr George did not know whether the DfT was using similar modelling for its Heathrow pollution forecasts. But he said: "It is worrying . . . I would also want to know the difference between modelling for this and for aviation work."

Geoff Hoon, transport secretary, has pledged to prevent Heathrow's expansion if air quality conditions are not met. A DfT spokesman said: "We published our decision on the third runway in January this year and at the time we highlighted the measures we would take to mitigate the environmental impact of the runway."


Australia: Greenie opposition to evolution

Reduction of native species by "invasive" species is just evolution speeded up: With the fitter dispacing the less fit. It is a completely natural process that man has simply speeded up

RESIDENTS across NSW may be asked to put traps in their backyards to capture and eradicate pest birds. About 30 councils and 35 community groups will meet to discuss a plan to reduce numbers of Indian myna birds.

The territorial pests drive protected native bird species from nesting hollows, kill chicks and destroy eggs.

Efforts to reduce myna numbers - including one council which spent $5000 and caught two - have failed. The main group to have been successful in slashing numbers, the Canberra Indian Myna Action Group Inc, will tell the conference in Nowra tomorrow how it succeeded.

President Bill Handke said traps in 620 backyards took the birds from third most common to 12th in three years. Residents lured the birds with dog food into a wire trap where pest controllers destroyed them.

University of Western Sydney native and pest animal unit biology lecturer Dr Ricky Spencer, who worked with Blacktown City Council on a $48,000 trial, said councils would need to employ a professional to handle the birds, then humanely destroy them.

Mynas were first known as the "farmers' friend" but soon after their release into NSW in 1862, they became the "cane toad of the sky". Like the ugly amphibians, they were brought in from the subcontinent to eat cane beetles but bred out of control.


UK: New Greenie hospital is useless

Greenies can mess up even such an ancient technology as central heating

A £36million hospital has been closed to patients for more than six months because the floors are too hot to walk on. Faults with the under-floor heating system at the 108-bed hospital have caused floor tiles to buckle and pushed temperatures in the wards up to 40c (104f).

Rhondda Valley Hospital in South Wales was due to admit its first patients last autumn but may not now open until next year. The hospital's opening has been delayed after temperatures inside reached 40C. Patients are instead being treated at the crumbling Victorian hospital at nearby Llwynypia even though NHS bosses said it was to close last year.

Leighton Andrews, Welsh Assembly member for the Rhondda Valleys, said: 'This was meant to be one of the most environmentally-friendly hospitals because of the nature of the heating system. 'But the underfloor heating has made the floor too hot to walk on - I understand that temperatures have reached 40C. 'It was meant to be state of the art but we are now well behind the scheduled opening date.'

The NHS-funded hospital was described as being one of the first in the UK to use sustainable resources. The underfloor heating system was championed as being environmentally-friendly because it recycles heat. But staff say they cannot control the heat of the floor in some parts of the hospital, including the corridors. One said: 'The floor is as hot as a Mediterranean beach in some spots - too hot to stand on in bare feet. 'Some spots are fine whereas others are stone cold. 'It is a bit of a farce all in all. It doesn't do much for patients faith in the NHS when it is like a bakehouse.'

The hospital was scheduled to open last autumn but is on course to be completed at least 18 months late. It was built on the site of a former factory and will have 100 rehabilitation beds and an eight-bed stroke unit - and it followed a 20-year campaign to get a new hospital. It will also house an outpatient department, minor injuries unit and an integrated primary care centre.

David Lewis, director of finance at Cwm Taf NHS Trust, said: 'We have had practical completion of the hospital and there are apparent defects in the flooring. 'We have commissioned an independent review to determine whether there are defects and, if so, what remedial action needs to be take. 'We will have this report by the end of the month and we will then know what the next step will be.'



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1 comment:

John A said...

Rhondda Valley Hospital: sounds like a "simple" design flaw. Perhaps the architects and engineers should have gone to a library and looked up how it was done in Rome - the hypocaust has been in use for a couple of millenia.

Granted, the chimney has been in use even longer and it is less than two hundred years ago that the setback became standard. Which in a way raises my suspicion that someone//group thought it a lot simpler than it really is and went ahead without research.