Study: NOAA’s U.S. temperature data too warm

By |2015-12-18T06:44:19+00:00December 18th, 2015|Climate|62 Comments

Anthony Watts reports at the Fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union that temperature trends reported by Anthony WattsNOAA are too high due to contamination of temperature stations by urbanization.

From the press release:

“Using NOAA’s U.S. Historical Climatology Network, which comprises 1218 weather stations in the CONUS, the researchers were able to identify a 410 station subset of “unperturbed” stations that have not been moved, had equipment changes, or changes in time of observations, and thus require no “adjustments” to their temperature record to account for these problems. The study focuses on finding trend differences between well sited and poorly sited weather stations, based on a WMO approved metric Leroy (2010)1 for classification and assessment of the quality of the measurements based on proximity to artificial heat sources and heat sinks which affect temperature measurement. An example is shown in Figure 2 below, showing the NOAA USHCN temperature sensor for Ardmore, OK.

Following up on a paper published by the authors in 2010, Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends2 which concluded:

Temperature trend estimates vary according to site classification, with poor siting leading to an overestimate of minimum temperature trends and an underestimate of maximum temperature trends, resulting in particular in a substantial difference in estimates of the diurnal temperature range trends

…this new study is presented at AGU session A43G-0396 on Thursday Dec. 17th at 13:40PST and is titled Comparison of Temperature Trends Using an Unperturbed Subset of The U.S. Historical Climatology Network”

“Key findings:

1. Comprehensive and detailed evaluation of station metadata, on-site station photography, satellite and aerial imaging, street level Google Earth imagery, and curator interviews have yielded a well-distributed 410 station subset of the 1218 station USHCN network that is unperturbed by Time of Observation changes, station moves, or rating changes, and a complete or mostly complete 30-year dataset. It must be emphasized that the perturbed stations dropped from the USHCN set show significantly lower trends than those retained in the sample, both for well and poorly sited station sets.
2. Bias at the microsite level (the immediate environment of the sensor) in the unperturbed subset of USHCN stations has a significant effect on the mean temperature (Tmean) trend. Well sited stations show significantly less warming from 1979 – 2008. These differences are significant in Tmean, and most pronounced in the minimum temperature data (Tmin). (Figure 3 and Table 1)
3. Equipment bias (CRS v. MMTS stations) in the unperturbed subset of USHCN stations has a significant effect on the mean temperature (Tmean) trend when CRS stations are compared with MMTS stations. MMTS stations show significantly less warming than CRS stations from 1979 – 2008. (Table 1) These differences are significant in Tmean (even after upward adjustment for MMTS conversion) and most pronounced in the maximum temperature data (Tmax).
4. The 30-year Tmean temperature trend of unperturbed, well sited stations is significantly lower than the Tmean temperature trend of NOAA/NCDC official adjusted homogenized surface temperature record for all 1218 USHCN stations.
5. We believe the NOAA/NCDC homogenization adjustment causes well sited stations to be adjusted upwards to match the trends of poorly sited stations.
6. The data suggests that the divergence between well and poorly sited stations is gradual, not a result of spurious step change due to poor metadata.

The study is authored by Anthony Watts and Evan Jones of , John Nielsen-Gammon of Texas A&M , John R. Christy of the University of Alabama, Huntsville and represents years of work in studying the quality of the temperature measurement system of the United States.

Lead author Anthony Watts said of the study: “The majority of weather stations used by NOAA to detect climate change temperature signal have been compromised by encroachment of artificial surfaces like concrete, asphalt, and heat sources like air conditioner exhausts. This study demonstrates conclusively that this issue affects temperature trend and that NOAA’s methods are not correcting for this problem, resulting in an inflated temperature trend. It suggests that the trend for U.S. temperature will need to be corrected.” He added: “We also see evidence of this same sort of siting problem around the world at many other official weather stations, suggesting that the same upward bias on trend also manifests itself in the global temperature record”.

The full AGU presentation can be downloaded here:

[1] Leroy, M. (2010): Siting Classification for Surface Observing Stations on Land, Climate, and Upper-air Observations JMA/WMO Workshop on Quality Management in Surface, Tokyo, Japan, 27-30 July 2010

[2] Fall et al. (2010) Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends


  1. The Professor December 19, 2015 at 5:44 PM

    Nov 29, 2015 Take the $100,000 Global Warming Believer Challenge!

    Do you believe in the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming hypothesis? Want to help the IPCC with an embarrassing little statistical problem in their latest report? Want to win $100,000? Today James introduces you to Douglas J. Keenan’s $100,000 contest to identify trend-driven time series. Details are in the show notes. Good luck!

    • Dano2 December 20, 2015 at 10:22 AM

      Again, did the authors who did this analysis and refute this premise get paid?



      • Allen Eltor December 27, 2015 at 5:55 AM

        You just need to start barking your thermodynamically stepped,

        point by point religious belief

        the frigid fluid self refrigerating atmospheric envelope that’s many degrees cooler than the objects immersed in it,

        becomes a magical heater because because you’re too stupid to analyze what happens when more, and less light, get to a thermometer.

        Hick. Tony and you belong to the SAME CHURCH.
        HE BELIEVES in your CHURCH.


        BELIEVE in THAT HERE.’
        wE bulieve in GOOD old fashioned, Magic Gais! We just don’t believe balmy weather is HARMful.

        Oh yeah: YOU and TONY are two drunks at the same bar, slumped over the same intellectual vomit you both spit onto your shirts when you drank too much authority worship tea.

  2. Ian5 December 19, 2015 at 6:34 PM

    Good for Anthony for presenting his findings at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting. I’m sure it will provoke some healthy discussion. Also of interest is this December 12/15 statement from the 60,000 member AGU, made in response to the recent COP 21 meeting in Paris:

    “Today, we congratulate global leaders for taking a historic step to combat climate change by finalizing the Paris Agreement. AGU’s community of scientists called for action on climate change in 2003 and reiterated in 2013 that ‘human-induced climate change requires urgent action’. Today, the world’s /negotiators universally recognized that climate change and its effects are real and serious, and also that collective action can and will make a difference to lessen the most severe impacts on people’s lives and society at large”.

  3. Dano2 December 20, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Did anyone actually attend his session?



    • Ian5 December 20, 2015 at 1:54 PM

      My understanding is that the presentation was a poster that was submitted to the conference poster session. At AGU sessions there are typically thousands of posters — posters are an effective vehicle for sharing research highlights and connecting one on one with other authors.

      • Dano2 December 20, 2015 at 3:03 PM

        Right – a poster, no paper published (like that German guy CFACT liked so much), the favorite stations showing a current warming of 2C/century.



  4. Dano2 December 20, 2015 at 4:26 PM

    Study: NOAA’s U.S. temperature data too warm

    Not a study.



  5. MakingFunOfMorons December 23, 2015 at 4:47 AM

    LOL it’s not peer-reviewed…… Just like the paper Watts wrote a few years back on UHI in response to the BEST study and promised to get peer-reviewed but never did. So why didn’t he get it peer-reviewed? Because his UHI paper was a joke.

    • Ag December 26, 2015 at 1:30 PM

      One Third of literature used by the IPCC is not peer reviewed. But in any case when peer review only means that a bunch of your buddies say it’s ok there isn’t much significance to it any how is there? When it is used to keep out alternative hypotheses that can’t be good can it? Climategate emails reveal that warmist scientists conspired to do just that by preventing them from being published in major scientific journals.

      • Dano2 December 27, 2015 at 1:06 PM

        You cannot show 1/3 is not peer-reviewed. You made that up.



        • Ag December 27, 2015 at 2:50 PM

          The former chairman of the IPCC Rajendra Pachauri said this—“We carry out an assessment of climate change based on peer reviewed literature, so everything we look at and take account of has to carry the credibility of peer reviewed publications. We don’t settle for anything less than that”. It turns out that this is not the case. A citizens audit co-ordinated by Donna Laframboise found that nearly one third of the references in the IPCC’s 2007 report cite non peer reviewed sources.————So at this point at least we can agree that I did not “make that up”.———-The Inter Academy Council Committee that investigated the IPCC had this to say in their section on Sources of Data and Literature. —–“An analysis of the 14,000 references cited in the 3rd assessment report found that peer reviewed journal articles comprised 84% of refernces in Working group one, but comprised only 59% of references in working group two and only 36% of references in working group three. Infact information that is relevant and appropriate for inclusion in IPCC assessments often appears in the so called “gray literature”. ——————-They then go on to state that “The extent to which such information has been peer reviewed varies a great deal ,as does it’s quality.” ——– This “gray literature” often comes from activist sources like WWF Greenpeace ,newspaper and magazine articles etc etc, and you may or may not recall the controversy over Himalayan glaciers which the IPCC copied from a piece in a magazine by someone who later admitted he knew nothing about science or indeed glaciers.——So if anyone was making things up it was the Chairman of the IPCC and not me.

          • Dano2 December 27, 2015 at 3:18 PM

            A citizens audit co-ordinated by Donna Laframboise comedy aside, I can find no such notation in the IAC report, so

            [citation needed]



            • Ag December 28, 2015 at 5:19 AM

              You can’t find it? How convenient. How did I manage to find it in a about one minute? ——-You don’t have a long neck and feathers do you? Are you an Ostrich?—————–Since you are an Ostrich take your head out of the sand and type this into your browser or can’t you find your browser either?——- off IPCC’s processes.pdf.

              • Ag December 28, 2015 at 5:25 AM

                It seems the Telegraph won’t print the whole link because of some rules or other they might have but all you have to do is type “Evaluation of the IPCC’s processes” into your search engine and lo and behold the very first entry is the very document I mentioned above. Simply scroll down to the part titled “sources of data and literature”. I take it even an Ostrich like you will be competent enough to navigate this.

                • Dano2 December 28, 2015 at 9:01 AM

                  Got it, thank you.



                  • Ag December 29, 2015 at 6:12 AM

                    Your very welcome. We are now in full agreement that when you said —-“You cannot show 1/3 is not peer-reviewed. You made that up.” , you were indeed wrong.—-Don’t worry though being wrong is not so bad. I remember even I was wrong once. …….best Ag

                    • Dano2 December 29, 2015 at 8:06 AM

                      We are now in full agreement that when you said —-“You cannot show 1/3 is not peer-reviewed. You made that up.” , you were indeed wrong.-

                      Hardly. You still haven’t shown it.

                      Your assertion was One Third of literature used by the IPCC is not peer reviewed. You showed that in the TAR, one WG used 84%, another WG used 59% and another used 36%.

                      Not even close to 1/3, unless you are trying to tell us that the weighted average is tilted because WGIII used so many more references than the other two.

                      Do you have something else, maybe, that backs your claim? Or did you make it up?



                    • Ag December 29, 2015 at 11:01 AM

                      I can’t show that 33% is the correct number for every point in time no, as this figure will no doubt vary over time. But you can hardly claim that I made anything up. I gave you the information you asked for which contradicts the claim by the IPCC that they only use peer reviewed literature.. Clearly they don’t just use peer reviewed literature in their assessments. All you are doing is squirming by insisting that my numbers are bang on the money. I don’t suppose you squirm in the same fashion when numbers like “97% of all scientists ” or “we are 95% certain” are used do you?

                    • Dano2 December 29, 2015 at 11:05 AM

                      You claimed 1/3. You were incorrect, thanks!



                    • Ag December 29, 2015 at 12:20 PM

                      The IPCC don’t just use peer reviewed literature in their assessments so I was correct. To claim that you are correct is akin to saying the Yorkshire ripper wasn’t a murderer because I didn’t get the amount of people he murdered correct. ——–This ofcourse reveals you to be nothing but a squirming eco fundamentalist defending his faith in his predetermined junk science

                    • Dano2 December 29, 2015 at 1:37 PM

                      Thanks so much – one WG used 36% – which is in the social science and political sciences so no surprise.

                      Everyone can see your assertion was incorrect, thanks.



                    • Ag December 30, 2015 at 2:11 PM

                      The IPCC claimed they only use peer reviewed literature. I said they don’t. I t turns out they don’t. I was correct. You confirmed that yourself above “—one working group used 36%” . To continue arguing would indicate you are a moron. —-Are you a moron?

                    • Dano2 December 30, 2015 at 3:59 PM

                      Don’t lash out me cuz I pointed out your error.



                    • Ag December 30, 2015 at 4:24 PM

                      The error was in the exact figures not in the basic facts. All you did was try to make capital out of that. If I said black you would say white purely for ideological reasons. So your an imposter just like(realoldone) warned me. A troll I think is the term———–Bye bye troll

                    • Dano2 December 30, 2015 at 4:31 PM

                      You can’t hide the fact you made an untrue statement upthread. Everyone can see it.



                    • Ag January 1, 2016 at 8:04 AM

                      I have admitted that the numbers are not exact. It is a moving target. Your reasoning isn’t really reasoning at all, it’s just pantomime. According to your silly type of argument I can’t call Jack the Ripper a murderer unless I state exactly how many people he killed. He is a murder as long as he killed people. The IPCC don’t only use peer reviewed literature in their assessments. They lied..—-By how much they lied is irrelevant

                    • Dano2 January 1, 2016 at 9:35 AM

                      You were refuted. Man up and admit it, then let it go.



                    • RealOldOne2 December 29, 2015 at 11:20 AM

                      Like I said Dano is a scientifically illiterate troll. Best to not feed him.
                      The audit of IPCC’s AR4 report shows that 5,587 of the 18.531 references were NOT from peer reviewed literature, , totally exposing the dishonest climate of the IPCC chairman that they were ALL from peer reviewed literature. That works out to be over 30% NON-peer reviewed, very close to your 1/3 figure. Closer to 1/3 than 1/4. By using ~1/3 you can avoid the spurious, obfuscation nit picking by ignorant climate cult trolls like Dano2.

                    • Dano2 December 29, 2015 at 11:35 AM

                      Says the always-wrong disinformer linking to a disinformation site for support.



                    • Ag December 29, 2015 at 12:41 PM

                      Yes I don’t make these comments though to convince the eco fascists. It is important to not let the eco fascist have the stage all to themselves though, like what happens on most of the main stream media, where the usual assortment of political activists masquerading as planet savers like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, WWF etc are given a platform by the BBC ,Sky News and the rest all to themselves to preach their settled junk science. But as we all know no science is ever settled. Anyone who claims it is, is an imposter.

              • Dano2 December 28, 2015 at 8:52 AM

                No need to entertain us with your harrumphin. All you have to do is point out where the passage is per my request; I realize there is no distracting away from Donna Laframboise though.

                I have the chapters now, thank you. I backed off the URL extensions until I got to the main page, then found Ch 2. Thank you.



          • RealOldOne2 December 27, 2015 at 6:57 PM

            I’d suggest ignoring Dano2. He’s a dishonest, reality-denying, scientifically illiterate climate cult zealot troll who plays silly games and just tells lies. I don’t feed trolls like him.

            His either dishonesty or incompetence is found in his denial of your IAC quote, which is easily found on p.16 of the report:,%20Review%20of%20the%20Processes%20&%20Procedures%20of%20the%20IPCC.pdf

            The IPCC reports are biased, alarmist propaganda based on activists an the flawed, faulty, falsified, failed climate models which can’t accurately project future global temperatures at even the 2% confidence level. “we find that the continued warming stagnation of fifteen years, 1998-2012, is no longer consistent with model projections, even at the 2% confidence level.” – vonStorch(2013)

            • Dano2 December 28, 2015 at 8:43 AM

              Says the disinformer who can’t even cite properly (likely for our entertainment).



            • RealOldOne2 December 29, 2015 at 9:45 AM

              Here’s an example of how the land/ocean automated computer algorithms that “homogenize” temperature data corrupts the actual measured temperatures, and fabricates false pseudo-data.
              Shown below are the simultaneous measured temps throughout Oklahoma. Note that the actual measured temp for Seiling, OK was 7F. Surrounding temps at just 20 miles away such as Putnam the temp was 20F. The automated “homogenization” routines would wrongly recognize the Seiling temperature as an erroneous ‘outlier’ and smear the warmer ~20-30F temperatures to replace the actual correct measured value of 7F. These automated algorithms falsely assume temperatures are uniform over large areas. They ignore the real world phenomenon of fronts and pockets of different temperature. They corrupt the real measured temperatures and replace them with fabricated made up values.

              • Dano2 December 29, 2015 at 11:34 AM

                You are unable to show your description is how the algorithms actually work.

                You made that up.



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