Posted by: Bill | June 10, 2009

Measurement Error?

One of the climate blogs I follow has a side project wherein the author and many of his readers have been surveying a large percentage of the surface stations in the US. There are 1,221 ground stations blanketing the country to measure temperature. Their sample is now large enough (860) that the Heartland Institute has published the findings.

The project found that “89 percent of stations “fail to meet the National Weather Service’s own siting requirements” that say stations must be located at least 100 feet from artificial heat sources.” This was not a surprise to me as I’ve been following the blog which occasionally publishes details of the more egregious violations in the stations it surveys.

I also wanted to note a couple more things about this. I am surprised that I was quoting from a pretty major newspaper (Orange County Register) expressing some alarm that what is supposed to be the best temperature record in the world is likely quite unreliable.

It’s also amazing what the author of this blog (Anthony Watts) has accomplished. His readers did a tremendous amount of work surveying these 800+ surface stations. He obviously did his fair share creating the tools for them to survey and keeping the web site up to date (with the help of other volunteers). He did all of this without receiving funding from anyone. No corporate or individual donations were accepted. It’s a testament to both the power of the Internet and his personal drive regarding accurately measuring what we are told is of critical importance to our future (climate change).

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