Monday, August 13, 2007

The State Of Surface Stations

Surface Stations is a project initiated by retired weatherman Anthony Watts. Its purpose is to refute Global Warming by snapping pictures of NOAA weather stations with siting issues and posting them to Conservative websites, where folks who, in general, wouldn't know a surface station from a hole in the ground then cry out "shame! shame!" in unison in the hopes of attracting the attention of Talk Radio.

As of today, the gang at Surface Stations are within a hair of having surveyed one quarter of the USHCN stations--281 to be precise--in the lower 48 states of the U.S.A. Their locations are given in the graphic above. What is fairly clear from this graphic is that SS's efforts have been concentrated 1) on the West Coast (Anthony Watts home state is California), and 2) wherever else their volunteers hail from. For example, surveys from Maine are (I am guessing) largely the work of Kristen Byrnes, the famous denying munchkin. There is a further clear trend towards surveying urban areas, also probably due to the demographics of the people making up Watt's volunteers.
Given that urban stations are more likely to be subject to siting compromises (fewer wide open fields, more asphalt), it is I think significant that only 10 per cent of the sites having been noted as not being in compliance with NOAA . Or at least, Mr. Watts has only felt obliged to scream outrage on 28 occasions.


Anonymous said...

I hope the "Munchkin" comment was meant in a warm teasing manner, not a mean one.

The graphic is very cool looking.

How about popping over the border and getting a station? Just for shits and giggles?

bigcitylib said...

No it was meant in a mean one.

Hmm. I wonder what the coverage is like down in Buffalo. And I wonder, since Anthony has been considering internationalizing his efforts,where the local Canadian stations are located? Must be one or two around the GTA.

Anonymous said...

Well he has a point and he doesn't at the same time. The asphalt and air conditioning units are absolutely compromising the readings of this station. However, in most of the developed world there's a whole lot of asphalt. It definately warms thign sup to cut down trees and pave fields. This wouldn't mean that global warming isn't happenening, just that it may have many contributing factors. And some of the weather stations should be moved. I believe most in Canada are at airports.

Anonymous said...

Damn all the volunteers for being so slow to get photos of all those stations.

Must have been a bit more difficult when the tall foreheads at NASA pulled the locations of those sites off their website because they were concerned someone might get hurt.

Or find out the truth.

Ti-Guy said...

Damn all the volunteers for being so slow to get photos of all those stations....

Doesn't matter....they're all photoshopped afterwards, anyway.

stevesadlov said...

With regards to your attempt to denigrate the folks helping out Anthony as being of a low educational status: So what was your degree in? Do you even have one? What do you do for a living? Just curious.

bigcitylib said...


About twenty years ago I did a Masters thesis in philosophy/Literature, and wrote on Wittgenstein and Francis Bacon. Nowadays I do research for a trade association.

In this case I wasn't denigrating Anthony's volunteers, but the people who visit the Conservative websites that report on their exploits (places like Newsbusters and SDA). None of these guys would be able to identify a weather station if it bit them on the ass, and suddenly they have opinions about them. And I suspect this would have been the case with most of Steve/Anthony's readers/volunteers up to about two months ago.

Anonymous said...

After they've done checking on the surface stations in the US, maybe they could go check the surface stations and the ocean temperatures on the 98% of the earth that is not the US. Then McIntyre could send them up to the troposphere to check the temperatures there. I bet Exxon would be willing to fund that.

Maybe then they would be too busy to blog about it. So it would all be good.

Anonymous said...

BCL, thanks so much for continuing to promote this project by writing about it. We will be doing it internationally, including Canada.

Just a point, I know you like to make things up for effect, but the 28 expressions of "outrage" you claim is false. Once again you've put words in my mouth.

Try searching my blog for the word "outrage" you'll not find it in any of those 28 "how not to measure temperature" posts.

And regarding the 28 posts being 10% of the total that are out of spec, BCL is wrong again. Those are just the ones I chose to write about in my blog.

It's understandable though, you wrote the post for effect, not for facts.

Anonymous said...

== holly stick said: ==
=="I bet Exxon would be willing to fund that."==

Ooooooh. Not the Big Bad Oil Company again. What a strawman. You can't buy propaganda with the pennies Exxon supposedly spends on the stuff.

Paul G

bigcitylib said...


And these 28 posts...these were not for effect?

Anonymous said...


to Paraphrase GE Moore:

here is one finger!

Mosh pit

bigcitylib said...

...And here is another!

Congrats. You're my first philosophical Troll.