Eli Rabett, a pseudonymous professor and blogger, fresh from simply inventing tittle-tattle about me (his fabricated story that my downloading of GISS data had “resulted in denial of service to everyone else”), has continued his descent with a bait-and-switch illustration of the supposed “Boulder station” in an effort to discredit the collection of microsite data by Anthony Watts and others. Rabett shows a picture of a site that seemingly meets all sensible standards of what a site should be. The trouble is that this site is neither the USHCN Boulder site, nor does it belong to the USHCN system. Indeed, it’s only been in operation since 2003.
The collection of microsite data has caused a surprising reaction. Nathan Rive, a climate scientist and blogger, sniggered against this effort to assess the quality control of the USHCN network, comparing it to a “worthy contribution to the world of Boring Postcards ” Now quality control is sometimes boring, but that doesn’t mean that climate scientists should ignore it. Unfortunately this attitude is all too common among the Team.
Here’s the “Boulder station” as illustrated by Eli Rabett, a station that he challenged Roger Pielke to “hike up” to.
He went on to say:
Roger [Pielke] can hike up to the Boulder station. The stations are designed to be optimal, with respect to location, instrumentation and operation…
Eli sniggers that this sort of station is representative, while the Marysville station with its barbeque beside the thermometer or the Tahoe City station equipped with its own incinerator merely represent an “urban auditor” effect. In Eli world, the Team ventures to remote and dangerous USHCN stations (perhaps they could update some proxies when they go there) unlike the supposedly latte-drinking urban auditors, who Eli states have an “urban auditor bias”:
bias, nay more than bias, prejudice for photographing sites close to people, e.g. in developed areas. Folk are going to take pictures of sites near them, so they are going to get a sample heavily tilted towards sites near them.
(Although last time I noticed, Anthony Watts was the person on the dusty roads in northern California and Nevada.)
Sounds good. But Eli has switched the pea under the thimble. Eli’s station has nothing to do with the USHCN Boulder station. The
period of record of the illustrated site is stated by USCRN to be:
Period of record is Sep 27 2003 to Jun 05 2007
The site is located at 40N, 105.5W and 9950 ft, while the USHCN Boulder CO site is located about 15 miles east and 4000 feet lower at 40.00N 105.27W 5484 feet; GHCN has the same coordinates. The GHCN metadata describes the site as “Urban”. The history of the Boulder weather station says:
The first recorded observations for Boulder were made for several months in 1893 to 1895. Records are essentially complete from 1897 to the present (except for 1 year from 1989-1990 where there was no official Boulder station). Station locations were at various points in the western part of the city to 1912, near the Colorado campus from 1912 to 1936, and on the University campus from 1936 to 1947. The weather observations were made from 1947 to 1989 by the Boulder Fire Department, on the roof of the old Central Fire station at the western edge of the main business district until 1958 and on the grounds of the New Central Fire Station north of the boulder business district until 1989. From 1990 onwards, records are from near the NIST building on the western edge of town south of the main campus.
I was unable to locate either the roof of the Boulder Fire Department or the NIST building in Eli’s photograph. The “NIST building on the western edge of town south of the main campus” appears to be the large building at 330 Broadway, Boulder CO, shown in Google Earth image below:
Perhaps readers can identify the locations of the “New Fire Station” (perhaps this is the Fire Department: Administration & Fire Prevention Bureau – 1805 33rd St, Boulder mentioned here. The roof of the Old Fire Station would be nice to locate if it still exists. If the New Fire Station can be identified the above building, it appears in the following Google Earth Image:
Another CA reader has already identified Eli’s site as being Niwot Ridge, which appears on Google Earth in a dramatically different setting than the urban NIST building. (And yes, Eli, you can drive to it and still get back in time for your latte. Indeed, we’ve challenged tree ring collectors to brave the rigors of a trip to Niwot Ridge with their “heavy equipment” and update the bristlecones and limber pines.)
With all these changes in location, the Boulder station has had multiple adjustments. Here are 7 different versions of the Boulder temperature history: GHCN raw and adjusted; same for GISS and the 3 USHCN versions. The relationship between the 1930s and the 2000s is, as so often, very sensitive to the adjustments. Surprisingly, GISS, after its urban heat island adjustment. runs hotter than GHCN in the 2000s as a result of the GISS adjustment for urban heat island.
Anyway back to Eli: the weather station illustrated by Eli is classic bait-and-switch. Eli has shown a station from the brand new USCRN network, not the USHCN network used in temperature histories. However the temperature history in Boulder is not obtained from Eli’s bait, but from sites in downtown Boulder – the roof of the Old Fire Station, the NIST building at 330 Broadway. If the USHCN stations looked like the rustic Niwot Ridge site, then we could rely on this data. Eli shows a picture of a high-quality US CRN site and, with this picture fresh in the mind of the reader, states with a straight face that the 1221 of the “best” US sites from the USHCN network: this is classic bait-and-switch.
Unfortunately, instead of including the site shown by Eli, the actual USHCN network is marred by sites like the one shown below.
And while Eli praises Tom Karl for his stewardship of the station network, this particular site has deteriorated on Karl’s watch as described here . It used to be a decent site; it isn’t any more and the deterioration occurred on Karl’s watch.