USHCN in the "ass end of nowhere"

dv-panorama-small.jpg
There’s a USHCN station out there, in the “ass end of nowhere”.

Apologist Eli Rabett (Joshua Halpern) recently lamented that in order for dendrochronologists to update tree ring studies used in MBH98/99 (aka Mann’s Hockey Stick) that they “have to drive out to the ass end of nowhere”. It’s such an inconvenience for those that just perform data wrangling in the office, instead of going out to get their hands dirty, that a study used as the basis for legislation hasn’t had its data updated in almost 10 years!

Thanks to Mr. Pete and Steve McIntyre, a recent outing in Colorado to get updated core samples from the very same trees used in Mann’s study proved that it’s not so hard after all. In fact they were able to have a Starbucks in the morning, do the field work, and were back home in time for a late dinner. No futzing with grant proposals, no elaborate plans submitted for approval, just basic honest field science. The samples they collected are in a dendrochronology lab undergoing analysis.

In that same spirit, I decided to survey one of the hottest and most remote USHCN weather stations in the USA, Death Valley. I was able to have a Starbucks’s coffee that morning, complete the work, survey an additional station, and an oddball station and head off to dinner and my next destination all in the same day.

The day started out in Baker, California, at the southern entrance to Death Valley. Appropriately, they have a Starbuck’s there, as well as what was once billed as “the worlds tallest thermometer” which has sadly been converted from a desert information center into the “worlds tallest mini-market”.

tallest-thermometer.jpg

Given that it’s over concrete, asphalt, and the roof of a mini-mart, I’ve going to give it a CRN rating of “5″. Of course that’s what they want here, hotter temperatures, because that’s part of the tourist attraction.

The drive in was long and desolate, and in a very small town I passed through, Death Valley Junction, I spotted one of the oddest weather station setups I’ve ever seen on the roof of a building.

dv-junction-wxstn.jpg

I’ve never seen a pint sized “Stevenson Screen” mounted on a rooftop tower before. It was on an adobe building that looked like it was once a motel. You can see the shadow of the tower on the southernmost rooftop in the Google Earth link. I guess they Like it hot here, and will go to lengths to make new highs. What better way than to put a station on a roof in Death Valley?

The next destination was Furnace Creek, CA, where the official USHCN station is located at the Death Valley National Monument Visitor’s Center.

I pulled into the Visitors Center and was struck by the large parking lot and RV parking lot just to the west of the center. Must be a lot of people that come here. Off to find the weather station. The B44 form I got from former CA State Climatologist Jim Goodridge indicated where the Stevenson Screen was placed, but the NCDC MMS record showed the station was converted to an MMTS, so I wondered if the old station still existed. Luckily for me, it did.

Death Valley CRS wide view  looking NW

As seems typical of many USHCN stations, the old station was placed more for the convenience of the observer than for separation from localized bias. Note the parking lot and propane tank. Off to west are RV’s from the large RV park. The station is just a few steps from the back door of the Park Service admin building.

Death Valley Screens looking East

Would the MMTS placement be any better? Off to find it, I walked the perimeter of the building, and found it, about 30 feet away from the east side of the building.

Death Valley MMTS looking NW

Note more weather stations on the rooftops. Like I said “they like it hot” here. The station on the left has a camera, which you can watch here.

Death Valley Furnace Creek Aerial View

So in the hottest place in North America, both the historical and new thermometer are smack dab in the middle of the only island of human influence in a vast sea of desert. The visitor’s center wasn’t always there, the big parking lot wasn’t always there, and the RV parks surely weren’t there 50+ years ago. With such buildups, is it any wonder why the temperature trends are upwards at Furnace Creek?

The complete survey with photos from all angles is available on the surfacestations.org image gallery server.

Heading out of Death Valley, there was one more stop to make: Stovepipe Wells. While It is not a GISS or USHCN station, I had recalled seeing a Stevenson Screen in an historical photo from there once, so since it was along the way, it seemed like a good opportunity.

I wasn’t disappointed. It was easy to find, right behind the ranger station next to the parking lot.

sp-wells1.jpg

There’s even the ubiquitous a/c unit about 30 feet away:

sp-wells2.jpg

So let’s recap:

Of all the weather stations I visited in the hottest place in North America, how many were free of microsite biases from nearby human influences? Answer: none

Parking lots and buildings seem to be the biggest influence, and it’s clear that the two NOAA/NWS placed stations at Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells were placed with the convenience of the observer in mind, not the measurement environment.

There’s one more weather station operated by NOAA in Death Valley, at Badwater, and it too suffers from the “some like it hot” mentality that seems to pervade weather stations in Death Valley. The late John Daly has an interesting writeup on it’s placement which seems to be for the sole purpose of edging out El Azizia, Libya for the hottest temperature ever recorded of 136°F. Currently Death Valley is second at 134°F.

Yes, some like it hot.


61 Comments

  1. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 1:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    hey nightlights = zero, so it’s rural.

  2. Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 2:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mosh, exactly my point. Counting streetlights around the station on nighttime satellite photos is nothing more than armchair data wrangling, and doesn’t truly represent the changes in the local measurement environment.

  3. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 2:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ya I think in Petersons study he ranked mineral CA as Periurban?

    Next time through there I will stop and tell the guy who lives there that he is not
    in a rural locale.

    I may come up your way this winter. I’ll let you know.

  4. jae
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 3:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    57 C! You know that’s from all the positive water vapor feedback, right?

  5. Larry
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 3:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    From WP:

    The world’s tallest thermometer is a landmark located in Baker, California, USA.

    It is technically an electric sign, rather than a tall thermometer; however, it exists as a tribute to the record 134 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius) recorded in nearby Death Valley on July 10, 1913.

    1913? But…but…but…

  6. Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 3:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    As Russ Steele pointed out to me, there’s a curiously large negative temperature anomaly in 1998 at Death Valley’s USHCN station:

    I’m thinking cloud cover related, perhaps related to flow patterns of subtropical moisture, but thats just conjecture, and there appears to be no significant precipitation anomaly for the same year:

  7. Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 3:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Anthony: As a novice, let me apologize in advance if the following questions are stupid. Would it be possible to quantify the the amount of inordinate change due to imposition of parking lots and other human-introduced heat generating biases? For instance, if you know when construction of the parking lots occurred and if the increase in temperature readings began to increase dramatically from that date on, wouldn’t that allow estimates of heat island effects? You could compare the temperatures to relatively unbiased sites in the region. Who knows? You might even find that temperatures, when adjusted for recently introduced biases, might indicate some level of cooling.

    In other words, can heat island effects be measured in some instances, and would it be worth the time to attempt to quantify them?

    I suppose another solution might be to set up another MMTS half a mile away and upwind. You could set it up next to the existing one for a while and check to see how readings compare. Once you get a ratio on that, you could move it far from the human influences and see what the results are.

  8. Yancey Ward
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 5:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Like theduke, I am wondering about doing experiments to actually determine the magnitude some of these effects. In many of these CRN 5 locations you and others have examined, there seem to be placements that would qualify as CRN 1 that are not all that far away (less than a mile in many instances). A side by side comparison over a period of, let us say, a month, might help put some real numbers on the biases that have arisen over the decades.

  9. John A
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 5:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Is that a golf course to the southwest of the two instruments? Because if that’s a golf course, then you’d need lots of water, which means lots of water vapor…

  10. Gary
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 5:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #6 – Anthony
    More curious is the negative anomaly from 1918 to 1921 with four years in a row about 2.5 degrees below the trend line. I recall other stations having similar lows around this time. Any thoughts about what was going on?

    The trend looks up 1910 to 1960, then down slightly to 1980, then up again. That’s pretty consistent with the overall averages.

    What were the physical conditions of the CRS and MMTS units (paint, bugs, crud, etc.)?

  11. Taipan
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 5:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Anthony – big thankyou for your work. It has been inspirational about getting back to fundermentals. If the network has been predominantly flawed, then to be diplomatic the data that comes from it is also predominantly flawed.

    #7 Theduke

    This question is of itself very interesting. Following CA for about 3 years now, and read it on a daily basis. One of the things that we have been told – is that “scientists” using this network, adjust for these issues. Lets just think about that for a moment.

    Anthony and his team of volunteers have been visiting these sites for months. Id suggest (and please correct me if im wrong) that it would be almost impossable to put together a factor to adjust the temperature records, back to the actual temperature records for each weather site.

    And Anthony and his team have actually visited them and seen them. What hope do we have that other climatologists who havent visited these sites, yet use the data from them, of getting anywhere near the truth.

    Some readers of CA who feel more at home over at Real climate – label people who frequent this forum as deniers and many things worse.

    Steve and some on this forum deal with some pretty complicated statistial methodology, that most average people do not understand.

    Anthony Watts work is something that the average person can see, and understand, and also understand why US temperatures are increasing, and it may not be the climate!

  12. Philip_B
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 5:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Anthony, there may well be a weak relationship between cloud cover and precipitation in Death Valley. The one time I was there, I saw a very striking example of virga that continued for a couple of hours until there was a small amount of actual rain, when a few large raindrops reached the ground.

  13. Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 5:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Seems that even the chain link fence surrounding the MMTS is going to get hot and radiate heat. I’ve got a little metal block plane I sometimes use outdoors here in San Diego County. If you leave it out in the sun, you can’t pick it up and hold it, it gets so hot. Even the metal stand the MMTS is mounted on could effect readings.

    If the RV parking lots are paved, that is one very hot place, even for Death Valley.

  14. jae
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 5:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m thinking cloud cover related, perhaps related to flow patterns of subtropical moisture, but thats just conjecture, and there appears to be no significant precipitation anomaly for the same year

    Do you know where I can get the records for relative humidity? It’s either clouds or an increase in humidity, I wil bet.

  15. Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 6:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Yancey, #8. Sounds like a great idea.

    Taipan:

    Id suggest (and please correct me if im wrong) that it would be almost impossable to put together a factor to adjust the temperature records, back to the actual temperature records for each weather site.

    I agree with that. It’s easy to come up with a factor, the question is, how accurate can it be? What are the criterion that go into the factoring? I’m sure Anthony and others know the answers to these questions.

    It seems to me that they just ought to get off their asses and go out and site them properly. I mean, really, how hard can it be to move these things?

  16. Philip_B
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 6:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Also, there is a substantial creek that flows through Death Valley. The water is used to irrigate the golf course and as a result the marsh that used to be the terminus of the creek has almost dried up. I.e. over the 20th Century there will have been significant changes in humidity patterns.

    Pictures of the golf course

    http://www.furnacecreekresort.com/golf-course-535__57.html

  17. Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 7:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In #13 I’ve confused the CRS with MMTS. One of the pitfalls of on-the-blog training.

  18. Frank Ch. Eigler
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 7:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Regarding John Daly and Badwater, one wonders what the thermal effect of having several solar panels right beside an MMTS is. http://www.john-daly.com/dv-instr.jpg

  19. Bruce
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 7:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #10 Gary,

    I would say the anomaly in the early 1900′s started in 1914.

    http://www.girr.org/girr/relics/dvrr/dvrr.html

    The Death Valley Railroad was incorporated January 1914 to build a line for the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad at Death Valley Junction to New Ryan in Death Valley. The line was completed by December 1914 and operations started with two Baldwin 2-8-0 locomotives built in June, 1914.

    Steam? How much steam does a steam locomotive put out? And what impact would it have in an area than has .5% humidity in the summer and 2″ of rain a year?

    The mine closed in 1927.

  20. chip
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 7:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Buildings and parking lots are built quickly so if there was a significant effect on local temperature you should see it instantly. It would be interesting if these graphs included a line showing when the buildings and parking lots appeared.

  21. Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 8:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE7/8 theduke and Yancey, there are no stupid questions here.

    I’m trying some experiments now in UHI transects see http://www.wattsupwiththat.com on a UHI transect test kit I’ve developed and took on a plane with me to try out.

    Along those lines, I’m also developing a small battery powered USB temperature datalogger with an integrated Gill IR Shield that is small and inexpensive for use in comparison studies such as you suggest. It will take x samples/hour settable, with timestamp and the whole datafile can be downloaded into a comma delimited file for analysis.

    As for rating sites, we are already applying such a rating as defined by the site ratings used by the new Climate Reference Network (CRN) The rating of 1-5 with 5 being worst case with sensor directly over artificial heat sources like asphalt or rooftop.

    See my presentation here at a conference at UCAR this past August to get an idea of how it is applied. http://gallery.surfacestations.org/UCAR-slides/index.html

    Re 11 Taipan, thank you for the kind words.

    Re 12 Philip_B Yes I was thinking along those lines, Virga is pretty common in Deserts. Maybe an examination of rainfall upwind in S. Cal will show precip anomalies that year.

    Re 10 Gary The CRS and MMTS both appeared in reasonably good condition, though looking at the condition of the removed CRS on the ground, one might infer that desert conditions might be much harder on these shelters than they were designed for. Blowing desert dust and sand can be quite pervasive.

  22. BarryW
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 8:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 6

    Could the strange values be due to missing data? The sensor or observer might not have be available during the hot(ter) months and the averageing may have been thrown off.

  23. Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 8:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re20 Chip, that’s not always true…remember most studies cite yearly averages. If the new heating/cooling bias is close, you “may” be able to see it in a yearly average. But if you are dealing with general urbanization around the sensor, not in close proximity but in the vicinity, then UHI becomes a gradual signal that is hard to separate from the true climate signal.

    This is why in the new Climate Reference Network, the sites are as far removed from potential urbanization as they can possibly be.

  24. Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 8:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re22 BarryW The last time we saw such “strange” values in a graph (Detroit Lakes, MN) and I attributed it to a local bias, Steve McIntyre took a closer look at the data and found a systemic data processing flaw. Maybe that could be the case here. ;-)

    A comparitive look around the region for the same time period may yield something of interest.

  25. Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 8:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE18 Good point – those PV panels get very very hot. There does not appear to be much separation between panels and temp sensor and if wind hits the panel and is forced upward by the panel slope, you have automatic heat transport to the sensor.

    But as Daly pointed out, I don’t think they care, they just want the new high temp record.

  26. Paul Kreter
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 8:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Is it true that Eli Rabett is a pseudoynm(Joshua Halpern)? Why would someone do that? Is this supposed to be rational discussion, or Broadway theatre?

  27. Russ
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 8:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Anthony,
    In looking around the region, I looked at the BLM/USFS Remote Automated Weather Stations in the region, but the California ones were all at 6,00 feet or higher. I looled at Beatty NV which had a station at about 2600 feet, but it only has a record from 1987 to 1997. Crossing Nevada, Ellen and I observed many automated weather stations operated by the Nevada Transportation Department. I know that Caltrans in California also has automated weather stations. Do you know how we might access this state transportation information?

  28. Philip_B
    Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 9:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In the Death Valley incidence of virga I witnessed, you could clearly see heavy rain falling from the clouds, which then evaporated before reaching the ground. A couple of hours of that should produce substantial evaporative cooling, as well as an increase in humidity.

    I suspect that rain only ever falls there after an extended period of virga has raised the humidity sufficiently.

    BTW, it was mid-winter and the clouds were from a major storm that had brought heavy rain/snow to California.

    From the Park Service Link

    Rainfall is 50% higher now than in the recent past. Yearly precipitationconsistantly averaged about 1.6 inches of rain for the first 60 years of recordkeeping. The last 30 years has seenan increase, averaging 2.5 inches of rain a year

    The last 30 years seems to be from 1971.

  29. Posted Nov 18, 2007 at 10:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Anthony, #21: superb slide presentation.

    What’s your opinion of the proximity of metal stands and chain link fencing to the recording equipment? My sense is that if the metal isn’t painted or is merely galvanized, that it will put off some degree of unnatural heat.

  30. Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 12:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re28 Philip_B here may be the answer.

    from this URL: http://www2.nature.nps.gov/geology/usgsnps/deva/weather.html

    1997-98
    6.09 inches of rain – wettest rainy season (July-June) on record. Wildflower bloom is spectacular.

    1998
    129° F recorded on July 17.

    We had flooding in Northern California that year, a wet end to 1997 and continuing into 1998.

    The anomaly doesn’t show up on the graph because NCDC uses a standard calendar annual water year whereas in California they have this odd habit of using July1-June30.

    We had a lot of precip in early 1998 in California, and extended unsettled weather. The precip/clouds during the spring wet season was so intense that it pulled down the temperature average for the calendar year, even though 129° F was recorded on July 17.

    It appears the remainder of the 1998 year was hot and dry for Death Valley, but the skew in the annual average was done early in the season.

    Mystery solved.

    It seems there’s precedence for higher than normal precip followed by high temperatures in Death Valley, from the same URL at NPS there’s also this:

    1913
    4.54 inches of rain – highest recorded in a calendar year.

    January: Coldest temperature ever recorded: 15° F on January 8.

    July: 134° F recorded on July 10 – five consecutive days reach 129° F or above. For several years, this was a world record.

  31. jae
    Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 7:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

    1997-98
    6.09 inches of rain – wettest rainy season (July-June) on record. Wildflower bloom is spectacular.

    1998
    129° F recorded on July 17.

    Looks like I won my bet in 14. You give me the absolute humidity and solar insolation, and I will give you the temperature.

  32. John F. Pittman
    Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 7:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Anthony, several states use this as an accounting (Fiscal) year. Makes one wonder if a data error occurred sometime in data somewhere, when an agency went from fiscal to calendar or vice versa.

    The anomaly doesn’t show up on the graph because NCDC uses a standard calendar annual water year whereas in California they have this odd habit of using July1-June30.

  33. Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 11:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Well at least this demonstrates something with a practical application. If we ever do have a major climate cooling event, mankind can feasibly offset said cooling by changing the albedo of large areas of land by coloring the ground a dark color. LOL One can also do this with metal, the thinner the better for light to heat conversion to heat the air.

    And jae you are right on the “negative” feedback issue with humidity, my bad on confusing the terminology.

  34. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    (Twangy stratocaster in full on rockabilloid mode) “He got the high sign so he jumped the bus, on the roads that wind on through, the hot Mojave and the Jericho, he’d start his whole life anew … and what he’d left behind he hadn’t valued, half as much, as some things, he ne-ver knew!” Andrew, you truly have been the ass end of the Earth. Stan Ridgway would probably also appreciate your photos, they fit right in with the stuff he collects to go along with his Barstow twangabilly tunes.

  35. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Andrew … argh…. brain glitch … ANTHONY. Apologies.

  36. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 12:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #6 – I do seem to recall a pretty good monsoon, hitting the Bay Area, back in ’98. It was the final coda of El Grande El Nino. (Then, in fall, flipperoo … low elevation snow event at the end of Fall, Dec 20, here …)

  37. Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 12:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    31, Did you use the pychrometric chart http://www.rfcafe.com/references/general/psychrometric_chart.htm to run the enthalpy lines to convert from one temperature at one humidity to another temperature at a higher humidity? For example, 30 Btu/# enthalpy line, 125F at near zero relative humidity equals 104F at 10% RH? Any increase in humidity will decrease the temperature in a desert setting.

  38. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 12:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #32 – In the areas of the Western US with a summer precip minimum, there is a good practical reason for us to have a July 1 – June 30 “rainfall year.” Most places, the absolute minimum is indeed close to June 30.

  39. jae
    Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 1:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    37: dscott: No, I developed some empirical relationships that indicate that temperature and absolute humidity are intricately related, except when sufficient water is not available to bring the humidity up to “normal” (like deserts in summer), in which case temperatures go higher than when water is available (See the MS Word document, “negative feedbacks.doc” here ).Temperature is also very closely related to the product of solar insolation and absolute humidity and a “cheating factor” to account for dryness (see same link, but you have to click “show all posts” for the explanation of the relevant spreadsheets (see, especially USAcomparison. xls, Figure 8).

  40. jae
    Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 1:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    37: All you really need to predict temperatures in areas that are “wet” (either over water or “green”) is absolute humidity. In water-starved areas (Midwest and deserts in summer), you need an upward adjustment to account for that dryness.

  41. Philip_B
    Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 4:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It appears the remainder of the 1998 year was hot and dry for Death Valley, but the skew in the annual average was done early in the season.

    Mystery solved.

    Perhaps not. Death Valley has a clear winter rainfall maximum in a normal (average) year. Albeit with very low rainfall amounts. I understand the SW corner of the USA gets a summer monsoon, i.e. high summer humidity. It appears 1998 was a heavy winter rain year. It is interesting that 1998 also appears to be an otherwise hot and dry year, i.e. a weak summer monsoon with low humidity.

  42. Philip_B
    Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 4:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Also from the Park Service link above.

    The highest ground temperaturerecorded was 201° F at FurnaceCreek on July 15, 1972. Themaximum air temperature for that daywas 128° F. Ground temperature onthe valley floor is about 40% higherthan the surrounding air temperature

    Ignore the dodgy percentage and note the difference between air and ground temps. Wind and turbulence are going to have a significant impact on air temps. It may also offer a clue to the wind and UHI puzzle, i.e. when ground temps are higher than air temps, wind will tend to increase air temps by mixing warmer, close to ground air.

  43. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 5:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Late April thorugh mid May 1998 – a series of Tonapah and cut off lows, affecting the SW US. Here is one of the more dramatic results:

    http://tornado.sfsu.edu/geosciences/StormChasing/Cases/Sunnyvale/Sunnyvale.html

    Then, later, July, we actually got feeder band showers from the TS.

    Monsoons – I recall them reaching the Bay Area in 1998. Maybe the monsoons were not hitting as far east as normal and therefore were deemed “weak.” That may actually mean more not less rain in Death Valley, a transitional area between “normal” (Central AZ, Colo Plat, 4 corners) ground zero for monsoons and areas to the west that may escape them entirely in one year and then get a taste of them the next.

  44. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 6:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Question; does water turning into vapor use up energy that turns to heat and also raise the relative humidity at the same time, or not?

    That’s all ya gotta answer.

  45. Philip_B
    Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 7:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #44 I don’t get the ‘turns to heat bit’.

    Liquid water turning into water vapor uses up energy, decreasing the temperature (and also raising the relative humidity).

    If this isn’t true, evaporative airconditioning salesmen are running one hell of a scam.

  46. jae
    Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 8:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    45, Phil: right on! I don’t know how this simple FACT seems to be ignored in climate science. You pay a BIG energy penalty when you evaporate water. And you don’t get it back, until it rains. And that’s usually above the “magic” layer at 5 km. I am gobsmacked that this nonsense has gone this far.

  47. Philip_B
    Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 9:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    jae, major lightbulb went on for me here. If falling rain results in evaporative cooling then, rain formation results in condensation warming and as you point out 5Kilometers+ up from the surface. Water vapour looks like the mother_of_all atmospheric heat pumps (upward).

  48. Dennis Wingo
    Posted Nov 19, 2007 at 10:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I install solar panels (#18 & 25) and have a system operating about 80 miles to the north west in Tehachapi. The solar panels normally operate about 20-30 degrees C over the ambient temperature. Yep that would make for a lot of localized heat.

  49. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 20, 2007 at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

    SSadlov. thanks for reminding me of ridgeway.

  50. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Nov 20, 2007 at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Anthony,

    Sorry to say so, but you’ve got it all wrong! The “arse end of the world” is Australia, as per their (former) prime minister… Where are the Aussies on this board when we need them!

  51. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 20, 2007 at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #49 – Amazing they pulled it off live. I saw them open for Boingo. What a show! “The Factory” – I always figured that must have been inspired by the Kaiser Fontana works. Or one of the big trona or bauxite processing plants. The Mojave is actually quite industrialized – a little known fact on the parts of Marinites or Malibuites – LOL!

  52. Pat Keating
    Posted Nov 20, 2007 at 1:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    47 philip

    A couple of comments.
    First, it doesn’t actually have to rain to release the energy. Clouds consist of water droplets, so their formation has released the latent heat already.
    Secondly, there certainly is a lot of transport vertically within the troposphere, but the limiting process in losing heat energy to ‘outer space’ is radiating it out from the top of the troposphere.

  53. Larry
    Posted Nov 20, 2007 at 2:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    52, correct, and correct. The evaporative “heat pipe” provides an alternative heat transport path around the radiative path in the troposphere that contains all of the weather. Once you get above the tropopause, it doesn’t mean squat. From that point on, it’s dominantly radiative. I’m pretty sure that this is all taken into account in the basic 1C/doubling calculation.

  54. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 20, 2007 at 2:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 51. Call of the west was one of my favorite road trip tunes.

    late night driving hwy 58… out to 15.. into vegas

    when “coast to coast” cut out, stick ridgeway in the tape deck.

    or black Flag

  55. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 20, 2007 at 2:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #51 – Not bauxite …. borate. Doh!

  56. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 20, 2007 at 3:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 55. Diving at catalina w/o a hoody explains everything.

  57. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 20, 2007 at 3:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #56 – the CPUs got cracked substrates from thermal shock …. :lol:

  58. D. Patterson
    Posted Nov 20, 2007 at 5:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Allow me to correct some erroneous assumptions.

    jae says:
    November 19th, 2007 at 8:58 pm
    45, Phil: right on! I don’t know how this simple FACT seems to be ignored in climate science. You pay a BIG energy penalty when you evaporate water. And you don’t get it back, until it rains. And that’s usually above the “magic” layer at 5 km. I am gobsmacked that this nonsense has gone this far.

    Condensation of water droplets into clouds releases heat energy whether or not there is precipitaton in the form of rain or snow. Condensation of water vapor into water droplets or ice crystals occurs at all altitudes from the surface to the tropopause.

    Precipitation falls mostly from nimbus cloud types. Showery precipitaton usually comes from cumulonimbus cluds at altitudes ranging from the lowest cloud layers to the stratosphere and beoynd around 50,000 feet. Slow and steady precipitation comes from nimbostratus clouds ranging from around 3,500 ft. to 15,000 ft., but usually less.

    Most of the Earth’s heat energy gained by diabatic processes is convected into the upper atmosphere in the equatorial regions, circulated from the equator to the poles in the upper troposphere with radiative decreases while enroute.

  59. Nordic
    Posted Nov 20, 2007 at 5:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: 32, 38.

    Here in Utah the water year runs from October 31 to October 31. The reason for that schedule has nothing to do with the precipitation regime which varies from north to south. The October cutoff was set, instead, to correllate with the irrigation year. At the end of October irrigation is essentially done and the season for (if all goes well) accummulating moisture in the soil, snow in the mountains, and water in the reservoirs has begun.

  60. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 20, 2007 at 10:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #59 – That’s the difference between ag areas that have snow / hard freeze and ones that don’t. Here, we have substantial ag activity year round. Especially in the Central Valley, coastal valleys and Imperial Valley. Winter is when all those wonderful “cool season” vegetables are grown, not to mention, winter wheat, early corn, citrus and avocados.

  61. Posted Nov 21, 2007 at 5:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 50 Fraincois

    It was the wife of former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser who was responsible for the quote when she said that Meekatharra in Western Australia was the arse end of the world. She was wrong of course as we in West Aussie understand that Port Hedland is really the arse end of the world, but the people in the Kimberley region of West Aussie reckon that King Sound is the arse end of Austrlia and the town of Derby is 200 kilometres up it.

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