USHCN V2 Deletions and Additions

Menne et al (J Clim 2009) reported that there were 62 station deletions and 59 station additions from the most recent roster (which itself had been modified from the original USHCN in the mid-1980s. Menne et al:

Since the 1996 release (Easterling et al. 1996), numerous station closures and relocations again necessitated a revision of the network. As a result, HCN version 2 contains 1218 stations, 208 of which are composites; relative to the 1996 release, there have been 62 station deletions and 59 additions.

I’ve provided a list of deleted and added stations below. I looked up one of the stations (the last one on the list, WY Pathfinder Dam, surfacestations.org. It was surveyed in June 2008, at which time it still existed. It doesn’t look bad as compared to the Tucson parking lot (which is still used.)

What is the basis for deleting one station and adding another? Dunno. They say that it’s due to “numerous station closures and relocations”, but there seem to be examples where this is untrue.


Figure 1. Pathfinder Dam WY.

Here’s a list of the 61 deleted sites (by state):
[1] “AZ DOUGLAS” “AZ MESA” “AR OZARK” “CO DURANGO”
[5] “GA BLAKELY” “ID CALDWELL” “ID CHALLIS” “ID COEUR D’ALENE AP”
[9] “IL GRIGGSVILLE” “KS ESKRIDGE 1SE” “KS PHILLIPSBURG 1SSE” “KY MIDDLESBORO”
[13] “KY OWENSBORO 3W” “ME ORONO” “ME RIPOGENUS DAM” “MD BALTIMORE WSO CITY”
[17] “MD COLLEGE PARK” “MD PATUXENT RIVER” “MA CHESTNUT HILL” “MA CLINTON”
[21] “MA FRAMINGHAM” “MN HALLOCK” “MN POKEGAMA DAM” “MN WINNIBIGOSHISH DAM”
[25] “MT CROW AGENCY” “MT HAUGAN (DEBORGIA) 3E” “MT POPLAR” “NE HALSEY 2W”
[29] “NH BETHLEHEM” “NJ TUCKERTON” “NY BAINBRIDGE 2E” “NY BATH”
[33] “NY CHASM FALLS” “NY PENN YAN 8W” “NY PLATTSBURGH AFB” “NY SCARSDALE”
[37] “NY UTICA” “NC BANNER ELK” “ND MAYVILLE” “OH NAPOLEON”
[41] “OK HUGO” “OR BLY 3NW” “PA FREELAND” “PA HARRISBURG CAPITAL CITY”
[45] “UT BEAVER” “UT ELBERTA” “UT HIAWATHA” “UT LOA”
[49] “UT RIVERDALE” “VT NORTHFIELD 3SSE” “WA COLFAX 1NW” “WA COLVILLE 5NE”
[53] “WA GOLDENDALE” “WA GRAPEVIEW 3SW” “WA PUYALLUP EXPERIMENT STN 2W” “WV GARY”
[57] “WV PICKENS 4SSE” “WV WILLIAMSON” “WI HATFIELD HYDRO PLANT” “WY BORDER 3N”
[61] “WY BUFFALO BILL DAM” “WY PATHFINDER DAM”

Here are the 58 added sites:
[1] “AZ CHANDLER HEIGHTS” “AZ PEARCE SUNSITES” “AR OZARK 2″ “GA CAMILLA 3SE”
[5] “ID BERN” “ID COEUR D’ALENE” “ID MAY 2 SSE” “ID NAMPA SUGAR FACTORY”
[9] “IL PERRY 6 NW” “KS COUNCIL GROVE LAKE” “KS SMITH CENTER” “KY BARBOURVILLE”
[13] “KY HENDERSON 7 SSW” “ME BRASSUA DAM” “ME CORINNA” “MD BELTSVILLE”
[17] “MD BALTIMORE DOWNTOWN” “MA READING” “MA WALPOLE 2″ “MA WEST MEDWAY”
[21] “MN RGYLE 4 E” “MN GRAND RAPIDS FORESTRY LAB” “MN MARCELL 5 NE” “MT HYSHAM 25 SSE”
[25] “MT SAINT REGIS 1 NE” “MT VIDA” “NE STAPLETON” “NH BETHLEHEM 2″
[29] “NJ TOMS RIVER” “NM ULCE” “NY ADDISON” “NY DEPOSIT”
[33] “NY DOBBS FERRY ARDSLEY” “NY MALONE” “NY UTICA ONEIDA COUNTY AIRPORT” “NC TRANSOU”
[37] “ND CASSELTON AGRONOMY FARM” “OH DEFIANCE” “PA LEBANON 2 W” “PA PLEASANT MOUNT 1 W”
[41] “TX PARIS” “UT FARMINGTON 3 NW” “UT MARYSVALE” “UT NEPHI”
[45] “UT SALINA 24 E” “UT SCOFIELD-SKYLAND MINE” “VT OUTH HERO” “VT SOUTH LINCOLN”
[49] “WA COLVILLE” “WA CUSHMAN POWERHOUSE 2″ “WA GOLDENDALE” “WA McMILLIN RESERVIOR”
[53] “WA SAINT JOHN” “WV PICKENS 2 N” “WV PINEVILLE” “WV WILLIAMSON”
[57] “WI NEILLSVILLE 3SW” “WY BATES CREEK NO 2″ “WY CODY”

Reference:
Menne et al, 2009. The United States Historical Climatology Network Monthly Temperature Data – Version 2. J Climate. http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F2008BAMS2613.1

20 Comments

  1. Posted Jun 28, 2009 at 11:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    If it was me I would start with Anthony Watts’ Surface stations analysis and drop the stations with lowest quality ranking. Not sure what rational empirical criteria they used but it will be interesting to see how the changes affect the temperature trends. Call me cynical but I predict the changes will produce an increase.

  2. dunbrokin
    Posted Jun 28, 2009 at 11:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Somebody might want to comment on the attached link….if only to put the record right….so to speak.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/27/temperature-trends/

    • geronimo
      Posted Jun 29, 2009 at 5:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: dunbrokin (#2), I don’t think anyone is denying there’s been warming, and he’s correct about the choosing of the end points giving you the graph you want. The issue here surely is that if the US and RoW are going to spend $trillions combating GW then it is best for all concerned that the data on which this action is based is the best data available. If a station was put in place fifty years ago and is now in a parking lot in downtown Ordinarysville, it is likely to be giving higher temperature readings than it was fifty years ago even if the temperature has stayed constant. I guess it’s how GISS are treating this data that’s the point at issue.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Jun 29, 2009 at 7:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: dunbrokin (#2),

      Look, there’s lots of evidence that temperatures have increased since the 19th century. The Krugman graphic is the GISS global, rather than GISS US which has a somewhat different appearance.

      • Posted Jun 29, 2009 at 7:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Steve McIntyre (#10),

        I think there’s potential that the majority of the warming is due to bad sensor networks. I read a post here from some time ago which showed the sparseness of the data back in the 1900’s – an eye opener to say the least. Combine that with the terrible siting issues, inconsistencies of measurement times and UHI, I’m not sure we can conclude the amount warming to 1C accuracy from this information. If we take the best sites in the world from the last 50 years uncorrected, that might be our best bet to know what happened.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jun 29, 2009 at 8:12 AM | Permalink

          Re: jeff Id (#11),

          I agree 1000% with the need to work from the best quality data – “best” being defined in some objective way. Anthony’s CRN1-2 stations very much represent that.

          The problem is the lack of equivalent information elsewhere – particularly when the US history is rather discordant from ROW temperature history.

          The problem with all these data sets seems to be that they are a rancid stew of good and bad data, seemingly with negligible effort at quality control, instead using weird multivariate methods to supposedly adjust the bad data – methods that are invariably poorly explained and documented and unknown outside climate science.

        • Posted Jun 29, 2009 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

          Re: Steve McIntyre (#12),

          Do you know if the methods are known inside climate science? Not a sarcastic question.

        • Posted Jun 29, 2009 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

          Re: Steve McIntyre (#12),

          Steve, but it’s Science. And we’ve finally joined the age of Science-Based Policy.

      • philH
        Posted Jun 29, 2009 at 8:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Steve McIntyre (#10), (1) But (?) apparently we really have no idea of how much they have increased absent natural climate forcings and
        (2) is Krugman’s graph an accurate representation of the “true” global temperature?

  3. Posted Jun 28, 2009 at 11:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Or check to see if there’s a correlation between station quality and whether it’s been retained or dropped. Should be pretty simple stat exercise.

  4. James Lindgren
    Posted Jun 28, 2009 at 11:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Obviously, the thesis to check statistically is whether the trend in the dropped stations differs from the trends in the retained stations (and perhaps the added stations, if available).

    It was my impression that in the 1988-98 period, most of the difference in land temps v. ocean or atmospheric temps resulted from dropping land stations that were not trending upward.

  5. AnonyMoose
    Posted Jun 29, 2009 at 12:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m sure Watts will encourage survey of any deleted stations which can be found. It’s an obvious bit of research which should be added to the pile… especially because so much other research was indirectly using those stations’ data.

  6. Robinson
    Posted Jun 29, 2009 at 1:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I’d be interested to know what the trend of the dropped stations was too. Call me a cynic ;).

  7. Geo
    Posted Jun 29, 2009 at 6:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Roseau, MN (not on the list above) went away in 2007 when the radio station it was at moved to a new location. I was there this weekend.

  8. Gary
    Posted Jun 29, 2009 at 6:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Some stations move because volunteer observers who graciously allow the stations to be placed on their private property either move or retire from service. Stations at municipal facilities may change because of staffing or structural changes. Data recording and transmission only takes a few minutes per day so the program essentially benefits from the free services and good will of hundreds of people who have other things to do as their main activities. Thus the constant changing of sites in the network is inevitable.

  9. Bill
    Posted Jun 29, 2009 at 1:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “ID NAMPA SUGAR FACTORY” Are you kidding me? Have these new stations been added to surfacestations.org yet? I’ll go do a survey of that one as I live quite close. And can tell you right now that is not a wise choice of location based on the name. I certainly would not put a quality weather data gathering station anywhere near that place.

  10. Geo
    Posted Jun 29, 2009 at 4:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Took pics at a climate station at a North Dakota sugar factory yesterday. Stevenson screen in the middle of a big old expanse of asphalt. Tho it was in a grassy median shaded by a line of trees. Security guards at the plant read the temp evey hour.

  11. Posted Jul 1, 2009 at 11:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

    USHCNv2 “drops” Napoleon OH, one of the stations singled out in Anthony’s study as particularly bad, lying as it does in a sea of paving at a waste water treatment plant since 2/14/2000.

    In its place, USHCNv2 “adds” Defiance OH. However, the USHCNv2 station list shows that its “Defiance” is in fact a “composite” of Defiance (Coop 332098) and two other stations, Coop 335664 and 335669. However, these are simply the codes for Napoleon, before and after a small move on 5/1/62.

    Since the Defiance record runs from 3/1/1893 to the present, there was no need to splice its early or later period onto another station, so it is not clear why or how Napoleon was merged with the Defiance record. The USHCNv2 station list merely names the additional stations that are part of “composite” records, but does not indicate when which station is used.

    So to the extent USHCNv2 has “dropped” bad stations, it may in fact have retained them, simply by averaging them into “new” stations. This should be studied in greater detail.

  12. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jul 18, 2009 at 2:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In order to better understand what kinds of adjustments were made when the USHCN temperature series Version 1 (V1) went to Version 2 (V2), I looked at those stations with the largest absolute trend differences between the V1 and V2 series and also compared those large difference stations to stations with large trends but little or no difference between the V1 and V2 series.

    For the first part of the analysis I limited my trend measurements to those stations with complete data for the 1920-2006 period of interest. I then looked at those stations with trend differences between V1 and V2 of greater than 0.1 and less than -0.1 degrees C per decade. I compared those stations by CRN rating as determined from the Watts team’s latest reported findings and by the USHCN population designation (urban, suburban and rural) as reported in the Watts team spreadsheets. The table below lists the results of this analysis.

    The numbers are small for concluding much from the CRN ratings comparisons, but I can conjecture that the CRN 1 and CRN2 category portions show greater positive trends than does their respective population portions and that CRN5 portion shows a greater negative trend than does its population portion. The three population designation comparisons shows a very apparent bias for the largest V1 and V2 trend differences, both positive and negative, to occur with the rural stations. A somewhat surprising finding, since the rural stations are sometimes and in some ways considered a standard for adjustments to other stations.

    The results from the second part of the analysis is shown below where I have presented time series for V1 and V2 at a given USHCN station for two general cases where (1) the trend differences are large and denoted by the trend lines in the graphs and (2) the trend differences between V1 and V2 are very small but the trend for both versions are relatively large. I have dispersed the graphs in such a way that the examples of the two cases can be seen on top of one and another for ease of comparison.

    Nothing jumps out for me in the way of differentiating why the stations with large trend differences between V1 and V2 have a V1 appearance different than that of the V1 time series that have small differences between V1 and V2. Perhaps the readers of this post can offer some differentiating features.

    My second point of confusion on this matter involves visually understanding from these examples in the graphs how those corrections might have been applied. I believe that the algorithm whereby the breakpoints are determined are available but as I recall not in a packaged form for direct application to a time series. I do not recall whether sufficient information is available to apply an algorithm for adjusting the time series given the breakpoints.

    It is important to keep in mind that the breakpoints are not determined based on the stations time series but rather based on the difference time series of the station in question compared two stations at a time with correlated and nearby stations. The explanation is listed below:

    First, a series of monthly temperature differences is formed between numerous pairs of station series in a region. Specifically, difference series are calculated between each target station series and a number (up to 40) of highly correlated series from nearby stations. In effect, a matrix of difference series is formed for a large fraction of all possible combinations of station series pairs in each localized region. The station pool for this pairwise comparison of series includes U.S. HCN stations as well as other U.S. Cooperative Observer Network stations.

    Tests for undocumented changepoints are then applied to each paired difference series. A hierarchy of changepoint models is used to distinguish whether the changepoint appears to be a change in mean with no trend (Alexandersson and Moberg, 1997), a change in mean within a general trend (Wang, 2003), or a change in mean coincident with a change in trend (Lund and Reeves, 2002)

    Presented below are links to relevant sources of data used in this analysis.

    Link to the Watts team data on CRN ratings and population designation for the USHCN stations:
    http://www.surfacestations.org/USHCN_stationlist.htm

    V1 (Urban USHCN) data from this link:
    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/epubs/ndp/ushcn/ndp019.html#tempdata

    V2 data from these links:
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ghcn/v2
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/v2/monthly

    V2 adjustments explained from this link:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/ushcn

  13. John Slayton
    Posted Jan 16, 2010 at 12:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Stations dropped from v1 are not necessarily closed. Example, I took pictures of LOA, UT, this summer, thinking it was still in the USHCN. I’m not sure when it was dropped, but I presume it was prior to my visit. The volunteer seemed to be unaware of what her data was being used for; seems odd to me that a matter of such interest would not be shared with the volunteers–that would be great public relations.

    The replacement stations are not necessarily any better than the originals. The replacement for LOA, for example is Salina. Take a look at the picture at
    http://members.dslextreme.com/users/juanslayton/salina.JPG
    and tell me a sensor on top of a multi-story building almost on top of what appear to be large air conditioning units is better than the LOA station. (You can see my pictures for Loa on the surfacestations gallery.)

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