Anthony Watts at NCDC

Anthony has two interesting reports on his NCDC visit. Take a look.


  1. yorick
    Posted Apr 26, 2008 at 11:45 AM | Permalink

    I wish they would leave the existing network alone for a while, so that we could compare the two networks. “Modernizing” a historical climate network right when you add a new one is only going to make it impossible to calibrate the historical data. It is probably not a conspiricy, but it is exactly what a conspiritor would do.

  2. HMcCard
    Posted Apr 26, 2008 at 4:35 PM | Permalink


    Instead of posting #536 on Unthreaded #33, I probably should have posted it on this thread.

  3. steven mosher
    Posted Apr 27, 2008 at 6:13 AM | Permalink

    They are actually changing 3 things at once, the adjustment methodology in ushcn2,
    the instrumention in 1000 stations, and some of the locations

  4. Reference
    Posted Apr 27, 2008 at 9:12 AM | Permalink

    Will NOAA make the data from this new network directly accessible to the public and open source the code used to process it?

  5. Gerry Parker
    Posted Apr 28, 2008 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    Hi Steve,

    Most of these temperature graphs in the linked PPT show steep discontinuities (upward) at the Y2K point. Can you tell if they include the correction for the error you discovered?

    Second, the case made that the deeply corrupted urban sites are simply corrected and otherwise absolutely valid seems a bit glib, don’t you think? It’s not believable that the noise signal induced in these sites is equivalent to a pristine rural site by the application of a (uniform? linear?) correction. It seems a trivial exercise to prove to yourself that the (thermal) noise signal in one urban location will not be the same as another, nor consistent from day to day and week to week, etc. So without specific knowledge of the noise signal, it is not a simple matter to subtract it out.

    And finally, I was taught not to cite a single reference throughout the body of a research report. I got a bit weary of the IPCC2007 reference on (every single?) slide.

    It’s not that they are necessarily wrong on every single point, or even generically, but I think this presentation could be eaten alive on several points.


  6. aurbo
    Posted May 1, 2008 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

    #1, Yorick’s comment is very significant.

    Back in the the late 1980s to early 1990s when NCDC replaced the CRS (Cotton Region Shelters AKA Stevenson screens) with the MMTS (electronic Max-Min Temperature Sensors) they rarely allowed both systems to operature concurrently for a few months to get an on-site comparison of the differences between the two measuring systems. As a result, off-site interpolations, largely subjective, had to be made to stitch the two data streams together. The subjectivity of this process allows for mischief, and in my view there was plenty of that.

    To quote a former President, “There you go again!”. By the time Anthony Watts appeared in Asheville, NCDC had nearly completed the transition from faulty siting and non-redundant instrumentation to their own declared standards for an upgraded “high quality” CRN network.

    Anthony does not mention whether this time, NCDC decided to run both configurations simultaneously for at least several months to provide realistic comparisons between the old and the new. Are we once again forced to rely on proxy data (from near-by unimproved stations) or some non-databased methodology (change-point analysis for instance) to stitch the two data streams together? More room for mischief and obfuscation. Without side-by-side simultaneous observations it will take at least 10 years to establish a trend from the new data stream.

    In an earlier time, during my brief stint in miltary intelligence, we operated under a common axiom; “Once is an accident, twice is coincidence, but three times is enemy action.” We’ve seen the transition problems from CRS to MMTS and again from fully manned observational sites to ASOS. Could this CRN upgrade be number three?

  7. Anthony Watts
    Posted May 1, 2008 at 2:35 PM | Permalink


    The answer to that, is a qualified “yes they are running in parallel” for some stations that I know of, but I don’t know about “all” and that is simply a matter of proximity and asking/discovery.

    I visited the State of Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station in Crossville, TN last week where both a CRN and traditional USHCN exist withing about 500 yards of each other. Curiously, the CRN may have site issues that the USHCN does not have, including some “blackbody” radiation.

    Look for an upcoming post on this site.

  8. Evan Jones
    Posted May 2, 2008 at 7:00 PM | Permalink

    Am I missing something?

    The new systems will be fully automated. Automatic data collection and transmission. Triple measurements to prevent instrument drift. No FILENET. No SHAP. No TOBS. No UHI either–all sites rural and oh, so clean. No site violations. All CRN1 & 2, all photographed by CRN.


    I find your lack of wild celebration to be . . . disturbing . . .

  9. Gerry Parker
    Posted May 4, 2008 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

    Hi Evan,

    What I have learned from over 25 years of engineering design and measurement is that the quickest way to introduce variation is to change something in the measurement system. Even with the best equipment, there is a learning and debug period. That needs to be embraced from the beginning, and any conclusions from the new data need to be studied very carefully before folks start jumping to conclusions.

    So recognizing that this is a good thing, we aren’t out of the woods yet.

    Additionally, history in this area tells us that if the data doesn’t indicate the popular pre-supposed conclusion, necessary adjustments are likely to be discovered and applied. I think you’ll find that much of the less than enthusiastic opinion you’ve noted on this subject is simply caution. In my opinion you are correct (that regardless of the results to come) getting good data is the most important thing that can happen now.


  10. Evan Jones
    Posted May 4, 2008 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    Gerry, thanks.

    One fine day (probably fairly far in the future) the eccentricity cycle will hit the inevitable downturn, an ice age will be upon us, and we will no doubt be asked to adjust for “orbital drift” …

  11. WattsUpAuditor
    Posted May 6, 2008 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

    I wonder when Anthony is going to get his promised follow-ups and correction posts done?

  12. wattsup auditor
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

    From March 30, 2008, on Watts Up…
    “the correlation shown in figure 5 is in question when a Rayleigh method is applied, and thus figure 5 is likely incorrect since it does not hold up under that and other statistical tests. There is also an error in the data point for cycle 11. I thank Tamino for pointing these issues out to us.

    We are continuing to look at different methods of demonstrating a correlation. Please watch for future posts on the subject.”

    No further posts yet, Anthony? You even cite this, in a post a month or so ago, without linking to it or noting that a key conclusion you made is wrong. And figure 5 isn’t just “likely incorrect.” It is boneheadedly incorrect. You calculate a correlation between two sorted data series. Using proper statistical methods, there isn’t a correlation between the smoothed peaks you find, and the sunspot peaks. It isn’t there. But it’ll be interesting to see what you and Basil come up with – if you ever actually revisit this, to either update it or definitely withdraw your incorrect analysis.

    And on March 3, Anthony, you posted part 2 of your promised 3-part series where you discovered that moving the baseline of a temperature anomaly series changes the anomaly values. On March 17, Richard Wright asked in that thread and you answered:

    ” (16:58:57) :
    Anthony – Whatever happened to part 3 where you were going to explain the adjustments you made that were the basis of these graphs in part 2? Did I miss it?

    REPLY: I haven’t finished it yet, other pressing matters in the last week.

    I see you subsequently put a disclaimer at the top of that post saying you were too busy and would get back to this some day – but there are open questions you were pressed on, and promised to get to. I guess “too busy” is a polite way to say “I’m too embarrassed to touch that topic again?

    I’m posting these here, because you, Anthony, have systematically excluded anyone who questions yo from the Watts Up site, and even gone back and removed all posts from those who pressed you. Steve seems to think you are credible enough to give you posting privileges here, so I’ll go ahead and press you here instead.

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