Sunday, September 13, 2009

Do Rural Stations Today Really Measure the Rural Temperature?

There is a general view that urban stations are the only stations affected by the modern heat-emitting world. Rural stations are claimed to be exempt from all this thermal pollution. For that reason, Thomas Peterson wrote a 2003 article looking at the heat from urban and rual stations. He declared that urban stations were no hotter than rural stations and thus the urban heat island effect was not a big deal. This would be a quite interesting and remarkable result. Everyone talks about the urban heat island and here is a guy saying it is negligible. Peterson used data from 1989 to 1991 in his analysis.

At first glance, the lack of a difference between rural and urban thermometers would make one feel good about the temperature collecting system. But that initial feeling would be wrong.

One needs to consider several possibilities.
1. it might be that the urban heat island effect is small--as Peterson contends.
2. It might be that there is editing that went into Peterson's urban stations that cooled them appropriately--in which case the temperatures are correctable.
3. It might be that the rural stations he chose have heat problems. He doesn't list what stations he chose. He has a map but no names.

I can't look at the stations he uses because he gives no names, but it is not automatically to be assumed that rural stations are not affected by modern heat producing things. All of the photos shown below are rural stations, 10,000 people or less and all are from Athony Watt's One can get to the gallery by going to the onlline database.

Urbana, Ohio is a rural station, yet the thermometer is placed on a wall (siting recommendations say the thermometer should be 100 meters away from the buildings--this one is only inches away. And there is the pet air conditioner in the shadows only feet from the thermometer.

St. Ignatius Montana, a very small town, has an air conditioner blowing on its thermometer as well. This is physical lunacy to let the temperature system be this sloppy.

Then there is the town I started my career in, Riverton, Wyoming. It is a town of less than 10,000 yet its thermometer is just feet from 2 air conditioner exhaust fans.

But Newcastle, Wyoming, also quite rural has an air conditioner to heat its thermometer as well.

So, when they tell you that rural (au naturalle) stations are no different than urban stations, beleive them. But know that the reason is not what they tell you. They will tell you that there is no problem with the temperature stream. I will tell you that the rural stations today are being heated just like the urban stations. Think about the fact that today everyone in America has air conditioners and that includes rural people. Just because the station is in a small town setting doesn't ensure that it is giving out the proper temperature.

The entire enterprise of measuring the temperature of the earth is crap because of these problems.

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