Poorly sited U.S. temperature instruments not responsible for artificial warming

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:57 PM GMT on January 25, 2010

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Former TV weatherman Anthony Watts, who runs the popular global warming contrarian website, "Watts Up With That", was convinced that many of the U.S. network of surface weather stations had serious flaws in their siting that was causing an artificial warm bias in the observed increase in U.S. temperatures of 1.1°F over the past century. To address this concern, Watts established the website surfacestations.org in 2007, which enlisted an army of volunteers to travel the U.S. to obtain photographic evidence of poor siting of weather stations. The goal was to document cases where "microclimate" influence was important, and could be contaminating temperature measurements. (Note that this is a separate issue from the Urban Heat Island, the phenomenon where a metropolitan area in general is warmer than surrounding rural areas). Watts' volunteers--650 strong--documented the siting of 865 of the 1,218 stations used in the National Climatic Data Center's U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) for tracking climate change. As reported in Watt's 2009 publication put out by the Heartland Institute, the volunteers "found stations located next to the exhaust fans of air conditioning units, surrounded by asphalt parking lots and roads, on blistering-hot rooftops, and near sidewalks and buildings that absorb and radiate heat." Watts surmised that these poorly-sited stations were responsible for much of the increase in U.S. temperatures over the past century, due to "a bias trend that likely results from the thermometers being closer to buildings, asphalt, etc." Watts concluded, "the U.S. temperature record is unreliable. And since the U.S. record is thought to be the best in the world, it follows that the global database is likely similarly compromised and unreliable".


Figure 1. A poorly sited temperature sensor in Marysville, California, used for the USHCN. The sensor is situation right next to an asphalt parking lot, instead in the middle of a grassy field, as it is supposed to be. The sensor is also adjacent to several several air conditioners that blow their exhaust into the air nearby. Image credit: surfacestation.org.

Analysis of the data disagrees with Watts' conclusion
While Watts' publication by the Heartland Institute is a valuable source of information on siting problems of the U.S. network of weather stations, the publication did not undergo peer-review--the process whereby three anonymous scientists who are experts in the field review a manuscript submitted for publication, and offer criticisms on the scientific validity of the results, resulting in revisions to the original paper or outright rejection. The Heartland Institute is an advocacy organization that accepts money from corporate benefactors such as the tobacco industry and fossil fuel industry, and publishes non-peer reviewed science that inevitably supports the interests of the groups paying for the studies. Watts did not actually analyze the data to see if taking out the poorly sited surface stations would have a significant impact on the observed 1.1°F increase in U.S. temperatures over the past century. His study would never have been publishable in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.


Figure 2. Annual average maximum and minimum unadjusted temperature change calculated using (c) maximum and (d) minimum temperatures from good and poor exposure sites (Menne 2010). Poor sites showed a cooler maximum temperature compared to good sites. For minimum temperature, the poor sites were slightly warmer. The net effect was a cool bias in poorly sited stations. The dashed lines are for stations ranked by NOAA, while the solid lines are for the stations ranked by surfacestations.org.

Fortunately, a proper analysis of the impact of these poorly-sited surface stations on the U.S. historical temperature record has now been done by Dr. Matthew Menne and co-authors at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). In a talk at last week's 90th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society, Dr. Menne reported the results of their new paper just accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research titled, On the reliability of the U.S. Surface Temperature Record. Dr. Menne's study split the U.S. surface stations into two categories: good (rating 1 or 2) and bad (ratings 3, 4 or 5). They performed the analysis using both the rating provided by surfacestations.org, and from an independent rating provided by NOAA personnel. In general, the NOAA-provided ratings coincided with the ratings given by surfacestations.org. Of the NOAA-rated stations, only 71 stations fell into the "good" siting category, while 454 fell into the "bad" category. According to the authors, though, "the sites with good exposure, though small in number, are reasonably well distributed across the country and, as shown by Vose and Menne [2004], are of sufficient density to obtain a robust estimate of the CONUS average". Dr. Menne's study computed the average daily minimum and maximum temperatures from the good sites and poor sites. The results were surprising. While the poor sites had a slightly warmer average minimum temperature than the good sites (by 0.03°C), the average maximum temperature measured at the poor sites was significantly cooler (by 0.14°C) than the good sites. As a result, overall average temperatures measured at the poor sites were cooler than the good sites. This is the opposite of the conclusion reached by Anthony Watts in his 2009 Heartland Institute publication.

Why did the poorly sited stations measure cooler temperatures?
The reason why the poorly-sites stations measured cooler temperatures lies in the predominant types of thermometers used at the two types of sites. An electronic Maximum/Minimum Temperature System (MMTS) is used at 75% of the poor sites. These MMTS sensors are attached by cable to an indoor readout device, and are consequently limited by cable length as to how far they can be sited from the building housing the indoor readout device. As a result, they are often located close to heated buildings, paved surfaces, air conditioner exhausts, etc. It turns out that these MMTS thermometers have a flaw that causes them to measure minimum temperatures that are slightly too warm, and maximum temperatures that are considerably too cool, leading to an overall cool bias in measured average temperatures. In contrast, only 30% of the "good" sites used the MMTS sensors. The "good" sites predominantly used Liquid in Glass (LiG) thermometers housed in wooden shelters that were more easily located further from the buildings where the observers worked. Since the poorly-sites stations were dominantly equipped with MMTS thermometers, they tended to measure temperatures that were too cool, despite their poor siting.


Figure 3. Comparison of U.S. average annual (a) maximum and (b) minimum temperatures calculated using USHCN version 2 temperatures. Temperatures were adjusted to correct for changes in instrumentation, station relocations, and changes in the time of observation, making the trend from good sites show close agreement with poor sites. Good and poor site ratings are based on surfacestations.org. For comparison, the data between 2004 - 2008 taken by the new high-quality U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN, black dashed line) is shown, and displays excellent agreement for that time period. Image credit: Menne 2010.

Independent verification of recent USHCN annual temperatures
Clearly, the siting of many of the surface stations used to track climate change in the U.S. is not good. To address this issue, in 2004 NOAA created the U.S. Climate Reference Network, a collection of 114 stations in the continental United States for the express purpose of detecting the national signal of climate change. The stations were sited and instrumented with climate studies in mind, and can provide an extremely high-quality independent check on the old USHCN network. Each of 114 stations at 107 locations (some stations were installed as nearby pairs) is equipped with very accurate instruments in a triplicate configuration so that each measurement can be checked for internal consistency. As shown in Figure 3, the USCRN air temperature departures for 2004 - 2008 are extremely well aligned with those derived from the USHCN version 2 temperature data. For these five years, the the difference between the mean annual temperatures measured by the old USHCN compared to the new USCRN was just 0.03°C, with a mathematical correlation coefficient (r-squared) of 0.997. Menne et al. concluded, "This finding provides independent verification that the USHCN version 2 data are consistent with research-quality measurements taken at pristine locations and do not contain spurious trends during the recent past even if sampled exclusively at poorly sited stations. While admittedly this period of coincident observations between the networks is rather brief, the value of the USCRN as a benchmark for reducing the uncertainty of historic observations from the USHCN and other networks will only increase with time". The authors finally concluded, "we find no evidence that the CONUS temperature trends are inflated due to poor siting".

Crediting Anthony Watts
The surfacestations.org effort coordinated by Anthony Watts has made a valuable contribution to science, helping us better understand the nature of the errors in the U.S. historical temperature data set. In his talk last week at the AMS conference, and in the credits of his paper, Dr. Menne had some genuinely grateful comments on the efforts of Anthony Watts and the volunteers of surfacestations.org. However, as of this writing, Watts has made no mention on surfacestations.org or on wattsupwiththat.com of Dr. Menne's study.

I'll have a new post Wednesday or Thursday.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting PcolaDan:
Oh, the wife says hello too.



Dan, you kill me...just catching up on the "debate"...going to crash now...it's hard keeping up the day job and the good job simultaneously ...LOL
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Portlight Haiti relief update
Link
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I'm beginning to get excited about the prospects of a major winter storm for Greensboro, NC. However, it appears that we will be right near the "line" between mixed/ice transitioning to snow, or all snow. Anyone have any guesses as to which side of the line Greensboro will be on and snowfall totals?
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Quoting tornadodude:
well I'm gonna catch you all later, have some, er, studying to do ;)

have a good one!


Well my exams are over. :)
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Quoting tornadodude:
well I'm gonna catch you all later, have some, er, studying to do ;)

have a good one!


errr study well ciao
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well I'm gonna catch you all later, have some, er, studying to do ;)

have a good one!
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting atmoaggie:

Dude, in between the "rules of the road" are a couple of implied ones.

One of them reads: "Under no circumstances is one to blog here while on a date or with a date waiting for them, or eternal geekiness will result. In extreme cases, offenders will be banished to live with their mothers until the age of 50."


i have to disagree with you, some girls like the geeks! LOL
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you guys crack me up :P hha
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Oh, the wife says hello too.

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1170. hydrus
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
hydrus--actually that is incorrect. There were 7, and possibly 8 major hurricanes that made landfall on the Georgia coast in the 1800s. No hurricane moving overland from the Gulf of Mexico over to the Georgia coast has maintained major intensity during the historical record.
O.K. I see, but Georgia does get the flooding rains and high winds from storms coming from the Gulf across the panhandle of Florida. Is that correct?
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Quoting tornadodude:


this one's not bad ;)



Literally on the floor laughing. (Ok almost)
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Guess I should doll myself up a tad and say hi.

Hi there!!!!



LOL! she actually turned red! she says hi tho :P
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting charlottefl:


Good ice breakers... :)


this one's not bad ;)

Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting tornadodude:
LOL she is right next to me :P


Guess I should doll myself up a tad and say hi.

Hi there!!!!

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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
GreyElf -- I so know how you feel. I couldn't even get a mercy chuckle with a bad beer joke.

JF: Also you would do well to at least familiarize
yourself with the atmospheric chemistry behind it.

A-A: LOL. Maybe someday I'll do that...


OMyGawd. This is where lesser men would have trotted out their curriculum vitae. Atmo, you're a better man than I...uh, if I was a man.

I'm still in the middle, trying to keep an open mind...losing my mind in the process.


Good ice breakers... :)
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This is Hurricane Bill from 2009, August 22 to 24, 0Z:



Now if a high pressure system had been exiting the North American continent instead of a front, then Bill would have curved westwards and hit New York. While its strength would have been only a cat. 1, that's enough to do a bit of damage. But if the storm had been a category 3 travelling along the Gulf Stream when it curves northwestward due to a high pressure system, then that's some real trouble.
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Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
At 9:30 am CST, Tropical Low, Former Olga (998 hPa) located at 16.1S 137.4E or located 115 kms east of Borroloola and 205 kms west northwest of Mornington Island, has 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The low is reported as moving northwest at 4 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T2.0/2.0/D0.5/ 25HRS

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Olga is currently located near the coast and is expected to move northwest, remaining close to the coast. Ex-Tropical Cyclone Olga is expected to redevelop over water near the coast tonight or early tomorrow.

GALES with gusts to 110 kilometres per hour are expected to develop between the NT/Qld Border and Cape Shield, including Groote Eylandt, tonight or early Thursday. Destructive winds with gusts to 125 kilometers per hour between Port Roper and the NT border may develop during Thurday if the cyclone intensifies quickly. GALES with gusts to 110 kilometres per hour may extend as far east as Burketown in Queensland, including Mornington Island, during tonight or ealry Thursday if the developing cyclone takes a more northward track.

HEAVY RAIN may lead to significant stream rises in the Roper-McArthur District.

Abnormally high tides are expected between the NT Border and Burketown tonight and tomorrow, but the sea level should not exceed the highest tide of the year. Large waves are likely along the beachfront.

Tropical Cyclone Warnings
===================================
A Cyclone WARNING continues for coastal and island communities from Cape Shield, including Groote Eylandt, in the Northern Territory to Burketown in Queensland.

Forecast and Intensity
=====================
12 HRS: 15.7S 136.9E - 35 knots (CAT 1)
24 HRS: 15.3S 136.6E - 50 knots (CAT 2)
48 HRS: 15.6S 138.1E - 75 knots (CAT 3)
72 HRS: 17.9S 141.9E - 55 knots (CAT 3)

Additional Information
=========================
Ex-TC Olga was located by radar close to the southern Gulf of Carpentaria coast and has slowed its NW movement. Discontinuous convective bands provide a Dvorak DT of 2.5, but FT based on MET and PAT=2.0. The system is forecast to continue to move NW under the influence of the mid-level steering ridge to the southwest, then recurve towards the N or NE during Thursday as an upper trough amplifies over central Australia. The broad-scale environment is very favourable for redevelopment of a tropical cyclone when the LLCC moves further over southern Gulf of Carpentaria waters, with divergent outflow aloft and strong monsoonal westerlies to the north.


WRONG! See post 1089.
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LOL she is right next to me :P
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting PcolaDan:


uhhhh Matt, I think maybe you and I need to have a little chat..... :)

dat's what I'm thinkin...
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Quoting tornadodude:


oh I did lol she is actually watching tv right now in my dorm


uhhhh Matt, I think maybe you and I need to have a little chat..... :)
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Quoting tornadodude:


oh I did lol she is actually watching tv right now in my dorm


re TV: LOST is on. I think I've "lost" interest.
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Quoting tornadodude:


oh I did lol she is actually watching tv right now in my dorm

Dude, in between the "rules of the road" are a couple of implied ones.

One of them reads: "Under no circumstances is one to blog here while on a date or with a date waiting for them, or eternal geekiness will result. In extreme cases, offenders will be banished to live with their mothers until the age of 50."
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Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
GreyElf -- I so know how you feel. I couldn't even get a mercy chuckle with a bad beer joke.

JF: Also you would do well to at least familiarize
yourself with the atmospheric chemistry behind it.

A-A: LOL. Maybe someday I'll do that...


OMyGawd. This is where lesser men would have trotted out their curriculum vitae. Atmo, you're a better man than I...uh, if I was a man.

I'm still in the middle, trying to keep an open mind...losing my mind in the process.
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Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
1154. hydrus
Quoting charlottefl:


Yeah, that was my first hurricane. What a way to start. LOL.
I remember after Charley they had Ivan coming into Charlotte Harbor as a Cat-5- The south-western tip of the Bermuda High nudged it a little to the west and spared us another catastrophe, but hit the panhandle.
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Quoting Motttt:
tdude thought you had a date?


oh I did lol she is actually watching tv right now in my dorm
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting tornadodude:


LOL you better get right on that Atmo

LOL.

Foot-in-mouth while I was typing something about atmo chem, JF?
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1150. Motttt
tdude thought you had a date?
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Let's compare:

2004 - four Florida storms, one Haiti storm, three Carolinas storms, one Louisiana storms, and two Southern Ontario storm remnants.

2005 - five Florida storms, two Haiti storms, one Carolinas storm, three Louisiana storms, and six Southern Ontario storm remnants.

2010 is expected to be a combination of the factors that led to high activity in the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
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Quoting hydrus:
I lived on Gertrude ave in the 1980,s right across from there. I saw the hospital after the storm. It was awful bad.


Yeah, that was my first hurricane. What a way to start. LOL.
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Quoting Greyelf:
Ok, nevermind. I tried adding a little levity with my CycloneOz reference in post 1116, but the headbutters are too busy doing what they do.

Sorry to have interrupted. Come out of your corners and continue thinly veiled insults and snide comments when you hear the ding.

*ding!*


LOL I thought it was funny! (:
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
1146. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
At 9:30 am CST, Tropical Low, Former Olga (998 hPa) located at 16.1S 137.4E or located 115 kms east of Borroloola and 205 kms west northwest of Mornington Island, has 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The low is reported as moving northwest at 4 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T2.0/2.0/D0.5/ 25HRS

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Olga is currently located near the coast and is expected to move northwest, remaining close to the coast. Ex-Tropical Cyclone Olga is expected to redevelop over water near the coast tonight or early tomorrow.

GALES with gusts to 110 kilometres per hour are expected to develop between the NT/Qld Border and Cape Shield, including Groote Eylandt, tonight or early Thursday. Destructive winds with gusts to 125 kilometers per hour between Port Roper and the NT border may develop during Thurday if the cyclone intensifies quickly. GALES with gusts to 110 kilometres per hour may extend as far east as Burketown in Queensland, including Mornington Island, during tonight or ealry Thursday if the developing cyclone takes a more northward track.

HEAVY RAIN may lead to significant stream rises in the Roper-McArthur District.

Abnormally high tides are expected between the NT Border and Burketown tonight and tomorrow, but the sea level should not exceed the highest tide of the year. Large waves are likely along the beachfront.

Tropical Cyclone Warnings
===================================
A Cyclone WARNING continues for coastal and island communities from Cape Shield, including Groote Eylandt, in the Northern Territory to Burketown in Queensland.

Forecast and Intensity
=====================
12 HRS: 15.7S 136.9E - 35 knots (CAT 1)
24 HRS: 15.3S 136.6E - 50 knots (CAT 2)
48 HRS: 15.6S 138.1E - 75 knots (CAT 3)
72 HRS: 17.9S 141.9E - 55 knots (CAT 3)

Additional Information
=========================
Ex-TC Olga was located by radar close to the southern Gulf of Carpentaria coast and has slowed its NW movement. Discontinuous convective bands provide a Dvorak DT of 2.5, but FT based on MET and PAT=2.0. The system is forecast to continue to move NW under the influence of the mid-level steering ridge to the southwest, then recurve towards the N or NE during Thursday as an upper trough amplifies over central Australia. The broad-scale environment is very favourable for redevelopment of a tropical cyclone when the LLCC moves further over southern Gulf of Carpentaria waters, with divergent outflow aloft and strong monsoonal westerlies to the north.
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1145. Greyelf
Ok, nevermind. I tried adding a little levity with my CycloneOz reference in post 1116, but the headbutters are too busy doing what they do.

Sorry to have interrupted. Come out of your corners and continue thinly veiled insults and snide comments when you hear the ding.

*ding!*
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Deadly Cold

The wave of Arctic air from Siberia hit Russia on 16 January and has not relented since, with temperatures plummeting to minus 31 degrees Celsius (minus 24 Fahrenheit) yesterday night. According to Moscow's weather forecasting service, this is the lowest recorded temperature on this date since 1927.

The mercury dropped still lower in Siberia. In Yamalo-Nenetsk Autonomous Okrug, the temperature plummeted to minus 61 degrees Celsius (minus 78 Fahrenheit), an all-time record low there.

The painfully cold temperatures have reportedly killed at least 31 people in European Russia since 16 January. Most of the casualties were among the homeless, despite an order by authorities to allow homeless people to sleep in train and metro stations.

Animals in zoos across Russia are being given shots, or in some cases buckets, of vodka to keep them warm.

But even in homes, heat is not always guaranteed. Thousands of people were temporarily left without heat in several Russian regions after central heating pipes burst.

Energy Conservation

The cold spell has put huge pressure on Russia's power system -- the electricity monopoly Unified Energy Systems said yesterday that electricity use has reached a 15-year high this week.

Amid fears of a massive power blackout, Moscow authorities have established what they called a "strict" energy-conservation regime, including forced power cutbacks to some 250 nonessential companies in the region.
Amid fears of a massive power blackout, Moscow authorities have established what they called a "strict" energy-conservation regime, including forced power cutbacks.

Electricity, for instance, has been cut back in casinos, gaming halls, billboard advertisements, and at construction sites that use powerful floodlights for nighttime work. Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov has also called on employers to let their staffs have today and tomorrow off in order to save energy.

To cope with the exceptional energy demand at home, Russia yesterday reduced oil and gas supplies to Europe, and Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said he had sent the prime minister a proposal to tap into the country's strategic fuel reserves.

Temperatures are expected to ease over the next few days, but Russians are already bracing for the next cold wave -- meteorologists predict that another deep freeze will follow early next week and could last until the end of the month
http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1064876.html
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
1143. hydrus
Quoting charlottefl:


I was in St. Joseph's hospital. It was NOT fun. The place was wrecked when everything calmed down.
I lived on Gertrude ave in the 1980,s right across from there. I saw the hospital after the storm. It was awful bad.
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Quoting atmoaggie:

LOL. Maybe someday I'll do that...


LOL you better get right on that Atmo
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting JFLORIDA:


In light of there being no other viable alternative you have certain degrees of error.

Also you would do well to at least familiarize yourself with the atmospheric chemistry behind it.


LOL. Maybe someday I'll do that...
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
And since you brought up STL today atmo I hope you were not involved in that continual harassment of him.

He was a good poster to have here and it was a shame he had to leave. People harassed him constantly with nonsense. I only heard he had been banned.

People that actually reference their beliefs and are open and extreemly well versed on weather phenomena are few and far between.

I actually iggied him some months before his disappearance...about the time he got nasty towards others.
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Quoting Skyepony:
CaneWarning~ Dr Masters' Ph.D. is in air pollution meteorology. Do you believe him when he say's how many people are killed & sickened by the air pollution from burning coal & oil each year, in the USA?

Interesting. I had forgotten that.

If I had continued onward into grad school, I might possibly have done the same. As it is, I took a number of extra courses in air pollution meteorology and atmo chem.

The paper I referenced in 1127, was resubmitted to another journal (supposedly reworked, but not that I can tell). It was about measuring the concentration of a trace gas by it's IR absorption signature in a couple of very specific wavelengths. The gas, COClF is generated in the stratosphere from the free chlorine radical that comes from CFCs. This gas is the removal mechanism, as it is stable enough to get mixed back down to tropospheric levels, is soluble with water, and will precipitate with rainfall. The limiting factor is the fluorine.

The paper: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TVR-4MJJMXJ-2&_user=10&_coverDate=07%2F3 1%2F2007&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1181679843&_rerunOri gin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=c716b16fb32c3f4c803564aa5a4cad09

Rinsland C.P., Nassar R., Boone C.D., Bernath P., Chiou L., Weisenstein D.K., Mahieu E., Zander R.
Spectroscopic detection of COClF in the tropical and mid-latitude lower stratosphere
(2007) Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer, 105 (3), pp. 467-475.
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Quoting hydrus:
I was living near the Town Center Mall.


I was in St. Joseph's hospital. It was NOT fun. The place was wrecked when everything calmed down.
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
And since you brought up STL today atmo I hope you were not involved in that continual harassment of him.

He was a good poster to have here and it was a shame he had to leave. People harassed him constantly with nonsense.


shew, boy do I know how he feels!
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
1135. hydrus
Quoting charlottefl:


You mean 200*? :) (Was in Port Charlotte during Charley, I totally understand)
I was living near the Town Center Mall.
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Additionally, in science, a numerical result with a standard deviation larger than half the magnitude of the values themselves is not acceptable.

Now I'm scared...I'm starting to understand Atmo. I learned this at ... U.Md!
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Lafayette, Purdue University Airport
Lat: 40.43 Lon: -86.93 Elev: 623
Last Update on Jan 26, 8:54 pm EST

Overcast

19 °F
(-7 °C)
Humidity: 71 %
Wind Speed: W 15 G 28 MPH
Barometer: 30.12" (1020.9 mb)
Dewpoint: 11 °F (-12 °C)
Wind Chill: 5 °F (-15 °C)
Visibility: 10.00 mi.
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting Xyrus:


It's easier to deal with macro events than micro events. Much much easier.

For example, let's say I give you a perfectly spherical balloon along with some useful physical information about it (coefficient of elasticity, current temperature, etc.).

Now let's heat that balloon up by 1 degree. Can you tell where in that balloon molecule 3,200,000 is? Impossible, even if given the exact starting conditions of every air molecule in the balloon.

But what if I asked you to tell me how big the balloon would be? A little basic high school physics and you could tell me with a decent level of accuracy how big the balloon would get with a 1 degree increase of temperature.

It's pretty simple to create a model of this balloon based on those basic physics, and it would be as accurate as you want to make it. However, trying to model every single molecule in the balloon as well as the balloon material itself is a far more difficult task and is practically impossible unless you're dealing with a relatively small number of molecules (and a very small balloon).

Climate models are similar. While a meteorological model NEEDS to deal with small scale phenomena (thunderstorms, hurricanes) on short time scales to make useful predictions, climate models look at averages over longer timescales. In other words, climate models are trying to model the balloon using generalization and abstraction, while meteorological models are trying to model the balloon by simulating every molecular interaction. One of these is much easier to do.

~X~


To be honest, I meant what I said, but that post was more about being civil to each other than anything else. Thanks for your explanation. :)
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1130. Xyrus
Quoting charlottefl:
I'm gonna chime in here, and this is not my argument FOR or AGAINST GW. It's an observation. Micro scale atmospheric events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, severe storms challenge us in their complexity. There is still much we don't understand about these events, and that's on a micro scale. To take such a concrete position on macro climate events that involve the mechanisms that drive our global climate, to say that we are CERTAIN of what is driving our apparent change in climate, and to ignore healthy discussion on the subject is presumptuous at best. I'm not saying to just AGREE with each other, just being willing to listen to the other point of view.(regardless of which side you fall on) It will benefit everyone.


It's easier to deal with macro events than micro events. Much much easier.

For example, let's say I give you a perfectly spherical balloon along with some useful physical information about it (coefficient of elasticity, current temperature, etc.).

Now let's heat that balloon up by 1 degree. Can you tell where in that balloon molecule 3,200,000 is? Impossible, even if given the exact starting conditions of every air molecule in the balloon.

But what if I asked you to tell me how big the balloon would be? A little basic high school physics and you could tell me with a decent level of accuracy how big the balloon would get with a 1 degree increase of temperature.

It's pretty simple to create a model of this balloon based on those basic physics, and it would be as accurate as you want to make it. However, trying to model every single molecule in the balloon as well as the balloon material itself is a far more difficult task and is practically impossible unless you're dealing with a relatively small number of molecules (and a very small balloon).

Climate models are similar. While a meteorological model NEEDS to deal with small scale phenomena (thunderstorms, hurricanes) on short time scales to make useful predictions, climate models look at averages over longer timescales. In other words, climate models are trying to model the balloon using generalization and abstraction, while meteorological models are trying to model the balloon by simulating every molecular interaction. One of these is much easier to do.

~X~
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Quoting hydrus:
Yes it was. I was living in S.W. Florida then. I will not type my feelings about 2004.


You mean 200*? :) (Was in Port Charlotte during Charley, I totally understand)
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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