NOAA experiment shows US temperatures not as warm as reported

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) maintains an official temperature record for the United States through its network of weather stations called U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN). There are many problems with this network including instrumental errors and siting in or near urban areas where stations are subject to the artificial warming of the urban heat island effect. These problems have been documented here, here, and here.

NOAA has also established a parallel set of weather stations, operating for about 10 years now, that address the many problems of the USHCN. That network is United States Climate Reference Network (USCRN). These are modern stations, sited well away from urban influence, that use state of the art instrumentation and are therefore not subject to the problems associated with the old USHCN network.

The difference in temperatures recorded by the two networks shows that the old USHCN has been overstating the temperature anywhere from +0.5°C on average, up to almost +4.0°C (+0.9°F to +7.2°F) in some locations during the summer months. Remember that when you see headlines blaring that a certain day, week,  month, year was the warmest since…. whenever. The new USCRN data is more in line with the satellite temperature record.

The situation is neatly summed up by C3Healines (in spite of its provocative headline):

NOAA Conducts Large-Scale Experiment And Proves Global Warming Skeptics Correct

 NOAA sitesMost global warming skeptics believe that humans have some measurable impact on global temperatures and the climate, but that natural climate forces, over longer periods, will overwhelm the human influence. In addition, skeptics believe that the human influence will not result in the hysterical catastrophic climate disasters presented by doomsday pundits. And finally, global warming skeptics believe, for a multitude of reasons, human errors/mistakes/failings have caused late 20th century global warming to be significantly overstated.

This article addresses this last point. What if the climate experts conducted an actual experiment that would prove whether the global warming skeptics were right or wrong about world-wide warming being overstated? ( click to get larger image at source: one, two, three )

Well, NOAA has actually conducted said experiment by building their U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN), which precisely, and automatically, measures temperature and weather conditions across the U.S. The USCRN effort is based on the concept that the best way to measure the impact of greenhouse gases on global temperatures is to place state-of-the-art climate stations in pristine rural areas that are little impacted by people, buildings, vehicles, equipment, asphalt and etc.

An example of one of NOAA’s pristine climate measurement stations is the top image (Image #1). And the middle image depicts the location of each pristine station – there are currently 114 of them, and clearly they are well dispersed providing good U.S. coverage.

By carefully planning and maintaining these pristine stations and by using the best technology available, this large-scale experiment eliminates the following problems with the older weather measurement network:

There are no observer or transcription errors to correct.

There is no time of observation bias, nor need for correction of it.

There is no broad scale missing data, requiring filling in data from potentially bad surrounding stations.

There are no needs for bias adjustments for equipment types since all equipment is identical.

There is no need for urbanization adjustments, since all stations are rural and well sited.

There are no regular sensor errors due to air aspiration and triple redundant lab grade sensors. Any errors detected in one sensor are identified and managed by two others, ensuring quality data.

Due to the near perfect geospatial distribution of stations in the USA, there isn’t a need for gridding to get a national average temperature.

So, what has this NOAA experiment found? The bottom image (Image #3) tells that story – when compared to measurements from the old, inaccurate, non-pristine network, temperature “warming” in the U.S. is being overstated anywhere from +0.5°C on average, up to almost +4.0°C (+0.9°F to +7.2°F) in some locations during the summer months.

To clarify, this range of overstatement depends on the given new and old stations being compared. However, when the new network versus old network results are examined in total, for the recent summer heat wave in the U.S., the old stations were reporting bogus warming during July that amounted to some +2.1°F higher than the actual temperatures.

What does this mean? Within the climate science realm, the old climate/weather station system had long been considered the best and most complete measurement network in the world. But when pitted against a brand new climate measurement system that has the best qualities that science can provide, we find that the traditional U.S. methodology is significantly overstating the “global warming” phenomenon. This means that if other countries replaced their own low quality network with NOAA’s greatest and latest technology, with the best location site standards applied, we would discover that world-wide temperature increases have been wildly overstated also.

Conclusions: A large-scale NOAA experiment has proven that global warming skeptics were correct: temperature warming in the U.S. has been significantly overstated in recent decades. This NOAA experiment should be expanded to other continents and countries since it is now obvious that the combined older technology and substandard weather station sites have well overstated the global warming phenomenon. Before any further dollars are spent on climate change adaptation and/or mitigation, the world needs to upgrade their global weather/climate reporting network to the USCRN standard so that policymakers have correct temperature change measurements to base their decisions on.

Those who claim that human carbon dioxide emissions are the major cause of recent warming (AGW) fail to produce physical evidence to support that position. Some cite computer statistical studies that conclude that a certain percentage of the warming must be due to human influence, only because they can’t think of anything else. The bottom line, however, is that computer simulations are not physical evidence and the AGW position is unsupported by anything other than speculation. Government policies designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions therefore have no basis in science, no proof that such policies would make a real difference in climate. But such policies have a great detrimental effect on our economy, jobs, and national security. This phantom menace should be put to rest so that we can direct our resources toward solving real problems.

See also:

Which comes first, rise in global CO2 or rise in global temperature?

NOAA temperature record “adjustments” could account for almost all “warming” since 1973

July 2012 not hottest according to NOAA data

US Temperature trends show a spurious doubling says Anthony Watts

Urban heat island effect on temperatures, a tale of two cities

Most US maximum temperature records set in the 1930s

The State of our Surface Temperature Records



  1. if you really don’t believe in man-made global warming, I have an experiment for you to convince yourself. Pull your car into the garage and leave it running over night. See if anything happens and report back to us.
    Now multiply that by a hundred million cars, over nearly a century, then throw in another centuries worth of coal and oil power generation and industrial processes.

    It’s really very simple. You can’t take millions of years worth of life and burn them up over a hundred years and expect no consequences. Sorry, you really can’t have your cake and eat it too. Get over it and start thinking of the planet you want to leave behind.

    1. 90% of the time most of the northern hemisphere is covered by ice sheets two miles thick.

      If oil and gas help us avoid that, they are a good thing.

      1. if it were only that simple Billy Bob. I don’t know about you, but I like this planet, it’s pretty, not too hot or too cold, it’s pretty much just right. I am not fool enough to think I know more than millions of years of this planet finding the balance we all live in and enjoy.
        How about we just let that sleeping dog lie…and bike to work, walk to the store, and be a little smarter about using that precious gift called oil
        Subject: [wryheat] Re: NOAA experiment shows US temperatures not as warm as reported

    2. The difference is Carbon MONoxide vs carbon DIoxide. Exhaust from consumed gasoline or diesel is Carbon MONoxide and NOT Carbon Dioxide. I am not a chemist but I do not believe that one can morph into the other.
      The EPA has, in their infinite un-wisdom has declared Carbon DIoxide a polutant gas. HOW ABSURD is that since it is a natural gas emitted by mamals and other species in the breathing process and is absorbed by plants that in turn produce oxygen in the NATURAL process called photosynthesis. Duh!
      Your analogy of producing and containing Carbon MONoxide in a garage to burned fuel in the atmosphere lack correlation between the relevant volumes of garage versus the earth’s atmosphere, not to mention the constant “cleaning” of the air by wind, rain, snow and gravity that eliminate polutant particles from the atmosphere and deposit them on land and in the sea. This is proven by the earth’s removal of particles and debris from volcanos over the millennia that are subsequently found in deep ice cores taken in frozen areas of the world.

      1. You are making my point. There is no ‘cleaning’, there is just moving around, and guess what? After a century of unmitigated burning…it’s starting to pile up. There is no where to take the trash, so what do you do Joe? STOP PRODUCING TRASH
        Subject: [wryheat] Re: NOAA experiment shows US temperatures not as warm as reported

    3. I believe you are confusing CO^2 with carbon monoxide (CO). If you just pumped CO^2 into your garage over night nothing would happen. Unless you had some plants growing out there. Here in lies the problem. People need to be a little more educated. It is people like youself that hurt the very cause you support. Do I believe man has an influence on climate? Sure. Do I believe we need new technologies to help mitigate our dependnce on fossil fuels? Sure. The problem is, currently those technologies don’t exist. I am however, confident that we will develope them over time. Afterall, in the last 100 yrs. we went from horse drawn buggies to space shuttles.

      1. My point was an effort to be dramatic and an attempt to illustrate the vast quantity of ‘C’ that we have taken out of the ground and pumped in to the portion of the earth in which we live. If you really support alternative energy sources, why don’t your spend your time supporting those causes and educating yourself about what IS working, instead of counting beans while the ship sinks.
        Subject: [wryheat] Re: NOAA experiment shows US temperatures not as warm as reported

    4. AJP:
      Your argument from analogy is invalid on its face and your straw man fails because you don’t follow through. The garage doesn’t have weather which disperses the emissions and it doesn’t have carbon sinks. You seem to be confusing a greenhouse structure with the “greenhouse effect.”

      Your garage analogy is a simple model that fails to consider the complexities of the atmosphere. That’s why it fails. Even the IPCC recognized that complexity when they wrote: “In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible.” — Final chapter, Draft TAR 2000 (Third Assessment Report), IPCC.

      You also fail to consider scale. Yes, burning fossil fuels put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but the effect is insignificant compared to natural forces of climate change.

      Can you provide any physical evidence that human carbon dioxide emissions are the major cause of warming? If not then you are following a phantom menace.

      1. I love how you are willing to gamble with the future of the human race. I see nearly every weather, storm, climate record being broken annually, I see a concensus of 99.9% of scientists, and I’m the one that has to prove a connection. How bout we don’t gamble with our survival, and you prove that polluting the atmosphere, land, and oceans for nearly a century DOESN’T cause climate change.
        Subject: [wryheat] Re: NOAA experiment shows US temperatures not as warm as reported

      2. And the rest of us probably feel a form of embarrassment for you since you are apparently incapable of supporting your original assertion and are so closed-minded to an educational and personal growth opportunity here.

        It is not possible for you to see ‘nearly every weather, storm, climate record being broken annually’ as the weather record only goes back around a hundred years with any good level of accuracy, thus there’s no way for you to declare the current situation to be unprecedented. And since when is “consensus” the way to validate scientific inquiry?

        What happens in nature is not a result of a show of hands, it is what it is, and there is more than enough plausible evidence to suggest that the current climate situation is not significantly affected by human activity – something you’d applaud if if meant that the future either won’t be as bad as it’s projected to be or is nothing you can change.

        You want evidence of CO2 (not a pollutant, by the way, other than the EPA’s highly questionable stretch of the definition) as something that does not drive global warming? Read the NIPCC reports But if your excuse not to is that it is trash funded by Exxon, don’t worry, we’re more than familiar with the accusation. But we’ve never seen the evidence to prove it, so if you must, bring us specific evidence of it, not links to entire web pages containing nothing but paper-thin guilt-by-association accusations.

      3. My assertion is the most basic, common sense, idea that for some reason you all don’t get…and nearly everyone else does. So, here goes my last effort to knock some proverbial sense in to you.
        Thus the change from “global warming” to “climate change”. The fact is this is one of the most dynamic and complex systems on earth, we are lucky if we can predict the weather a week out. So, the folks that have spent their ENTIRE CAREERS studying how climate works, are convinced that SURPRISE, yes all that carbon is changing the system. How it’s changing it remains an ongoing study.
        In the meantime, i would prefer to take the CONSERVATIVE approach, and do everything we can to limit our use of fossil fuels, and focus on developing alternatives.
        Anything can be a pollutant in the right quantity or concentration, Vitamin C will kill you if you take enough of it.
        The proof is on you! Show me a system where you can increase one of its constituents by 39% percent (as we have with carbon in the atmosphere compared to pre-industrial levels) and see no impact. I have another experiment for you. Why don’t you increase your hamburger consumption by 39% for 1 year, then report back if there’s been any change in the system called your body.
        Try a little common sense once in a while, and be conservative with our future…conserve
        Subject: [wryheat] Re: NOAA experiment shows US temperatures not as warm as reported

    5. The atmosphere is not a garage FFS. Climate is an open-ended dynamic system. Co2 is 0.04% of the atmosphere. Man made co2 some 4% of that. Any warming from that is miniscule and lost in natural variation. We’re still coming out of the last ice age, and when it starts to cool again regularly, which may not be long, then is the time to worry, It was warmer 5 -7000 years ago, the Arctic was ice free and the Sahara green and being farmed.

      Think for yourself and educate yourself. Chicken Licken. Jeez, it was warmer in the MWP and civilisation thrived. In the LIA, one third of the population of Northern Europe died of famine and associated nasties., Warm is GOOD,

      1. The earth is a closed system, the biosphere is the part of the earth in which we, and all life, inhabits. Over the past century we have taken carbon, representing hundreds of millions of years of life, that wasn’t in our biosphere, and brought it in. If 1 car can kill you in an hour or so, just think about ALL of the carbon, i know…the car exhaust changes to CO, but just in terms of mass. I feel like, because you can’t see it, all you climate skeptics think it’s magically ‘gone’…’cleaned by the climate’. Glad you’re so confident that you have solved the climate puzzle and can predict it for the next 1000 years. I suppose you have a PhD in climatology? Oh no, all of them have found that man-made climate change is real.
        Subject: [wryheat] Re: NOAA experiment shows US temperatures not as warm as reported

      2. The Earth is NOT a closed system. It receives energy from the sun and re-radiates that energy back to space. Earth is also bombarded with energy from galactic cosmic rays. The Earth also receives matter (comets, meteorites) from space.

        As for weather records, look back to the 1930s to see the really high values.

        Your faith is naive: so give us the physical evidence.

  2. @ari_jp:disqus

    You did not specify what the consequences are.

    We can however know what the consequences would be if oil and coal were to disappear from our lives.

    Life without cheap energy is brutal.

    1. There’s endless shale. Huge deposits in the USA. Huge deposits found recently in Eastern Europe. Huge HUGE deposits in China.

    2. Indeed, that’s why we need to start putting more of our energy and resources to developing alternatives, increasing efficiency, living closer to where we work and play, improving public transportation, and generally being smarter about how we use this amazing stuff.

      We spent the past century taking it for granted. I know it is a tough pill to swallow, but we can’t just continue to drive our huge cars everywhere, etc. The need to satisfy our addiction is taking us in to more remote regions to get it, having to build pipelines over 1000’s of miles to transport it.

      My proposal is actually to build a refinery in every town. This way you would know exactly what the costs were to this addiction. So, when you are coughing from the smoke, the fish are dying in the river, and your kids are getting sick from the drinking water…then maybe we’ll take seriously kicking the habit.

  3. The comments by AJP here are an instructive glimpse into the mind set of a of an apparent true believer* in the AGW hoax. Some would say that AJP has swallowed the Kool-Aid and takes his position on faith rather than physical evidence. He is asked to present physical evidence to support his contention but instead ignores that and goes on to repeat his catechism with ever more hyperbolic adjectives. His proposed “garage” experiment, his contention that Earth is a closed system, and his invocation of consensus show that he is weak in scientific principles and does not understand the philosophy of science. A good scientist is always a skeptic.

    *The True Believer: Thoughts On The Nature Of Mass Movements is a 1951 social psychology book by Eric Hoffer that discusses the psychological causes of fanaticism.

    1. As I said, it is on YOU to provide evidence that you can increase Carbon by 39% and expect nothing to happen. In what system can you increase a constituent so dramatically and expect no consequence?

      The energy that comes in to and leaves the earth are boundary conditions of the system called earth. The ability of energy to cross that boundary is controlled by the atmosphere, that we have dramatically changed over the last century.

      Use some common sense.

      Be a true conservative…and conserve. (I am officially taking back that word, because you all are actually fundamentalists NOT conservatives)

      Stop pointing the finger and laying blame, and be part of the solution.

      Our home, the earth, is not inherited from our parents, it is borrowed from our children.

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