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Harris-Mann Climatology Article Archive

Title: NOAA Has Closed 600 Heat Island Weather Stations

Author: Climatologist Cliff Harris
Published: 8/23/2013

I did a study of the thousands of weather stations here in the U.S. and around the inhabited world in 2000. The results were ‘surprising’ to say the least.

I compared the 60-year periods from 1880 to 1940 and 1940 to 2000 and found virtually no difference in global temperatures, except in the urban ‘heat islands’ of concrete and asphalt, which did show rather significant warming, especially in Asia.

Well, my friend of nearly 30 years, Anthony Watts, the man who said, "It’s the SUN, stupid," recently reported that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has finally closed some 600 ‘heat island’ weather stations around the country.

Watts, a well-known meteorologist and blogger, has been highly critical in recent years for the National Weather Service’s "usage of extremely unreliable data."

NOAA says that the closures will help them improve the nation’s ability of gathering accurate U.S. weather data in the future. But, Watts claims that it’s "too little, too late."

Watts recently told Fox News, "the question remains why NOAA continues to use a strange mix of both well-sited and poorly-sited weather stations."

Watts points to a still open poorly-sited station in California’s Yosemite Park. This particular weather station sits directly above a ‘heat sink.’ This stored heat is released at night after being accumulated during the day, therefore giving the station much warmer overnight lows than if the station were located in a well-sited spot. The heat sinks are composed of a road, a building, wooden beams and stacked metal pipes surrounding the station.

Have you ever noticed that most banks and other businesses tend to have weather signs that report much warmer than actual temperatures, because their instruments are poorly-sited in areas that store up heat, especially during the hot summer months.

Watts says that the closures of many poorly-sited weather stations nationwide is "something of a vindication of a years-long project to identify stations with stored heat problems linked to the ‘heat island effect.’

As previously reported, some of the first official Watts’ temperature findings were leaked more than four years ago in 2009 in so-called ‘CLIMATE-GATE’ emails.

The Director of NOAA, Scott Smullen, told his people to "take Watts’ findings seriously and act upon them." That’s what NOAA has done in recent months.