Devil, Detail

Treasonous global warmenist skeptics will be amused by this photo of a supposedly rural US temperature measuring station in California.

It’s the Paso Robles USHCN Climate Station of Record (hat tip

…the Paso Robles USHCN Climate Station of Record features freeway on-ramp access to California’s Highway 101. The weather station is just feet from the street, with the temperature sensor placed just high enough to catch full view of vehicles over the fence.

The temperature recorded by this station was stable-to-falling until about 1980, then rose dramatically, possibly when the freeway access was built next to it (the freeway is shown as recently built in 1979).

This illustrates a general flaw in the concept of “global temperature” – it’s just a weighted sum of a measurements from many measuring stations.

Each station is much more likely to be effected by idling a big truck next to it than by a complex CO2/water vapor interaction created by said truck.

Biographical note:

Paso Robles is about halfway between Los Angeles and Francisco, and I was once pulled over there for speeding.

The very smart and polite CHP officer, seeing I was a Brit, sentenced me to drive at 55 MPH all the way back to San Jose.

He said he’d radio his colleagues there to time the arrival of my conspicuous white rental Volvo (its headlights were set permanently on).

It was a good bluff, so I did as directed, taking several hours to drive through the World’s Longest Lettuce Field.


10 Responses to Devil, Detail

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    A lot of the world has a truck idling next to it. How does the rural-to-urban change make the measurements inaccurate? Can you be specific? If sampling is done well, if otherwise there is no monkeying with results, why would this not be accurate?

    Doesn’t this station’s change merely reflect the push to pave formerly rural areas? And is that not a major contributor to the problem?

    And, if the data from this station and tens of thousands of others simply corroborates satellite and other data, where does anyone get off suggesting there’s a problem here?

    What is the problem?

  2. gandalf says:


    It’s the year-on-year comaprison that gets messed up.

    If the station was originally off road and rural, it would not have been subject to the urban heat island effcet (I think about 5 degrees in big cities).

    Putting a highway interchange next to the temperature sensor won’t of course have a 5 degree effect, but it will be significant since concrete and blacktop absorb and re-radiate heat (that’s why parking lots get so sweltering). Plus of course vehicles radiate heat.

    So any trends measured by this particular station will be worthless.

    Satellites measure the radiance of the atmosphere and then try to deduce its temperature (not that of the surface). There’s a lot of uncertainty about whether the satellites show warming.

    So the simplest method is to directly measure surface temperature, but that requires correcting for changes like this interchange.

    Since, as you say, we’ve been building over countryside for decades, we need to correct most temperature sensors.

    Given that measured total surface warming is about 1 degree, that could simply be caused by urbanization.

  3. Jay says:

    I saw one of those pics with the sensor mounted on the side of a house in the direct sun, over concrete, next to a bush. Not so bad I guess as long as it was consistent (and it wouldn;t surprise me if they moved it there from the shady side).

    What was really laughable was the barbecue parked under the sensor. While I doubt anybody actually cooked under the sensor, as soon as the cooking was done, where do you think the barbecue was going back to? I’m surprised that location didn’t face some sort of mandatory evacuation.

  4. Jay says:

    Should’ve looked first, didn;t think it would be so easy. Here’s the pic:

  5. gandalf says:



    Suggests a slogan “Global Warming – now we’re cookin’ with gas!”

  6. Ed Darrell says:

    So, is the year-to-year comparison for this site messed up? I’m taking your word that it’s considered a rural site.

    You have two anecdotal tales that suggest there may be problems — not ARE problems, but may be problems — with two sites out of X thousand sites. While your photos and stories are entertaining, they aren’t authoritative, nor are they solid data. If I assume everything you say is gospel truth, you’ve still got just two odd data points out of many thousands. That sort of correction is routinely made — you’ve not demonstrated that the data from these sites has any influence (it would likely be tossed out), or that any such influence could be significant.

    Meanwhile, nearly every damned glacier on Earth appears to be melting.

    Excuse me if I remain skeptical of your conclusions.

  7. gandalf says:


    There’s a quote (i think from Newton) to the effect that science is all about accurate measurements.

    Not all measurements of temperature are wrong, but for a number of practical reasons, including urbanization, quite a few are. Researchers try to correct for this, but there’s no sure way to do it right.

    So I think it’s right to be skeptical about the precision of a single valuer for “global termperature”.

    As for glaciers, big ones take tens of thousands of years to respond to a temperature increase or decrease, and even small ones take hundreds of years.

    So it’s very unlikely the melting we’re seeing (and we are seeing it) is triggered by events in tha past century.

    Still, stay skeptical, not just of my conclusions but of everybody else’s.

  8. Ed Darrell says:

    As for glaciers, big ones take tens of thousands of years to respond to a temperature increase or decrease, and even small ones take hundreds of years.

    All but two glaciers on Earth are melting very fast — those two are on the west coasts, where the “lake effect” snows are building them in the last two years, slightly faster than they can melt. The lake effect, of course, is an effect of warming (global or not) — so, the record right now is that every glacier on Earth is responding to temperature increases.

    Trend yet?

  9. Ed Darrell says:

    And, you know, one of the chief reasons I doubt the data is that you cite Everything from that site that I have checked out has been the opposite of their claim. Everything. Have you verified their claim that the site is listed as rural? Have you verified that it is not rural by the definitions of such sites? The photo shows a fence and a highway sign — I can get you a fence and highway sign near Electra, Texas, or Rupert, Idaho, or in Hudspeth County, Texas, that are as rural as it is possible to get in the U.S.

    There there is the actual analysis of the data; have you seen Eli Rabett’s run on these claims?

    According to Eli, that site you picture is not counted as rural if it’s not (too much light). According to Eli, if you separate out the urban from the few rural sites in the U.S., the rural sites show more warming than the urban sites.

    Facts are stubborn things — maybe more stubborn than glaciers.

  10. gandalf says:


    Thanks for the link to Eli’s blog. I think he’s arguing that, after adjustment for the Urban Heat Island effect, rural stations show the same warming (I assume the global 1 degree F to 1998, then flat) that’s shown by urban sites.

    I find his analysis legalistic rather than scientific – the latter would be concerned with the effect on the integrity of temperature measurement caused by building a gas station on top of the thermometer.

    As for those pesky glaciers, we are coming out of an ice age, and there have been at least two heat pulses in the past 2,000 years (Roman, Medieval).

    As for, of course it has an agenda, but compared with the UN it’s a model of integrity!

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