Wow – this is really an important study

A new paper comparing NCDC rural and urban surface temperature data

This is a doozy of a study – one that is way long overdue.  It looks at the raw data for rural weather stations in the U.S. and then the urban raw data.  Then it looks at the adjusted data for rural ad for urban and looks at the net adjustments that the National Climate Data Center (NCDC) makes.  (This is only a study of U.S. stations, and a small sampling at that – which will need to be replicated, preferably with a much larger sampling of weather stations, and replicated worldwide.)

[Note: the reader should be made aware that the NCDC is one of the three climate databases used for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and dovetails closely with the other two, so what they are doing here is likely close to what is being done elsewhere, too.]

Without peeking, which do you think the numbers show?

  1. Rural data is adjusted upward
  2. Rural data is adjusted downward
  3. Rural data is not adjusted at all
  4. Urban data is adjusted upward
  5. Urban data is adjusted downward
  6. Urban data is not adjusted at all

Two of these seem to be taking place.  Which ones?

If you guessed anything but 1 and 4, you apparently are wrong. Look at this graph of the raw rural data and the raw urban data:

[Note: Each of the two raw data sets has different averages – denoted as 0.0 on their individual graphs – but their averages are not the same.  The raw rural average – taken as the average from 1961 to 1990 – is about 0.2ºC higher than the raw urban average.  In this graph and the next, the rural data is lowered by that 0.2ºC.  I don’t know why they did that.  They could have simply shown the offset curves. But I sure am amazed at how closely their ups and downs matched for 60 years.]

Now that shows that until about 1965 rural and urban thermometers were reading almost identically.  Suddenly they started to diverge.  The cities started getting warmer than the rural areas. By 1975 the difference had grown from 0.0ºC to 0.2ºC, and then in another decade had grown to 0.4ºC., and by 1992 had grown to 0.5ºC.  What had been a lock step for most of the first 60 years of the 20th century suddenly turned into warmer and warmer cities.

(Since that is where an increasingly large percentage of us lived, that made it easy for us all to buy into global warming.  We could see it happening, right before our eyes.)

Now that isn’t even the big story, though.

Rural readings are out away from the cars and trucks and power plants (except for nuclear plants, which are rare).  If the activities of humans – which are obviously where we are emitting the most CO2 – are showing up in higher temperatures IN AND AROUND the cities, then, if they are causing a greenhouse effect, why are the rural areas not showing it?  Why does raw data only show up – and show up consistently – only in and around the cities?  Doesn’t the greenhouse effect affect the WHOLE country?

But it apparently does NOT affect rural direct measurements.  Isn’t that interesting?

But why doesn’t the data we hear about – about the whole country – tell us that there is this lack of effect on the entire country?  Doesn’t it tell us we are all warming up, all over the place?  Well, yes, in fact it does.

And how does that come to be?

That is what the point of the paper is:  The warming seems to be coming from the adjustments.  It does not appear to be there in the raw data – except in the cities.  I am not lying; this seems to be a true thing.

So, what is going on?  What are they doing to the adjustments?  If the cities are warming a lot – over 0.6ºC since 1960 (according to the raw data shown above) – isn’t that the amount that they have been telling us we’ve all been warming up by?  Well, pretty much, yes.

And what amount are they telling us the rural areas are warming up by?  Would you believe – well, look at this graph:

Look at that!  The rural temperatures – which hadn’t even come close to the 1940s peak – all of a sudden, after adjusting, are over 0.6ºC higher than the 1940s and a whole 1.1ºC higher than in 1965!  Holy freaking crap, Batman!

Isn’t that weird?  And what happened to the urban numbers?  The raw numbers said they went up by 1.0ºC since 1965.  The adjusted numbers say they went up 1.05ºC – essentially no change from the raw data.

So, the rural numbers – which went up 0.45ºC, according to the raw data – were adjusted upward an additional 0.65ºC.  And the urban numbers – which went up 1.0ºC in the raw numbers – were only adjusted an additional 0.05ºC.

The rural numbers were adjusted upward 13 times as much upward as the urban numbers.

Now, urban heat island effect is a value that comes from land use – parking lots, buildings, airports, air conditioners – and is always adjusted DOWNWARD.  Yet somehow, in 48 rural stations (one per state), in areas with no urban heat island effect at all (and which should not be adjusted at all), the adjustments overall are UPWARD.  And even for 48 urban areas (also one per state) the adjustment is actually UPWARD, too.  Weird?  Weird!

So, this study points out that adjustments were made that make no sense – at least in the 96 chosen rural and urban stations included in the study.  (Arguments are made in the paper why this was done.)  It will certainly come to pass that the study cherry-picked the stations.  The stations are all clearly spelled out in tables in the paper, so anyone can go see which were included and which weren’t.  And if anyone wants to – and of course some will want to – they can go do their owns study.

But even if other stations are selected, the question begs to be asked:  What in the world were they doing with these stations?

I suspect we may not have long to wait. . .

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